Marlins’ dubious ex-owner slams Derek Jeter’s ‘horrible’ changes in Miami

Derek Jeter addresses a press conference as CEO of the Miami Marlins.

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Jeffrey Loria, the former owner of the Marlins, doesn’t approve of the actions of Derek Jeter as both a part owner and CEO of the teams. Within the pages of his latest book, “From the Front Row: Musings of a Major League Baseball Owner and Contemporary Art Aficionado,” Loria delves into the era of Derek Jeter’s Miami stewardship spanning 2017 to 2022, marked by substantial transformations that, regrettably, failed to yield the triumph he had envisioned.

In an interview with Miami Herald, he termed the Yankees legend a failed businessman and claimed that he damaged the Marlins’ ballpark with his wrong decisions.

“(Jeter) was a magnificent player, and he should have asked for some advice or not been so hasty,” Loria told. “Playing shortstop doesn’t translate to success in a business environment. You have to learn, you have to ask questions.”

“Jeter came in and destroyed the ballpark,” Loria explained, per the Miami Herlad. “Destroy public art was a horrible thing to do.”

According to him, there was an intention for a reset. However, the execution of trading Christian Yelich was handled poorly by Derek Jeter, lacking the acquisition of a notable player with major league caliber in return. There were departures of key figures such as Jim Cuthbert, who had suggested Derek Jeter to trade Marcell Ozuna/Sandy Alcantara, and many other scouts.

He described that Derek Jeter appeared to believe in the correctness of his actions, highlighting the dedication he displayed in his efforts. Nonetheless, he emphasized the necessity of having prior experience before taking on executive responsibilities. Loria further noted that a significant number of the decisions they made did not yield favorable outcomes.

Derek Jeter’s Miami experiment

Yankees' great Derek Jeter with a Miami fan.

In 2017, Derek Jeter and a group led by Bruce Sherman acquired ownership of the Marlins from Loria, making a payment of $1.2 billion. The former Yankees shortstop concluded his tenure as CEO in February 2022, having served for four seasons. This period yielded a combined record of 218-327 and included a single playoff appearance. At that point, he expressed that the experience didn’t align with his initial expectations.

During his leadership, the five-time World Series champion supervised the trade involving star player Yelich in exchange for four prospects. Derek Jeter also made the decision to terminate special assistants Andre Dawson and Tony Perez, and oversaw the removal of the home run sculpture from the ballpark. Loria expressed strong disapproval for all these changes, particularly the transformation of the team’s home environment.

While promoting his new book, Loria commented that Derek Jeter had entered the scene and caused significant damage to the ballpark. He went on to express his belief that the removal of public art, a decision attributed to Jeter, was a highly regrettable action.

He mentioned his meticulous attention to the color scheme incorporated into the building, which, according to him, was altered unnecessarily. He expressed his disagreement with the changes made by Derek Jeter, particularly highlighting the removal of features such as the fish tanks behind home plate, initially intended for the enjoyment of children. In his view, these alterations were unwarranted and appeared nonsensical.

Loria’s remarks carry irony when considering his tenure as an owner. A point to recall from ESPN:

At one point, he faced pressure to increase the Marlins’ payroll due to union grievances, suggesting that he had been retaining revenue rather than directing it toward enhancing the team’s roster. He successfully persuaded Miami-Dade County commissioners to cover the majority of the expenses for the new ballpark, only to significantly deplete the major league roster following the inaugural season at the stadium. He displayed an exceptional level of confidence by appointing his general manager as the manager – an uncommon demonstration of faith – but subsequently dismissed him just five months later when this approach didn’t yield the desired results. Furthermore, he made the decision to terminate Joe Girardi shortly before Girardi was later named Manager of the Year.

He allowed his payroll to plummet to as low as $20 million, a stark contrast to the league’s median payroll of $80 million. And, worth noting, he achieved only a single playoff appearance (a World Series) during his 15-year ownership.

Meanwhile, Derek Jeter is set to mark his debut in the Old Timers’ event on September 9.

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