Miami Marlins

Marlins Park announces death of Muhammad Ali before official notice given

“It was not an error,” Marlins president David Samson said of the graphic that appeared on the scoreboard. “We were informed by someone close to the family that he had passed away. We wanted to get a tribute out as soon as we possibly could.”
“It was not an error,” Marlins president David Samson said of the graphic that appeared on the scoreboard. “We were informed by someone close to the family that he had passed away. We wanted to get a tribute out as soon as we possibly could.” cspencer@miamiherald.com

Did the Marlins scoop the world on Friday in announcing the death of boxing legend Muhammad Ali before anyone else?

Or was their postgame tribute to Ali premature?

“It was not an error,” Marlins president David Samson said. “We were informed by someone close to the family that he had passed away. We wanted to get a tribute out as soon as we possibly could.”

At 10:05 p.m. Friday, immediately after the Marlins ended their game with the New York Mets, a picture of Ali in the boxing ring was displayed on the giant scoreboard at Marlins Park. The photo included this caption: 1942-2016.

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But no official announcement concerning Ali, who was reportedly in grave condition in a Phoenix hospital, had been given. More than two hours later, it was announced that Ali had died.

Ali threw out the ceremonial first pitch when Marlins Park opened in 2012, and the Marlins player clubhouse has a plaque containing one of the boxer’s famous quotes displayed prominently.

“He’s an important part of our organization,” Samson said. “He opened our new ballpark. Being that he had thrown out the first pitch of this ballpark, and has a close relationship [with the Marlins], we wanted to honor him as quickly as possible. His legacy will live forever.”

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