Walter Mencken 11 a.m., Nov. 27
At the very least, once the Wizard of Oz was confronted by Dorothy and her pals and then discovered to be an ordinary man, he apologized and told them they all had what they needed all along. He apologized for sending them after an item he never needed in the first place in order to consider granting them what they desired. He had sent them to fetch a witch's broom, questing them through a large and complicated machine with all sorts of gadgets to carry out his desire to rule the Emerald City through fear and intimidation. In the end, regardless of what appeared to be sincere efforts, he left them all behind.
Bud Selig is arguably the most powerful commissioner in all of sports. As first an owner (and later chairman of the Executive Council of Major League Baseball), then as acting commissioner, and then commissioner, he survived controversy and scandal. Collusion, a player's strike, racketeering and conspiracy, rampant abuse of steroids, and so on. Surviving all of that after so many years, one collects many, many allies, and some enemies.
Jeff Moorad's withdrawal to purchase the balance of the Padres from John Moores yesterday leaves a lot of questions and very few answers. One answer that can be surmised is that no vote would have been taken on the matter at the next MLB owners meetings. Another answer is that the impending attempt at having MLB approve the new media deal in place from Fox Sports Regional (to be announced) would have had no chance at being approved had Moorad not withdrawn. And at the moment, Jeff Moorad is still the CEO of the Padres and John Moores is still the owner.
All of the remaining questions would fill several notepads, with the important questions concerning the future of the Padres organization. Are MLB owners set to defeat any vote that Selig allows Moores and Moorad to be considered? Could a certain amount of time change that? Are known owners who dislike Moorad that persuasive with the other owners?
Some have suggested that Moorad simply has too many enemies among MLB owners. It's certainly possible that Selig has convinced them to take a wait-and-see approach before considering voting in Moorad as an owner. No doubt that Selig has that much control in this situation, he is a commissioner that desires all votes to be unanimous. However, Moorad delivered the documentation that the MLB owners had asked for back in January when Moores and Moorad first attempted a vote that was shelved, and it has been in Selig's hands for a while now. Think about that.
There are also those that argue the Padres ownership woes have to do with the pending sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers by besieged owner Frank McCourt. McCourt took out a loan from Fox Sports West, who were in negotiations for a significant amount of money under new media contract negotiations. Selig then took control of the team and halted negotiations and the Dodgers then filed for bankruptcy. A deal was finally reached where McCourt now has the team for sale under a bankruptcy judge.
The judge warned Selig that any deviation from treating teams under similar situations (such as New York Mets majority owner Fred Wilpon and the related Madoff Investment Scandal and MLB's loan to the team to remain afloat) would result in McCourt being permitted discovery to pursue the media contract extension as an alternative to selling the Dodgers.
This is a reasonable connection to make. But it isn't an accurate one, at least not from any public information offered by Selig, Moores, or Moorad. Investigations by media have turned up nothing odd in the financial situation of the Padres. The Padres don't owe Manny Ramirez money from two years ago, and they aren't taking out loans from banks or Major League Baseball, nor are there any lawsuits filed against them, nor was Madoff involved in team finances, nor has it been reported that the Padres have received any up-front payment from the Fox Sports Regional Network ready to sign a contract with the Padres.
So, does Selig know something we don't? If there is something financially screwy going on with the Moorad investment group, then shouldn't Selig bring that to light? And if there's nothing going on financially that would affect the transfer of ownership, and there are simply other issues with Moorad, then shouldn't that be revealed? Allowing a financially questionable ownership group to complete the purchase of the Padres only after the Dodgers are sold would be irresponsible and self-serving. As would holding up a transfer of ownership for nothing more than personal issues with Moorad.
It would seem that the silence is Selig's way of telling San Diego to pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. At least little Dorothy eventually received resolution by clicking her heels together three times. It appears that San Diego will be lucky to see the Padres play on television this season. And it seems that when all of this is ever resolved, then at some point Selig is going tell San Diego that we had what we needed all along.
Jaff Decker hit his 2nd home run this spring while Matt Clark hit his first, as the Padres defeated the Angles 6-3 in Friday Cactus League play. Clayton Richard looked good in his first spring training start, pitching 2 innings and giving up 1 run and 2 hits, facing only 7 batters. Seven other pitchers for the Padres each got in an inning of work.
More like this:
- Backroom Politics of Baseball Ownership — March 23, 2012
- Okay, Now Jeff Moorad Steps Down As CEO — March 22, 2012
- Moorad to Withdraw Application — March 9, 2012
- Will the Real Owner of the Padres Please Stand Up? — March 1, 2012
- The Liar's Club — Feb. 25, 2012