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It's a return of the David Samson show here on the local hour.
But I'm going to make it a little bit more special for the first time in over a year featuring Dan Levitan. Wow.
He's saying that that was wonderful. I am bringing the beard to the proceedings as David Sampson has finally lost his beard and stopped looking like a hobo in lumberjack world.
I'm way too short to be a hobo. And the lumberjack world, I would say I would be a hobo in tiny Tim's world is what I felt more like an ancient reference.
I was just asking my wife, Valerie, if she knew who Tiny Tim was. You? No, she knows these references. I am assuring you, David, that most of the people listening to this do not know. You're referencing a 1970s fat guy who played the ukulele tiptoe through the window.
I think you have to give more credit to people I only know him from. He did some stuff with WWF when I was little, and that's how I remember Tiny Tim. All right, David, there's plenty of exciting things going on with actual sports and really fascinating stuff with sports that haven't quite started yet. I want to start with you because you've had plenty of opinions on social media. I want to start with whatever the hell is going on with college football, a lack of leadership, an absolute transparent money grab, putting the lives of its players in danger even more than normal power, five conferences fighting with each other.
This is a fascinating thing that is happening right now with college football. It's a very interesting point in time for all of history. But for sports, this is massive. Your take on what's going on right now with college football.
So let's start with the lack of leadership you started with that the NCAA. What do they do?
I just want to read a job description. The way I've been brought up in business is that people in charge have a flowchart of who reports to them. Then they have a list of responsibilities and then they have some sort of action that they take when there is a crisis. For me, we're in a health crisis and we are in an information crisis and the silence. And when that happens, you end up, by the way, this is exactly what's going on in the country, if you will.
The federal government says states you do what you want. Here's what we think you should do. But you all decide. And by the way, if you want to curry the favor of the federal government and of the White House, you're going to do it the way we want to do it. The NCAA is attempting only half that where they're saying, hey, do whatever you want, but by not doing what I think you should do, you're not going to gain any benefits.
And by the way, you don't even know what we should do. So now you've got all these conferences doing all these different things. The Ivy League conference has led the way back in the basketball days. In the early part of covid, they canceled their conference tournament. Then the dominoes fell. They canceled all sports early. Yeah. No money.
No money there, though, David. No money there. But I'm talking about there's health and science and then there's business. And when you are a amateur sport, college football is an amateur sport. Now, it is a no.
No, it isn't. No, it isn't. No, it's not, David. No, it's not. It's not.
Understand what you're trying to say, because what you are mistakenly thinking is that because universities make money from college sports, that that makes those sports professional. That's not the definition. The definition of a professional sport is when the athletes are getting paid, not the university. So who is actually supposed to be in charge right now because there hasn't been any leadership? Am I an idiot for thinking that Mark Emmert should be the face of what's going on right now?
If he is supposed to be that, why isn't he?
Well, the only explanation is that he's not allowed to be that, because somewhere in the NCAA bylaws that I'm not willing to read, there is actually no power of the governing body, the NCAA, and it's actually up to the conferences. And Dan, do you think it's a coincidence that the conferences that want to play are mostly red versus blue? Do you think it's a coincidence in any way that there are certain doctors coming out in certain places questioning how it is that anyone could think it's anything other than safer for the college athletes to be playing football?
And do you even think it's a possible coincidence that the players are coming out and talking about getting paid as part of their demands and part of the health and safety protocols, which, by the way, have nothing to do with them getting paid?
I find all of this fascinating for a number of different reasons. And I don't know what I would put at the top of the list. But very close to the top of the list is the way that politics has infected even this in a way that is breathtaking. Where you have these it's the south versus the north. It is it's modern. It's during the modern day civil rights movement. You have a sports modern day civil war in a way that is just unbelievable to watch it happen.
And I think and I don't know what you would say to this, but how would you organize the players so that the ACC and the SCC and the Big 12 are actually getting something? Because this stuff didn't start shutting down David, until the PAC 12 and the Big Ten started saying we want stuff in return for risking our bodies for you. So the college athletes, the current college athletes, when they did the we are united and they laid out their list of demands.
Is this the first year that they started to realize that they were risking their bodies and house by playing college football and not getting paid? Or has covid been sort of the springboard to use it as a way to try to gain advantages, both financial and otherwise, that they've not otherwise been able to achieve?
