MIAMI -- Florida president David Samson said the Marlins are
"exploring relocation" in the event the team can't get a
baseball-only stadium in South Florida.
During an annual meeting with season ticket holders Tuesday,
Samson declined to specifically address an offer of land and money
by Miami Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga to help build a ballpark
next to Dolphins Stadium. He did say, however, the team remained
open to all options.
"We're definitely negotiating with everybody, and we're trying
to get a deal done here because it is our first choice," Samson
said. "But we recognize it may not happen and we don't have much
Samson said a resolution is needed immediately.
"We would like to see in the next month what could happen, but
in the meantime we are exploring relocation," he said.
Since their inception in 1993, the Marlins have shared the
Dolphins' home, owned by Huizenga. The Marlins' lease with the
stadium is in effect until 2007, and the team could move after
that. Las Vegas and Portland, Ore., are considered front-runners
for possible relocation.
Samson already has met with San Antonio officials.
"Our focus is on staying in South Florida, that's our only
goal," Samson said. "Five of the last seven new (major league)
ballparks were built after teams started to relocate and didn't."
Some fans told the team officials that they were upset at the
recent trading of several key players after Florida cut about $45
million in 2006 payroll after starting last year at $60 million.
Others said they understood the team's situation.
Willis said it was difficult to see teammates traded.
"It's a business and that's another aspect of the game. I just
have to get ready to go out there and do my thing," Willis said.