Derek Jeter held a Marlins Town Hall. It didn’t go well.

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The Miami Marlins were recently purchased via leveraged buyout, basically, and the money that once went to pay the salaries of popular superstars like Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna will now go directly into the pocket of the new bosses. It will not, however, make them better at baseball any time soon, . This is not making fans happy.

To deal with this, the most visible of the new owners — Derek Jeter, who is paying himself $5 million a year to do a job for which he has no experience whatsoever — decided to meet Marlins season ticket holders in a town hall-style setup last night in an effort to make it all better.

He did not make it all better.

At the outset, it’s worth noting that the Marlins did not allow news cameras into the event. The ostensible reason: they didn’t want fans to be uncomfortable. That’s laughable, of course. It was because they didn’t want video of Derek Jeter getting yelled at or fumbling for nonsensical answers to questions for which he had no reasonable response.

Cameras or no cameras, Jeter had a hard go of it. From one report:

Jeter calmly answered questions for 90 minutes. Asked if the team got enough in return for Stanton, he pointed out that they got $265 million of relief that will give them the flexibility to do what they want to do.

“We gave a gift, right?” Jeter said. “I hope every gift I give returns $265 million.”

Nothing makes baseball fans happier than payroll relief.

Another fan — a woman who was in tears, by the way — asked Jeter why he didn’t add pitching and keep the top offensive players the Marlins had. Jeter asked her in return what pitchers he could have signed. Fans love defeatism and condescension too.

But hey, he’s Derek Jeter. He may not have experience with the business aspects of running a baseball team and he may have no idea what he’s doing when it comes to player evaluation and roster construction, but he does have that Derek Jeter magic. He does know how to give that personal touch to make people feel like their voices are being heard:

When one fan told Jeter that she emailed her complaints to him, he recoiled in alarm.

“You don’t have my email address,” he said.

Keep up the good work, Captain. You’re doing a hell of a job so far.

 

Biden praises Braves’ ‘unstoppable, joyful run’ to 2021 win

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said the Atlanta Braves will be “forever known as the upset kings of October” for their improbable 2021 World Series win, as he welcomed the team to the White House for a victory celebration.

Biden called the Braves’ drive an “unstoppable, joyful run.” The team got its White House visit in with just over a week left before the 2022 regular season wraps up and the Major League Baseball playoffs begin again. The Braves trail the New York Mets by 1.5 games in the National League East but have clinched a wildcard spot for the MLB playoffs that begin Oct. 7. Chief Executive Officer Terry McGuirk said he hoped they’d be back to the White House again soon.

In August 2021, the Braves were a mess, playing barely at .500. But then they started winning. And they kept it up, taking the World Series in six games over the Houston Astros.

Biden called their performance of “history’s greatest turnarounds.”

“This team has literally been part of American history for over 150 years,” said Biden. “But none of it came easy … people counting you out. Heck, I know something about being counted out.”

Players lined up on risers behind Biden, grinning and waving to the crowd, but the player most discussed was one who hasn’t been on the team in nearly 50 years and who died last year: Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.

Hammerin’ Hank was the home run king for 33 years, dethroning Babe Ruth with a shot to left field on April 8, 1974. He was one of the most famous players for Atlanta and in baseball history, a clear-eyed chronicler of the hardships thrown his way – from the poverty and segregation of his Alabama youth to the racist threats he faced during his pursuit of one of America’s most hallowed records. He died in January at 86.

“This is team is defined by the courage of Hank Aaron,” Biden said.

McGuirk said Aaron, who held front office positions with the team and was one of Major League Baseball’s few Black executives, was watching over them.

“He’d have been there every step of the way with us if he was here,” McGuirk added.

The president often honors major league and some college sports champions with a White House ceremony, typically a nonpartisan affair in which the commander in chief pays tribute to the champs’ prowess, poses for photos and comes away with a team jersey.

Those visits were highly charged in the previous administration. Many athletes took issue with President Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric on policing, immigration and more. Trump, for his part, didn’t take kindly to criticism from athletes or their on-field expressions of political opinions.

Under Biden, the tradition appears to be back. He’s hosted the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks and Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the White House. On Monday he joked about first lady Jill Biden’s Philadelphia allegiances.

“Like every Philly fan, she’s convinced she knows more about everything in sports than anybody else,” he said. He added that he couldn’t be too nice to the Atlanta team because it had just beaten the Phillies the previous night in extra innings.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was later questioned about the team’s name, particularly as other professional sports teams have moved away from names – like the Cleveland Indians, now the Guardians, and the Washington Redskins, now the Commanders – following years of complaints from Native American groups over the images and symbols.

She said it was important for the country to have the conversation. “And Native American and Indigenous voices – they should be at the center of this conversation,” she said.

Biden supported MLB’s decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to protest Georgia’s sweeping new voting law, which critics contend is too restrictive.