MIAMI -- Marlins president David Samson found himself on Wednesday clarifying some remarks that were reported in Miami Today.
Samson's comments came during a speech he gave on Tuesday to the Beacon Council regarding his 50-mile run to raise money for charities on April 4.
Miami Today quoted Samson as saying: "I don't have to hold back now that the stadium is built. We're not the smartest people in Miami. If you're in this room, you're instantly in the top one percent."
On Wednesday, Samson said that his comments were a mischaracterization, noting he wasn't insulting the intelligence of Miami residents.
"We were talking about charity, and we are the top one percent, fortunate people," Samson said. "We are the fortunate one percent, and we have to give back. I was talking about my run. It's a complete misquote."
Channel 10 in Miami provided audio of what Samson said in its entirety:
"Politicians are focused on raising money, re-election and they're forced to blow in the wind of constituents. And constituents don't necessarily know every part of every issue. That's not their jobs. They have other jobs as citizens of this community. So I don't think anyone in this room has the ability to speak completely, intellectually on every issue that confronts the local government.
"That's not saying we [the people in the room] are not the smartest people in Miami. My guess is if you're in this room, we're immediately in the top one percent. But the fact is, there's so much we have to do in our everyday lives and we're all running our businesses and doing our work, that government has their own separate role."
Another quote taken from the Beacon Council meeting regarded talks between the Marlins and Las Vegas a few years ago, when the team was exploring other markets in the event a new ballpark wasn't built in Miami.
The Miami Today story quoted Samson as saying: "We don't care if nobody comes [in Las Vegas]. We'll play in front of nobody, and we'll have all the money."
Samson on Wednesday noted that in those conversations about a potential stadium in Las Vegas, it was discussed that the casinos would buy up all the suites and tickets, which meant it wouldn't matter if fans were in the seats from a revenue standpoint. That didn't mean that the team didn't care if fans showed up.
"We were talking about the ballpark in Vegas, not Miami," Samson said on Wednesday. "The Vegas ballpark would have been all suites, no seats. The casinos would buy them all, and buy all the food in advance. And if gamblers wanted to come, they'd come, if they didn't want to come, they didn't have to come. Either way, the team would make its money. It was Vegas, not Miami."
The Marlins are preparing to open their inaugural season at Marlins Park on April 4, and the team is in the process of rebranding itself in Miami.
"We love the ballpark, and we want our fans to come and love our ballpark too," Samson said. "This was a speech given to 75 business leaders that was completely mischaracterized."
Conine enamored with Marlins Park
MIAMI -- One of the most popular Marlins ever enjoyed two stints with the organization.
A part of him wishes he could make it three.
Jeff Conine, Mr. Marlin himself, is a big fan of the team's new ballpark, and he desperately wants to play in it.
"I'm jealous. That's all there is to it," said Conine, 45, who retired in 2007. "I wish I could have donned a uniform and played in this building."
Conine, an original Marlin, was part of the franchise's 1997 and 2003 World Series title teams. He remains a special assistant in the organization.
Actually, he does wear a uniform for batting practice.
Conine endured all the ups and downs of playing at Sun Life Stadium, which was designed for football and didn't have a retractable roof.
From the moment the ballpark broke ground to how it turned out is even better than the renderings portrayed.
"It really is," Conine said. "It's spectacular. Everything about it, the facilities to the ballpark itself. The outside of it, the way it looks. Everything about it is spectacular."
Now that they've built it, will people, especially those in Broward and Palm Beach counties come?
"I think they are going to be skeptical at first, but when they come here, I think they're going to want to come back. I really do," Conine said. "It's going to be a great experience.
"They'll give it a shot to say, 'I came to a game here.' They may not go to as many games as they did at Sun Life. But once they see a game, they will venture down more than they thought they would."
About 2 1/2 hours before Wednesday's exhibition at Marlins Park, MLB told the Marlins to inform Florida International University that their players couldn't use aluminum bats.
The Marlins supplied the FIU players with wood bats to use during the exhibition. The edict came a night after the Marlins beat the University of Miami, 7-6, on Tuesday at Marlins Park. UM players were allowed to use their aluminum bats.
Giancarlo Stanton put on a batting practice show in his first game at the team's new ballpark. Stanton blasted some shots that bounced on the concourse and off the back wall of the stadium.
Jose Reyes, who played on Wednesday in Miami, is not traveling to Port St. Lucie on Thursday when the Marlins take on the Mets.
The highlight of warmups came when Heath Bell trotted out to where the FIU players were in the outfield and waved for them to follow him. The FIU players jogged toward the Marlins players along the left-field foul line. The college players interacted with the pros, and they even did some loosening-up drills together.
Beginning Thursday, the Marlins are asking their fans for feedback regarding their new ballpark. Fans can present their observations or concerns about the building to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hall of Famer Tony Perez was asked how many home runs he would hit at Marlins Park. "About 10," he said. "I'm 70 years old."