SAN ANTONIO - Florida Marlins president David Samson visited San Antonio on Tuesday as part of a preliminary search for a possible new home for the team.
Samson said the city was the first stop on a tour that will last three to five months.
“We’re not a free-agent pitcher. We’re a team looking for a right fit,” Samson said.
The Marlins have struggled to attract large crowds at Dolphins Stadium, home of Miami’s NFL team, since their inception in 1993. They can leave after their lease expires in 2007.
After previous owner Wayne Huizenga boosted payroll, the Marlins won the 1997 World Series. But poor attendance that season led to a roster purge, and the depleted Marlins finished last in 1998.
The Marlins, two years removed from another World Series title, are getting rid of high-priced players again this offseason. They recently abandoned plans to build a stadium in downtown Miami.
Major League Baseball has given the Marlins permission to explore relocation. Bob DuPuy, baseball’s chief operating officer, plans to travel to Miami on Thursday to discuss the Marlins’ ballpark situation.
Samson was escorted by Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff and San Antonio Mayor Phil Hardberger.
“We don’t know where it all might lead, but it’s a start,” Wolff said.
“It’s only one indication of how San Antonio is moving forward on all fronts, that the Marlins are even here talking to us,” Hardberger said.
Samson also is expected to visit Las Vegas, Portland, Oregon, and other cities he didn’t disclose.
San Antonio is home to the Double-A Missions of the Texas League.
The Missions, affiliated with the Seattle Mariners, play at Wolff Stadium, which is named for the county judge and ex-mayor.
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