Who will be the first to bring a title to Miami: Derek Jeter and his Marlins or David Beckham and his expansion Major League Soccer franchise?
The question is one for debate since the Marlins are rebuilding and the city’s new soccer team doesn’t begin playing until 2020.
But Jeter, the Marlins’ new CEO, doesn’t sound like he’s willing to risk a bet on the answer.
Speaking Wednesday to a Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce gathering, Jeter was asked whether he would be willing to make a gentleman’s wager with Beckham on which would be the first to raise a championship trophy.
Jeter’s tongue-in-cheek response, which drew laughter: “We’re starting from a deeper hole than he is. We’ll see what happens.”
The Marlins, of course, are in the beginning stages of a major roster rebuild, one in which the organization has traded off everyone from Giancarlo Stanton and Dee Gordon to Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna.
But at least the Marlins have a ballpark and are set to open their 25th anniversary season in late March. Beckham, on the other hand, is starting from scratch, with no players until 2020 and no stadium until 2021.
Jeter, as he has said repeatedly, asked attendees for “patience” as the Marlins go about the process of improving a franchise that hasn’t experienced a winning season since 2009 and hasn’t appeared in the postseason since 2003.
“There is a path where we want to be,” Jeter told the gathering. “Just know that every decision we make is for the betterment of this organization. This is a franchise that will be the envy of other baseball franchises over time. Nobody wants it to happen sooner than I do.”