Marlins CEO Derek Jeter conflicted about entering postseason as an executive
Derek Jeter admits to feeling conflicted about the Miami Marlins’ first foray into the postseason during his brief tenure as the team’s CEO, and much of his distress stems from how he will be unable to make an impact on the team’s performance by taking the field.
The upstart Marlins are a surprising entrant to the postseason and will face the Chicago Cubs in the MLB Wild Card round in a best-of-three series at Wrigley Field beginning Wednesday.
Jeter obviously is no stranger to the thrill and pressure of postseason play, but not being able to suit up has thrown him for a loop after participating in 16 playoff runs with the New York Yankees.
“It’s completely different, because you have no control whatsoever,” Jeter told The New York Times. “You can’t talk to guys while they’re going through a game. Obviously, it’s exciting, because it’s an organization that we built and you’re pulling for guys to be successful. It’s frustrating. It’s all these emotions.”
The Marlins were MLB’s laughingstock in Jeter’s first two seasons at the helm, going a National League-worst 63-98 in 2018 and 57-105 last season.
Things took a remarkable turn for the better in this unprecedented 2020 campaign, however, as the Marlins were able to post a 31-29 record in the league’s abbreviated 60-game season. Miami enjoyed the surprising success despite a COVID-19 outbreak in the clubhouse that shut down the team for over a week beginning in late July.
Slotted as the NL’s No. 6 seed, the Marlins will have to win two games on the road over the Cubs to move on to one of MLB’s bubble sites, but Jeter is ready and eager, albeit while feeling slightly out of sorts.
“The approach that I’ve talked to our players about since Day 1, the first spring training in 2018, was, ‘Listen: Every single pitch, every at-bat, every inning, every single game counts — and if you take that approach, there’s no added pressure,’” Jeter said. “You get to the postseason, it’s the same game that you played in spring training. That’s the approach we take, and I think it’s a big reason why our group’s been able to bounce back from a lot this year.”
First pitch in the Rays-Cubs Wild Card round showdown comes Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET.