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Later, after midnight, Loria stepped onto the base paths in Yankee Stadium, crying a bit and thinking of Walter. He trotted to first base, then second, then third. For the next decade he would be ripped for this run: In papers up and down the East Coast it was implied that he had disrespected the Yankees, especially because he supposedly finished by sliding across home plate face-first. But Loria, and three others watching that night, insist that didn't happen. "I never slid home," he says. "I'm not going to get my pants dirty. It's just not my way." He has been furious about the story ever since.
In the spring of 2005 Sivia filed for divorce. She won't say why. She has a daughter, Samantha, with Loria, and another daughter by her first marriage, and says that she and Loria remain "very close friends." Loria, she adds, is "a superlative father and grandfather."
But for Samson it's hardly that simple. He says the split between his mother and his mentor was "strange," forcing him to compartmentalize "more than you'll ever know. I don't know if that's remarkable or pathological or therapy inducing—but it's probably a combination of all those things."
Still, when Sivia says that he and Loria complement each other, Samson doesn't disagree. "He's a simple guy, and I don't mean that insultingly," he says. "He's stayed in the same room in the same hotel in Paris through multiple wives. That's what he does. And he loves baseball, man. Always."
Asked if he was similarly wired, Samson pauses. "I'm very fair and consistent and very black and white," he says finally. "I'm not in the middle; I live on the fringe. Which doesn't make me worse or better. It's why we've always been a good pair, right? I mean, I'm willing to swim in the gutter far more than Jeffrey is."
Why Should We Believe You
You haven't seen a politician this happy in a while. Carlos Gimenez giggles at the absurdity: He owes much of his current popularity to the Marlins, to Loria and Samson and everything that has gone wrong. Gimenez voted against the ballpark deal as a county commissioner, won the Miami-Dade mayor's office in 2011 when his pro-ballpark predecessor was bounced in the biggest municipal recall election in U.S. history, then easily won reelection last year in part, he's sure, because the team's failures kept making him look good. "For me," he says, "it's the gift that keeps on giving."
Ozzie Guillen declaring that he loved Castro? "Thank you, Ozzie!" Gimenez says. "They let go all their players? Thank you, David, I appreciate that! Every time the Marlins do something, everybody goes, 'You were the guy who voted against it: You were right!'"
He laughs again, but he knows it's not funny. In fact, Gimenez needs it to stop. Because Miami needs the Marlins to play well, sell lots of tickets, be a success. The city—one of the nation's poorest—and county are the team's partners now, no matter how toxic the air between them has grown. The ballpark financing agreement sparked an SEC investigation and is considered so one-sided that almost no rhetoric sounds too extreme: The team will pay for $160 million of the $634 million facility, and compounded interest and balloon payments on one $91 million loan will end up costing the county $1.1 billion when it is paid off in 2048.
"Miami has a history of bad deals, but I would rank this Number 1," says city of Miami mayor Tomás Regalado, whose vocal opposition to it helped him win election in 2009. "The residents of Miami were raped. Completely."