The Survivor Reunion Show Recap: Checking Back In With David Samson


When last we left our friend, generally deplorable president of the Miami Marlins David Samson, he had been the very first contestant kicked off of this season of Survivor. Even though he missed out on 36 of the 39 days the eventual winners spent in the Philippines, his brief stay was eventful. Let’s recap his downfall:

1) David shows up wearing a sport coat, and is immediately acknowledged as the leader of the “brain” tribe.

2) David establishes his M.O. of speaking entirely in baseball metaphors.

3) David misreads a situation and targets one of his team’s strongest physical players for elimination, “thinking about Day 39” before the game is even 5 minutes old. That player winds up being given a significant advantage in the game.

4) David and the rest of his tribe fail spectacularly in the immunity challenge, meaning they will be forced to vote someone out.

5) David forges an alliance with Kass, who convinces him to focus instead on the incompetent J’Tia, but then Kass tells J’Tia they are gunning for her, allowing her to scramble together a counter-alliance.

6) David is voted out, blaming his tribe for being disorganized (when he was supposed to be their leader) and saying he had no regrets about the strategy that led to his immediate expulsion from the game he had trained so hard for.

On Wednesday, Survivor had it’s season finalé, which Samson did not win, obviously. Because he was the very first person eliminated. Indeed, he has had more time to think and reflect on where his game went wrong than anyone else who played the game this year, and whether by adopting a different approach and making different choices, he might have found even the smallest measure of success.

So during the half-hour reunion show, host Jeff Probst turned to the Marlins’ executive and asked him about his strategy:

Probst: David, you’re a big time executive. You make these million dollar decisions. You shocked me out fo the gate when you hit the guy next to you, Garrett, as the guy to send out of here. When you look back on that moment…any regrets about that rash decision?

Samson: No, I think it was my only play. I was playing to win, and I lost the pennant in April, and I expected to be there in October.

Probst: And I’ve got to say, I like that. Because whether you finish first out or…nineteeth out, you’re still not winning, so you might as well swing for the fences.

Samson: There’s one winner, there’s seventeen losers here. I was just the first one.

And the best one, David. You were the best loser. More accurately, you were the best at losing. Though, really, if I was going to choose an expert to speak about losing the pennant in April, a Marlins executive would be one of my first choices. God knows I’d trust you more about that than I would about how to play Survivor or how to build a consistently successful baseball franchise.

Anyway, I’m glad we got to spend just a little more time rooting around inside the delusional mind of awful Marlins president David Samson. His completely unearned sense of superiority, which is what comes from having the job security you can only receive when your step-father is the owner of the team you work for, is a delight. Thank you to the producers of Survivor for casting this narcissistic buffoon, and for bringing him back one last time for me to enjoy. Incidentally, this was a great season, even if our nation’s greatest source of noxious smirks was on it far too little.

Mike Bates co-founded The Platoon Advantage, and has written for many other baseball websites, including NotGraphs (rest in peace) and The Score. Currently, he writes for Baseball Prospectus and co-hosts the podcast This Week In Baseball History. His favorite word is paradigm. Follow him on Twitter @MikeBatesSBN.

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Dusty Baker
9 years ago

He should have bunted

9 years ago
Reply to  Dusty Baker

As someone who has never paid any attention to Survivor, I assumed this entire piece was a perfectly-executed bit of satire. And then I googled and… holy shit, this is real?

9 years ago
Reply to  joser

Yeah, it’s real. It was a terrific season, actually. But Mr. Samson was a terrible contestant.