They tried to get leverage with the union and Northwestern a couple of years ago. They didn't have the power to do it. This is athletes trying to exert leverage. But what I wonder about and this is the part that you could lend your expertise to, is that clearly somebody organized whatever was happening with the Big Ten in the PAC 12 and the Players Tribune to get that messaging out. Why isn't it happening with the SEC and the SEC?
Well, first of all, we have to talk about the legal side of it. You can't just organize a union, so that's not exactly how it operates. So you could get together some of the students, but it would be news to me because in order to start having a union, there has to be money involved. There has to be the employer employee relationship. And then you get together and there's a whole issue of private school versus public school, which is under the NLRB, which is the governing body basically that talks about what unions can do, what rights unions have, how collective bargaining works.
You know, as a sports guy, collective bargaining, that's MLB, that's NFL, that's NHL. They've actually have unions. But for the players to.
Get together and have a union, they're missing the first, most important step, they're not paid. And if you want to pay college athletes, that will be the end of college football. So what these athletes have been doing, these college players, all they're doing for the people who are coming behind them is saying we want to get rid of college sports. And that's fine if you want to go that direction. And I talked about it on yesterday's show, get rid of college sports.
I don't care. Make it all the minor leagues to the NFL and that's the end of it. The NFL teams will start owning the developmental teams and that's it. Forget the rock. Forget. Forget LSU. Forget Alabama, because those programs will not exist.
I'm still waiting on the reporting because I'm very curious to see if any of the individual conferences have forced major language and insurance policies like Wimbledon had that might have aided in this decision. How much is this decision from the Big Ten and the PAC 12 about the health and safety of the players and how much of it is potentially protecting amateurism? Amateurism is that new word, that's Danz word, that is a go to Dan, could you define amateurism, please?
You're witnessing it right now. It is the pretending that you're an amateur sport while making a whole bunch of money and trying to protect that amateur rule system. Basically what it is, is these rules in the NCAA were made before the television dollars, and they've stayed the same since since the television dollars. So the television dollars are getting split up, but they're not getting split up among the the unpaid labor. They're getting split up among administrators who are largely in charge.
And so that's where that phrase comes from. OK, so first of all, the money that college football makes you think it's going to the administrators of the university like the dean and the pros? No, no, no.
I'm talking about conference commissioners. I'm talking about Nick Saban. I'm talking about support staff. I'm talking about paying a million dollars for a strength coach at Iowa. I'm talking about all of it.
So if you have an opportunity to run your business and you have an opportunity to have cheap labor where the only cost of the labor is actually an education or financial aid, or taking the spot of someone who could pay full tuition and letting them go on a scholarship, you're saying that's a bad business decision or a bad moral decision?
It is a bad moral decision. It is the business decision that I would love to have in my life, paying all my employees with books. I would love to be able to pay them with pages, from books. So you could you just may not have the quality that you have now, or maybe you'd have better, you're the one who's deciding to pay your employees with dollars. If you went out and said, I'm Dan Leadbeater, I've got a bunch of shows and I'm looking for people to produce it, to research, to come on the air once in a while, to act like they're funny once in a while.
And here's your payment. Anybody interested send resumes. But that's what Mike's asking you. What are they protecting? Their system. Their system is what they're protecting here when they're bailing in the Big Ten in PAC 12, are they not? Or are they are they actually, they are saying it's the players. They're saying it's hard conditions. They're saying it's risk. They're saying it's a liability. Which are they protecting? Or it can be both the right combination.
Yeah, they're protecting the business of college. So the business of college is not the business of college sports. The business of college. When you run a university, sports is a part of it. And sports funds a lot of things. There's no question about it. But what you don't realize on university campuses that's happening now when the Big Ten decides that they're going to cancel college football, you're worried and thinking it's impacting the college football players. How unfair it is they don't get to play.
And this is the greatest time in their lives. So what about the professors? What about the endowed chairs? What about all the students who are not going to be able to go to those schools because the amount of financial aid is down? What about the fact that the endowments are down, the investment income on the endowments are down, and all of the tough budget decisions that are being made on the academic side, way more so than the sports side that no one's talking about, which is really the function of the university.
