SBD/Issue 84/Franchises

Marlins' Samson Gets Into Contentious Interview Over MLB Deal

Samson (l) Gets Into Heated Discussion
On WAXY's "The Dan Le Batard Show"
Marlins President David Samson made his weekly appearance on WAXY-AM’s “The Dan Le Batard Show” yesterday, but things quickly became rather contentious between the two when Samson refused to discuss the team’s agreement with MLB and the MLBPA to put more of the money it receives from revenue sharing into club payroll. Samson said, “There was a joint release sent out by the union and the Commissioner’s office and the team, and I’m no help to you on this one. No comment on it further other than what is in there. That’s part of the agreement and there won’t be another word said about it by me. … I’m happy to do a funny show. I’m happy to talk about movies. I will not talk about yesterday” ("The Dan Le Batard Show," WAXY-AM, 1/13). In West Palm Beach, Joe Capozzi wrote the back-and-forth dialogue between Samson and Le Batard "made for a sometimes funny, sometimes uncomfortable 30 minutes of radio." Le Batard said at the end of the show, "This was a disastrous segment. This didn't feel good at all for any of us" (PALMBEACHPOST.com, 1/13). The following are several excerpts from the 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
NO SPIN ZONE: In Miami, Greg Cote wrote, "The Marlins are free to admit no wrongdoing and spin it 'til it's dizzy but the bottom line is clear. They have been cheating the rules and shortchanging their fans, and they got caught. The club will now spend at least the minimum required on payrolls not because it's right or because it's the rule, but because they got publicly shamed into it" (MIAMIHERALD.com, 1/12). ESPN.com's Rob Neyer wrote, "I don't know if the Marlins were 'cheating' -- if they really weren't plowing their revenue-sharing money back into the franchise -- but I do know that whatever they were doing just looked bad. It's all about appearances. ... You spend $25[M] on payroll and people are going to wonder what you're doing with all that money the Yankees gave you" (ESPN.com, 1/13). Meanwhile, ESPN's Tim Kurkjian said while the Marlins will not "go out and trade for a guy who's making $18(M) a year," it may allow them to "put more money into the signing of (P) Josh Johnson long term." Kurkjian: "I think they'll have him signed long-term sooner rather than later because, again, they have to, and now with this internal pressure I think they have to even more" ("Baseball Tonight," ESPN, 1/13).

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).

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