Scott Marks 2:48 p.m., May 23
As was widely predicted, a group headed by the O'Malley family, or perhaps Ron Fowler, or even the Seidlers, depending on how one wishes to figure it, were approved by MLB ownership on Thursday morning at the MLB quarterly owner's meeting in Denver. Even professional golfer Phil Mickelson has a hand in the purchase, apparently as a minority partner.
The O'Malley name has been set to the forefront of the purchase since the group headed by Jeff Moorad was shot down earlier in the year. No vote was ever taken on Moorad's attempt at heading up a purchase, as the shelving of the procedure made it apparent that rejection would be imminent. MLB commissioner Bud Selig has made it known that he doesn't desire negative voting amongst the owners, so any perceived negative vote is generally tabled before the vote can take place.
The purchase will be complete on or before the end of August; but with MLB approval, it is a simple formality from this point forward.
While O'Malley is the name most forwardly mentioned in media, spin is the likely reason behind it, as San Diego beer distribution guru Ron Fowler will represent the club when the purchase is official. Fowler was also associated with the minority group that was headed by Moorad.
The known players in the deal are represented as follows: Ron Fowler represents himself; Kevin O'Malley (son of Peter O'Malley and grandson of Walter O'Malley) represents the O'Malley's; Peter Seidler (nephew of Peter O'Malley) represents the Seidler family; Phil Mickelson is a minority owner within this group; and it is currently unknown where the former minority group in the former ownership under majority owner John Moores stands in the transaction.
After the deal is officially completed, percentage of ownership should be revealed for the general public. Aside from Mickelson, who has admitted on record that his minority ownership will bring no leverage as to decisions made in the front office or concerning player personnel, it could be presumed that Ron Fowler is likely the majority stakeholder since he will be the face of the ownership group and likely has more net worth than the other partners.
The purchase price is widely reported as $800 million dollars, with $200 million of the total purchase buying into the stake for Fox Sports San Diego. This is an interesting departure from commissioner Bud Selig's previous concerns that media deals not be a part of the sale of a MLB franchise. But perhaps, it is no surprise coming from a commissioner who was previously an MLB owner and has a legacy in his current position of quickly seeking approval for those who would fit in with current MLB ownership.
So far as any changes to the Padres organization, a vote of confidence has been given to current Padres CEO Tom Garfinkel and General Manager Josh Byrnes. However, in sports, such votes of confidence are often like paper umbrellas in fruity rum drinks, only good until the party is over. And a larger question would be where former National League Manager of the Year Bud Black will stand at the end of the season, along with the rest of the coaching staff.
Many Padres fans are already more than pleased based on local media and social media accounts. They seem to expect that the player personnel payroll will automatically increase when the new ownership takes the helm.
It might not increase as much as one might think. It depends on whether this new ownership group sees the Padres as an investment in a business or as a whimsical gamble on a wheel of fortune.
Or, perhaps, media spin will make such a distinction irrelevant. Maybe Padres fans should be cynically optimistic. Seems like previous ownership after Ray Kroc sort of drove them into that corner. And they have remained in that corner, waiting and waiting and waiting.
No harm in waiting a little longer. Really, what's 43 years?