All universities do who are big football universities is they use that as a huge money maker to fund all of the money losers, not just on the sports side, but also on the academic side.
You alluded to it, David. You alluded to it. That's not the only thing that's going on here when you talk about professors and all the income that is taken care of because these big time college football programs, there's electoral votes. And it is this is more than coincidental. There is something absolutely to the fact that deep red states are saying, let's play. And the Big Ten, which is made up of essentially purple states that have flipped from blue to red, absolute swing states.
I mean, Ohio State not taking the field against Michigan, that it sounds ridiculous, but it could potentially have a hand in who the next president is. So do you know how budgets work? It's pretty fascinating when you look at a university budget, just take any any take Rutgers as an example in New Jersey. Do you know who their biggest donor is?
No. If you had a guess, could you name them the biggest donor?
No, no. They're a state university. Is it is it the federal government, the state of New Jersey? All right. So if you think that presidents don't have to deal with legislatures and don't have to deal with the House of Representatives and the senators and the local governments, that is a huge part of what they do. And so all of these decisions, of course, are based on politics and money and funding. And they're looking at a huge budget and they're figuring out, wait a minute, am I going to get cut if I don't have football?
What's going to happen in my red state when I'm not being given the support that I need to run this university for getting the football side, but all the other things that go on inside the university. So this is not new. There's been politics in sports forever. But what's going on in our country now, it's so supercharged and the virus has become so politicized for reasons that are beyond me, because obviously viruses don't know colors. They don't know red or blue.
They're just viruses. But it has informed the decision of many of these schools who are blind to the actual science and are blaming. They're blaming, if you can imagine, politics for their decisions, which has happened all the time. And that is in the history. But they've never said it before. So given what we've seen with governors and federal aid going to specific states and the the federal government absolutely sending a message, you can do what you want, but it's a lot better for you if you do what we want.
When the president tweets, play college football. Exclamation point if I'm a big ten president. Am I taking that as a threat? Potentially. So here's what happens.
The Big Ten, the presence of a Big Ten school, the federal the federal side of it is not as significant as the state side. So they're much more concerned with what's going on on their state political side. And there is so much pressure in order to maintain some level of budget. But but I want to talk about something slightly different. The president's come out against kneeling yet in the NBA. They started the bubble and they started kneeling and the president said, don't watch the NBA.
I'm not going to watch it. That is not impacted. One dollar of broadcast revenue, not one major network has stopped showing basketball or stopped making payments or in any way kowtowed to that point of view. The president now will come out and talk about college football and says, you have to play what's for what. What is the basis of that statement is something I don't quite understand. He's merely talking about his reelection. He's talking about what his view is of his base.
And are there enough anti covid to maintain the states in the swing states that he needs to get to 270 so he doesn't care about college football? There's not one ounce of it. It's all based on an electoral strategy with an election coming up in only a few months.
Right. Because college football is tribal, it is as close to hooliganism that we have in this country. It's a way of life. Not having Crimson Tide football in the fall ends, businesses over there and livelihoods over there. The entire economy runs on it over there. And quite frankly, people just want to watch their Crimson Tide football. It's his base to ask. Football is his base. Hmm.
And if there is an erosion of that base, then there is no chance of re-election. And I don't blame Trump for trying to get re-elected. Every first term president tries to get re-elected a second term. And the difference now in our country is that actually Trump has a way to do it where he can tie in health, which most in my lifetime I've never seen that. Normally it's a war that presidents are tying in to get re-elected. It's totally changed.
When's the last time anyone talked about foreign policy? There's been zero talk about what's going on anywhere other than foreign policy.
We can't we're not allowed in any countries. No one is allowed. We are all the states that have to say, look, this is not the United. We are not United States. The world's not united. Everything. Everyone is fending for themselves. It's a total apocalypse and jumping off of what Dan said.
One final college football topic. Before we veer into baseball, I want to take a look at what Nebraska is doing publicly. I'm not really sure if they have any options right now. They just seem to be emotional on the Big Ten. Commissioner was kind of funny in his comments. Look, it's a it's an emotional decision. I understand how they feel about it, but sort of like, what the hell can they do about it? David Samson hopes of nothing personal.
