Fowler, Kotsay, and the Mole

A month ago, the Padres were looking to add on and were considered to be contenders in the NL West. Injuries and reality finally took their toll, and a 3-16 record turned the Padres into admitted sellers. It’s been a strange month in Padres land, where things have been turned on their head and one man has done as close to nothing as possible. It feels just about right, because it’s been a bizarre month for me, personally. Let’s talk about it.

Your move, Ron Fowler.

12 days ago, Tom Garfinkel resigned as CEO of the Padres. The Padres went radio silent and we were left to ourselves to figure out what happened. Did he find a better opportunity? Was he jumping from a sinking ship? Did he fall out of love with breakfast? Was he defeated in a staff “Loser Leaves Town” wrestling match?

Turns out, he was asked to leave. Ron Fowler cited differences in opinion on how the team should be run, whatever that means. Fine. You ever hear the phrase “you never get a second chance to make a first impression”? It’s not only a fantastic way to sell deodorant, but it’s generally true. In this case, however, Ron Fowler has been afforded just this opportunity. When the new ownership group took over, they left a bad impression. Or no impression. Most fans were underwhelmed by the lack of, well, anything to say. For better or for worse, they kept Garfinkel and Josh Byrnes on staff and stated a desire to maintain the status quo. Perhaps a clean break from the public faces of the Moorad debacle would have sent a clear message to Padres fans that things were changing, but that didn’t happen.

Now, Garfinkel is gone and Mike Dee’s the new CEO. Ron Fowler is doing radio interviews and saying so many “right” things that even the most cynical Padres fans are intrigued. “We have to get better players for Buddy to manage,” he says! A year later, the new Padres owners have finally arrived, and they’re (kind of) willing to talk. It’s as scary as it is intriguing, because this group has stated time and time again that they want to “under-promise” and “over-deliver”*. So far, there’s been little more than words from Fowler. Saying the right thing is good, but it’s only a start for a fanbase who has been here before. They do deserve an opportunity to deliver on those promises, but they also need to remember the perception problem. As I’ve long stated, for better or for worse, these owners have to take on the legacy of their predecessors. It’s hard work, but we’re a forgiving bunch. Give fans something to root for, and we’ve got your back. The ownership, I mean. We’re always behind the ballclub.

SPEAKING OF UNIFORMS…with ties cut from everyone married to blue, bringing back brown as the Padres’ primary color would be an amazing goodwill gesture. As Fowler implied, after all, we aren’t LA and we don’t want to be LA. LA is blue, we are brown.

When is enough for Mark Kotsay?

Mark Kotsay is 0 for his last 24. He hasn’t had a hit in over a month, and his on-base percentage is .103 over that stretch. He does lead the league in Korners, and he’s certainly not the reason why the team isn’t very good…but it’s probably time to give that roster spot to a younger/more capable player, eh? One has to suspect his days are equal in number to Kyle Blanks’ days left on the disabled list, but we’ve been tricked into this line of thinking before…

The Vedder Cup is coming to Seattle

Seriously, it is. And so am I. This is the last thing I’ll write for Padres Public from San Diego, as this week we’ll be moving the family to Seattle. The good news is that the challenge of being a mole within the heated Vedder Cup rivalry is intriguing. As well, we plan on literally bringing the Vedder Cup to Seattle next year. We’ll figure out something fun to do with that, or maybe I’ll just be a dork in Padres gear holding a trophy at Safeco Field. Or all of the above! Mystery! Intrigue!

It’s been a pretty cool last few months meeting a bunch of you at these Padres Public and Padres social media events, and I want to say thank you to each and every one of you for not hitting me. Also, for being great. At this rate, every Padres blogger will eventually live outside of San Diego.


* – I originally wrote “over-promise” and “under-deliver”, because…WTF? Oh, wait, no…I was, uh, being snarky! Ugh.

Charles Grodin is an American actor, comedian, author, and former cable talk show host. The Vocal Minority posts on Mondays. Follow me on Twitter, okay?

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  • Brandon Cline

    How come you can’t write in Seattle? Also, I, too, have considered moving to Seattle. What prompted you to go up there?

    • Lonnie Brownell

      I think he meant–said, actually–that this is the last thing he’ll write in San Diego. I trust that means he’ll continue to write for PP in the great northwest. Hope so. Just as Nate does from…ah…Ohio, isn’t it?

    • VM David

      Yeah, Lonnie’s right. I’m just talking about being the last thing I write as a local. I’ll still be here, for better or for worse.

      As far as why? Long story short: the Mrs. fell victim to a massive layoff and it turns out Seattle companies are more aggressive than San Diego companies in obtaining the best talent. Sounds oddly familiar.

      • Lonnie Brownell

        So, you’re saying that the Mariners are better at obtaining talent than the Padres? Hrm…

        And thanks for sacrificing molé to become a mole.

      • VM David

        Just that San Diego isn’t aggressive. Though, the M’s DO have/retained King Felix…

  • Sean Dreusike

    Brown is a good will gesture? I was 8 years old when the Padres last wore brown. There are players that have been on the team this year that weren’t even born the last time the team wore brown. Almost every piece of Padres paraphernalia I have is blue. Going back to brown and making everyone’s blue stuff obsolete would come off to many as gimmicky and a grab for more merch money.

    • BOO!
      (That’s BOO as in you suck, not boo as in you scared.)

      • Sean Dreusike

        Well, of course you want me to spend my hard earned money on new merch. You’re the ghost who owned a corporation. I speak for the common man and his wallet.

    • VM David

      I hear you, but this is a team that changes their uniforms several times a decade. Being perceived as making gimmicky uniform-related cash grabs is kind of their deal.

      • Sean Dreusike

        I’d kinda like it to stop being their deal.

      • Michelle Rose

        Same here. As soon as they change back to brown.

    • Michelle Rose

      Just because a lot of people eat at Olive Garden, doesn’t mean that it’s good food.

      • Sean Dreusike

        I don’t eat at Olive Garden. Like you say, it’s not very good. Just like brown.

      • Michelle Rose

        Navy blue is the vanilla ice cream of unis. I pretty much only buy brown merch unless I’m buying something for my kid (and I only buy non-brown merch for her because they don’t make throwback stuff for kids).

    • Lonnie Brownell

      If they go with brown, all your stuff will be retro. You’ll be old school. So there’s that.

  • Lonnie Brownell

    Kotsay may now be considered a great clubhouse guy because everyone else can look at him and say “At least I’m not doing THAT poorly.” Hopefully soon, some will be able to think about him and say “At least I didn’t get released.” Taking one for the team.

  • Michelle Rose

    What hasn’t been mentioned here yet is that one of the Mariners’ upcoming promotions is Felix Hernandez Superhero Cape for kids. I’d like to see Mike Dee top that.