Boss Jeter? 'I would love to own a team'
NEW YORK -- Derek Jeter lashed a game-winning single to say goodbye to Yankee Stadium, then waved his batting helmet to acknowledge career hit No. 3,465 three days later at Fenway Park, descending the dugout steps and entering his post-baseball life.
It was an eventful week for the former Yankees captain, who is wasting no time getting started on the next chapters. Jeter has a handful of business pursuits on tap, including the announcement of his Players Tribune website, but the long-term goal is to call the shots for a big league franchise.
"I would love to be part of an ownership group," Jeter said. "I would love to own a team. I would not want to manage, coach, anything like that. The travel schedule is very, very difficult, and I've been doing it for a long time. And so I would like to get away from that a little bit and hopefully be in a position one day where I can make all of the decisions."
Jeter has spoken openly about that desire for years, believing that his management model would incorporate some -- but not all -- of his experiences playing under late owner George M. Steinbrenner. Jeter has gained an enthusiastic supporter in Commissioner Bud Selig.
"He'd be fabulous," Selig said. "Anything I can do to help him, I will do. I think that much of him. He's thoughtful, understands the sport. It would be a great thing in every way."
Now that his final at-bats are in the books, Jeter has plenty on his plate: in addition to launching the Players Tribune, he will continue to be active with his Turn 2 Foundation, create content with the Jeter Publishing imprint and is working with Luvo, a healthy food company.
"He's going to be a great success in whatever he decides to do. He's a leader," Yankees president Randy Levine said. "I think he was very close to the Boss, I think he learned a lot from the Boss. Different personalities, but Derek Jeter is going to be successful in anything he chooses to do."
Michael Jordan, a close friend whom Jeter called the "older brother I never had," is on speed dial with one possible blueprint. Jordan took control as the majority owner of the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats in 2010 for an estimated $275 million.
"I've heard him talk about possibly owning a team," Jordan said. "I think he has a clean slate at his own disposal. He has a great reputation; financially, he's put himself in a good position. His knowledge of the game is strong. He's going to sit down with his family and pick his next step. I promise you, he's going to give it the same type of effort as he did for the game of baseball. I wish him the best."
Jeter earned $265 million in salary over the course of his career, plus more in endorsements and other ventures, but it is unlikely that Jeter could purchase a Major League team on his own. In 2012, Guggenheim Partners and Magic Johnson made a reported $2.175 billion bid for the Dodgers, which prompted speculation that the Yankees might be worth much more than that.
"I know he's a good businessman on the field," Orioles outfielder Adam Jones said. "I don't know him on that level, but ... he's got that much money? Whoa, that much money."
The Yankees have several minority partners, but they do not exert influence in day-to-day decisions, something that Jeter craves. Managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner has repeatedly said that the team is not for sale.
Jeter plans to keep his permanent home in Tampa, Fla. Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg has acknowledged buzz that Jeter might try to get involved with the club.
"I have heard that," Sternberg told the Tampa Bay Times in September. "But I haven't heard anything other than just people saying, 'I hear he might be one of your partners.'"
Asked if he has given any thought to an opportunity with the Rays, Jeter replied, "You're trying to get me in trouble. Is there a tampering rule the other way around? No, I haven't thought about anything specific."
Jeter has said that owning a team is not exactly like picking one off the shelves of a grocery store. It takes patience to find the right situation, but Jeter could attract bold-faced names to be part of a bid.
"The one thing that always defined Derek, he says that he wants to own a team one day," Mariano Rivera said. "I trust him. I believe that. One day he will own a baseball team. Me, Jorge [Posada] and Andy [Pettitte] will be part of that. He's a guy that always works for everything that he believes in. That's why he is different."
Jeter's strong reputation around the game indicates that players would listen if Jeter spoke from a position of authority. Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson said that Jeter would bring a special voice to an ownership group.
"Just the experience and being around the game as long as he has been, I think the combination of all those things help him out," Granderson said. "You've got to be around. He's seen the changes as a young player, as a veteran player in a big market, and the postseason."
If Jeter's first week of retirement is a template of what will follow, it is clear that he has no intention of fading away.
"It's a little too early yet, but I would help him in every way," Selig said. "And I think he would be tremendous."