For nearly two decades, it appeared as if Derek Jeter was destined to lead the Yankees all along.
Perhaps he could assume that leadership role once again, but this time in the Sunshine State.
In a recent ESPN Insider column written by Buster Olney, Jeter was suggested as a possible candidate to take over ownership duties for the Miami Marlins. Jeffrey Loria, who purchased the franchise in 2002, reportedly had a handshake agreement with Joshua Kusher to sell the Marlins at $1.6 billion in early February, according to Forbes, but the deal ultimately fell through. As of this March, there is no definitive timetable as to when the team could be sold, but Loria is still actively searching for potential suitors, per the Miami Herald.
Here’s what Olney said of Jeter and the Marlins:
Whoever the new owners turn out to be, they must recognize the full depth of the fan base’s anger toward Loria, who slashed his payroll, often fielded noncompetitive teams and negotiated a ballpark deal that drained taxpayers. Because of this, generations of Miami fans have made a habit of staying away from the relatively young home of the Marlins, which opened in 2012, and refusing to spend money they believed would land in Loria’s pockets.
The new owners will need a reset, in the same way the Los Angeles Dodgers did following Frank McCourt’s ugly reign. And the Marlins will need instant credibility. The new Dodgers regime got credibility mostly by spending and taking on players like Adrian Gonzalez, but they also rebranded the team. An important step was the inclusion of Magic Johnson in the ownership group, because of Magic’s reputation with folks in L.A. His history with the city made fans willing to take him at his word that the new owners were going to spend money and try relentlessly to win. And that’s what has happened.
This is why the new owners, whoever they are, should make a strong effort to persuade Derek Jeter to be part of the solution. And MLB should do all that it can to aid in that, to the degree that it requires the buyers to try to make that happen as a stipulation for purchasing the team.
In 2016, Jeter appeared on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” program, expressing his interest in one day owning a Major League Baseball team.
“I think baseball is taking somewhat of a back seat to some of the other sports,” said Jeter, who will turn 43 in June. “Some of the other sports are the sexy sports. I think kids, nowadays they look at players playing in college and the next year they’re in the NFL or the NBA. Baseball, you sort of get lost, because you have to play in the minor leagues for a little bit. Kids in this generation are into instant gratification.
“Baseball in my opinion mimics life. It’s every day. It’s 162 games, plus 30 games in spring training, plus the post season. There’s a lot of work that goes into it. In my mind, this is the greatest sport in the world.”