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Derek Jeter

Dear Steinbrenner Family,

I have never told you what to do. I have thought about what you should do many times, including in 2004 when I was 11 and could have told you not to sign Jaret Freaking Wright to a three-year deal. Today, I am telling you what to do and please, I beg of you, listen.

Swallow your pride for a moment and give this a thought. Derek Jeter, you know -- Captain Clutch, Mr. November, Numbah two (Bob Sheppard voice) -- has reportedly agreed to buy the Miami Marlins with Jeb Bush (brother of the guy who threw out the first pitch in Game 3 of the 2001 World Series). Nothing is official. But like with a restricted free agent, New York can still match.

The deal is apparently for $1.3 billion, although how the percentages will be divided among Jeter, Bush and the rest of the group is unclear. It doesn't matter. The Steinbrenners need to offer Jeter a chance to buy a share of the Yankees for whatever amount he is paying in Miami.

This should be easy. According to Forbesthe Yankees are a $3.7 billion franchise. The Marlins, who were listed at $940 million, are now effectively worth $1.3 billion. Let's say Jeter and Bush are splitting 50 percent of the Marlins (this is a purposeful overestimation). That would mean Jeter is paying $650 million for his Miami share, which would be equal to 17.6 percent of the Yankees.

Again, Jeter is likely getting considerably less when all is said and done with this transaction. But the numbers don't matter. Whether Jeter is getting 50 percent or 1 percent in Miami, the Yankees should owe it to their fans to let him invest the same number of dollars in New York.

Maybe Jeter wouldn't be interested anyway because he can have more power to make the big decisions with the Marlins. But at least the Steinbrenners need to give the greatest living Yankee a chance to politely decline.

Derek Jeter, Hal Steinbrenner

Michael Jordan is the majority owner of the Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets have become popular (again) because they have become synonymous with MJ. The Chicago Bulls are still one of the NBA's most lucrative and popular franchises, but they never offered Jordan a piece of it (at least publicly), even though he was interested in becoming part of the ownership group. Although the Bulls erected a statue of Jordan and retired his number, he left the team on icy terms.

He ended up buying part of the Wizards before selling to make another comeback as a player. After his final retirement, he bought a minority share of Charlotte, which put him in prime position to become the owner when Robert Johnson was looking to sell his majority stake.

Jeter didn't leave the Yankees on a sour note the way Jordan left the Bulls. That makes it more realistic that the Steinbrenners could make the offer to Jeter than the Bulls never did with Jordan. Maybe it worked out better for Jordan in the long run anyway because he gets to call the shots in Charlotte. But isn't there something idyllic, at least from the perspective of Chicago fans, about the idea of Jordan running the Bulls? It's the same thing with Jeter and the Yankees.

Derek Jeter is the most valuable individual to the New York Yankees' franchise. He's 42, an idol to MLB players and the most popular baseball figure, perhaps alive, among fans across nearly every demographic. Everyone wants to engage with in the community, at the ballpark or on TV. He is the de facto face of the New York Yankees' franchise. And he should be until the day he dies.

Imagine a world with no Derek Jeter visits at Yankee Stadium, limited Jeter appearances in NYC and no Yankee logos in Jeter's wardobe. That is what we are on the verge of.

Hank and Hal, I know you have pride and you want the Yankees to be your own. You want it to be your team, not George's team. You can still run the Yankees with Jeter holding equity.

No, losing Jeter to Miami will not end the Yankees' reign as the nation's most valuable sports franchise. But as strong as the Yankees' brand is, it can be even stronger with Derek Jeter's name attached. Even if you give up a portion of your percentage, your value can skyrocket with Jeter's name included on the board.

Remember how well young Jeter handled his money in the NYC nightlight scene?

Do what's necessary, Steinbrenners. Keep Jeter in New York. The fans will repay you.

Derek Jeter belongs in Monument Park, not Marlins Park (I know, he can be in both, but this seemed right for dramatic effect).

Jeff Eisenband

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