It’s an easy story to write and create a buzz to report that Marlins’ team president David Samson made a series of ill-advised comments about everyone in Miami from the politicians to the citizens to one of his club’s new stars, Jose Reyes.
Samson’s reputation as a person isn’t sterling. He’s a Little Napoleon-type who lucked his way into baseball when his father-in-law Jeffrey Loria purchased the Montreal Expos, wound up as a high-ranking member of their front office and moved on to the Marlins when Loria took control of that club.
Samson has a lot to say, interferes in baseball decisions, and bosses the players around.
But in this case, I believe he’s telling the truth when he says he was misquoted by Miami Today.
You can read a synopsis of the initial comments attributed to Samson and the explanation here on USA Today’s Daily Pitch.
Loria and, by extension, Samson made out like bandits on the deal for the Marlins’ new stadium; I don’t think anyone has a high regard for politicians anywhere; and while it’s possible that Reyes said something to the tune of wanting to maximize his contract, I doubt he said it in the context that the Samson quotes imply.
But here’s the reality: Samson does seem to think he’s the smartest guy in the room.
Politicians are seen to be self-interested and more clever and shady than smart.
Reyes did want to make as much money as he could.
No one’s ever accused the Marlins of running a charity. They’re looking to make money and run their club as a business. It’s not a public trust; in general, the Florida fans aren’t interested in baseball; the team wasn’t going to get a stadium if they didn’t use a little chicanery; and they’re one ownership that openly does what other clubs do but never admit—treat the players like chattel.
It certainly would be refreshing for a person in power to say the things Samson was accused of saying, but when he denies and explains he sounds like a man telling the truth.
As disliked as he is, he’s not stupid—at least not stupid enough to say that stuff publicly even if it’s more than likely what he actually thinks.