It would be safe to assume that anyone with even the faintest clue of what has been going on this season in MLB understands that the Marlins have looked like a pile of crap that ate a second pile of crap and then crapped out a third pile of crap. Miami’s roster has only been able to muster a league worst 9-22 record thanks to executive decisions that sent away seemingly any player that had a modicum of talent to avoid paying them.
Somehow, this context escaped team CEO Derek Jeter when he tried to explain his decision to fire the Marlins’ president of business operations, Chip Bowers, who had only been with them for 14 months.
“This has to do with our overall business strategy and accountability,’’ Jeter said. “We felt as though there was a change needed. We have high expectations. Some of those expectations weren’t met.”
Bowers was negotiating deals for television and ballpark naming rights. His dismissal had nothing to do with attendance, Jeter said, but the CEO acknowledged persistent fan apathy is disappointing.
“We’d love to see more people here,’’ said Jeter, whose group bought the team 19 months ago. “We’re working hard on gaining the trust of our fan base.”
It’d normally seem a bit strange for Jeter to believe that things aren’t going to plan business-wise when anyone who’s spent five seconds just looking at a business school could have predicted what the team’s financial future would be with all of the barn-burning executives have done with the roster. But this smooth-brained kind of thinking isn’t new for him. This is the same guy who, after stripping the roster down past the point of where a rebuild would be possible, went on television to aggressively deny the team’s blatant participation in tanking.
If there’s any bit of optimism to gain from this ridiculously unaware comment, it’s the fact that Jeter has now at least acknowledged that there is an attendance problem with his team. In an ESPN puff piece last year, he had the gall to claim that he hadn’t heard any negative narratives about the team from the people in Miami. If it wasn’t clear then that the reason for that was because no one was going to any damn games, it’s at least somewhat clear now. That being said, it’s hard to ignore a perennially empty stadium that averages a league-worst attendance of less than 10,000 a game.
However that potential for optimism is likely to get swept away because Jeter also decided to repeat last year’s idiotic claim that the team shouldn’t be as bad as their record indicates.
“I think everyone knows we’re better than this,” he said. “There shouldn’t be a person in this building that’s happy with how we’ve played.”
An owner putting even the slightest bit of fault on the players for not performing at a Major-League level after management decided to strip away all of the team’s Major-League talent is the kind of thing that tends to alienate fans for most teams. But, in the Marlins’ case, it only further alienates a fan base that has seen its team’s executives burn the roster down beyond recognition, make games utterly unwatchable and gaslight them into thinking it’s all part of some big plan. At best, Jeter has some severe issues with cognitive dissonance; at worst, he thinks his team’s fans are a bunch of morons. Either way, it’s not a mindset that will make Marlins Park any less barren.