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.
— Mike Dee (@PadresMikeDee) June 7, 2014
— Johnny Manziel (@JManziel2) June 7, 2014
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.
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.
Just announced: Palm Court Plaza will be dedicated to Commissioner Selig & will be renamed Selig Hall of Fame Plaza pic.twitter.com/6Diyriu105
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) August 27, 2014
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.
— Major Garrett (@MajorCBS) July 27, 2014
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.
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.
“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.
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.