Samson: "It Was Impossible Not To Think About Jose"

Tyler Skaggs' passing took David Samson back to 2016, when former Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez died in a boating accident

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
July 15, 2019 - 9:35 am
Miami Marlins Jose Fernandez

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A day before what would have been Tyler Skaggs’ 28th birthday, the Los Angeles Angels combined for a no-hitter against the Mariners in a game full of eerie numbers and coincidences.

CBS Sports HQ Analyst David Samson knows exactly what the Angels are going through. He was Marlins president when Jose Fernandez passed away in September 2016.

“I just felt absolutely terribly for the players and for Tyler’s family,” Samson said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “It brought it all back so immediately. It was impossible not to think about Jose and what happened three years ago.”

Dee Gordon, the Marlin-turned-Mariner, hit a home run in the wake of Fernandez’s death.

“When Dee Gordon was in that game, I thought about it before the no-hitter,” Samson said. “I thought about it for him, what he was going through. It didn’t even occur to me that there would be a no-hitter. But I certainly was thinking about the fact that they were playing the Mariners and thinking about Dee in that way. It’s just a very difficult situation. Strange things happen. Dee sent out a tweet that I think about a lot: It’s hard not to believe in some supreme being. It’s hard not to think about that when things like this happen.”

Samson struggled after Fernandez’s death.

“I tried to remove myself from the emotion of what was happening, but it was impossible to do,” he said. “I couldn’t do it. I barely remember the press conference afterwards. I didn’t remember there were cameras there the day he died. I don’t really remember the game against the Mets. I remember Dee Gordon going up to bat, and I remember him batting righty for that first pitch. When he hit the home run, it just was so strange. I didn’t understand how he was doing that. I think about it every day.”

Samson, in fact, spoke to Fernandez’s ex-girlfriend and daughter a couple of days ago.

“I was just thinking about them and wanted to call them,” he said. “I speak to them often, but I was thinking about them because I know when news comes out like this, it’s still painful for Jose’s family.”

The Angels (48-46) have won three in a row and are 5.0 games out in the Wild Card race. Whatever happens this season, the players will share a bond forever.

“This doesn’t go away for the rest of the season or ever,” Samson said. “No matter how or why Tyler died, it will not change the fact that the emotion these Angels players feel won’t go away, and the unity they feel as a family will never go away. That 2016 Marlins team is closer than even the 2003 World Series-winning team because of what it had to go through.”

Click below to listen to Samson’s interview in its entirety.