The Miami Marlins made headlines this offseason as they signed prized free agents, brought in a new manager and are set to open a brand new ballpark in time for the start of the season.
Things seemed to be going according to plan down in Miami with the new franchise overhaul.
That is until team president David Samson created a public relations nightmare with his recent comments regarding a few issues that hit all too close to home to the citizens of South Florida.
The organization knew the importance of a new ballpark and have been pushing for one to be built for years. After strenuous negotiations, Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami agreed to take on the majority of cost for funding the new ballpark.
According to ballparksofbaseball.com, Miami-Dade County financed $347 million and the city of Miami financed another $23 million towards the new Marlins ballpark.
At a recent council meeting down in the Miami area, Samson let loose on a variety of subjects that irked the public and was quoted in an article by Scott Blake of the Miami Today.
In the article, Samson criticized Florida elected officials as well as the overall intelligence of Miami residents. Samson stated that people who run for office are "not the cream of the intellectual crop" and continued on by mentioning, "That's not to say we're not the smartest people in Miami. My guess is, if you're in this room, we're immediately in the top one percent."
Rather harsh comments directed to the city that helped fund the majority of the Marlins' new facility.
Using taxpayers money towards the new ballpark irked many. Most notably Norman Braman, the former owner of the Philadelphia Eagles who is now a Miami auto dealer.
After an unsuccessful lawsuit filed against the Marlins and their ballpark deal, Samson made comments regarding the matter. "I don't see Norman Braman trying to fix anything."
Even with his strong feelings towards towards the Miami residents, state officials and the opposing taxpayers, one of Samson's biggest blunders may have been linked to his biggest offseason move.
The Marlins landed prized free-agent short stop Jose Reyes with a six-year, $106 million contract to create a dynamic infield that would shift Hanley Ramirez to third base. As it turns out, the deal that brought Reyes to the Marlins almost didn't happen.
At one point, Samson said the Marlins walked away from the contract negotiations with Reyes. The team president was quoted in saying Reyes wanted to play in Miami as long as they paid him $1 million more than anyone else on the team.
Most fans can understand how heated negotiations can get. But, is it in the teams best interest to let the public know how close the discussions were to ending before Reyes takes his first at bat?
There will be lingering questions if the new ballpark experiment in Miami will work.
The team ranked near the league bottom in attendance in the last few years. The organization is betting that with a new ballpark in place and the near $191 million in offseason spending will increase the fan base and keep the team in South Florida.
The Marlins have a whole new mess on their hands due to Marlins president David Samson.
Will Miami residents be able to look past the insulting comments made by Samson and support their new ballpark?
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