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Samson (l) Gets Into Heated Discussion
On WAXY's "The Dan Le Batard Show"
Le Batard: “You know what is going to happen, David. It’s going to appear like you’re hiding. You got tax payer money. You got a stadium.”
Samson: “It has nothing to do with anything, and that’s it. Onto the next.”
Le Batard: “So you can’t tell me why you guys have been singled out? Why it’s not the Padres, why it’s not the Pirates, why it’s not the Kansas City Royals?”
Samson: “I have earned this over the years, Dan, with you. … I have earned the right to tell you that I cannot and will not say one word about yesterday.”
Le Batard: “Can you explain to me why? Why would you agree to not talk about something? You’re not afraid to talk about anything.”
Samson: “That’s exactly right. I cannot and will not talk about this. It’s a non-starter. … There is obviously a reason and the reason is that we committed, all parties committed to have no further comment and there would be no further comment. That’s it.”
Le Batard: “Well, not being able to talk about it and not being willing to talk about it are two completely different things.”
Le Batard: “I’m uncomfortable because you realize that it seems silly to jump from being in the middle of the news and doing a weekly show with you to all of a sudden, reviewing a movie. … You do realize it puts me in the spot of making me look like a clown.”
Sampson: “The fact of the matter is that I have told you on air that I just won’t talk about it. … I think over the years, I’ve earned that right on this subject.”
Le Batard: “Don’t you sort of forfeit the earned right to be quiet on something like this when you’re in bed with the city? When you’re publicly financed? When it becomes a partnership? … Doesn’t asking for tax payer money sort of change that discussion a little bit?” (WAXY-AM, 1/13).
All-Star Josh Johnson Could Be Someome
Marlins Target For Long-Term Contract
A WIN FOR WEINER: The GLOBE & MAIL's Jeff Blair wrote the Marlins' pledge to increase spending is a "significant first victory" for new MLBPA Exec Dir Michael Weiner, who "did the nasty legal roadwork in recent years, and it has made for a seamless transition" from former Exec Dir Donald Fehr. Meanwhile, Blair wrote there is a "lesson here for the NHLPA," as a situation like this is "why you hire somebody with collective bargaining experience to be your union head" (GLOBESPORTS.com, 1/13).
Mannion Says McCourts' Divorce
Saga Not Impacting The Dodgers
DON'T WORRY, BE HAPPY: In L.A., Bill Shaikin noted the Dodgers have "yet to sign a major free agent" this offseason, but Mannion contends that they have "not been flooded with complaints about the team's offseason inactivity." Mannion: "I can honestly tell you we're not seeing any density of phone calls about the composition of the team. ... It's the economy. We have a very interesting baseball team. We have plenty of star power." Meanwhile, Mannion also said that the Dodgers will "impose a premium on single-game ticket prices for 28 popular games, including those against" the Angels and Yankees. The club has frozen prices on season tickets for this upcoming season, but has yet to announce prices for single-game tickets (LATIMES.com, 1/13).
STILL NOT CONCERNED ABOUT DIVORCE: MLB Commissioner Bud Selig yesterday reiterated that he is "unconcerned about the operation of the Dodgers" awaiting the McCourts' divorce trial, scheduled to begin in May. Selig: "I don't have any concern until I feel like I have something to be concerned about. We'll let the situation play out" (LATIMES.com, 1/13). ESPN's Tim Kurkjian noted the Dodgers are interested in signing free agent P Joel Pineiro, but they have to "figure out where they're going to get the money from" during the divorce proceedings. Kurkjian: "It's going to come eventually, I'm told. They're just not sure when the money from the divorce is going to arrive" ("Baseball Tonight," ESPN, 1/13). Dodgers manager Joe Torre said of the ownership situation, "That's more for our general manager because he has to deal with Frank McCourt and he's the one that really controls the purse strings." He said he hopes it "doesn't affect us, but ... it remains to be seen how it's going to affect our 2010 club" ("Tavis Smiley," PBS, 1/14).
Astros Owner Puts Chances Of Sale At Less Than 50%
FINAL HURDLES: MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan noted the 30-day exclusive negotiating period granted to prospective MLB Rangers Owner Chuck Greenberg ends Friday, and "one significant issue that remains is how big of a role" Rangers Owner Tom Hicks "will play in the new ownership group." Hicks yesterday made it clear that he and his family "will remain a significant investor in any new ownership group." Hicks: "You're not getting rid of us." Hicks "could be the second largest investor in the group." But it is "still unknown what role Hicks will have," and "word is the negotiations have been complicated" (MLB.com, 1/13). In Ft. Worth, Jeff Wilson notes the Rangers fan base "just assumes that the transition from" Hicks to the Greenberg group, which includes Rangers President Nolan Ryan, "is a done deal." But the job "isn't done." Three things could be announced late Friday or sometime Saturday: An agreement is "reached, the process moves to baseball's ownership committee, and Greenberg-Ryan is that much closer to seizing control;" an agreement "isn't reached, but both sides pledge to continue working toward one by the start of spring training;" or Hicks "casts aside public sentiment and the momentum generated the past month by announcing that he is seeking another investment group" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 1/14).
Swarm's Zack Greer Has Section 88
Ticket Sales Tied Into Contract
Mark McGwire yesterday acknowledged that he "realized early on that accepting the job" as hitting coach with the Cardinals was "going to mean addressing the suspicions of his steroid use." He said that "by doing so this week he eliminated anything that could cloud his ability to coach, or connect with players" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 1/14). Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said, "Hiring him was totally my idea. I wasn't trying to rehab Mark McGwire. I just asked the organization and they said yes" (L.A. TIMES, 1/14). SI.com's Jon Heyman reported MLB Commissioner Bud Selig "made clear to McGwire that he would have to come out and explain himself" upon rejoining the Cardinals organization (SI.com, 1/13).
Cavs' Fans Face Dilemma As
James' Future Still Unknown
HOLD THAT LINE: The Redskins will not change general admission ticket prices next season for the fifth consecutive year. The Redskins have only increased general admission prices twice since '99 -- prior to the '00 and '06 seasons -- and are one of only two NFL teams that have not raised prices since '06 (Redskins).
SHORT-HANDED: The Predators through the first 24 home games this season are averaging 13,511 fans at Sommet Center, down 1.3% from the same point last season. The team needs to "average at least 14,000 in paid attendance to qualify for the NHL's full revenue sharing" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 1/14).