MLB Owners To Look At Marlins Bid; Should Jeter/Sherman Look To Copy Lemieux/Burkle?
MLB owners today begin a two-day quarterly owners’ meeting in Chicago and will conduct an initial review of the proposed Marlins sale from Jeffrey Loria to a group led by Derek Jeter and businessman Bruce Sherman leading the agenda. Owners will not take a formal vote on the $1.2B deal, with that step anticipated next month in advance of a targeted early October closing. But there is expected to be significant discussion on the transaction, particularly among the league’s ownership committee (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer).
I NEED A HERO: In N.Y., Tyler Kepner writes the sports world’s "default stance on the prospect of Jeter heading the baseball operations of the Marlins" is to say "all he does is win." Based on Jeter's on-field track record, the "reasoning among optimists goes, success surely will follow." A 43-year-old Jeter could "conceivably run the Marlins for decades -- and as a biracial executive with a high-profile, authoritative presence in the game, he would immediately represent at least a symbolic victory" for MLB in its "struggle for front-office diversity." Former NL President Leonard Coleman Jr. said of Jeter, "I’m very pleased. When Jackie Robinson made his last speech in 1972, he talked about just this: minorities moving into front offices and team ownership. This is great, and certainly extends Jackie’s legacy." Kepner notes Jeter and Sherman will "likely be embraced by the Marlins' fans, many of whom have been deeply disillusioned by Loria and the team’s original owner, Wayne Huizenga, who dismantled championship teams." But good will "only goes so far." TBS MLB analyst Gary Sheffield said, "I don’t care who you bring as owner, Derek Jeter’s not going to put one more seat in the stands because he’s not playing." Kepner notes the Marlins "face other big hurdles before Jeter signs a single player," including an estimated $400M debt, the possibility the league will reduce its revenue sharing (now about $50M) and the lack of a good RSN deal. Former MLB Rangers CEO Chuck Greenberg, who is now seeking to own the Hurricanes, said that Jeter should "study the example" of Penguins co-Owner Mario Lemieux. Greenberg: "He partnered with a terrific businessman in Ron Burkle, and together they worked in an exemplary fashion. They hired great people, they relied on those people and they’ve got three Stanley Cups" (NYTIMES.com, 8/16).
FOOL'S ERRAND? In DC, Thom Loverro wrote under the header, "Even Jeter Can't Rescue Dismal State Of Baseball In Florida." Jeter and Sherman would be acquiring a team that "loses money and that no one in South Florida particularly cares about." But then again, there are "only 30 such positions available," so if a person or group wants to get an MLB club, "you pay the freight, even for a dog of a franchise like the Marlins" (WASHINGTONTIMES.com, 8/15).