Virginia businessman visits Marlins

Virginia businessman visits Marlins

MIAMI -- Continuing to explore relocation options, Marlins president David Samson met with a Norfolk, Va., businessman and his associate on Thursday afternoon at Dolphins Stadium.

The Marlins would like to resolve the stadium situation in South Florida, but are reviewing all possible sites for a new stadium.

"We told them that Florida is our first choice, but we have no deal yet," Samson said, adding that Norfolk and Las Vegas are the two largest U.S. cities without at least one of the four major professional sports.

Samson, who called the talks "preliminary," said the two sides discussed an idea for a financial plan for a baseball stadium in Norfolk during the 90-minute meeting.

Norfolk businessman William Somerindyke and an associate presented the Marlins with a plan for a stadium that would include the use, in part, of public money. Samson says the proposal is intriguing.

Asked if the proximity to the Nationals and Orioles would be a concern, Samson said Major League Baseball gave the Marlins approval to talk with Norfolk officials, since the city is not in the territorial area of those clubs.

"That's not a problem," Samson said. "We had to get permission from Major League Baseball, so it's not a problem."

Samson said the club plans to meet with Miami-Dade County officials next week to further discuss a stadium deal in South Florida.

In December, the club met with officials in San Antonio, Texas, and in January, the team traveled to Portland, Ore., for a visit.

Unable to get a baseball-only stadium deal done in the area, the Marlins were granted permission by Major League Baseball in late November to seek relocation options if a deal cannot be worked out in South Florida.

Remaining hopeful of getting a stadium built locally, the Marlins have already visited with officials in the city of Hialeah. Team officials expect to continue talks in the next couple of weeks.

The Marlins are likely to visit another city -- believed to be Charlotte, N.C. -- sometime in the next month.

Once Major League Baseball resolves the stadium issue and sale of the Nationals, MLB executives are expected to take a more active role in the Marlins' quest for building a new stadium in South Florida.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.