So I’ve been holding this in for a few weeks and now that it’s actually happened, I’m finally going to talk about it. I had a nice sit down conversation with Padres owner Jeff Moorad today in the Padres offices. It was very nice of him to take time out of his very busy schedule of interviewing GM candidates to meet with me.
I got down to the Petco offices early, I mean how many chances do you get to sit down and have a face to face, one on one, conversation with the owner of your favorite team?? As I walked up to the front office I noticed a huge paper shredding truck….made me wonder what they were hiding (j/k). I walked in and after checking in proceeded to take a couple pictures of some of the items in the hallways while I was waiting. There were some cool paintings and display cases, even a Parkview Little League jersey. Soon I was brought up stairs to see Mr. Moorad. I was sat in a waiting room while he finished up a phone call (which turned out to be an un-named GM candidate) and soon was led into his office. Upon first entering Mr. Moorads office I kind of checked behind the door first to see if Tom Garfinkel was waiting behind the door with a sock full of pennies to knock me out but there was nothing there so I was safe.
First topic we discussed was the GM situation. I brought up the fact that I felt that the firing of KT was bad timing as the team was coming off a promising 2nd half. It’s almost like a step backward instead of a step forward like most people thought would happen in 2010. Like he’s said numerous times to the media he said that he wanted a more “strategic” GM instead of a “gunslinger”. He referenced Josh Byrnes over in Arizona as to the type of strategic thinking GM who plans out years ahead instead of flying by the seat of his pants each year. He wants a GM who is going to provide consistent winning baseball. I actually brought up the fact that when Byrnes took over in late 2005 the team actually got worse in his first season (2006) on the job, won the Division in ‘07 then proceeded to get considerably worse each year after (8 games worse in 2008 & 12 games worse in 2009) while also not having a single minor league team do well this year (not a single playoff berth among the entire minor leagues). He stated how injuries killed the Diamondbacks this year (Webb & Conor Jackson) & that a number of inside baseball people believe that they are going to be very good next season. I personally don’t see it considering I haven’t been to impressed with a single Josh Byrnes lead draft nor most of his top signings (Doug Davis/Eric Byrnes). And considering that the team has gotten worse each year instead of improving like young teams should be doing, but I’ll take his word on it. I then asked how the GM search was going and he sounded very positive but was tight lipped when it comes to names. To me it sounds like they’ve got the next GM picked out (my guess is Jed Hoyer will be the new Padres GM since Moorad talked so highly of Byrnes who is essentially cut from the same cloth) but need to wait until the playoffs end, but that’s just me speculating.
Next topic I brought up was ticket prices. In the season ticket letter it states that they “Reduced 86% of season ticket prices and kept the remainder flat” yet they raised the price on some of the 20 and 40 game packages (60-20 game packages & less than 1,000 40 game seats to be exact). He said that the letter was referring to “full season” packages and not 20 & 40 game packages. I guess it just a very costly typo then as that error probably cost them some short season ticket holders. I pointed out how attendance dropped under 2 million for the first time since 1995 and questioned whether or not that was such a good idea. He stated that they want to take care of their full season ticket holders though and that is their first priority. We all know that the higher “day of game” ticket prices were waived for next season but many fans thought this would increase prices in the Park in the Park. I was told that ticket prices will still be 5 bucks for the Park at the Park so that’s good.
Next topic discussed was my arch rival over in Gaslamp Ball land Tom Garfinkel. I brought up how I felt that he was so out of touch with what the fans REALLY wanted or REALLY thought. The Bill Center interview is a perfect example. Despite not having a rich tradition like the Yankees or Red Sox us Padres fans still love our history. We like the Brown & Mustard. We like Randy Jones’ afro. We like the Friar, in fact there are numerous blogs that use that term for their name. Moorad stated how coming over from the Diamondbacks where they only have 12 years now as opposed to 40 years by the Padres, he seriously had to brush up on some history. Just the other day he was shown each jersey through the years which leads to some very cool news. Instead of some team assigned retro night next year the Padres are going to have the fans vote on the throwback uniforms that the Padres will be wearing. I have to admit…great idea. I asked if having the fans vote was a way to gauge interest in possible uniform changes in the future but he said no. He is not a fan of the away sand colored uniforms though and would rather shift to a more traditional gray road jersey with San Diego across the front. I asked if an outside source was brought in to take care of the surveys and focus groups (which apparently still are on going once a week) and he said yes. We talked about how a member of Gaslampball attended one of these focus groups and was the youngest one there by far while being in his 30′s. He agreed with my assumption that the numbers will be a little more skewed towards older people because of the people showing up are mainly Founders Club members or season ticket holders, which tend to be of the older age, but it didn’t sound to me like they would start serving apple sauce & playing Benny Goodman on the PA. After begging and groveling for a job within the organization I was denied but given some free tickets to some games next year. All in all it was a good conversation….I learned a bit but after I left still had tons of questions. Perhaps I can do it again someday.