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Last night, it looked like Miami Marlins President David Samson made the mistake of playing the game too hard, too fast. When given the task of getting rid of his tribe’s weakest player, he sent real-life WWE action figure Garrett packing. When asked why he made this decision, David said it was because Garrett would be a threat down the line.
To put this in baseball terms; it seemed like David was preparing his closer while his starter was getting shelled in the first inning.
I spoke with David the morning after his elimination and had a chance to ask about what was really behind the decision, how nuclear engineering ties into shelter construction, and the dysfunctional Brains tribe…
Gordon Holmes: Now David, I’m not a nuclear engineer, but I’m going to do my best to conduct this interview.
David Samson: (Laughs) Neither am I, but we can get through this together.
Holmes: So, you hit the beach. Probst tells you you’re on the Brains tribe. I’m thinking that puts you at an immediate disadvantage because one of the benefits of being smart is when people underestimate you. What was going through your mind at that point?
Samson: That I was wearing a blazer. That I was the older male on a tribe that was labeled as “smart.” I thought, “Uh-oh.” Then he said the worst words you can hear early on in “Survivor,” “Choose a leader.” You can’t run and hide in a six-person tribe. Five people unanimously looked at me and I had no choice. They thought I was a threat, chose me as a leader, then got rid of me.
Holmes: Now I understand why you wouldn’t want Garrett in the game, he’s going to be an immunity threat down the line, but did you worry that you’d come off as playing the game too fast by picking him as the weakest?
Samson: No, because if I had to choose first I would have chosen Kass. But when Morgan and Trish were chosen I went with Garrett because I thought there’s no way these people are leaving. He’s not switching tribes because he’s wearing green and so is everyone else in the tribe except for me. Maybe I was going to be moved. I thought there was going to be a day one challenge between Garrett, Morgan, and Trish.
Holmes: Did you ever try to make peace with Garrett?
Samson: Absolutely. I certainly didn’t want to take him far in the game, but I didn’t want him out first. I wanted J’Tia out first. It should have been five to one. She wasn’t doing anything around camp, she was bossing people around. We were a group of six leaders with no followers. We ended up getting nothing done. It cost us. As far as Garrett was concerned I figured having him around for a while would be fine. But after watching that second hour, the brainy tribe doesn’t seem very brainy.
Holmes: My mom made the point that a tribe of six dumb people couldn’t have done much worse.
Samson: Oh, I think that’s giving us way too much credit.
Holmes: Was there any kind of clue that J’Tia would be the kind of person that would dump the rice in the fire?
Samson: No, the only thing I thought she was capable of was that level of laziness and entitlement. Dumping rice to me isn’t good gameplay. It’s not good TV. It’s not good anything. If she had dumped it and I was still there it would have taken some serious security guards to stop me.
Holmes: A lot of people were coming up with alternate back stories. You said you work in marketing for the Marlins.
Samson: I didn’t want to hide that I was with the Marlins, but I didn’t want someone to know I had money or power.
Holmes: I’m a huge Cardinals fan. I could probably recognize Bill DeWitt III. Were you worried a Miami baseball fan could have outted you?
Samson: Yes. But, it wasn’t going to stop me from playing. I’ve wanted to play this game since 2000. That’s a risk I was willing to take.
Holmes: Did Garrett ever tell you what the decision he had to make was?
Samson: No, he didn’t tell any of us. I sort of had a feeling that he had an idol. But, it didn’t matter to me because I thought he wouldn’t think someone would vote for him anyway because he was so big and strong. I figured he wouldn’t play the idol, and he didn’t.
Holmes: What was your take on Latasha?
Samson: I thought she was very insecure. A great girl, but she wanted to play so badly. She wanted to strategize and I wanted to focus on getting water and building a shelter. There’s a time for that, but I don’t think day one or day two is when you need to do that.
Holmes: Alright, let’s do some word association. We’ll start with Garrett.
Samson: More abs than brain cells.
Samson: Insecure and a grudge.
Samson: Much smarter than she wants you to think she is, but much less evil than she wants you to think she is.
Samson: Crazy as a loon. She literally is the mayor of crazytown and I love her for it.
Holmes: What’s been the reaction from your friends at the Marlins?
Samson: They’re definitely stoked that I did it. They know me well. And they know that I like to do interesting things. I think a lot of them thought I was going to go first or go last. There’s no middle ground with me. I’m very honest, consistent, and driven. The upside is you accomplish a lot. But, you fail too.
Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes