mikedeeMike Dee needs to go away.

There, I said it.

In the three years Mike Dee has been the president of the Padres, the amount of public relations screw-ups, oopsies, and outright disasters have far outweighed any good that may have come during his tenure.

From forcing general managers to waste draft picks on alcoholic football players, to naming a part of Petco Park after a reviled figure in baseball, to just straight up screwing the pooch when it comes to fans complaints, Dee’s reign at the top is marked by failure.

Mike Dee needs to be fired.

The Drafting of Johnny Manziel

The first of Mike Dee’s moves that made no sense whatsoever. It was so bad that they had general manager Josh Byrnes go on Padres Social Hour and take the heat for it. Even with all the evidence of who actually made the call being right there and easily searchable.

They tried to explain it by saying Manziel was the best athlete on the board. Sure. I guess so. Ignore the fact he hadn’t played baseball since Little League.

If you’re going to do something really dumb, own it. I’ve always been a proponent of this. Don’t send an underling to take the fall for you.

The Firing of Josh Byrnes and Subsequent GM Search

The Padres fired Josh Byrnes in the middle of the 2014 season. Fans had been calling for a change. The problem was A) it wasn’t Bud Black and B) that they did it after the draft but before the July 31st trade deadline. Which necessitated what can only be described as a three-headed monster — former senior vice president for baseball operations Omar Minaya and former assistant general manager AJ Hinch and current assistant general manager Fred Uhlman Jr. — making player personnel decisions for a month-and-a-half while the search for a new general manager commenced.

As we’ll see later, this is not the last time that Mike Dee had problems with timing.

BS Plaza

Arguably the worst thing Mike Dee has ever done. So bad, in fact, that no one from the Padres organization has even mentioned it since.

I’ve talked with people who have intimate knowledge of the marketing and promotions departments for the Padres, and no one had any idea that this was happening until they actually revealed the banner in that ceremony.

Mike Dee went on Padres Social Hour the next day and essentially told us all that, while he “appreciated the passion” of the fans, Bud Selig “saved baseball in San Diego” and none of us knew what we were complaining about. A couple of days later, at the Social Summit, Dee told the fifty or so people that were invited that what he meant was that Selig did a lot of stuff behind the scenes during the construction of Petco Park that wasn’t public knowledge. He then took us down to that area and explained that it was “only going to be a plaque,” indicating said plaque would only be small and relatively inconspicuous.

While I accepted his reasoning at the time, I still did not and do not agree with the naming of a plaza after Bud Selig. If his contributions to getting Petco Park built were behind the scenes and not public knowledge, then name the front office or the loading dock after him. Something the general public rarely sees.

Like I said, they have since backed way the hell off mentioning BS Plaza.

The Firing of Bud Black and the Pat Murphy Experiment

Getting back to the timing issue, almost a year to the day of the Byrnes firing, Bud Black was fired as manager. AAA El Paso manager Pat Murphy was brought in to take over on an interim basis.

Like Byrnes before him, fans had been calling for Black’s head for years, but were confused at the timing of the firing. Why did they even bother to go with Black and not just fire him before the season? Or just stick it out and wait until the end of the season to let Black go?

Murphy was the interim manager, but they would not commit to him for any more than the four months or so left in the season. By the time the season ended it was clear that they were not going to hire Murphy as manager on a full-time basis.

The whole thing was a clusterf**k. Which had, at this point, become a Mike Dee staple.

The All-Star Game

The All-Star Game has not been held in San Diego since 1992. Multiple cities and teams have built new stadiums and were awarded the All-Star Game within a couple of years of those stadiums opening. But not Petco Park.

Some conspiracy theorists out there thought the whole BS Plaza thing was just a way to butter up the outgoing commissioner to get fast-tracked into the rotation for an All-Star Game. The Padres and Mike Dee pooh-poohed this, saying one had nothing to do with the other.

CBS White House correspondent and Padres fan, Major Garrett, had floated the idea of getting the 2019 All-Star Game.

I even wrote an entire post about how great of an idea it would be to get the 2019 All-Star Game.

Imagine my surprise last year to find out that the Padres were in fact getting an All-Star Game. But not in 2019, which would make sense. No, they were getting it in 2016 instead of Baltimore. So, instead of three to four years to prepare, the Padres would have about a year and a half.

Looks like kissing up to Bud Selig worked. Chalk one up for the conspiracy theorists.

And I won’t even get into the whole “the National League will be the road team because it’s the American League’s turn to host it and” blah blah blah.

Brown Uniforms

Yay. They (sort of) brought back the brown. On Fridays. At home. Which is better than last season’s Wayback Wednesdays, I guess. Early in the season, they dropped hints that they were going to go to with even more brown next season.

And then Gaslamp Ball posted this on June 4th: A new season ticket holder member survey about uniforms and team colors.

Wait–If they were hinting in early April at going brown full-time next season, why would they need to find out what fans think in June? Don’t they have to have any new designs approved by MLB by the end of April? It’s June.

Not that I think they look at these things. I’m pretty sure that any mention of the word “brown” automatically gets them thrown in the recycling bin.

