David Samson was the first contestant voted off the island Wednesday night in Survivor, after an hour that saw the Marlins president alienating his teammates on the CBS show.
“David is going to go home, and we all are going to feel better,’’ one of Samson’s teammates said to another as they decided who to vote off their team. “He is very smart, and he is a schemer.”
Samson’s abrupt exit from the show is sure to be red meat for the many Marlins haters in Miami, where the team has struggled with ticket sales on the heels of an unpopular 2009 tax-funded stadium deal , a dismal debut season at Marlins Park, and owner Jeffrey Loria’s decision to slash payroll at the end of 2013 in an effort to rebuild his line-up.
On camera after the 4-3 vote against him, Samson said he “had no hard feelings” and that he played the game as he thought it should be played. “I consider myself the luckiest guy in the world,’’ he said.
The vote followed a debut Survivor episode that saw a blazer-wearing Samson quickly elected his team’s leader, but then quickly lost support.
His squad delivered what host Jeff Probst called one of the worst lead-off performances in Survivor history, as they failed to move a cart full of treasure chests as quickly as their rivals did.
“It is unbelievable how far behind they are,’’ Probst said of Samson’s squad. This is “one of the worst performances out of the gate ever.”
Set in a Philippine jungle, the show pits three teams against each other as they try to both win contests and endure living without shelter or easy access to food. Samson earned a spot on the “Brains” team, which lost badly to both the “Brawn” and “Beauty” squads Wednesday night. Past seasons have seem losing players return in future episodes, so Samson —who garnered significant screen time in the first episode —may not be done with the show yet.
Samson, 45, stood out in the first few minutes of Survivor’s Cagayan season when he arrived in the jungle wearing khakis, a blue blazer and a colorful bandana that looked more like an ascot given the outfit. The look seemed to have an effect, though, as his teammates quickly nominated Samson to be their leader.
Then Samson used his prerogative as leader to temporarily exile Garrett Adelstein, a 27-year-old pro poker player who also had the most athletic build of anyone on the Brains team. The decision seemed to baffle Probst, but Samson justified the punishment by saying he saw Adelstein as a threat.
Despite the aggressive move at the outset – and Samson did have to pick someone for the solo slog through the jungle – the Marlins president seemed mindful of his image back home as the first episode unfolded. Microphones picked him up giving pep talks to his teammates as they endured the treasure-chest debacle. When Samson cast his secret ballot to expel a fellow teammate, who works as a nuclear engineer, Samson whispered to the camera: “In the real world I may hire you. But in this world, not tonight.”