The Miami Marlins have languished in poor-owner-purgatory for its entire existence. They’ve alienated the fan base, but Derek Jeter can change all that.
Some weeks ago, it was reported that the Miami Marlins and a group led by Derek Jeter and Jeb Bush had put in a bid to purchase the team. The bid, worth $1.3 billion was accepted, and the world rejoiced. (Well, the Marlins baseball world anyway). Turns out things aren’t as signed and dated as we originally hoped.
It’s been two weeks now, and Jeffery Loria, to the ire of Miami Marlins fans, (and Montreal Expo’s fans, for that matter), continues to sit in the owners chair. With Dave Stewart having joined a competing bid to own the team, doubt exists who, and when, new ownership will take over.
Major League Baseball owners meetings will take place on May 17-18, the likeliest date for the matter to be resolved. The sale of a team would have to be approved by a minimum of 75 percent of current team owners.
An open letter to MLB and its owners: Derek Jeter is the only person capable of revitalizing baseball’s most disenfranchised franchise.
Marlins fans have been put through the wringer in their brief 24 years of league play. Each major success, which includes two World Series championships and the opening of a pristine new ballpark in 2012, has been followed with an instance of prodigious betrayal.
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In 1997, led by Cuban defector and pitching phenom Livan Hernandez, the Florida Marlins became the youngest franchise in North American sports history to win a championship. Coupled with the massive, baseball-loving Cuban population in Miami, the marriage appeared to be a heaven-sent moneymaker for Major League Baseball. Within a matter of months, the team was dismantled and sold to the highest bidder.
In 2003, the Marlins again shocked the baseball world and knocked off the mighty Yankees in six games. While not as all encompassing as the preceding fire sale, it would be only a few years before every notable member of that championship team was playing elsewhere. Having had the rug pulled out from under their feet twice in only a decade, fans had grown disillusioned by the prospect of sustainable success in South Florida.
Then, in 2012, the promise of change swept the community. On the back of a publicly funded baseball stadium and a massive shopping spree at the leagues Winter Meetings, season-ticket sales soared. The Marlins had a stable of marketable stars and the firepower to compete for years to come. After a disappointing 69-win season, they traded anybody they could immediately.
Miami Marlins: A new hope
Now, much-maligned owner Jeffery Loria is looking to sell his ball club and a number of investment teams appear to be interested. The problem, though, is that Marlins fans are unlikely to make themselves vulnerable for another suit. The damage has already been done, and one has a difficult time dreaming up a scenario in which new ownership can put leery fans at ease.
Enter: Derek Jeter, the consummate winner. A champion. Someone baseball fans can justifiably trust to be discontent lining his pockets with cash whilst putting a sub-par team on the field. Derek Jeter’s bid, which is a joint bid along with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, presents the Marlins best chance for a happy future. Like a dog being adopted from a rescue, the fans will need extra care and assurance that their troubled past is behind them.
For fans, any other owner is just another wealthy businessman looking to flaunt his excess. But Derek Jeter has baseball in his guts. He’s been out of the game a little over two years and he’s already looking to get back in. Derek Jeter loves baseball, and so do South Florida baseball fans; both are looking for an opportunity to prove it.
As it stands, Derek Jeter is the only reasonable hope for baseball to thrive in Miami the way it was originally intended.