Proving once again that politics and Major League Baseball mix, the pursuit to buy the Miami Marlins has taken yet another soap opera-like turn.
According to the Associated Press, Washington Post and other news outlets, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush has joined Tagg Romney and Tom Glavine in their attempt to buy the Marlins from current owner Jeffrey Loria. The move is a bit shocking after Bush and former New York Yankees great Derek Jeter won the right to make an offer on the franchise, and were competing head-to-head with the Romney/Glavine group. Bush and Jeter dissolved their relationship in May over differences in who would run the day-to-day operations of the ball club.
It was also reported through various sites that businessman Wayne Rothbaum will be part of the group alongside Bush and Romney to make the move to take over the Miami Marlins.
News also broke that another bidder, Miami businessman Jorge Mas, has become the third member of this horse race.
Jeter met Thursday with Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred and Marlins president David Samson, and told them he doesn’t yet have the necessary money and is still seeking help from other investors. He is still interested in making the deal, but finding other investors has been an issue since Bush left the partnership.
Loria bought the Marlins for $158.5 million in 2002 from John Henry.
Mas is the chairman of the board and co-founder of MasTec, an infrastructure construction business, and chairman of the board of the Cuban American National Foundation, a Miami-based organization committed to bringing democracy to Cuba.
His inclusion in this “bidding war” may be beneficially for the South Florida community in support of new ownership. The Miami Marlins have a strong Cuban and Hispanic following. The baseball community in the Miami area has shown its disapproval of Loria as owner of this franchise for many years. The belief is a new ownership group, no matter who is awarded the franchise, will help change the culture of the organization.
The fact Bush lives in Miami and inquired about purchasing the team back in 2013 may bode well for the Romney investment group. News of the Miami Marlins being on the market broke in February when Loria was said to have a “handshake” agreement with Jacob Kushner, the brother of Jared Kushner, who is married to Ivanka Trump.
The Washington Post reports the value of the Major League team has climbed dramatically even though the Marlins haven’t been to the postseason since 2003, the longest current drought in the National League. They were last in the NL in attendance 11 of the past 12 years despite a 2012 move to Marlins Park.
The Miami Marlins will host the 2017 All-Star Game on July 11. Manfred said in May he had hoped the deal could be done by the All-Star break. A sale of the team will still require 75-percent approval of all MLB owners.