Miami Marlins executive mixed up in controversy over minor league team's clubhouse dogs: report

A Miami Marlins executive reportedly had a rough time with the use of dogs in the clubhouse at one of the franchise’s affiliates.

Gary Denbo, the Marlins’ vice president of player development and scouting, who left the New York Yankees when Derek Jeter became co-owner of the Miami team, ordered that the Single-A Greensboro Grasshoppers remove dogs from the clubhouse, The Athletic reported Monday.

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The blowup led to the two teams severing ties and the Grasshoppers becoming the Single-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, according to The Athletic. The Marlins have a new Single-A affiliate based in Iowa.

“There must be only one guy in all of minor-league baseball who doesn’t like dogs,” Greensboro’s president and general manager Donald Moore told the media outlet.

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 17: A detailed view of the new Marlins logo at Marlins Park on April 17, 2019 in Miami, Florida. 

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 17: A detailed view of the new Marlins logo at Marlins Park on April 17, 2019 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

Denbo defended himself to The Athletic, saying reporters are barking up the wrong tree. Denbo said the problem with the dogs stemmed from where the dogs’ kennels were in relation to where the players were eating food. Moore, however, said the dogs were only in the clubhouse when players were on the field and that Denbo never had mentioned that issue during his original outburst, according to the site.

Denbo was the Yankees’ vice president of player development during seasons when New York’s Double-A affiliate Trenton Thunder used a bat dog (at times more than one). The Thunder have used a bat dog since the 2002 season.

While Denbo has been characterized as a polarizing figure, the team’s minor-league catching coordinator, Jamie Quirk, told The Athletic he’s exactly what the organization needs.

“He’s an outstanding guy — focused, very professional, all-in on trying to make the Marlins better, very determined to make them great,” Quirk said.

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The Marlins were ranked No. 13 in Baseball America’s 2019 MLB Organizational Talent Rankings heading into the season. They hadn’t been higher than 24th in the previous two seasons, according to Fish Stripes.