(Notice I didn’t say “trash,” Gavin?)

I know, it’s just a uniform. It has nothing to do with what’s on the field. You know what? I don’t care. Bring back the brown full-time and get us to shut up about it already!

The National Anthem, the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus, and DJ Artform

When the wrong version of the National Anthem started to play on May 21st, the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus (SDGMC) was rightfully embarrassed. What followed was a s**tstorm of missed opportunities and overreactions from the Padres organization.

First, the Padres didn’t respond quickly enough to the incident, at least publicly. Second, rather than get out in front of the issue publicly, instead the Padres’ released a brief two sentence statement that night, which the SDGMC noted in their statement as not being acceptable. Third, once the s**t hit the fan, as it were, the Padres overreacted and fired the person working the soundboard that evening, Art Romero (DJ Artform).

Later that week, after Romero went on local news stations to apologize, the Padres re-hired him. So, essentially, they just suspended him for a few days, which probably would have been enough to begin with.

The SDGMC overreacted, in my opinion, but the Padres completely bungled their entire response to the issues at hand. Which leads me into what is probably my biggest issue with Mike Dee’s Padres.

Constantly Attempting to “Control the Message”

Dee brought in what could only be described as cronies to help him run the Padres. And these cronies have consistently tried to lay blame on other people, from the fans, to the local media, and even members of the national media.

When I brought up the Manziel pick to one of Dee’s underlings and how Byrnes took the fall for Dee’s folly, this person looked me straight in the eye and asked, “Do you have proof of that?”

Executive Chairman Ron Fowler has done interviews wherein he says dumb things that no one from the Padres has the cajones to come out and refute, or even tone down.

When you surround yourself with “Yes Men,” how can you learn from your mistakes? If no one has the courage to speak up and say, “This isn’t a good idea,” you’re bound to fall flat on your face.

Dynamic Pricing Gone Mad

The following gallery features the prices for the section, Upper Deck 300, on the next four Friday home games:

Ignoring the opponents for a minute, that’s a $4 to $6 premium per seat, just for sitting in the first few rows as opposed to slightly further back.

Look, I know it’s what MLB does now. I get it. The Yankees are (normally) a bigger draw than the Nationals or the Reds. But a 20% premium to sit a couple of rows closer? In the upper deck? That’s just nuts. And it’s like that all over the ballpark. I just picked a section that only had three options to make it easier to explain.

And I don’t have a family to consider. I can just imagine the parents who want to bring their kids to a game.

Counterpoints

“C’mon. Dee has done some good things, too,” you’re probably saying. Fine. Let’s examine some of those “good things.”

Some have tried to use the memorial services for Jerry Coleman and Tony Gwynn as highlights of Dee’s tenure. Here’s my argument: While the Padres did very good jobs with those memorial services, those were one-off events that I would hope they never want to have to do ever again.

Stadium upgrades like the video board, while perhaps accelerated by Dee, were already in the planning stages during previous president Tom Garfinkel’s tenure. And all of the new seating options that have been added — while definitely better than what was there, in most cases — are designed as group seating and are only available to individual sales if no group has bought them.

It’s still too soon to call A.J. Preller’s hiring as general manager a “good thing.” Perhaps Preller is being handcuffed by Fowler and Dee since his big 2014-15 offseason that didn’t go as planned. Unless you’re a Fangraphs fan, that is. Then it went exactly as planned.

In Closing

Mike Dee’s tenure as Padres president has been embarrassing, to say the least. I would consider it a complete failure.

It’s time for a change. Fire Mike Dee. Earn some respect.

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  • Jefe

    I have another big one to add to the list: Removing the retired numbers from atop the Batter’s Eye or whatever the heck it’s called in favor of freeing up more advertising space.

    I’ve been a Padres fan my entire life – I’ve been around since ’68. I became a Padres fan through my dad, who dropped his Dodger allegiance the day the expansion Padres were announced to be joining the National League. To say that our franchise baseball history matters to fans like me (and fans like him) is a vast understatement. I remember the days when players like RJ and Winfield were all we had in a time where we had no shot at competing. We were there in ’84 at the welcome home rally for the start of the comeback and at NLCS Game 3. My mom and dad were at Game 2 against Detroit, which was my Dad’s proudest moment as a baseball fan. We were there throughout the 80’s and the 90’s with the fire sale, and then THE trade that made us contenders again. 1996. 1998. Tony Gwynn 3,000. My dad passed away in 1999 and didn’t see Trevor Hoffman 500, nor Tony’s retirement and enshrinement in Cooperstown. That stuff MATTERS to me and to many others like me. I was at 51’s jersey retirement when they placed his number in that hallowed spot. I was there when 6, 19, 31, and 35 walked out from behind the fence to join 51 (or rather, to welcome him into their brotherhood). There wasn’t a seat in the park where you could not see those numbers where they stood, presumably forever. Those numbers watched over PETCO like guardians.

