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Derek Jeter envisions substantial attendance spikes for Marlins, somehow

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The Miami Herald began a five-part series yesterday about the plans and financial projections new Marlins owners Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter have for the team. Or, at the very least, had for the team around the time they purchased it.

Reporter Barry Jackson has obtained an early draft of “Project Wolverine,” the payroll-cutting, revenue-raising white paper Jeter and Sherman circulated to potential investors late last summer and into the fall. It’s the plan, you may recall, that Commissioner Rob Manfred claimed he had no idea about until challenged, at which point he backtracked.

Part of it was already known: Jeter was promising to slash Marlins payroll. The team will obviously suffer as a result, but the payoff for owners and investors would be substantial profits projected over the next few years. Particularly in 2018, when the Marlins will get a check cut to them for between $50 and $65 million as a result of BAMTech’s sale to Disney.

But it’s not just payroll savings and one-time windfalls that Jeter says will drive profits. It’s increased ticket and television revenue. Revenue projections that seem . . . markedly optimistic.

For example, Jackson says the document projects a big spike in attendance revenue in 2018, but it strains credulity that the Marlins attendance or ticket revenue will go up after the team has shipped off all of its star players and sets off on a course seemingly assured of 100 or more losses. Likewise, the document Jackson has — the August version of Project Wolverine — contains an internal projection that Fox will give the Marlins nearly $50 million in up-front payment as part of a renegotiated TV deal. As Jackson notes, “[t]here’s no indication if the Marlins at this point believe that will happen.” At present the Marlins have the worst TV deal in baseball. There’s no suggestion I’m aware of that that’s going to change in the near future.

As Jackson says, the documents has been amended since the version he has was written. As such, perhaps these apparently unrealistic expectations have been purged from the documents now being circulated to potential investors. If they have not been radically changed, however, and if Jeter still thinks the course he has set the team on thus far in his reign will be one characterized by a spike in ticket sales and media companies fighting with one another to pour money into the team’s coffers for broadcast rights, he’s a lot more optimistic than anyone has a right to be.

 

 

Marcus Stroman: Blue Jays are “f– terrible”

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Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman strugged in Sunday afternoon’s start against the Red Sox, yielding four runs (three earned) over five innings. He fell to 2-7 with a 5.86 ERA. The Jays dropped three of four games to the Sox in the series and now sit with a 43-52 record heading into the All-Star break.

Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun reports that while Stroman was initially cool, calm, and collected when speaking to the media after the game, he eventually snapped. Stroman was asked by a reporter about breaking into professional baseball with short-season Single-A Vancouver in 2012. Stroman yelled at the reporter, noting that his team had just lost to the Red Sox, and called his team “f– terrible.” Keegan Matheson’s account of the situation lines up with Buffery’s as well.

Prior to the outburst, Stroman had just praised his teammates, saying, “My team picks me up a ton. They pick me up all year. I should be able to pitch better in times like that when my team doesn’t have my back. Because they’ve had my back a ton of times. So, love my guys on my team and like I said, I would go to war with them any day.”

Stroman will have off until Friday, so hopefully the time off helps him clear his mind. It has understandably been a frustrating season in Toronto.