After speaking his mind about the state of the Miami Marlins and MLB, it’s time to recognize that Derek Jeter has a grasp on the franchise becoming more successful in a short amount of time.
When Derek Jeter expressed how he felt about the recent negotiations between MLB owners and the MLBPA, I could not help but smile. As Manny Gomez of Call to the Pen wrote, this is not how the current CEO of the Miami Marlins and the man who runs the day-to-day operations of the organization would conduct himself if he were still playing baseball.
Jeter, who conducted himself with dignity while he played on the diamond in a Yankees uniform, sees both sides of the situation, but would have handled it in a different manner had it been him in pinstripes during this pandemic and work stoppage.
Jeter and the Miami Marlins began their path toward the regular season on Wednesday, coming back to both Marlins Park and Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter to get acclimated to baseball once again. And in the process “The Captain” showed he still has that fire inside him that resonates with owners and players, alike.
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"“Yesterday, for the first time since MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred mandated a shortened 60-game season, Jeter spoke and pulled zero punches,” Gomez added."
“What bothered Jeter most, apparently, was how public the disputes were, especially at a time in which millions of Americans don’t know where their next check was coming from.”
I’ve been stating for some time that Jeter was the right person to help the Marlins regroup, reorganize, and rebuilt this broken ballclub. While there have been times where I wondered out loud how long this would take and if the Hall of Famer was in over his head, I see that he values how the organization has dealt with this desperate time with our country and the state if the game.
I know that would not be the case if the older ownership group, led by Jeffrey Loria would still hold court in South Florida.
Now, as the team eases into the simple concepts of preparation, it is Jeter who once again becomes the team’s most recognizable face and the leader of a ballclub that is young, ambitious, and very green. The Marlins may surprise themselves and remain in a pennant race by virtue of a shortened season, but that does not mean Jeter’s troops are ready to become contenders every year from now on.
I don’t know if I agree with Gomez in his assessment of how this could fall apart for Jeter, that he could be seen as a “pariah” – the one who goes against the grain as he watches both MLB and the MLBPA argue over topics that had once been agreed upon.
There is a Catch-22 with all of this and Jeter, who doesn’t usually mince words and has been straight to the point in his discussions about changing the culture of baseball in Miami. Especially now that the MLB season is less than three weeks away from finally getting off the ground.
"“All of our guys want to play,” Jeter said via MLB.com. “Us, as an ownership group, we want the players back on the field. Our players have been working extremely hard to get back on the field. Guys are ready.”"
Everyone is ready. At least the players who will take the field at the end of the month. As long as Jeter continues to champion the cause of playing baseball, not taking sides, he will help mold this team into his image.
That’s not such a bad thing.
The Miami Marlins benefitted from Jeter’s candor. May the other 29 MLB teams could take a lesson from the recent comments Jeter has made. Hopefully. this helps a young ballclub find its way. And hopefully, when there are more discussions about the state of this game, owners will see what Jeter had to say as the gospel, not a message in a bottle out of nowhere.