What the hell can Nebraska do about it? They can just defect.
They can leave the conference. And I love what the commissioner said. He said, listen, you want to play nonconference games. I'm laughing because they won't be called nonconference games, because you won't be in the conference. You will simply be playing games. So he corrected the Nebraska coach in the ad. It's so shocking what the Nebraska coach has done. It's so irresponsible. You if you're the president of a university, one last thing on this. You've got to think not just about the money.
Shockingly, that's what you think. They're only thinking about what happens if myocarditis is real. What happens if players get that and ten, twenty years down the line, do you think it's a coincidence that the players in their demands wanted health coverage going forward because they don't know what covid is going to do? They know they're risking getting it and they also know they're not going to be professional players. The majority of these college students are not going to be in the NFL.
And even if they make it to the NFL, the majority of those people don't make enough money to live the rest of their lives. The only thing is they have a chance to get better medical coverage. So that's why medical coverage was such a huge part of their demands, because no one knows. That's why you don't want to get covid and everyone saying, well, the death rates down, I've gotten crushed on Twitter, say the death rates down, no one's dying.
How could you not care? How could you not want college football? I said, you're missing my point. I don't have enough information to tell you what the future is. If I get the flu, I know that I'm going to get better, but it's going to be a pain in the neck. What? I don't know what it is because it's too young. What the long term. The ramifications are and if you're the president of a university, you cannot mess around with the lives of your students, but if you're the commissioner of a major sports league that is professional, you can wash your hands and say, listen, we're going to do these protocols.
You know, the science. You may have a problem later in life. You may not you want to play play. You don't want to play, opt out. But let's start understanding.
You may not have a wealth of knowledge of how, you know, the Big Ten conference works and their TV dollars, if you could guess, I guess, what would be the penalty for Nebraska if they were to simply defect? Is there any sort of financial penalty for that? Are they are they susceptible to a lawsuit of some kind or do they just say, all right, we're jumping from this conference to back to the Big 12 and we might actually make more money in making this decision?
So that's informed by whether or not their TV deal and their network separate would change because of the loss of Nebraska. Would they be the difference that would cause others in contract with the conference to walk away? And my view of that would be no. I actually think there'd be more money to split amongst the remaining 13 teams, which is interesting because maybe they want Nebraska to leave and not be part of the Big Ten because it's so embarrassing what they're doing.
Can you explain to me, David, as someone who was intimately involved with all of these negotiations, because I have never seen your podcast is called Nothing Personal because you are a business assassin.
I have never seen sports be this overt, though, in sort of taking a bat to the structural integrity of what it is that it does in order to get to those TV dollars. So baseball is going to get to the end of this season. Even if the Marlins are fielding twenty five janitors, they're going to get to that TV money. But what I wanted to ask you is give us the specifics you can about your Marlins television negotiations, how bad the Marlins market is for television negotiations, what you thought you were going to get, how how much lower that was and where Gita's problems might be in trying to get money for the Marlins that make this sustainable two decades down the line because they've got the kind of TV contract that funds the Dodgers.
OK, that's that's the Segway. So I don't think we've we've we've ever talked about this.
So when Jeffrey, the owner of the Marlins, asked me to sell the Marlins, we didn't hire an investment bank. We didn't hire anybody. I just went out there and tried to drum up bids and try to pretend that there were a lot of people bidding. One of the things that we had as an asset, believe it or not, was the fact that we had no attendance and we had no TV revenue and we had no winning seasons. It was a benefit for the price of the Marlins because what it made us look like is that we were completely incompetent.
So therefore anyone would come in and be better. They'd be able to get more fans, they'd be able to get a naming rights deal. They'd be able to win more games. And the best part is they'd be able to negotiate a TV deal. What they didn't know in the beginning is I had spent two years going out to L.A. on an almost weekly basis to negotiate with Fox to redo our deal. And what I was told to do from Jeffrey is I had to get up front money to help cover the losses, which obviously hurts what you get each year.
But he wasn't as interested in what happens ten years from now. He wanted to have as much money as he could now so he could not lose as much money and keep the payroll at a reasonable level because he knew he was going to sell the team.
No, he didn't. I don't think he knew he was going to be.
Just what you just said sounds kind of circumstantial evidence.
