Derek Jeter's Miami Marlins Just Offered an Excellent Lesson in Terrible Emotional Intelligence

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.

Basic humanity is being squeezed to death.

On one side, we have robots wafting in to prove how unintelligent we truly are.

On the other, the ever-seductive lure of money (and more money) wipes away any thoughts of sympathy that might once have existed on the part of one human for another.

And so we come to Derek Jeter’s Miami Marlins.

As a player, Jeter constructed an image of himself as the apogee of decency and discipline. Yes, despite playing for the New York Yankees.

Ah, but he’s a part-owner and CEO now of the often-poor Miami Marlins. 

How odd, then, that the decency thing seems to have been struck out.

As Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports, the Marlins have just fired a scout called Marty Scott.

The team let him go two weeks before his contract was due up. 

“Oh, but this is sports,” I hear you mutter. “It’s a ruthless business.”

Perhaps you’re right.

But 64-year-old Scott was fired while he was in hospital recovering from colon cancer surgery. Oh, and he’s also waiting for a kidney transplant.

How much would it have taken for the Marlins to show a little, well, empathy? How much would it have really cost, either financially or emotionally?

I contacted the Marlins to ask whether the team had any regrets about how the firing was handled. I will update, should I hear.

The team insisted to Passan that this wasn’t Jeter’s doing. No, of course Shortstop Jesus wouldn’t stoop to such things. 

Instead, the Marlins insisted that team president Michael Hill was responsible for the decision. 

Of Hill, Scott told the New York Daily News: “I have a long relationship with Mike (Hill). I was with Texas when Mike was released (as a player). But when I’ve let people go, I give them plenty of time to try and find a new job, get back on their feet. But I want to take high road.”

Why, indeed, is it Scott who comes out of this with decency, rather than anyone in management?

Of the call telling him he was fired, Scott said: “My heart sank a little bit. At the same time, I thought, ‘They’re not going to do this while I’m in the hospital.'”

It’s not always wise to assume someone will behave in a humane manner.

There was, though, reportedly a little more indignity.

Passan writes that Scott’s “Marlins-issued cell phone was shut off, which complicated extending his health insurance through COBRA.”

Let’s all bow our heads and sigh together, shall we?

Scott told Yahoo Sports: “Derek Jeter doesn’t owe me anything. Probably in their hearts they did what they thought was right. I know based on certain aspects of the game, I probably was making too much money. But we all love the game. We’re all in it together. I just think 40 years was worth more than a spank on the butt and see you later.”

Other sportswriters tried to discover more. Here’s Joel Sherman of the New York Post on Jeter, his image and his new job as CEO.

Now there’s a lesson in emotional intelligence, as it relates to management.

Then again, does it matter anymore how a management treats its staff, especially when it decides it has no more use for them?

Or have employees come to actually expect that they could be treated poorly and discarded without a second thought for their welfare?

It’s just business, right?

Even if you’re deeply cynical, wouldn’t treating Scott a little more sensitively have reflected well on a Marlins brand that has often been viewed as little more than an exercise in venality?

Passan puts it quite gently: “Optics have been an issue for the Marlins.”

Do optics matter? Or are upticks in revenue the sole focus of modern managements?

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