Jeffrey Lauria wasn’t happy with what Derek Jeter did at LoanDepot Park.
Former Marlins owner criticized Jeter in A.J A rare interview with the Miami Herald on monday. His issues with Jeter have nothing to do with how he managed the Marlins when he was the team’s CEO from 2017-2022, but rather with what he did on the field.
“Jeter came in and destroyed the stadium,” Loria said. “The destruction of public art was appalling.”
Loria refers to the famous old home run statue that used to sit behind the center wall. Loria commissioned the colorful sculpture from a friend as part of a $2.5 million deal with the county, and it was used to light, start spinning, and spray water from fountains, among other things, every time there was a home run.
Jeter removed the statue in 2018. It is now located outside the stadium.
“I asked the artist about getting him back, and I told him I would help him find a new home for him,” Lauria said. “He did not want to participate. Now she will rot outside where she is… doomed to neglect and external decay.”
It’s not just sculpting that Lauria is upset about.
“I was keen on all the colors we put in the building and it was changed; said Lauria. They covered all the (colored) tiles we brought from Europe. To me it was reflective of Miami culture. Now everything is blue. It’s silly. Amenities are like fish tanks behind a board.” The house—they were there for the kids—and they got rid of them. It’s silly.”
Lauria, now 82, owned Marilyn’s family from 2002-2017. He sold the franchise to an ownership group that Jeter was a part of in 2017 for $1.2 billion. A former Yankees Hall of Fame inductee, Jeter sold his stake in the Marlins in 2022 and stepped down as the team’s CEO.
Loria’s team won the World Series in 2003, but the team struggled in the back half of its time as owner. They never made the postseason again with him at the helm, and had a losing record in each of the last eight seasons before he sold. The Marlins have made the playoffs only once since winning a World Series two decades ago.
While the team’s success is clearly more important than making some cosmetic changes on the field, those tweaks apparently stuck with Loria even after Jeter left the organization.