Jeffrey Loria is not happy with what Derek Jeter has done to LoanDepot Park.
The former owner of the Marlins team slammed Jeter in a rare interview with the Miami Herald on Monday. His issues with Jeter have nothing to do with how he led the Marlins when he was the team’s CEO from 2017-2022, but rather what he did with the margin.
“Jeter came in and destroyed the ballpark,” Loria said. “Destroying public art was a horrible thing to do.”
Loria refers to the old iconic home run image that used to be behind the center field wall. Loria commissioned the colorful sculpture from a friend as part of a $2.5 million deal with the county, and it lit up, spun, and sprayed water from fountains every time there was a home run, among other things.
Jeter removed the statue in 2018. It now stands outside the stadium.
“I asked the artist to get it back and I told him I would help him find a new home for it,” said Loria. ‘He didn’t want to participate. Now it will rot outside where it is… condemned to outdoor neglect and decay.
It’s not just the image that Loria is upset about.
“I was picky about all the colors we put in the building and it got changed; it didn’t need to be changed,’ Loria said. “They covered everything [colorful] tiles, which we imported from Europe. To me it reflected the culture of Miami. Now it’s all blue. It is ridiculous. The amenities like the aquariums behind home plate – they were there for the kids – and they got rid of them. It’s stupid.”
Loria, now 82, owned the Marlins from 2002-2017. He sold the franchise to an ownership group that Jeter was part of in 2017 for $1.2 billion. Jeter, a former Yankees Hall of Fame shortstop, sold his stake in the Marlins in 2022 and stepped down as CEO of the team.
Loria’s team won a World Series title in 2003, but the team struggled in the second half of his time as owner. They failed to make the postseason with him at the helm again and had a losing record in each of their last eight seasons before he sold. The Marlins have made the playoffs just once since winning the World Series two decades ago.
While the team’s success is of course more important than a few cosmetic changes to the stadium, it’s clear that those changes have stuck with Loria even after Jeter left the organization.