David Samson’s speech to the Beacon Council, as reported by Miami Today should not be a surprise to Marlins fans. When given a chance to combine Samson with truth, you know it’s going to come out harsh, blunt and pompous but still the truth. Timing is also bad – there’s goodwill for the Marlins right now, something that Loria, Samson, and the Marlins have, undeservedly in our opinion, never really enjoyed. Save this speech for your memoirs or after you’ve left baseball.
Now, if you actually take a look at his words, they merely reflections of truths we already know. Let’s take a look:
“I went to Tallahassee,” he said. “I don’t know what they do up there. There are so many special interests. You walk through the building, and they’re watching “Family Feud.’ You see people running around, working on legislation. All I know is that gavel goes down and nothing gets done.”
This is true about every state capital and frankly about a majority of Washington, DC. Nothing new here – it’s said on the political campaign trail every day.
“I don’t see Norman Braman trying to fix anything,” Mr. Samson said. “If he has the time and money, let’s see [him] run” for public office. “He should stop saying how bad it is, and start trying to make a difference.”
I’ve previously discussed our feeling son Mr. Braman and you can’t blame Samson for feeling this way. Braman sues and spends money to stop tax expenditures and increases as well as projects that frankly impact his personal business.
Calling voter turnout for recall elections “pathetic,” Mr. Samson said recalls have a negative effect on the political process by making public officials who are not even targeted “shake in their shoes” instead of “making them do what’s good for the community.”
Voter turnout for the March 15, 2011 was 17.27%. Recalls are controversial – just ask the former Democratic governor of California and the former Republican State Senators from Wisconsin.
“We don’t care if nobody comes,” Mr. Samson recalled with a smile. “We’ll play in front of nobody, and we’ll have all the money.”
This statement, meant in the context of Las Vegas casinos buying up tickets, is blunt and harsh. But, it’s always been about Money. A new stadium brings new revenues and that’s what the Marlins, as well as every other major sports franchise, needs. Business is not altruistic, it’s about profits and personal gain.
Regarding the stadium talks in Miami, Mr. Samson described former County Manager George Burgess as “pit bull” in negotiations — someone who knew “how to make you sweat.”
Burgess was both adversary and ally for the Marlins. Doesn’t surprise me that Samson would praise him. If you’ve ever been part of a significant critical big dollar negotiation, you can appreciate how this relationship works both during and after the negotiations.
Eventually, Mr. Reyes, among others, was signed. “He said “I really want to play in Miami as long as you pay me $1 more than anyone else… I really want to make the most money I can,'” Mr. Samson recalled.
So Reyes wanted to go to the highest bidder. That’s not news nor does it it disparage Reyes. He’s no different than Albert Pujols, Yoennis Cespedes, and pretty much every other athlete (except for the Heat’s “Big 3” who could have made a bit more money if they played somewhere else).
He said team officials will take responsibility if the franchise doesn’t succeed in its new 37,000-seat stadium with a retractable roof. “We don’t put any responsibility on the fans if they don’t come” for future games, he added.
However, the franchise has high hopes.
“For anyone who is OK with mediocrity,” he said, “we’ve going to blow them out of the water.”
I doubt anyone can criticize this statement.
So, all-in-all, not the vile speech that some are making it to be. Criticism of elected officials? Stating that money is everything – for politicians, for team owners, for athletes, for allegedly civic-minded billionaires. Yes, timing is bad, words may come across too harsh, but in the end it’s the truth.