The sale of the Miami Marlins has started to drag on a bit. Before the season began, current owner Jeffrey Loria reportedly had a handshake agreement to sell the franchise for a whopping $1.6 billion, prompting many to believe that a deal would be struck with relative ease (and little drama) either right after the All-Star Game or at the end of the season.
Clearly, that agreement fell through, as since that time a bidding war has publicly erupted between groups that do not even have the money to meet the now $1.3 billion asking price. It appears that the debt the Marlins are in, and the yearly operating losses, are putting major investors off, which is why Yankees legend and baseball fan favorite Derek Jeter cannot strike a deal, even if almost everyone would love to see that fairytale come true.
Jeter and Jeb Bush were part of a group trying to round up investors and bid for the team a few weeks ago. Bush then left because he apparently wanted more control of the team, which Jeter disagreed with (who was it who played baseball for 20 years and won five World Series rings again?). Bush has now joined forces with Tagg Romney and Wayne Rothbaum, but they may be out of the race if Loria does not lower his asking price.
Enter into the fold Miami businessman Jorge Mas, who only emerged as a potential buyer this past week. Mas, born to Cuban refugees, is Miami through and through, having graduated from UM and started a $5 billion corporation in Coral Gables. He is the chairman of the Cuban American National Foundation, and could write Jeffrey Loria a $1 billion check without any other investors as soon as this week.
It has quickly become apparent that Mas is the owner the Marlins need, and he could be the team’s savior. For one reason or another, Miami has not taken to the Marlins since they moved into their state-of-the-art home in 2012, and the large number of Latin Americans, who were present at the World Baseball Classic, do not regularly flock to Marlins Park.
With Mas at the helm, the team may finally be able to tap into the Latin market and properly connect with possibly the largest segment of the fan base. He has a plan to market the Marlins as baseball’s “gateway to Latin America,” and, if done successfully, more fans will be in the seats and more high profile free agents may be tempted to play in Miami.
The fact is that Mas has enough money to buy the Marlins AND to invest in turning the franchise around. His background and mission to change the marketing direction of the franchise might finally persuade the community to get behind the Marlins, and that would be the best possible result of the sale.