Like baseball, I don't follow football too closely. I let the big stories of the day find me rather than searching them out. The culture of hazing rookies in the NFL was spotlighted today when the Miami Dolphins suspended Richie Icognito for misconduct, bullying and extorting a fellow rookie teammate. The days of a locker room pink belly and a wet willy are long gone.
Not knowing much about the Dolphins I checked to see if new Dolphins CEO/ Former Padres CEO Tom Garfinkel had a comment. He didn't that I could find, but I saw the picture he tweeted of former Padres 1B Anthony Rizzo and current Padres pitcher Casey Kelly. Two guys that came over to the Padres from Boston in the Adrian Gonzalez trade.
Found a couple of old friends who are Dolphins fans... pic.twitter.com/C2Mr7PdhOu— Tom Garfinkel (@TomGarfinkel) November 1, 2013
In my search I also found this complimentary blog post written about Garfinkel comparing him to former CEO/Current Padres CEO Mike Dee. It's a an interesting look at the CEO swap from the other side's perspective.
The Miami Dolphins may be a team searching for an identity but they may have found the right man for the job when it comes to their new CEO Tom Garfinkel. Unlike his predesesser [sic] Mike Dee, Mr. Garfinkel takes a calmer approach to the affairs he is tasked with. He does so with an undeniable sense of what the fans want and his approach is a breath of fresh air for a franchise that has been kicked around lately.
Garfinkel met with the internet fan community at a recent Web Weekend event. The author of the blog post says that Garfinkel had a much calmer, relaxed demeanor than his predecessor Mike Dee's "rah-rah" style. While Dee would energetically speak at this yearly event, Garfinkel was more interested in listening.
We, the group of web-masters, had pretty much heard everything that Dee wanted to accomplish and didn’t.
The author was impressed that Garfinkel wasn't afraid to say he didn't know the answer to a question while Dee in the past thought he had the answer for everything.
The fact is that he doesn’t have all the answers and doesn’t care if you know that. More surprising than the honest approach was his genuine interest in what we had to say. In six years of going to these events I never got the feeling that a door stood ajar with the team. After listening to Tom Garfinkel I actually was left with the impression that if I had a suggestion then I should call him and let him know.
That's something that some fans in San Diego found to be true with Garfinkel. They could tweet him with suggestions and he'd often respond, sometimes even making the suggestion a solution. The one example that comes to mind immediately is the video screen that shows pitch information by the right field foul pole. That was a fan idea. I've heard more than a few stories of non-blogging fans accepting invitations to meet with Garfinkel to discuss topics in his time in San Diego.
Say what you will about him, but he was always open to listening to new ideas. Even the crazy ones. Sure, sometimes he'd be "listening" while checking his email on his phone while repeatedly nodding and saying "mmm-hmm" while you and your best buddy pitch an idea for a Trevor Hoffman statue that shoots fire and urinates becomes more and more insane and then right when you get to the part about a statue pooping hot dogs he excuses himself without commenting. But yeah, I guess you could say he listens.
The reality is that unlike Mike Dee, Tom Garfinkel isn’t afraid to explore the options that best suit the fans. He did not come across egotistical and there was no, "my way" about him. Mike Dee was, is, a nice guy but when it came to making decisions it so often seemed as though the decisions were his and his alone like it or leave it.
You may remember that Mike Dee met with your local bloggers, myself included at the end of the season. I can confirm that Dee seems like a real nice guy and while the atmosphere wasn't quite suited for an exchange of ideas, he did ingratiate himself with the blogger community.
The bottom line is that neither CEO has really been in their new job long enough to have many achievements, but with any luck the hires will be a win-win for both teams. We also learn that while both CEOs have received some criticism in the past they have made good first impressions with bloggers. And really isn't that all that's important?