Derek Jeter: Yankees owner

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jeter.jpgKevin Kernan thinks that Derek Jeter’s future is in ownership:

The Yankees need to find a way to make Derek Jeter a Yankee for Life.
There’s really only one way. At some point the Steinbrenner family
would have to take him into the ownership group . . . Jeter is set on being an owner when his playing days are done.
Without specifically talking about the Yankees, Jeter told The Post
yesterday that being an owner is “definitely a goal of mine.”

First thought: why do the the Yankees need to find a way to make Jeter a Yankee for life? He’s important, sure, but I think the Yankees are more important to him than he is to them. The team has done just fine without making Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, or Reggie Jackson an owners, so I tend to think they’ll survive just fine if they were to hold the line at “special assistant to the general manager” or “spring training instructor” when it comes to Derek Jeter’s future role with the team.

But let’s say all parties are interested in Derek Jeter being an owner. How would that work?

There was a time not too long ago when the Yankees’ ownership club wasn’t the most exclusive in the world. George Steinbrenner was only one of many notables in the original ownership group that purchased the Yankees from CBS in 1973. Included were guys like financier Lester Crown (who still holds a stake), Football legend Lamar Hunt’s brother Nelson, and John DeLorean of all people.  There were a lot of smaller investors from here in Columbus, Ohio, one of whom was a nice old lady who used to be a client of mine. She had Yankee stuff all over her house and used to joke with people that she was going to fire Joe Torre whenever the Yankees beat the Indians as, business aside, they were her true rooting interest.

In recent years the Steinbrenners have either bought out the minority owners or had their shares revert to their control upon death or what have you.  But that doesn’t mean that they can’t let someone like Derek Jeter into the club.  It would just take a (likely token) capital investment and some paperwork.

But it wouldn’t be meaningful ownership. According to Forbes, the Yankees are worth $1.5 billion, and at that price it would cost Jeter way more than he can afford* in order to get a significant stake for himself. And of course, the majority shareholders — the Steinbrenners — are hands-on owners to say the least, so there’s no way they would ever give a minority shareholder real ownership responsibility the way the Giants do, for example.

So if Jeter simply wants to say that he owns a chunk of the Yankees I’m sure that can be arranged. If he really wants to act like an owner some day, however, he’d do better to put together a group of investors himself and buy the Royals or something.

*Kernan mentions Michael Jordan’s recent ascension to owner of the Charlotte Bobcats as an example that Jeter could follow. Worth noting, of course, that the Bobcats are worth less than 1/5 of what the Yankees are worth, and that Michael Jordan has probably made a billion dollars since he left UNC.  Jeter, in contrast, makes something less than $30 million a year in salary and endorsements. Not too shabby, but not the kind of dough you’d need to be able to so much as make decisions regarding office supplies for Yankees headquarters.

Billy Williams, Bill Murray and . . . Fall Out Boy!

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 08:  Former players Ferguson Jenkins (L) and Billy Williams of the Chicago Cubs throw out ceremonial first pitches before the Opening Day game against the Milwaukee Brewers during the Opening Day game at Wrigley Field on April 8, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Major League Baseball has announced the on-field ceremonial stuff for tonight’s Game 3 of the World Series. There are a couple of good things here! And one bit of evidence that, at some point when he was still commissioner, Bud Selig sold his mortal soul to a pop punk band and now the league can’t do a thing about it.

The ceremonial first pitch choice is fantastic: it’s Billy Williams, the Hall of Famer and six-time All-Star who starred for the Cubs from 1959 through 1974. Glad to see Williams here. I know he’s beloved in Chicago, but he has always seemed to be one of the more overlooked Hall of Famers of the 1960s-70s. I’m guessing not being in the World Series all that time has a lot to do with that, so it’s all the more appropriate that he’s getting the spotlight tonight. Here’s hoping Fox makes a big deal out of it and replays it after the game starts.

“Take me out to the ballgame” will be sung by the guy who, I assume, holds the title of Cubs First Fan, Bill Murray. It’ll be wacky, I’m sure.

