Former New York Yankees captain and current Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter seems adamant about one thing: Miami is not tanking.
Problem is, from the moves the Marlins made during Jeter’s first offseason with the team, it sure looks like tanking is exactly what they’re doing.
The Marlins traded seemingly every single one of their best players, including Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon. In total, those players were set to earn more than $50 million this year.
Miami is short on major-league talent, and it shows. At 5-15, they have the second-worst record in the National League, and it’s incredibly unlikely that things will get much better.
Still, though, Jeter is dead set on insisting that the Marlins are serious about contending right now, and are not, in fact, tanking.
He’s serious enough that he didn’t even hesitate to call a sports host “mentally weak” for suggesting otherwise.
Jeter recently gave an interview to Bryan Gumbel of HBO’s “Real Sports,” and though the interview isn’t set to air until Tuesday, a transcript of one particular exchange suggests Jeter might be feeling the pressure of his new gig.
“If you were tanking, would you tell me?” Gumbel asked, according to the transcript, which was obtained by the Miami Herald‘s Barry Jackson.
Jeter responded by saying he was unsure of what tanking even is, prompting Gumbel to explain that tanking is “not trying your hardest to win ball games in — every day.”
“We’re trying to win ball games every day,” Jeter insisted, only for Gumbel to note that trading away your best players isn’t exactly the soundest strategy if you’re actually trying to win.
The two men continued to go back and forth, with Jeter indicating that his team always takes the field hoping to win, while Gumbel countered that Jeter can’t realistically expect the Marlins to be a competitive ball club.
Then, things started to get even more interesting.
Per the Herald:
DEREK JETER: “Now, you can think — now– now, I can’t tell you how you think. Like, I see your mind. I see that’s how you think. I don’t think like that. That’s your mind working like that.”
BRYANT GUMBEL: “No, I get that. But I guess not in so many words–”
DEREK JETER: “But you don’t. But you don’t get it.”Advertisement - story continues below
BRYANT GUMBEL: “I do.”
DEREK JETER: “You don’t. We have two different mi– I can’t wait to get you on the golf course, man. We got– I mean, I can’t wait for this one.”
BRYANT GUMBEL: “No, I mean–”
DEREK JETER: “You’re mentally weak.”
So Gumbel challenged Jeter’s strategy in regard to running the Marlins, and Jeter decided to call the host “mentally weak?” That certainly seems like a bold statement, to say the least.
According to Jackson’s transcript, Jeter kept trying to emphasize the fact that the Marlins aren’t taking. “If I don’t believe with the — in the players that we have on the field, who’s going to believe in them?” he asked.
Gumbel, though, pointed out that by saying that, Jeter is coming across as somewhat “delusional.”
“Well, call me delusional,” Jeter responded.
You can’t blame Jeter for wanting to win, but the way he’s going about it seems questionable at best.
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