It does feel, because we did it in thousand five with Cablevision when we were signing Carlos Delgado in two thousand five. Not only did we have to backload his deal, but I had to go to Cablevision and sign an extension. It was Cablevision at that time and take up front money to help cover the extra payroll. So what you're saying is not accurate at all? I know it may look that way in the rearview mirror, but it's not accurate at all.
We're always looking for upfront money. We were always looking when I was doing the naming rights deal, part of what I wanted was a big block of money. Now, because our view was, let's worry about later, later. But that's that's how we were always in all 18 years. So I go to L.A. and I would bring Jeff Conine sometimes or Michael sometimes and just seeing if that would be interesting to have them talk about the team and how we're doing in the players we have.
And it was all a joke because what Fox view was, your market has the following number of subscribers and that is where our money comes from. It doesn't come from advertising revenue. It doesn't come from ratings. That's such a funny thing that people misunderstand. The Marlins ratings are down ten point two percent. What a disaster. No one gives a crap in L.A. what the Marlins ratings are. And it's always great articles, the Dodgers. Up 20 percent doesn't matter.
It doesn't matter at all whether or not people are watching. That's what you're saying, it matters zero. What matters is how many people are paying to have Fox Sports, Florida and how many subscribers there are in the DMA. That's all that matters.
It's why it's why ESPN for several years during the 90s and early 2000s, before cutting the cord became popular, was the biggest financial winner in Disney's portfolio because they were part of cable packages. And it didn't matter if it was a 68 year old grandma or a 22 year old college student that loved watching sports. They were paying the same amount of money for ESPN, made 20 billion dollars in six years for Disney because the subscriber rate rate was one hundred and ten million or one hundred and twenty million.
And our show, highly questionable, which was moderately successful, had about 500000 viewers a day, which means that you had about one hundred nineteen million five hundred thousand people paying for ESPN, not watching, highly questionable. I'm just going to let that marinate and ipso facto paying for you to do highly questionable for the vast majority of them sitting on the couch watching another channel. And by the way, it's not lost on me that whatever the public reports are, it's not as though you're not highly compensated and that money is not coming because of their love of you.
It is coming because the money was flowing so rapidly in from subscribers who were paying money for stuff that they were not actually ingesting that they could share with reckless abandonment. They could choose people they liked or choose people of a certain demographic. Put a bunch of people on the air and just say, hey, you're still paying. But then the cord cutting started and then the ala carte started. That's when things get different. So I go to Los Angeles, negotiated for two years, get a deal in place, which included upfront money, plus a ten year extension starting in two thousand and twenty one.
I get the deal. And what's the deal? What is the deal? You get what deal?
And an extension of the Marlins TV deal for humbugged, which included, let's just say, a four times multiple over what we were getting and including upfront money, which I've never said what we're getting.
But there are people who do have chosen to report that one of the reports can you've never said it million the reports where the were beginning around twenty million dollars a year, which is obviously it's embarrassing. The Marlins were number 30 out of 30 in terms of TV. What's the going rate?
What like what the average major league club is making. What. So yeah.
Is it average median or mean? So let's go to the top where the biggest DMA. Let's just say that the the Dodgers two hundred and fifty million dollars a year, all the way down to the Marlins at thirty in the middle. But there's a little complication here because a team like the Mets can tell you that they're only making seventy five to ninety million dollars a year. That's the team that's being sold right now. But they're lying to you because that is that is a number that they just make up because they also own the network that's paying them.
And when you make money on your network, you don't have to share that money with the rest of Major League Baseball as part of something called revenue sharing. So you're trying to pay your team as little as possible because that money gets shared with all the teams like the Marlins. So within baseball, there are fights every year between small revenue teams like the Marlins and large revenue teams like the Mets saying you think you're only getting ninety million dollars. That's not true.
You're making two hundred million dollars and you're taking money out of our pocket. So those fights go on all the time. And there are actually people who arbitrate those fights.
So cut to Derek Jeter, walks in a room one day and talking about the TV deal. And Derek looks at this and and says, oh, you know, all right, don't sign that deal. Don't sign that deal because we're going to do way better than that. Totally impugning my ability to negotiate a deal because who am I? He viewed me as an absolute zero in terms of everything that had gone on, on and off the field.
