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BC-BBN--Marlins-Jeter,1st Ld-Writethru

May 3, 2019

MIAMI (AP) — Derek Jeter says the Miami Marlins’ performance, attendance and business operations have been a problem.

Shadows at Marlins Park don’t bother him, however.

Speaking to the media Friday for the first time since the season began, Jeter said he’s unhappy with the team’s awful start and confirmed a recent shake-up on the organization’s business side.

However, the Marlins CEO and former New York Yankees shortstop shrugged off complaints by the Washington Nationals that visibility was dangerously poor at a recent 1 p.m. game at Marlins Park with the retractable roof open.

Jeter said Marlins players haven’t raised the issue with him.

“We’re talking about shadows?” Jeter said. “Every park around the country has shadows at some point. ... Ever play in a postseason game at 4 o’clock? I played the game. I understand how bad shadows are.

“We have more problems than just shadows at 1 o’clock.”

That the Marlins do. They began a weekend series against Atlanta with the worst record in the majors at 9-21, and they’re a distant last in attendance with a home average of less than 10,000 per game.

Jeter recently fired president of business operations Chip Bowers, a former Golden State Warriors marketing officer who was with the Marlins for just 14 months.

“This has to do with our overall business strategy and accountability,” Jeter said. “We felt as though there was a change needed. We have high expectations. Some of those expectations weren’t met.”

Bowers was negotiating deals for television and ballpark naming rights. His dismissal had nothing to do with attendance, Jeter said, but the CEO acknowledged persistent fan apathy is disappointing.

“We’d love to see more people here,” said Jeter, whose group bought the team 19 months ago. “We’re working hard on gaining the trust of our fan base.”

Winning would help, but the team appears destined for a 10th consecutive losing season. Although the young Marlins are rebuilding, Jeter believes they’re also underachieving.

“I think everyone knows we’re better than this,” he said. “There shouldn’t be a person in this building that’s happy with how we’ve played.”

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