Who's the boss? Why Derek Jeter should provide hope for Marlins fans
- Derek Jeter knows more about baseball than Jeffrey Loria ever did. Marlins fans ought to embrace him if he secures ownership of the team.
Jeffrey Loria made his fortune as an art dealer, so he knows that beauty is in the eye of the person with the highest credit limit. Loria may sell the Miami Marlins—all of them this time, instead of one by one to other teams—and the price is expected to be around $300 million, plus another billion. If you want in, you better hurry. According to several reports, Derek Jeter and Jeb Bush are interested in a deal, though personally I won't believe anything unless I read it on The Players' Tribune.
If you live in Miami, and you hear Derek Jeter is buying your baseball team, you immediately become optimistic. You still won't buy tickets, of course. But you will feel a surge ... well, not a surge, exactly, but some sort of activity inside you, like when the rain aggravates your arthritis, except in a good way, and ... anyway, the point is that you would welcome this news.
Some owners were born on third base and think they hit a triple; Jeter actually hit triples. The Cooperstown-bound shortstop has a lot of the qualities of a great baseball owner. He is smart, knowledgeable, tough, disciplined and not named Jeffrey Loria. He would also usurp the Dodgers' Magic Johnson as the owner who commands the most respect in a major league clubhouse. When Mr. Jeter says you aren't playing hard enough, guess what? You aren't playing hard enough.
Jeter's desire to be a baseball-team owner is not a surprise. He belongs in the game. He was never a likely candidate to be a manager—it's hard to imagine him explaining to the media why he ran out of lefthanded relievers, and you can't get away with posting that kind of thing on The Players' Tribune, the website Jeter founded after he retired from the Yankees in 2014. Besides, managers get fired. Derek Jeter is way too savvy to take a job where he could get fired.
Most owners spend two years figuring out what the heck they are doing, and by the time they do, the team is losing and the fan base hates them. Jeter would know more on Day One than many owners do on the day they sell the team. Plus, if Jeter buys the Marlins, he will be the most important baseball figure in Alex Rodriguez's hometown. One imagines a happy reunion of former Yankees teammates, with Jeter leaving A-Rod tickets at will call, and A-Rod picking them up and discovering they are in the last row of a different stadium.
Then there is Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida, who hoped that he'd be president of the United States right now, and he would be if he had just gotten a few thousand more votes, plus another 14 million, and then another 50 million after that. Bush ran his presidential campaign like Yankees teams were run before the Jeter era: He spent a ton of money, had high expectations, and then ... pfffft. Bush ran on a platform of "Hello, I'm Jeb Bush," and while his campaign slogan of "Yes, I Really Am Jeb Bush. Why Would I Make That Up?" did not exactly inspire the masses, it is worth noting that at no point in the campaign did he endorse Albert Pujols's contract with the Angels.
Bush also has some baseball experience, sort of: His brother, former president George W., owned the Rangers decades ago. Maybe that doesn't matter—George W. was also elected president, and that didn't help Jeb a whole lot—but at least Jeb Bush would not go into this blind.
Bush is a calm, patient, cerebral person. That doesn't cut it for president of the United States, of course, but it could make him an excellent team owner. One envisions a day when the World Series opens in Miami and Bush gets to throw out the first pitch. His brother did that at Yankee Stadium once, a month after 9/11. The Yankees' shortstop told George W. he had to throw from the mound, not in front of it, and he had better throw a strike. The most powerful man in the world did as Derek Jeter asked. Who wouldn't?