Marlins President David Samson, outspoken during most of his tenure with the Marlins, made himself pretty scarce to the media this past season. His weekly radio segment on the Dan LeBatard show disappeared and we hardly heard a peep from him as the Marlins spiraled past 100 losses.
He was around Thursday, though, as the Marlins and the American Athletic Conference announced the beginning of The Miami Beach Bowl and the return of college football in December 2014 to the site where the Orange Bowl once stood.
Samson's most interesting comments? After the press conference was over, when he promised the Marlins wouldn't lose 100 games next season and would be in the playoffs multiple times with the young core it now has led by Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Fernandez and Christian Yelich.
"I promise you this: We're not going to lose 100 games next year. Not close," Samson said. "Look what the Red Sox did. They had the same record we did in '12. They turned it around to be in the World Series in '13. Well, it's time for us to do the same. That's why we didn't book that big concert in October . Because why would we book something when we should be and will be playing playoff games?"
Samson, who is busy trying to keep Marlins Park busy and filled with events in the months the team isn't playing there, was told fans don't trust the Marlins to keep their young talented players around long enough and expect them to be traded away.
"I hear that, but it's just not true," he responded. "We had a great core together from '06 to '12 and we just couldn't make the playoffs. It wasn't great enough. Now, we've rebooted, started again and we've got this core and we're going to be together for a lot of years. A lot of years. Giancarlo, Jose Fernandez, Christian Yelich, the list goes on and on. Go back to the '06 core, from Hanley to Uggla to our starting rotation, we were together the whole time. So that's not exactly right as you know. With our new core, I expect to we'll have several appearances as one of 10 [playoff] teams."
Samson never addressed the firing of former President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest. He finally did Thursday.
"Obviously the changes that were made at the end of the season were unfortunate. I've worked with Larry for 14 years. Every minute I've been in baseball has been with him. I respect every decision that's made by the ownership and the fact of the matter is we're all paid to win games. And the last few years we have not won enough games," Samson said.
"Do I lay it all on Larry? No of course not. But I lay it on all of us. What I hope our fans are realizing they don't have to worry about a ballpark anymore because we have one. They don't have to worry about the Marlins ever relocating or anything like that because we're here to stay. Now we have to worry about winning more games.
"Mike Hill and Dan Jennings are really tremendous heads to the baseball organization. They're going to really work well together to help us win. And if our fans were with us in the second half of the season -- which I know they were -- they saw some talent. I can't wait to start spring training. We start spring training in the middle of February. We're starting the minute we can get on the field. I think you're going to see us on the field February 16th because we want to get out there and get going. We have some very cool things for spring training, some very cool things were going to have. But what's better is we're getting ready for a new season and we're going to win more."
> Samson said the Marlins will be wearing red-orange caps for next season, the team's No. 1-selling cap. The Marlins didn't wear those caps at all in 2013 and only for a few games in 2012.
> Have the Marlins reached out or had serious discussions with UM or FIU about hosting football games at Marlins Park? "None that are worthy of mention at the moment," Samson said.
> What other events besides soccer and football could Marlins Park end up hosting? Sounds like March Madness could be the next big thing.
"NCAA basketball is something we're talking about, first and second round," Samson said. "It would be really cool the way it looks. You wouldn't have to drape anything off and the capacity is perfect for such an event so stay tuned."
> With the FBI in search of a serial bank robber in the northeast who has been wearing a black Marlins cap during his heists, Samson was asked for his take on the matter: "We'd be happy to give him a job if he would just stop robbing banks."