In honor of the heartbreaking death of heavyweight boxing legend Muhammad Ali yesterday, the Miami Marlins made an announcement of his passing on the scoreboard after the Marlins played the Mets last night. A fitting tribute. The only curious thing about their announcement: it happened two hours and five minutes before the actual death of Muhammad Ali.
Ali's family announced today that the boxer died of septic shock at 9:10pm Phoenix area local time, according to Associated Press. Yet the Marlins' announcement happened at 10:05pm EDT. I know, with a casual glance, that sounds like the announcement happened a little under an hour afterward, but 10:05pm EDT translates to 8:05pm MST. And then, to complicate things further, Arizona doesn't abide by daylight savings time, so technically, they're version of MST is in sync with Pacific Standard Time at this time of year, so the Marlins' announcement happened at 7:05pm, Phoenix time. (We called AP and confirmed that Ali died at 9:10pm local time.) The 9:10pm timing makes sense, as many official reports from major news outlets trickled out a few minutes after that. So, with a two-hour-and-five-minute gap between the Marlins' announcement and the time of death, we're left with a bit of a mystery on our hands.
Miami Herald reporter Clark Spencer spoke with the Marlins president David Samson, asking him why he made the decision to run the news before any major outlets had reported Ali's death. Samson insisted, "It was not an error. 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."
"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."
Ali was reported to have been on life support earlier in the day, so it's possible that the Marlins' connection with a family member got lost like a game of telephone, and the Marlins mistakenly heard that he had passed. There's also the potential that the Marlins just decided to go for it anyway. Either way, they come out as grossly misinformed, or as ominous prophets of death. And maybe karma paid the Marlins back by (retroactively) causing them to lose 6-2 to the Mets. Spooky.