So Alex Rodriguez IS going to own a healthy chunk of the Minnesota Timberwolves after all, proving if nothing else that negotiating deadlines are for squares.
No official announcement has been made yet, but multiple reports have him and e-commerce wallet Marc Lore exchanging $1.5 billion for the keys to the Timberwolves' arena, thus taking Rodriguez back into the lair of his bete noire, Derek Jeter, in the owners' suite.
Indeed, the parallels between the Wolves and Miami Marlins are striking. Teams that began as expansion teams at roughly the same time (Doggies in 1989, Fishies in 1993), largely standings afterthoughts (Doggies with eight consecutive playoff appearances, but only one since 2005, Fishies three total but two World Series), stadia still on the young end (Doggies 21 years at their arena, Fishies 10 years at Marlins Park), and both valued at the extreme low end of their leagues (Doggies 28th, Fishies 30th).
But reports say that A-Rod will be an equal partner with Lore, while Jeter merely owns four percent of the Marlins and is CEO of a team whose franchise operator is Bruce Sherman, so if there is one-upmanship to claim, it is with Rodriguez, who has always seemed like the sort for which that sort of thing would be important.
Because the Wolves and Marlins seem so equidistant from relevance, it only makes sense to take the two infield teammates and rivals and place them together here, even though they are 20 degrees of latitude and about 85 degrees of winter wind chill apart. Jeter has selected the sport he grew up with, which gives him an advantage there, while Rodriguez, who had tried to buy the New York Mets last year, owns enough of the Wolves to delegate the task of fixing them to others better suited to the job.
Thus, while the more apt comparison for Rodriguez is almost certainly Michael Jordan, who owns 97 percent of the equally Forbesed Charlotte Hornets (as in also worth $1.5 billion), we are drawn to the Rodriguez-Jeter comparisons because they played aside each other while never truly digging each others' vibe. In other words, we're going for the cheap and easy rather than the potentially meaningful.
It would have been more fun with Rodriguez running the Mets just because a Yankee running the Mets is weirder than a Yankee running the Marlins, and New York would have lost its minds in ways that the Knicks and Nets would have been unable to recreate. But you take your spotlight where it happens to shine, and Rodriguez is more comfortable onstage than the far more ethereal Jeter. We would very much like Jeter to come out and offer an opinion on Rodriguez' new job just for pre-weekend hoots and giggles, but we are unlikely to get any such observations and if we did, they would be both bland and unedifying.
But we live in voyeuristic hope because when it comes to sports owners, there are now only two kinds—ones we don't like and ones we haven't learn enough about to dislike yet. Rodriguez vs. Jeter may have no real probative value, but it is a fictional match worth making anyway while we watch the Glazer brothers and John Fisher become public enemies. Marlins vs. Timberwolves—the stuff of WTF legends.