“Lousy Ending to Last Place Season”
The misery over Padres baseball just will not go away.
In a stunner, Mike Dee was ousted as President and CEO, despite a track record of business success with the club.
There were positives, but the negatives outweighed what he accomplished.
Dee made Petco Park a destination point for families and fun. The constant renovations and upgrades made the place more than just a baseball stadium.
His business accumen led to the Padres making 20M plus per year from non-baseball events, a huge revenue stream the franchise needs.
His creative genius to bring back Padres history, with displays, and the newly opened Hall of Fame was special.
But there were negatives, lots of them.
Peter Seidler and the O’Malley family funded the purchase of the team from John Moores. The O’Malley’s were gone within a year, in part because of Dee’s way of doing business.
There was the handling-mishandling of the salute to Commissioner Bud Selig, and what happened at Palm Court, with the plaque ceremony, and what happened afterwards, when they took it down, to make room for the Hall of Fame building.
There was an undercurrent of unhappiness about the fact baseball ops, led by GM AJ Preller, a Dee hire, blew thru budgets without consideration to money coming in to money going out.
And then there was Preller himself, a rogue exec, hired by Dee despite a suspension in Texas, who then promptly incurred the wrath of the Commissioners office twice within a year with violations.
Dee orchestrated the firing of popular manager Bud Black, putting the club into a free-fall from which it has not recovered yet.
And Dee signed off on the the acquisitions of high priced stars, then the trade off of those stars with Padres money going out the door for prospects.
There were reports too of fou lups during the All Star festitivities, that upset MLB so much, their people had to come in to take over operation of some events.
Where do they go next?.
Ron Fowler must decide whether he wants a Business CEO only, or whether he needs a CEO with baseball experience to ride herd on Preller, once he comes off suspension.
Names mentioned include Orioles President-GM Dan Duquette. Joe Garagiola Senior was President of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and now works in the Commissioner’s office. Jerry Colangelo, the legendary NBA exec and founder of the Diamondbacks, has enormous business acumen. Jim Steeg, the longtime Chargers and NFL exec, is held in high regard in San Diego.
Preller has survived so far. Whether he does going forward remains to be seen, though the club spent 89M in resources to buy his blueprint and rebuild the farm system. Firing him would be a questionable decision for sure, since it will take time and patience to fix this franchise.
Dee was a protege of Larry Lucchino, who was the creative genius that got Petco Park built. Dee was also a bully on the business side, and fashioned himself as a key baseball talent exec too.
The Padres are better now as an organization because he was here. But the damage done in relationships around MLB was serious.
Ron Fowler and Peter Seidler are people of integrity. They could not have been happy with all the issues the Dee-Preller team created.
An MLB executive told me Fowler was under intense heat to to clean house. Dee’s guy, the GM, tried to screw two of the most influential people in baseball, John Henry and Jerry Reinsdorf.
In the end, Padres ownership was made to look bad, and the Commissioner’s office was not going to allow the decision makers to continue to operate that way.