This morning I gave myself an internet time out. I had work to do. I logged back in just now and Jeff Passan's Yahoo! story is blowing up my timeline. While I was away, Padres President Garfinkel apologized for comparing Zack Greinke to Dustin Hoffman's character in Rain Man during a recent Season Ticket Holder event. There's a snippet of audio you can listen to on the article to hear some of the context. Apparently there's a full 23 minute file floating around somewhere, just waiting for the next news cycle.
"I was emotional the day after the game and regrettably, while defending our player, I said some things I shouldn't have, especially as it relates to Zack Greinke," Garfinkel told Yahoo! Sports. "I was out of line and I apologize.
"Obviously, I don't condone fighting and I wish it wouldn't have happened. You never want to see any player get hurt."
Padres Public wrote about the issue earlier today and is definitely worth a read, so check it out.
Unlike most people I've never seen the movie Rain Man but like most, I know practically nothing about the science behind social anxiety or autism. I only learned just last week that Greinke has had issues with social anxiety in his recent past. The character in Rain Man, Raymond Babbit, was an autistic savant. When you confuse one for the other you can expect a two pronged attack from the internet.
I also know a thing or two about internet anger. I know the internet is omnipotent and is always the first to cast a stone when you make a mistake. I wouldn't wish those attacks on anybody, especially not Garfinkel who has been a friend to the San Diego community, and many Padres fans including those on this site.
Still I'd say the same thing if it were the Dodgers' CEO Stan Kasten being ripped, because being lectured, ridiculed and attacked in public by a nameless, faceless mob sucks. No apology will satisfy them. If you look at the comments on the Yahoo! article and the tweets directed at Gafinkel, you'll realize that most are insensitive responses to his admitted insensitive remarks. These kinds of attacks aren't helping anyone, not even under the guise of mental illness awareness.
Having known Garfinkel for several years, I believe him when he says he feels horrible about his comment and know his apology is sincere. If you're truly offended by his comments, I can understand that. If you're using this incident as an opportunity to tear someone down because of your sports allegiance, that's probably unfair.
Here's Garfinkel's apology on Twitter, do with it what you must.
Hearing from parents who have children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and being a parent myself, (cont.)— Tom Garfinkel (@TomGarfinkel) April 18, 2013
(cont) ...I have learned a lot today.I am deeply sorry for my insensitive remarks.— Tom Garfinkel (@TomGarfinkel) April 18, 2013
Separately, I'd like to also personally apologize to anyone affected by Social Anxiety Disorder.— Tom Garfinkel (@TomGarfinkel) April 18, 2013