And I said, great, because the truth is, Derek, you're going to do way better because I didn't even hire a consultant. I had no idea what I was doing. I just thought we could slot in right around Cleveland. But Miami deserves way, way more because he then got to put in his projections that he was going to get this huge TV deal which showed the Marlins would make all this money, which is explaining to other people why the Marlins are worth what he knew he'd have to pay to get them.
And it was a joke. So we don't sign the TV deal. Jeter then goes to L.A. whether he goes in person or not, who cares? I'm Derek Jeter.
Give me more than what you were giving Simpson. And they say, why no? And, well, I'm jittery. What do you mean I'm gener I'm here. What do you mean I'm allowed to see you? Yeah, I think it wasn't that a part of his PowerPoint presentation either. Derek Jeter, all the flow chart always goes back to what is our slogan? I'm Jeter.
And that was that's what I counted on. It was the number one thing. So I set up all these things in the organization. Here's the four companies we're dealing with on naming rights. But we could only get five or six million. But my budget says we should have gotten 10 or 11. And I think that could be in your budget for sure.
So you add up all this stuff and then Jeter realizes that the world has changed because he delayed around. And in the interim, guess what happened? The Tampa Bay Rays signed an extension. And Fox sold out to Sinclair, so those two things have had such a negative impact on the Marlins ability to get a deal, that now if the Marlins get even close to what I had negotiated all those years ago, it would be a miracle and they won't.
And that's the problem for the Marlins going forward and being competitive.
That's a great story. And just the dynamic of Derek Jeter, his entire business plan, just me and Derek Jeter is incredible. I want to go into a delicate place with David Samson real quick, because I've always been a little confused as to how what a team president did and specifically what you did, because I think your role was different than a lot of team presidents. And this might make you slightly uncomfortable, but I'm just I'm just trying to work out how incentivized you are to negotiate these deals.
I imagine you have a salary of some sort. And I imagine, like most of your players and front office people, you have performance bonuses. But do you have a negotiation fee like when you're negotiating and taking on the stress of selling a Major League Baseball club? And in these meetings with Derek Jeter, is there any sort of bonus in terms of what the final sale price is for you?
And I know this is delicate, so if you can handle this however you want it, telling him how delicate it is and just let him answer the question, OK?
Go for it. So. My contract, I had a contract, the way it worked is when I first got into baseball, Jeffrey was my stepfather, was married to my mother, and so I had a contract that we just did basically at the dinner table. And then my then Jeffrey divorced my mother in two thousand and four, and he was not my stepfather anymore. And that's when I got a lawyer and he got a lawyer. And the negotiations after that were far more detailed and the contracts were far longer.
So when we were building the stadium, I had a contract that included a stadium bonus that if because I was able to negotiate the stadium and get the deal done and once the stadium state, that building was completed and completed on budget and on time, that was a level of bonus when it came to selling the team. The contract that I was under had no provision at all for selling the team. So I had no profit participation. I had no kicker, which is not which is not uncommon with team presidents.
I had no part of the team at all.
Did you ever there did you or your lawyer er there. No, because we, I asked every negotiation after he had left, my mother involved me saying I want to get paid if this team increases in value. If I didn't I didn't do it based on wins and losses. I always did it based on money I won and I didn't do it based on annual because I knew that we'd never make money, because I'd always want a higher payroll. I'd always want the next player, which I would never do.
I would operate the team at a profit and say, if the young players can win, great, if they can't find it is what it is. He actually wanted players who were overpaid and not performing.
So I wanted I wanted a different type of bonus and I wanted a piece of the team. And I came to him with a list of all the team presidents who had pieces of the team. And it was always a no and always know. And there were times when I was interviewing other places I interviewed at one point to be the president of the Knicks. What and no, that wait a minute, let's go. Hold on a second. First of all, do you feel like.
Hold on. Let's talk about that now. But do you feel, Mike, like he's sufficiently answered your question there? I think that that was a pretty good answer.
I mean, considering where we are now, the question probably wasn't even that good. The answer is better than I anticipated, which is basically how much money do you make, David? Yeah. So let's go with the next story. Yes.
