Why Marlins Are Trying To Claim Citizenship In British Virgin Islands

If you ask Derek Jeter, the Toronto Blue Jays aren’t the only international team in Major League Baseball.

The Miami Marlins have filed a claim that the team actually is a corporate citizen of the British Virgin Islands, the Miami Herald reported Monday. According to the Herald, team lawyers argued to a federal judge that at least one corporation that owns part of the team is based in the small Caribbean island chain, technically making the Marlins a “citizen of the British Virgin Islands” under federal law.

So, uh, why are the Marlins doing this?

It’s essentially a legal maneuver related to the team’s dispute with Miami and Miami-Dade County. Those entities sued the Marlins back in February in an attempt to recover a share of the profits from former owner Jeffrey Loria’s $1.2 billion sale of the team to Marlins Teamco, the group Jeter and majority owner Bruce Sherman formed to buy the club.

A local judge currently is presiding over the case and already sided with Miami and Miami-Dade in a preliminary ruling. If the Marlins are recognized as a British Virgin Islands citizen, though, the case would get transferred to a federally-appointed judge, giving the Marlins hope of going to arbitration rather than pay up.

It’s a pretty bold tactic — and one that’s fatally flawed as long as any of the other corporations with a stake in the franchise are based in the U.S., according to lawyers representing Miami-Dade County.

“If even one of the Jeter Marlins’ members is a United States citizen, then the Jeter Marlins is a United States citizen,” the county wrote.

The lowly Marlins are 3-7 through 10 games with dreadful attendance numbers, so we can’t blame them for wanting disassociate themselves with the States.

Thumbnail photo via Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports Images

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