Have you ever bought a tank? I never have. I’ve never had reason to need one, but even someone tried to convince me it was the ultimate survival tool, or if I just thought it was the premier vanity item, I still don’t see how I would want to buy a tank.
Mike Dee is a tank salesman. He didn’t really mean to end up one, as I’m sure as he set his plans in motion for the season he was not contemplating being one. Yet here he is, selling what he built. His team is a bottom dweller and it is sinking fast. He now has to sell what he unwittingly created; a tank.
He planned on selling a contender. It’s all his team hawked in the pre-season. The Padres have the All Star Game this summer. Surely people will buy season tickets in droves to have the opportunity to finally see an All Star Game at PETCO. He must have planned to have a decent product to sell and combine the decent product with the lure of an ASG package and figured sales should soar. The fly in the ointment turned out to be a big fly. Like horse fly size. Like tank fly size.
The biggest problem Mike Dee created for himself this season was insisting baseball operations reported to him when he was hired as President and CEO. Going back to the Padres as a tank metaphor, it’s like Mike put himself in charge of the design of the vehicle he intends to sell. The big problem being he doesn’t know how to design or engineer the vehicle, but wants influence into the process. And of course final approval of all aspects from his design team would also fall under his domain. This leads to a sub-optimal design and boom, an ugly baby is born. In this case it was a tank of a team, and now he has to sell this thing.
And sell he does. He’s sorry not sorry you are not happy with the product. He’s sorry not sorry you don’t appreciate ticket prices ever increasing. He’s sorry not sorry the park is much less affordable for families to enjoy. Mike has a stadium to fill, and revenues to maximize, so selling at all costs, and anything to offset costs is the mantra. It’s just never genuine and most fans are turned off by this fake apologist approach to maximize profits. The biggest turn off of course is selling a contender, while the team flounders 12 games under .500. The team is bad. And Mike Dee should feel bad too.
The tone deaf quality of a President selling a Cadillac while presenting a tank is one of his biggest problems. But hey, Mike says the Padres are building. The Padres sold off most of their farm prior to last season, necessitating a complete rebuild of the system. This is the assignment for Padres GM AJ Preller. And he is fully capable of restocking and developing the farm. Having Mike Dee’s influence of horrible optics ideas like drafting Johnny Football only detract and diminish the good work AJ and his team have put in to successfully performing he task. So it seems Mike is both tone deaf and a bit blind at the same time. Not good for someone who’s in charge of leading this team back into the realm of competitiveness.
Mike Dee sold this season’s team as competitive because he believed that he had enough pitching and would have enough of a bounce back from guys under-performing or injured last season to do so. Again, not being qualified to make that assessment, it was a bad plan as most pundits and analysts saw this team as an under-performer. But Mike Dee thought he had some sort of ace up his sleeve in Andy Green. Somehow his new manager was going to motivate this team to over perform. Again, not being qualified to make this assertion, he did not foresee the results matching the weak roster, but he sold the over-performance. Managers typically are worth =/- 2 wins a season. So Andy might take this roster from 74 wins to 76. Mike Dee sold the team going from 74 wins to 86. They are on pace for 70. Oversold and under delivered.
The thing is a tank can be useful. I mean, those suckers can sink in water fast. And a fast sinking vehicle gains a top draft pick for next year. When you couple the recent amateur draft with the upcoming international signing period to another draft (next June) with a high selection, you can really consider something is being built. Something for the long haul. You know, like a station wagon. That is what Mike Dee seems to be building. An ugly-ass station wagon. Of course he is selling it like a convertible Audi to be tooled around the PCH. But in reality, he has a tank of a station wagon that needs to be blown up and redesigned. He needs to let AJ Preller sell off all useful parts of the product and try and obtain any useful parts for the future. He needs to stop building, and start rebuilding. He needs to step out of baseball operations and trust the talented people he has to perform unencumbered by his interference.
I’m pretty sure this can never happen because by all accounts I’ve seen in the media Mike has one of the largest egos in the game. I’m sure that ego has taken quite a beating this season as the tank has continued to sink into some strange pit of despair. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be an easy way out. And the fans have turned away in droves. Attendance is poor, and most likely next year’s figures will be the worst of the PETCO era. A last place team will do that to ticket sales. The owners will be forced to react, but I think they need to be proactive and part ways with Mike Dee sooner than later. They’ll need to hire another President, but they must learn from their mistake and not allow the future president to have the baseball side reporting to him unless the President is himself a baseball ops guy.
As for Mike himself, well maybe he is in that tank of a station wagon. You know, like an old dog out for a nice joyride. He has no idea where he is going, but the owners have told the kids he is going away to a nice farm where he can run and run. Mike is just running from one side of the car to the other, sticking his head out the window and letting his tongue flap in the wind. He has no idea where he is going, or why his owners brought along some long barreled thing with them. But enjoy the ride, Mike. You built it yourself.
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