Marlins elaborate on Friday's Ali tribute

Marlins elaborate on Friday's Ali tribute

MIAMI -- Marlins president David Samson spoke Saturday about posting the tribute to Muhammad Ali during Friday's game.

"It was really a very innocent, heart-felt situation," Samson said. "I got a phone call that Muhammad Ali had passed away. I then triple confirmed it with someone I know who is very close to Muhammad Ali. The game was coming to an end and, given his relationship to Miami and his relationship with the Marlins, I wanted to see if we could get a tribute up on the board for fans to give him an ovation.

"I had already thought of a moment of silence, but knew we couldn't do that until the next game. Then it went on the board, and that was it."

Marlins remember meeting Ali

After it was posted on the board, Samson's phone started buzzing and ringing.

"No one could find confirmation anywhere," Samson said. "I realized that it's possible that had been the first place it had been public. I had no way of knowing that. There's no way I would have broken the news of Muhammad Ali's passing at a Marlins game. It's certainly for the family to do. But as far as I knew, it had already been made public.

"When it was confirmed, it was not said to me, 'Hey, but no one knows,' or 'Hey, it's not being announced.' None of that was said.

"Further, I had been in touch and said, 'Hey, the media now knows.' The response was, 'It's OK.'

"I've reached out to someone very close to the family who I'm close with. Everything is fine. It came from the heart."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.