Well, I mean, there were if you hold on, you were leveraging other opportunities, even though the perception was this is a nepotism hire. But those within the industry knew what sort of job you were doing and you actually had real prospects on your. Was that the perception, given that their deals were signed over Shabat dinner? I don't understand why that was the perception.
But remember, that was the first fight. That was the first four years of an 18 year career in baseball. So don't forget the number of years you're talking about.
Dan, for you, who were you going to replace with the Knicks? And first of all, people need to understand that your fandom probably started as a heckler at Knicks games.
So it was my dream job. And I got a call from a recruiter and the Knicks were looking to hire someone to run the team. And I went to New York and I interviewed and I made it to close to the final round and it got ruined. And I did not tell Jeffrey about this. And I've never talked about it publicly at all. And I I don't believe he's a listener to your show. As a matter of fact, I know he's not.
So I don't think he's on Twitter or any sort of social media. I've never told him this. So back when I was with the Marlins, I could just get on a plane and fly. Know, you get on the plane. Jeffrey is not in Florida, so I can disappear for a day and no one would know the difference. So it starts with phone interviews and then an in-person interview with Steve Mills, who is a name that was still involved for a while.
And I was working through a recruiter. And first it starts with phone and then goes in person. And my dream was to run the Knicks. And this was running the Knicks, Rangers, the guard. And it was a big job and it went south the following way. And I don't regret it. But here's what happened. I can't believe you just made me think of this. They ask you, what's the first thing you do? Right.
It's the number one interview question for people who don't know how to do interviews. What's the first thing you would do as president of the New York Knicks? And I didn't pause literally. I said I would fire Isiah Thomas. And I knew that there was a relationship there between Mills and Thomas, but in that moment I said to myself, I'm going to do I'm going to be true to what I would do, because if I can't switch jobs and leave the Marlins and go into a situation where, again, I'm dealing with an owner and a direct report where there can be difficulties, I need to be able to do it the way I want to do it.
And I was told the next day that I've been eliminated, and that was why. So at the time, was Isaiah Thomas, was he just the coach or was the coach and general manager was because he had a very close relationship? What's not with Mills? It's with Dolan. He had Dolan would go to bat again and again for Isaiah Thomas.
Yeah. So he was doing both, is my recollection. And I had just looked at what was going on with the Knicks organization. I'd done my homework not and I took my faith. The hardest part of that whole process was taking my fan hat off and putting my business hat on and talking about what it would mean to go in and run a team like that. Knowing the difference. It's much bigger responsibility. It's much. But at the end of the day, it's just a difference of zeros.
If you know what you're doing in your job, whether there are five people listening to your show or fifty thousand five hundred thousand or five million or 50 million, you're going to be true to yourself and do the show you want to do within the constraints of the network on which you're on. That's how I always felt that I ran the Marlins as though they were the Yankees or Mannu or Chelsea. I did not run them as though they were the twenty ninth ranked or 30th ranked team in terms of revenue in baseball.
And that informed me on how to run a team.
How many other teams did you interview with?
So what I did was after the Knicks fell apart, I was it was a contract year. So it was both leverage. But it was also me testing, could I exist without Jeffrey, did I want to exist without Jeffrey? Did I want to switch sports? Did I want to move back to New York? Because remember, I lived in New York my whole life and I moved to Florida with my family and I then signed an extension. And that's when the stadium got more real.
And we ended up getting a ballpark here. And once we got the ballpark approved in two thousand nine, I didn't take any more calls to leave because it was too there was too much to do here.
You mentioned something that I can't believe, how awkward it had to have been, even for someone like you, who at the time was made of wires. But the idea that your boss is divorcing your mom as you work for him, like what were the awkwardness tentacles that ended up seeping into everything, even as you're someone who says, hey, it's nothing personal, it's business, that one is personal in a way that's, you know, not a lot of people experience that one.
Yeah, I became completely robotic. I was told back in spring training after you won the World Series is when I was told that it was going to happen. Actually, it goes back even before that, there were issues that were going on. And if you go back and look, I mean, here is one guys.
You want to I mean, listen, screw it. We want to do it. Let's do it. The World Series is going on. I'm dealing with everything I have to deal with. But I've got a mother who wants to be involved and an owner who doesn't want her involved. They're sitting in separate places in Yankee Stadium in Game six. And I'm arranging all of the different seating to make sure that their politicians in certain places, family members in certain places.
