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Jeter talks challenges ahead, new rules, more

@JoeFrisaro
June 30, 2020

MIAMI – Playing baseball during a pandemic presents its share of challenges, and Marlins chief executive officer Derek Jeter on Tuesday night addressed how the organization is preparing to get back on the field. As the featured guest on “The Line Drive with Kyle Sielaff” on the Marlins’ YouTube Channel,

MIAMI – Playing baseball during a pandemic presents its share of challenges, and Marlins chief executive officer Derek Jeter on Tuesday night addressed how the organization is preparing to get back on the field.

As the featured guest on “The Line Drive with Kyle Sielaff” on the Marlins’ YouTube Channel, Jeter discussed a wide range of topics, including the coronavirus pandemic and racial inequality, with Sielaff and Marlins radio play-by-play announcer Glenn Geffner.

The Marlins open Summer Camp on Wednesday, and the first workouts are scheduled for Friday.

Here are the highlights of Jeter’s interview:

Dealing with the coronavirus

“It’s not just a challenge for this organization,” Jeter said. “It’s not just a challenge for this industry. It’s a challenge for everyone in the country, and across the world. We recognized early on that this was spreading, so we took the initiative to shut down our complex in Jupiter towards the middle/end of Spring Training. It started spreading pretty rapidly.”

The Marlins will conduct camp at Marlins Park and at the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla.

“All of our guys want to play,” Jeter said. “Us, as an ownership group, we want the players back on the field. Our players have been working extremely hard to get back on the field. Guys are ready.”

Pushing for racial equality

“I’ve been really proud of our organization,” Jeter said. “I’ve been proud of the fact that our players are using their platforms to bring attention to the issue.”

During the MLB Draft telecast, Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill joined executives from all 30 MLB teams, holding up a sign that read: “Black Lives Matter, United for Change.”

“I got our front-office staff, I got our players all together on different video conferences, and we talked about equality. We talked about social justice," Jeter said. "We had players sharing stories of when they came up through the Minor Leagues, and at the Major Leagues.”

Jeter said the Marlins were already planning to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues, and the organization was going to have its first African-American Heritage night.

“We will do it in the abbreviated season this year,” Jeter said. “We’re going to pick a date and make sure we follow through with that.”

Restoring public trust after MLB and MLB Players Association negotiations

“It was disappointing,” Jeter said. "It was embarrassing at times, the back-and-forth. Hopefully, it will change moving forward. It was pretty sad to see the back-and-forth being played out publicly at a time like now. You have so many people filing for unemployment throughout the country.”

Developing prospects without a Minor League season

“We’re going to also look at what we can do in the fall, and how we can get guys in -- late fall or maybe early before Spring Training starts to continue their development,” Jeter said. “We’ve been in constant communication with our guys, through our trainers, through our strength coaches, through our managers, our coaches. We’re making sure they continue to take care of themselves.

“There’s no way you can replicate, Major and Minor League seasons. You have to get out there and you have to play. We are hopeful we will be able to figure out ways that our guys can get the experience they need to continue to develop.”

Designated hitter/extra-innings rule

“I’m coming from the American League, so I like the DH,” Jeter said. “Even extra innings. On my behalf, as a player, I hated extra innings."

In extra innings, each half inning, a team will start with a runner on second base.

"The fans want to see a little more excitement in the sport," Jeter said. "I think, this is a year, especially, to try some new things out.”

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.