Saturday, March 27, 2010

Can Derek Jeter really be a good Boss?

Derek Jeter's ultimate ambition once he decides to hang up his pinstripes: be a sports team owner. It's a challenging goal he has set for himself, one that I have no doubt he will achieve. After all, this is the guy who as an 8-year-old kid walked into his parents' bedroom and told them he was going play for the New York Yankees.

But can Jeter be a good owner? He has a lot going for him, including the money and smarts to acquire and run a team. But he also has the advantage of having played for and been captain of one of the world's biggest sports franchises. There's not a lot in the sports world that Jeter hasn't seen or been a part of, either directly or indirectly. Plus, that determination that has made Jeter so successful in his baseball career should serve him well as an owner. If Jeter's going to be an owner, he's going to do everything he can to be a winning owner, much like he does on the baseball field.

I don't think he will let sentimentality get in the way of his decision making after he retires and has to be the owner taking into account factors like revenues, attendance and performance projections. But some decisions will be harder for him than others. Jeter, for example, has clearly been affected by the loss of Hideki Matsui and has spoken of him several times, including as recently as a few weeks ago. If Jeter had been owner of the Yankees at the time, would he have allowed Brian Cashman to so easily discard such a clutch player and a good friend? Doesn't seem likely.

Now, Jeter will never be quite like the Big Boss George Steinbrenner. He spent more time with Steinbrenner than most players so I'm sure he picked up a few things. But he will never be as controversial or outspoken as the Boss, even when it suits his interest. It's just not in Jeter's nature. Unlike Alex Rodriguez, Jeter has managed to avoid becoming involved in any major scandal despite his high profile. How he has done it in the biggest media market in the world remains a mystery to me, but it's one of the key reasons for his tremendous success.

Interestingly, Jeter didn't specify that he wants to be a baseball owner. You can assume that's the case, but you never know. Let's hope it’s the Yankees or at least one of their minor-league teams. Wouldn't that be something!

Thanks to Googie man via en.Wikipedia for the photo.

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