Saturday, April 7, 2012

Padres ownership sequel

If you've followed Friars Follies long enough, nothing under the San Diego sun will surprise.

Surely, you ask, the ownership transfer that never happened, from John Moores to Jeff Moorad, was like nothing else in Padres history.

No, boys and girls, save a wrinkle or two, in our kooky corner of the baseball universe it qualified only as somewhat odd.

Substitute Joan Kroc for owner Moores; replace buyer Moorad with George Argyros; pencil in commish Bart Giamatti for Bud Selig; hop into a DeLorean* and visit 1987; and, you'll see a similar plot and its unraveling. *Yes, I know Back to the Future debuted in 1985. Cut me some slack, here.

Kroc agreed to sell the Padres to Argyros, a real estate mogul who'd owned the Seattle Mariners since 1981. Kroc assumed that her fellow ballclub owners would approve the deal. Argyros assumed the same, even though he had more enemies than Julius Caesar.

MLB had other plans. Although the details don't resemble those of 2012, the outcome was the same. Once it became apparent the buyer wouldn't be approved, the sales agreement came undone. Giamatti told Kroc to rescind the agreement. Kroc announced in June that she'd retain the club, but it was pretty clear a long-term hold wasn't her idea of life fulfillment.

Padres fans should want for the historical parallel to end there.

The '87 Padres of rookie manager Larry Bowa started out by losing 42 of 54 games. When Kroc finally sold the Padres, in 1990, she saddled Padres fans with Tom Werner's Gang of 15, known also as the gang that couldn't shoot straight.

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1 comment:

  1. One ket detail: Joan Kroc also saddled the Padres with a city-friendly lease that even Commissioner Peter Ueberroth questioned. He let it go when she waved her checkbook, but when she left, she took that checkbook with her. Had she still owned the Padres in 1998 when Qualcomm became a football stadium, she might have been persuaded to buy the Fenton property and built a ballpark there.

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