This was where the damage control was to take root, where the image makeover of Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria was to find its shape. We were in the posh Diamond Club lounge inside the team’s year-old ballpark, a select group of media invited Monday evening to Loria’s first public availability in more than three months, since he last gutted his team’s roster in a massive cost-cutting. Again.

A bartender waited to serve from a gratis bar, but he had no business. Waiters carried around food, but the trays stayed full.

Nobody was buying what Loria was selling. He couldn’t even give it away. Not his drinks or hors d’oeuvres, and not his explanation for why the club’s latest fire sale had to happen even with the state-of-the-art new stadium that was supposed to ensure bigger, competitive player payrolls.

Loria keeps wanting to talk business.

He doesn’t understand all anyone hears is betrayal.

“We lost tens of millions last year,” he said.

Fans lost something, too. Their faith and trust.