Posted on September 27, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
The long-awaited sale of the Miami Marlins to the investment group led by venture capitalist Bruce Sherman and Yankees legend Derek Jeter is all but official. MLB owners voted unanimously on Wednesday approving the sale of the Marlins. Only 75% approval was necessary to allow Jeffrey Loria to sell the team to the Sherman-Jeter group. The official closing of the sale is expected to take place next week.
Loria bought the Marlins in 2002 for $158.5 million. He soon oversaw a World Series title in 2003. However, the club is yet to return to the postseason since then. The Marlins have become one of the worst franchises in baseball with regard to both winning and attendance. Of course, Loria also oversaw the building of a new ballpark that allowed the Marlins to host the MLB All-Star Game earlier this year.
“Owning the Miami Marlins has been one of the singular honors of my life,” Loria said in a statement. “I want to thank our players, coaches, and employees for the incredible dedication they brought to this pursuit. I also extend my heartfelt thanks to our loyal fans for your passion and commitment to what we built together.
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“Owning a sports team, like most things in life, is temporary. An owner is merely the steward of a franchise, shepherding the advancement of this public trust during his or her tenure. I’m very proud of our collective achievements during the past 15 years.”
Loria agreed to sell the Marlins to the Sherman-Jeter group for a price of $1.2 billion. He appears to be a supporter of the new owners, calling Sherman and Jeter “true baseball people, as well as true gentlemen.”
“I have every confidence in their ability as the next stewards of the Miami Marlins to take us to new heights,” said Loria. “Although my ownership is in the past, my love of baseball is not. As an avid fan, I’ll be eagerly watching from the sidelines.”
The ownership transition has already started. Last week, several executives were told that they would not be staying on with the new ownership group. That list includes Jeff Conine, Hall of Famers Andre Dawson and Tony Perez, and former manager Jack McKeon. Team president David Samson is also likely to leave the team.
“I wish the best to Jeffrey Loria and David Samson,” said MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred. “During their tenures, the Marlins won the 2003 World Series, hosted this season’s successful All-Star Week at spectacular Marlins Park and eagerly supported our efforts to grow the game internationally.
“I congratulate Mr. Sherman on receiving approval from the Major League Clubs as the new control person of the Marlins and look forward to Mr. Jeter’s ownership and CEO role following his extraordinary career as a player.”
Since his retirement as a player at the end of the 2014 season, Jeter has been outspoken in his interest in becoming an owner. Both Loria and Manfred appeared in favor of Jeter during the selling process. However, it was Sherman’s involvement and $400 million investment allowed Jeter and company to secure the sale of the team.
Moving forward, Sherman will be the point person for the Marlins. However, it’s likely that Jeter will be heavily involved in baseball decisions. What that means for Miami’s payroll and commitment to winning remains to be seen. But it will no doubt be interesting to watch the Marlins operate in the months and years to come now that the club is under new ownership.