“Padres–Leadership Change–Bad to Good”
I guess we should say thank you.
Or maybe we should ask for full transparency.
Part of me says ‘well done’..the other part says ‘why’.
The off season for the Padres, after a wonderful summer season of baseball, has surely started badly.
Ron Fowler has stepped aside as the Padres point man, selling his large number of shares to co-owner and money man Peter Seidler, who takes over as lead owner.
Stepping aside a week after his Senior VP-Wayne Partello and VP-Katie Jackson exited, without explanation.
This days after pitching ace Mike Clevinger was lost for the next season with elbow surgery after that 6-for-1 trade. This after promising catcher Luis Campusano was busted on federal drug charges in Georgia.
This after the club did not reach agreement on contract extensions to top closers Trevor Rosenthal and Kirby Yates. And this after a blood letting of some 25-people on the baseball ops side.
Coming off such a good season…this is not a good look for the popular team in town. So many things happening after a really fun season.
There are many factors to consider as to why this happened.
Fowler is 76-years of age, and the wear and tear and pressures of running a franchise may have taken a toll.
Maybe time to enjoy a piece of life after resurrecting and guiding a crown jewel franchise to the accomplishments of becoming a pennant contender. Getting the All Star game in his shiny new Stadium, luring the Winter Baseball Meeting here twice, and getting to the Playoffs are pretty special accomplishments.
His franchise likely lost between 101 and 115M this past season with the pandemic impact and loss of more than 50% of their revenue, in ticket sales and corporate advertising support? Not his fault, but on his watch
I cannot imagine the emotional load on responsibility he had to carry for 965-employees and players, that worked for the franchise in this town, and all the minor league affiliates they operated with baseball people. He tried hard to help many who could not work this year with buyouts, deferred layoffs, severances.
Might the business of baseball no longer be seen as popular nor profitable as it had been over the years, with bulging payrolls, on going issues with the Union and the reality that last year’s financial suffering would spill over to another year of financial losses?
Is Fowler being held responsible for the years of wild deficit spending of GM-AJ Preller, who seemed out of control, over-spending for draft picks, taking on massive contracts, having to write check to get rid of players.
You only need to know the 101M investment to sign all those Cuban, Caribbean and draft picks Preller spent on in 2016-2017-2018, the foundation of the building of a farm system that finally made the team a winner. Fowler agreed to all that.
Fowler obviously signed off on the 80M a year contracts extended outward for Manny Machado-Eric Hosmer-Wil Myers.
And the outgoing lead owner surely agreed with the large amounts of money Preller had to eat to get rid of bloated contracts to Hector Olivares..James Shields..Justin Upton…Mevlin Upton and Matt Kemp.
Everybody makes mistakes on players, but in a smaller market San Diego, that was alot of money for ownership to swallow.
Maybe it had to do with them buying a piece of Fox Sports San Diego, that price, and limited profits realized, with the fears today Regional Sports Networks everywhere seem to be in big-big trouble.
Fowler was forced to make multiple cash-calls in his years of leadership when things were tight, and maybe this is a bill coming due..
The upheaval within the organization has been amazing, starting with the forced removal, without explanation of former President Mike Dee, then Partello-his hand picked VP, to now the lead man atop the organizational chart.
Oddly, two very good baseball men have become available within the last two weeks. Moneyball icon Oakland A’s leader Billy Beane, and now Cubs President Theo Epstien. Is this a link to that? Both with strong San Diego ties.
Might a Fowler exit be linked to an entrance of two proven baseball leaders with San Diego ties?
Maybe he no longer wished to be leader.
Maybe those in upper level offices at Petco no longer wanted him to lead.
Maybe it’s time to enjoy a life in a community, where he has become a philanthropist and an icon.
The Fowler-Seidler team has brought urgency, responsibility, accountability and relevancy back to Padres baseball on and off the field.
If Larry Lucchino and John Moores got ‘Gold Stars’ for saving Padres baseball from the ‘Tom Werner-Band of 15’ and for guiding the team into Petco Park, and all the profits they will reap in the land they bought up, then maybe we should accord some type of honor to Fowler too.
The Fowler-Seidler tag team restored leadership after the John Moores-family and baseballdivorce Then the lameduck Jeff Moorad takeover led to a debilitating situation, not as bad as the disgraced Frank McCourt-Dodges era, but maybe as ugly as the Chub Feeney finish in the Kroc era.
He surely will enjoy seeing the benefits of what the next 5-years could be with the Farm system he spent on. If Tailgate Park goes forward too, some of his vision will become a revenue stream for the franchise too.
Maybe the financial losses suffered in recent years, by virtue of the pandemic and player mistakes, will be washed away when this team becomes an annual pennant-contender, and draws 3M per year. It means the investments he sanctioned will pay off shortly with wins-profits in the future.
Fowler will remain as Vice Chairman, and possibly be the owner’s liaison to Rob Manfred and the Commissioner’s Office. He remains part of the Negotiating Committee on key business decisions.
It would be nice to know the why’s and where’s this is happening, for Fowler invested alot of his heart, health and heavy money into making Padres baseball a cornerstone of our community.
Fowler gets a ‘Gold Star’ for what he did in service to baseball fans in America’s Finest City.
He’ll say “It’s Time”.
We should all say “Thank You”