How to buy a Major League Baseball franchise the Dodger way (not the Padres way)

If you're Jeff Moorad, you have to be kicking yourself a little bit over the way things have played out over the last few months. You're no longer CEO of the team. Signs point to owning the Padres not being in the cards. What should he have done? Listened to Gaslamp Ball.

1. Don't cry poor until 5 years after you've fully owned the team
John Moores' first order of business after "rescuing" us from Tom Werner (who went on to successfully run the Red Sox to two World Series wins), get the Padres into the playoffs and then into the World Series. The second order of business, cry poor until you get a ballpark built, even if it means fielding terrible teams for half a decade.

2. Get a local celebrity to be the "name" of the group
You know why rich people buy baseball teams? Because they want all of the fame that comes with owning a baseball team. Fame that gets you into parties. Fame that lets you hang out with famous people. Like Magic Johnson. Guys who are celebrities for things other than selling Chinese food or starting up an internets company that sells widgets to whozits.

When given the opportunity to hang out at owner meetings with Magic Johnson, the most charismatic basketball player of all time, or Jeff Moorad, who your GM hates because GMs will often get burned by really good sports agents...

Do you hear what I'm saying? Troy Aikman Group. San Diegans love Troy Aikman. (not really)

But seriously, look at that smiling photo of Manny Pacquiao there. That's what wins over the hearts and minds. A punchy, wiry Filipino with bad facial hair, loved by millions.
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3. Make the deal so overwhelming that it makes very very important parts seem trivial
Q: How much is the Magic Johnson group going to spend to renovate Dodger Stadium? Estimates put needed renovations at $300 million, which is why the other bidders were concerned about passing the $1.2 billion mark, much less the $2 billion mark.

A: Magic Johnson! $2.15 billion!! Down with McCourt!!!

Q: Ummm... yeah. About that. This deal didn't include the land around Dodger Stadium. Talk is that buying the land could surpass $150 million and keep McCourt involved with the Dodgers for years to come. $150 million is a ton of money.

A: Magic Johnson! $2.15 billion!! Down with McCourt!!!

Q: What about the TV deal? The whole idea was that the owners didn't want McCourt (or Moorad) to use TV deal money to pay off his debts, and they definitely didn't want the money to end up paying for the team, yet sports economist Andrew Zimbalist says:

"[Using TV money] indirectly will happen anyway because McCourt is going to get his money and the new ownership will have to use a good chunk of the television money to pay off their asset purchase."

A: Magic Johnson! $2.15 billion!! Down with McCourt!!!

Q: You know, the other thing with McCourt. MLB didn't want him to use the Dodgers as his own personal ATM machine, yet he made a killing with this sale and, if he continues to own the surrounding land, he'll probably make millions each year going forward off of renting out the parking lot. Some economists consider this "despicable".

A: Magic Johnson! $2.15 billion!! Down with McCourt!!!

4. Get one of your millionaire investors to be a little bit more visible, like even a little tiny bit. Like say something you shy motherf__kers.
Millionaire Padres Owner #1: Oh hey. I'm reading in the paper that the excrement is hitting the air conditioning. Jeff's not coming off as trustworthy.

Millionaire Padres Owner #2: Yeah I saw that. People think we're each just investing a couple mil to double it in two years.

Millionaire Padres Owner #3: Hahahaha... Double a million dollars? I did that last night by accident.

Millionaire Padres Owner #'s 4,5,6,7 and 8: HAHAHAHAHA Me too. A couple million is easy peasy. We're all set for life. Just trying to get into rich people parties that the MLB throws.

Millionaire Padres Owner #1: So what should we do?

Millionaire Padres Owner #s 2 through 15: [shy confuse]

5. In fact, do SOME public relations
Everybody knows what PR is and everybody thinks that PR companies just spin stories. But you know what else PR is that's more important than spin? Public Relations is your RELATIONSHIP WITH THE PUBLIC.

Hey, the public's asking really specific questions in a very vocal and visible way that could be damaging to your reputation? Maybe you should answer the questions in a very vocal and visible way that could help your reputation. Even if it's trotting your Sports Figurehead Star out to say that they're not able to comment on the negotiations (see point 2). That stuff goes a lot further than silence.

So maybe it's too late for Moorad to take my hindsight advice, but let this be a lesson to future potential Padres owners. When in doubt:

Big Gigantic Money. Big Gigantic Charismatic Figurehead. Nobody's Poor. Be Nice.

Go Padres.

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