Derek Jeter, Bruce Sherman To Purchase Marlins For $1.2B; Jorge Mas Not Involved
Marlins President David Samson on Saturday confirmed that the team has a "signed agreement" to be sold to a group headed by Derek Jeter and former Private Capital Management co-Founder Bruce Sherman for $1.2B, with the deal "projected to close in the first few days of October," according to Barry Jackson of the MIAMI HERALD. Samson said that he has been "assured by the Sherman/Jeter group that they will not be adding" MasTec co-Founder & Chair Jorge Mas to their group. Bloomberg reported on Saturday morning that Mas was "speaking with Sherman and Jeter about joining the group, potentially as majority owner." A source said that Mas was "interested in joining their group and had discussed it with them." However, Jackson noted Mas was "caught off guard" by Friday's report of the sale to Sherman/Jeter. Samson said that Jeter will "run the Marlins' baseball and business operations departments and that Sherman will be the 'control person,' the equivalent of a managing general partner." Samson added that he has "no clarity on whether he will be retained by the new ownership group." A source said that Marlins President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill is "expected to remain with the organization." Jackson noted the sale "will be discussed" during the owners' meeting this week in Chicago, but a vote is "not expected for a few weeks." Samson said that the bid from the Sherman/Jeter group has "about 16 investors," including Michael Jordan (MIAMI HERALD, 8/13). In Ft. Lauderdale, Tim Healey noted Jeter has "long expressed a desire to own a major league team, but that his group is so close to winning is something of an underdog story." He has been "involved with the bidding since the process began, but his ever-shifting group of investors has been hit by key defections," including that of Chicago-based ComPsych Corp. Founder, Chair & CEO Richard Chaifetz last month and Jeb Bush in late May (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 8/12).
THE CAPTAIN UP TO THE TASK? In N.Y., Mike Lupica wrote if the deal goes through, Jeter is putting "more than some of his money on the line." He will "lay down his brand as one of the great winners of his time." Lupica: "We will see if he can make the transition from great player to great executive that only a handful of sports legends have ever successfully made" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/12). Also in N.Y., Larry Brooks noted there "aren't many to have crossed the divide from the field to the owners' suite, and there are even fewer to have made the jump with notable success." Though Jeter "lends marquee power and credibility to the ownership group," it is "not as if the pending Hall of Fame shortstop is regarded in Miami as one of them." When the sale is approved, Jeter will "become the first African-American to run baseball and business operations for a major league team" (N.Y. POST, 8/12). USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale wrote there "finally is hope that the Marlins will be a valuable franchise again, knowing that whatever Jeter has touched, whether it's his Yankee teams, his brands, or even his website, has turned to gold" (USA TODAY, 8/12). ESPN.com's Ian O'Connor wrote Jeter "wins." It is "what he does" (ESPN.com, 8/11).
OUT WITH THE OLD: FANRAG SPORTS' Jon Heyman cited a source as saying that one thing that will "likely go" from Marlins Park once the sale is completed is the "home run sculpture in left-center field that was designed by artist Red Grooms and has been the subject of controversy" (FANRAGSPORTS.com, 8/11). YAHOO SPORTS' Mark Townsend noted the sculpture has been a fixture at Marlins Park since its opening in '12, and it has "also been a very divisive ballpark feature among fans." Some view the sculpture as "out of place and out of touch." Those same people would "probably add the sculpture in many ways symbolizes the entire Jeffrey Loria era as Marlins owner, meaning they would undoubtedly support that connection being removed." But on the other side of the coin, some people see it as a "harmless gimmick that helped differentiate Marlins Park from the other ballparks around the league" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/12).
NO FOND FAREWELL: In Ft. Lauderdale, Dave Hyde wrote it does not matter "what kind of an owner Jeter will be," as he is "just happy Jeffrey Loria is leaving." Fans should "make sure Loria gets on the bus" and "get him out of town." Hyde: "He's toxic. He's embarrassing. He turned off a generation of baseball fans." For the last decade, it has "proved impossible to talk about what the Marlins were doing on the field," because fans "never got beyond discussing what they were doing off the field." Hyde: "Hirings. Firings. Meddlings. Bumblings" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 8/12). In Miami, Greg Cote wrote fans should "mark Aug. 11, 2017, as Independence for Marlins baseball fans -- the day despised, longtime franchise owner Jeffrey Loria reached an agreement to sell the club" (MIAMI HERALD, 8/12). ESPN.com's David Schoenfield wrote under the header, "Good Riddance, Jeffrey Loria." His "ultimate legacy will be that of a lousy and disliked owner." Loria's game plan for years "seemed simple: Keep the payroll as low as possible while cashing a big revenue-sharing check" (ESPN.com, 8/11). ESPN.com's Sam Miller wrote Loria's "sins and bungles run the gamut." He was "once compelled to hike the Marlins' payroll after union complaints that he was pocketing revenue checks instead of investing them in the club's roster." He also "convinced Miami-Dade County commissioners to fund the bulk of his new ballpark costs, then gutted his major league roster after the first season there" (ESPN.com, 8/11). In Montreal, Jack Todd writes Loria "left a trail of devastation through the game of baseball, finishing off one franchise (the late, great Expos) and miring the entire community of Miami in debt to prop up another team" (MONTREAL GAZETTE, 8/14). SI.com's Jack Dickey wrote while Loria may "deserve the blame for a great deal of the Marlins' irrelevance and dysfunction, some of it may simply be inherent to the South Florida baseball experience or the franchise itself" (SI.com, 8/12).
IT'S A NEW DAY: A MIAMI HERALD editorial stated it is a "new day" for the Marlins. This is an "opportunity for South Florida fans to forgive and embrace." New ownership needs to help fans "fall in love with the Marlins again." They need to "make the team feel like its part of the community" and they need to "help heal the wounds between fans and the team" (MIAMIHERALD.com, 8/12).