The National Anthem will be sung by Chicago native Patrick Stump. Who, many of you may know, is the lead singer for Fall Out Boy. This continues Major League Baseball’s strangely strong association with Fall Out Boy over the years. They, or some subset of them, seem to perform at every MLB jewel event. They have featured in MLB’s Opening Day musical montages. They played at the All-Star Game this summer. Twice. And, of course, they are the creative minds behind “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark,” (a/k/a “light ’em MUPMUPMUPMUP“) which Major League Baseball and Fox used as incessant playoff bumper music several years ago. I don’t ask for much in life, but one thing I do want is someone to love me as much as Major League Baseball loves Fall Out Boy. We all do, really.

Wayne Messmer, the former public address announcer for the Cubs and a regular performer of the National Anthem at Wrigley Field will sing “God Bless America.”

Between that and Bill Murray, I think we’ve found out the Cubs strategy for dealing with Andrew Miller: icing him if he tries to straddle the 6th and 7th innings.

Imagining a daytime World Series game at Wrigley Field

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 27:  A overall shot of the scoreboard showing the postponement of the game in Baltimore because of riots before the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 27, 2015 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
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Night baseball first came to the World Series in 1971, when the Pirates played the Orioles in Game 4. The last World Series game played under natural light came in 1984, when the Tigers played the Padres in Detroit in Game 5 of that year’s Fall Classic. The last World Series game played during daytime hours was Game 6 of the 1987 World Series, but that came in Minneapolis, in the Metrodome, so it was still played under artificial light. All games since then have been played in the evening hours.

Ever since, there have been periodic calls for the World Series to include day games. These appeals are often grounded in tradition and nostalgia for bright sunshine making way for long shadows. For memories of sneaking transistor radios into classrooms. For the symbolism of the sun setting on both the day at hand and the baseball season as a whole.

It’s an appealing idea. Baseball in the daytime is a wonderful, wonderful thing. And while day baseball may be occasionally miserable for fans and players in the heat of August, October afternoons are often the loveliest weather there is. There is nothing better than fall sunshine. A baseball game in that fall sunshine seems like the closest one can get to heaven on Earth.

Unfortunately, it’s a wholly unrealistic idea in this day and age. Far fewer people would actually get to watch the World Series if it were played during the day. We complain about late games lasting into the wee hours, preventing kids from watching, but how many kids are going to be able to watch a World Series game when they’re in school? Or at after school extracurricular activities? And how many people can ditch work to watch a baseball game? Some say to put one of the day games on the weekend, but that clashes with other activities and, of course, with football, which is going to win the battle for the remote in more households than baseball would.

Yes, the networks and Major League Baseball are in it for the money and the TV ratings, but the fact is that the money and the ratings are a function of more people watching baseball games in the evening, kids and grownups alike. It’s pretty straightforward, actually. More people watching baseball is better for the people and for baseball, full stop, aesthetics and commercial motivations notwithstanding. For this reason the World Series will almost certainly be played at night for the foreseeable future. And it should be.

Still . . . it’s Wrigley Field, the last bastion of day-only baseball for decades. A place where, even if they now play most games at night, still features more day baseball than anyplace else. And it’s a sunny Friday afternoon on which the temperatures will creep into the 60s. I know it would never happen and certainly won’t happen today, but the idea of an afternoon World Series game in Wrigley Field makes even a hard-headed, bottom-line-appreciating anti-nostalgist like me sorta wish today was a day game. If I close my eyes I can imagine it. I can feel the warm breeze and smell the fall afternoon air. I’m sure many of you can too.

And even if you can’t, can we agree that maybe today should be a day game simply for public health purposes? I mean, get a load of this:

These people will have been drinking for at least 11 hours come game time. Many of them for much longer. You’re probably looking at some dead men walking, here. For the sake of their livers and personal safety, this game should start at 1pm, dang it. If even that is early enough to save them.