We’ve heard rumblings about this for years, but on Sunday Derek Jeter reiterated his desire to own and/or run a baseball team someday. Via the New York Post:
“That’s the next goal, buddy . . . Calling the shots, not answering to someone, that’s what interests me. I’d like to think I would be good one . . . I’d probably be a little bit more behind the scenes than the Boss,” he said. “But I learned a lot of things from the Boss.”
It would have to be hands off because any ownership interest Jeter could get in any team would likely be a pretty small minority interest. I mean, yes, by baseball player standards Jeter is rich, but by baseball owner standards he’s not. One of the worst-run franchises in all of professional sports, subject to a somewhat disadvantageous arena deal, is selling for over $2 billion. Jeter’s entire net worth is likely ten percent of that. Tops. At best he could head up an investment group to buy a baseball team, but barring a decidedly disinterested group of investors, he’d likely have less actual power than anyone in it. At the very least he’d answer to them.
How about some role with the Yankees? If it’s an ownership interest, well, good luck having any power at all. Over the past 40 years the Steinbenner family has taken increasing control of the team, buying out the original group of investors who went in with old George back in 1973 when he held only 51% of the team. There are still a handful of those people around, but their share in the team is shockingly small. They get tickets and swag and meet-and-greets out of it in addition to any profits the Steinbrenners choose to distribute (they may choose not to) but they certainly have no say anything. Maybe the Steinbrenners float Jeter a piece like that as a goodwill gesture, but that sure as heck ain’t ownership.
I feel like the best Jeter could do if he really were to call the shop would be to get into baseball operations. Maybe an apprenticeship deal where he learns the ropes he does not yet know — and really, he may know more than we know; we don’t know that much about Jeter as a person — and eventually turn into a GM or team president type. Over years he gains some power and maybe a bit of equity in a team like Billy Beane has. I feel like that’d be a much better deal and a much more substantive position than being a figurehead for some billionaires.