Thanksgiving, still my favorite holiday of the year.

Also, the time of year where everyone’s “[XX] Reasons For [insert team name] Fans To Be Thankful” pieces come out. And I do mean EVERYONE’S.

Two years ago I wrote about the things I was thankful for as it relates to the Padres. I thought it would be fun to go back and look at how those things worked out then give a new reason to be thankful.

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Mike Dee was fired today, which was equal parts surprising and inevitable. But this isn’t about Mike Dee, business man—this isn’t even really about Mike Dee at all.

The question now becomes (at least for people, like me, who geek out on baseball stuff more than the business side): how does this effect baseball operations for the Padres? There’s a decent argument that the Padres need some figurehead in baseball ops, someone like Theo Epstein or Chris Antonetti. Dee was sort of playing that role for the Padres, although not in the overarching way Epstein and Antonetti are in Chicago and Cleveland, respectively. A.J. Preller’s (and staff) been driving decision-making on a micro level, but ultimately he reported to Dee, and it’s possible that Dee played a significant role in the team’s long-term approach to the baseball side. Preller’s made a number of good moves over the last year, but he’s young, inexperienced (as a general manager), and still serving the final days of a month long league-mandated suspension for keeping shady medical records.

Someone like Alex Anthopolous (Craig Elsten mentioned him) might make sense, or Ben Cherington, or Jed Hoyer (also via Craig, and a long shot), or Tony La Russa (wait, no). Surely, there are numerous other names that would work, names that would provide a stabilizing presence in baseball ops while adding knowledge and experience to the organization. Names that would work as a sort of guiding force to Preller, keeping him out of trouble in Latin America while assisting in trade negotiations with skeptical rival GMs.

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That’s the question Padres ownership will have to answer for a solution to the problem they’re facing: what to do about AJ Preller. The Padres were investigated by Major League Baseball for a complaint filed by the Boston Red Sox for withholding information in the Drew Pomeranz trade.

Preller was suspended for 30 days, which isn’t a huge deal in and of itself since major moves don’t usually happen between now and the end of the World Series. What is a big deal has less to do with MLB’s investigation and more to do with how other teams view Preller. Will anyone trust him after this?

As reported by Buster Olney, the accusations boil down to the reporting of player injury information to a central database. According to Olney, teams are required to record all information regarding any kind of treatment players receive. The Padres apparently didn’t include everything that was required. Ken Rosenthal reports that Drew Pomeranz “and others” were taking oral medications that weren’t disclosed, which led to the suspension. The Padres admit to the behavior, but say it wasn’t “malicious” which I guess means they claim they didn’t know it was against the rules.

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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.

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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.

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Sometimes letters never reach their intended targets, instead becoming lost, abandoned, or otherwise discarded amongst the abundance of flyers and coupons in the mailperson’s sack. Sometimes those letters end up at the doorstep of the Padres Public headquarters, where we promptly publish them. Here are some of those letters.

Mr. Mike Dee
CEO, San Diego Padres Baseball Club.
April 20, 2016

Dear Mr. Dee—I just wanted to write to tell you how much I like the new Sycuan sign at Petco Park. What a beaut! It’s such a delight to be patrons of a team that cares so much about quality advertising, and that, my friend, is some quality advertising. I went to the game the other night with my boy and the first thing he asked me about was that glowing monstrosity looming over the batter’s eye, and we proceeded to have a wonderful conversation about my past tribulations with a game called blackjack . . . but I digress.

We marveled at the incandescent light shimmering off each letter, a gorgeously centered backdrop to the drubbing the home nine were taking on the field. It’s really a great location for such aesthetic mastery, boldly affixed atop the field of play. What a beaut!

Shoot, more I think about it, I can’t even remember what was there before. And now I’ve got an eight-year-old son who wants to hit the Vegas Strip. I just wanted to make sure you know how much we appreciate that sign, and for that matter, everything else you do—although I’m sure fans around the park are always telling you the same.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Cheers,
Sam in Escondido

P.S.—Can any other team in the majors boast a one-two advertising punch like the Padres, with the aforementioned Sycuan sign and the now slightly overshadowed—but impressive in its own right, darn it—National University sign in left-center? That’s a heckuva combo. Keep up the good work.

***

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The San Diego Padres replaced their retired numbers display on top of their batter’s eye with an advertisement. That in itself says a lot, but let’s be fair and think a little more.

The Tom Garfinkel regime added other large smatterings of advertisements to Petco Park in the form of a giant golf club and paint can, among others. More recently, Ron Fowler and Mike Dee have taken ads in Petco Park to another level. Seemingly everything not nailed down has a corporate sponsor attached, including an almost impressive ability to create new places to display ads, including a large freestanding National University sign in left-centerfield and a Sycuan banner hanging above another ad on the light tower in right field.

Fans were especially vocal about the National University sign, but the increased corporate presence was followed by real change to the team’s finances. I asked CEO Mike Dee about the ad revenue at the 2014 Padres Social Summit, and he said that money would go back into the team. Indeed it appeared to, because after the National University and other signs debuted in 2014, the Padres raised payroll significantly.

And while payroll dropped in 2016, we’re expecting a large shopping spree in international free agency this year, and it makes perfect sense to lump that spending to MLB payroll as every team faces choices about where to allocate their budget. I’m sure if Dee or the Padres responded to fan complaints, they would point out the increase in spending as the reason for the ads, and point to the benefits fans have seen.

padres tony gwynn memorial number

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“Spring is the time of year when it is summer in the sun and winter in the shade.”

Spring Training is upon us once again. A time for optimism. A time for learning. A time for critiquing.

The Padres front office has recently been doing interviews where Mike Dee, Ron Fowler, and Peter Seidler all declare their belief in being big believers in belief, despite all apparent evidence to the contrary.

In other words, they have Great Expectations for this season.

What follows is my Padres brain dump for this spring, using select quotes from Charles Dickens’ classic novel, Great Expectations.

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The 2015 San Diego Padres season is over. In the process of winning 74 games and not winning 88 they blew through three managers, if you count Dave Roberts‘ one game as the interim interim manager that is. Alexi Amarista was given the starting shortstop job and proceeded to not hit his way back to the bench where he belongs. Jedd Gyorko started out in a horrible slump, was benched, then sent to AAA, then came back, and then started at shortstop. Josh Johnson did not throw a pitch all season until starting a rehab game at Lake Elsinore in August, threw four pitches, and ended up scheduling a third Tommy John surgery.

It was a season to forget. And I’ve forgotten most of it, to be honest.

Rather than give out letter grades for the various aspects of the team or rehash everything that happened — whether it was good, bad, or just incredibly stupid — I reached out on Twitter and asked you guys to come up with one word to describe the 2015 Padres season.

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The Padres have made an uncharacteristically loud splash this holiday season. As fans complained about inactivity at the Winter Meetings here in San Diego, the team tuned out the noise and dealt Yasmani Grandal, Joe Wieland, and Zach Eflin to the Dodgers for Matt Kemp, Tim Federowicz, and $31 million.

With a laughably incompetent offense and a disillusioned fan base, the Padres have decided to commit large amounts of money to name players. There’s a new GM, a new hitting coach, and a relatively new ownership group. They want to make a positive mark on the franchise and the city.

Before the trade, the Padres had been linked to many marquee hitters this offseason. They missed on Pablo Sandoval and Yasmany Tomás. Other names included Jay Bruce, Adam Jones, and Justin Upton. Some still think Upton might yet happen.

Ron Fowler, Mike Dee, and A.J. Preller had a budget and were going to use it. When Sandoval and Tomás landed elsewhere, they turned to Kemp. But was it worth the cost?

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