Derek Jeter’s time as a part-owner and CEO of the Miami Marlins has been shaky, to say the least. It’s led to such headlines as this All-Star Break gem from the New York Post.
It hasn’t been a fun ride for Jeter as he’s been dinged for everything from trades to fan interactions to pretending the team is based in the British Virgin Islands for legal reasons (still hilarious). But a new piece from ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick posits that Jeter is still settling in and he could be turning a corner now that he has most of a major league season under his belt in his new role in the front office.
One of the impressive focal points of the piece, and something that is very hard to criticize, is new educational programs being implemented by the team under the management of Education Coordinator Emily Glass, who is as new as Jeter to the organization.
Glass’ improvements, in addition to a learning lab in the Dominican Republic and making sure minor leaguers have things like air conditioning in their housing, include educational initiatives that teach foreign languages, financial planning, budgeting, and cooking. Glass told Crasnick of the programs,
“It’s for all the 18- or 19-year-olds who have never been away from home. Anything our players need and don’t know, we’re going to teach them.’’
While programs like this should be implemented for all athletes (or humans) at this age, whether still in college or already a pro athlete, this is a promising development for a major league team that hasn’t always been at the top of the list when it comes to receptiveness and internal improvements. Programs like this will help set players up for the rest of their life whether they stay in the Marlins organization or not, a foundation young athletes who leave home early absolutely need more of throughout all sports.
Jeter will be taking the language lessons as well, and Crasnick’s piece reports that he is making other members of the front office join him. Jeter says of making sure learning a new’ language isn’t a responsibility only placed on Spanish-speaking players.
“I’ve been to the Dominican and Venezuela. I went to Cuba with Major League Baseball in 2016. So I’ve been to those countries and tried to learn as much as I could about their cultures. Everybody expects the Latin players to make an effort to speak English. Well, especially here in Miami, if you don’t speak Spanish, you don’t fit in. I think it’s important.’’
Although it’s great Jeter is taking the lessons now it is amazing that he apparently never took the time to completely or even partially learn a language that his teammates of multiple decades like Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera spoke fluently. But he’s making the effort, and making sure it’s a priority throughout the entire organization.
Combine that prioritization with the financial planning, cooking, and attentiveness to minor league living conditions and this is a huge step compared to how we are used to the Marlins being run. Maybe The Captain really can steer this ship after all.