Bruce Sherman liked what he saw on the first full day of spring training.
Balls being thrown. Bats being swung.
Mostly, though, the majority owner of the Marlins liked what he heard.
Wearing a Marlins orange golf shirt, dark slacks and a black Marlins cap, Sherman stood a few feet behind a batting cage, taking it all in as hitters took turns stepping inside to face live pitching.
“I’m thrilled to be here to hear the crack of the bat,” Sherman said. “These aren’t metal bats. These are the real thing. That’s my takeaway more than anything else.”
Monday marked only the second time since assuming control of the club from Jeffrey Loria on Oct. 2 that Sherman, the team’s largest investor, stepped out of the shadows to talk about a franchise that has undergone dramatic change.
Sherman defended the series of high-profile trades in which the Marlins let go of Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, Dee Gordon and Christian Yelich — ones in which the Marlins slashed payroll in return for unproven prospects who will be used to replenish a weak farm system.
“I realize that the fans are disappointed in some of the trades that we’ve made,” Sherman said. “We understand that. (But), I think the management team has made all the right moves.”
Sherman vowed he isn’t a silent partner.
“I’ve been involved in every decision,” Sherman said. “I support every decision. I know the partners support every decision. We’re building something for the long haul here.”
Standing alongside team part-owner CEO Derek Jeter, who has been the public face of the franchise since the takeover, Sherman said he is in it for the long haul and that ownership has the financial strength to operate the team for years to come.
“We are a very sophisticated, well-heeled, financially set organization, not just for this year, but for many, many years to come,” Sherman said. “I didn’t get into this personally, nor did the other partners get into this, for one, two or three years. Nobody’s in this to make any short-term profits, whatsoever. This is a long, long haul, and I’m excited that we get to play baseball now and I can be a fan.”
At one point on Monday, Sherman, Jeter, manager Don Mattingly and general manager Michael Hill found their way to the same spot, leaning against the batting cage when Lewis Brinson stepped into the box to face pitcher Sandy Alcantara.
Brinson and Alcantara were two of the top three prospects, according to MLB Pipeline, that the Marlins acquired over the winter in their trade dealings, landing Brinson in the Yelich deal with Milwaukee and Alcantara coming over in the Ozuna trade with the Cardinals.
They’re only rookies for now, talents with unknown potential.
But they are far from the only ones.
“I’m a rookie, too,” Sherman said. “It’s my first spring training. I’m so excited. I’m a baseball fan first, second and third. I love the Miami Marlins.”
Sherman acknowledged that he’s “learning a lot.”
“We’re building for the long haul, here,” he said. “I But I’ve seen a change, that people understand we’re building something for the future here that’s sustainable. Not just for a month. Not just for a week. Not just for a year. I know it’s going to take patience.”