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Marlins surprised by Samson's early 'Survivor' exit

Koehler, Cishek expected team president to last longer than one episode

JUPITER, Fla. -- David Samson has run marathons, participated in triathlons and served as the Marlins' president since 2002.

There is enough of a track record to show that Samson tends to finish what he starts, which is exactly why some of the Marlins were stunned that his stint on "Survivor: Cagayan" lasted just one episode.

The 28th season of the series premiered Wednesday night on CBS, and Samson was the first of 18 cast members to get voted off the island. The tribe spoke, and what it said caught several Marlins by surprise.

"When I watched it, I didn't think there was a chance he would go," said Tom Koehler, who is competing for the fifth-starter spot. "The way they made it seem, they made it seem like he was safe. I guess they do that on purpose to get that little shock factor in the first episode."

Closer Steve Cishek got into the show, and he was flabbergasted by the outcome. Samson's nemesis turned out to be Garrett, another member of the Brains Tribe.

Early in the show, Samson was selected by his teammates as the Brains' leader. His first executive decision was to part with the weakest link, which he identified as Garrett.

Samson immediately viewed Garrett as a threat, but at tribal council, the Marlins' president ended up voting to eliminate J'Tia, a nuclear engineer, who botched the building of a shelter. Garrett, meanwhile, rallied support to oust Samson.

"It was actually kind of a shame, because [Samson] was right the whole time," Cishek said. "I can't believe the other girl made it through two rounds. She was like a nuclear physicist or whatever, and she couldn't even put blocks together. It was infuriating."

In all, Samson stayed three days on the island before the first challenge, which the Brains failed miserably.

"I was surprised. I don't know why they pick who they pick," Koehler said. "When I watched the show, it looked like there were other people I would have voted off. But there are other things that happen behind the scenes that you don't really see.

"There's obviously a reason he was the one to go home. Some of them said he was the biggest threat for them going forward. I guess that's why they got rid of him right away."

Garrett was ousted by the remaining Brains at the conclusion of Wednesday's episode.

The series was filmed in the Philippines last summer, and the results were kept quiet.

"I'm sure it was a great experience for him," manager Mike Redmond said. "I haven't really had a chance to talk to him about it. I haven't watched a whole lot of 'Survivor.' I don't really know if I could do it, either."

Cishek felt Samson did nothing to deserve getting the boot right away. But the unpredictability of "Survivor," and the fact that each contestant's fate is in the hands of others, is what makes the show so captivating.

"It's kind of ridiculous," Cishek said. "Put me on 'Wipeout,' where I can control my own destiny."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro.

Miami Marlins