    Yes, I know I’m being melodramatic and probably oversensitive. Yes I know the numbers have only been moved. Yes, I know that there’s many more things to be upset about with this organization right now. But things like the numbers and where they were located matter. That was my Monument Park out there. You can screw around with ticket prices and the ballpark experience and the whatever all you want, but don’t mess with history and tradition and honor. Regardless of what you call it, that was a dishonorable move.

    #FireMikeDee

  • Gabriel L. Acevedo

    if it happened, I wouldnt be shocked. But if they didnt fire him, I wouldnt be shocked. And right about now, I think the PADRES are going to have to stick with the guy that took ’em to the dance. It would be yet another publicity embarrassment..its not going to do one thing to keep fans close to the franchise…and the bloggers that are calling for his bald head, have gotta understand that EVERY team goes thru this crap, when the team stinks…

    bottom line, if the team is winning more games than they’re losing, no one in their right mind, is focused on Dee and his eff ups. Yea, I know…the guy has jacked up some stuff. And yea….as crafty as he wants us to believe he is, even he cant hide some of the truly desperate moves and actions, he’s indulged in, since he came back to the team.

    I just think there was a phase, that him and Preller/Fowler/Seidler, have gone thru, where none of them REALLY knew what they were doing…and none of them REALLY had an idea of EXACTLY what they wanted their identity to be, going forward. But one thing that got their attention, was that whole Manziel debacle. They got the message, after that went over like a fart in church.

    the Selig Plaza issue, is what it is…yea, he lied about it having nothing to do with an All Star game. Wayyyyy too much of a coincidence there, for us to believe otherwise. I guess, better to have it sooner (no matter how we got it) than to NOT have it at all. Id like to think that the ballclub would be absolutely focused on getting the team back on its feet, than to be thinking about bringing an ASG to a town, where the team sucks so much. But that was more about Fowler and his business/money agenda than anything that Mike Dee did or didnt do right.

    there are a few things that the Padres have done recently that REALLY do have me concerned. And as hard as I try, I actually cant point a finger at anyone but Dee…

    1) the Manziel draft pick and firing the DJ, because of the gay mens chorus scandal, that actually got national play on freaking CNN. Hey I got no problem with the chorus berating the team for a mistake that REALLY did look intentonal. But with audio in a huge baseball stadium, problems are bound to arise at some point. The DJ is a sweetheart of a guy…I actually know the guy. And believe it or not, he has DJ’d for a number of gay events, including their annual Pride festival. But he is so humble, he didnt want to bring that up, because he didnt want it to look like he was victimizing himself, taking attention away from the stance of the chorus. And Mike Dee, fires the kid for taking one for the team?…lol…seriously?

    1a) trading away Trea Turner and Joe Ross…sorry, but that was a major eff up. When the franchise history with drafts, is as piss poor as this one is, the safer approach is warranted. Wil Myers may very well turn into a 20 hr/100 rbi guy. But how many true aces and true leadoff/shortstops, fall outta trees everyday?….I could care less that AJP traded away a bunch of prospects to get all those “names” that we got two seasons ago. MOST of them wont amount to much in 5 yrs, in my opinion. But he even asked for Turner back!!…so he showed his hand there, and he basically admitted effing up a trade, he didnt have any wiggle room to eff up. Thats the kind of thing that can get a GM fired if the COO that hired him, has a clue (Mike Dee). Joe Ross is probably going to be a better pitcher than his big brother…his mechanics are wayyy smoother and easier on his arm. He’s pitched better than Shields has, and on top of that, he would’ve saved the Padres, about 75 million bones.

    2) allowing Preller to offer Sandoval ANY money at all, let along 100 million bucks. That right there, STILL worries me, because no one in that front office has come up with a response as to why they did something like that, when he could have acquired a handful of players for that amount of money. To me, it speaks to a level of immaturity that Preller has, but is trying to hide

    3) and that immaturity has popped up again, with these recent draft picks. Its as if, the last two GMs have/had no reference of how the franchise has epically failed, in a number of ways, over the last 40 plus yrs. If you’ve stood by as a GM and watched the numerous arm injuries that have plagued Padre pitchers, just since they moved downtown, WHY ON EARTH, WOULD YOU WASTE A 1ST ROUND/8th PICK, ON A KID WHO HAS NOT PITCHED IN 2 YRS, BECUZ HE HAD TJ SURGERY??!!…AND THEN YOU TURN AROUND AND DRAFT ANOTHER KID/PITCHER WHO HAD TJ SURGERY!!

    I mean, just to stay on the safe side of things, he should have avoided Quantrill and the other kid, at all cost, and instead should’ve looked at a raw talent in Groome, who dropped lower than anyone expected. That should’ve been a fall back, for general purposes. But no….it seems our ‘suits’ will actually look for the worse case scenario over the scenario that reeks with everything going right. And if my job was on the line(like his is), with this draft, there is no way in Hell Im taking the chances that he took.

    I hope to God his thinking isnt “well, I’ll take the risk and if I get fired, I can always go back to doing the thing that Id rather be doing, anyhow…scouting. I gave the Gm gig a go, and boo hoo, it didnt work out. Oh well, no sweat off my back, and at the end of the day, it wasnt my money that was blown and Im not a Padres fan, so Im outta here”

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