This is what I'm doing.
The day of Game six in New York is I was working with our traveling secretary at the time, Belbek, my assistant, Beth McConville, and we had on the floor Post-it notes of where people had to sit both personally because of family issues and politically because we had two mayors we had to deal with who were fighting with themselves about how close they would be to the field and what they would do should the should the Marlins ever win. Which is why when you watch the World Series winning video, there's actually a video that was released and people paid for it.
If you go back and look, there's one of the mayors, including a guy who's running again, Alex Pinellas in Miami, who's on the field celebrating in the pile. What that caused for me is something that I've never talked about because it was insanity. But the best part of the story, and this is why not screw it, watch the video and they focus.
Fox, for whatever reason, focuses on Jeffrey Loria. Right. As Josh Beckett is tagging out, Jorge Posada, he's sitting with only John Anderson, his security guard, a dear, dear man who you may know he's been involved in football, and Dan Marino and Michael Jordan. Big John is what is called Jeffrey Loria. Watch Game six with Big John Anderson, the two of them at Yankee Stadium watching his team. He didn't sit with his GM, with this president, with his family now, Big John.
So he's watching the game after the game. It's on the video. His lips. What they say is, I don't want her in their. He was referring to not wanting my mother in the clubhouse after during the celebration. I don't know, this is going on because I'm sitting outside the third base dugout, so I don't see what he's saying, so I don't go to the pile on the field. I go right down to the clubhouse. Not because of that, because that's what I would do.
I'm going to let the celebrators, the players celebrate. And I go down I get down to the clubhouse. I'm in the state of delirium because we just won the World Series. And I'm approached not by Jeffrey. And he and I have not ever talked about this, by the way, not one time, not approached by Jeffrey, but by someone in security saying there are certain people who aren't going to be coming into this clubhouse. It's a closed clubhouse.
And I said, I don't know what you're talking about. And I went into the clubhouse. I then get on my shoulder while I'm hugging and celebrating with Larry Byrn, festive Mikhail.
Someone wants entrance into the clubhouse saying, it's your mother. Oh, my God. So I said, of course, I have no idea that there's any issue, so I go and I let her come in, she comes in the clubhouse because why wouldn't she? I don't know that there's an issue comes in and then I'm told it's Jefferey saying, what's going on?
Why are all these people in the clubhouse? Because it was a zoo in there. I mean, I don't know if you were at that game or if you were in the club, but it was it was a zoo and it became a very stressful time.
So other than the fact that Steinbrenner turned the lights out and other than the fact that that all the things that we had won the World Series, I was miserable because there was a family dynamic going on that I hadn't been aware of, how deep it was. I knew how bad it was because of seating and it had been going on all the way from San Francisco to Chicago to New York all through the playoffs. And so I knew that it wasn't great, but I wasn't aware of the level of not great it was.
And again, for me, it was business. I had to deal with the team owner who wanted to celebrate. I had to deal with the team owners wife who just happened to be my mother, who wanted to celebrate feeling like she'd been a part of it since the beginning of the Montreal days. And it ended in a divorce that that people don't realize how it could have gone differently in terms of the team. And if you look at what happened with the McCourt's and other issues, when owners get divorced, sometimes you can have teams that are sold, which may have been a desire of of many people in Florida.
But somehow I was as president of the team, I kept the team out of the divorce and that that's it. And it was it was it was a struggle. There's no doubt about it, Dan. I mean, it was but my ability to navigate it was simply based on the fact that I had no emotion. But when I talk about it to other people, I'm looked at as though I am some sort of robot that's hard.
All of what you're talking about is super, super hard, super awkward, super hard.
I didn't realize it at the time. As I've gotten older, it's and I've seen how bizarre that is. It has impacted me in a way that at the time it did not impact me at all. David Samson, host of Nothing Personal. An amazing show this week, quite the revelation that he spoke with the Knicks and that most recent story was unbelievable. Can't wait to speak with you next week, David. Hope you are. Well, make sure to check out his podcast.
Nothing Personal with David Samson. Thank you for your time.
Thanks, guys. Good to see you then. Thank you, buddy.