Mike Dee interview with Darren Smith (MP3)
- Opening Night (3/30) has sold out. Opening Day (4/1) tickets are selling quickly but still available. The decision to have the Opening Day festivities on Tuesday rather than Sunday night was due to feedback from Season Ticket Holders who overwhelmingly wanted to preserve the tradition of celebrating during the day. The block party which takes place on a closed J street will take place on Sunday though. Dee thinks the team is going "all in" on Sunday, but "our decision rightly or wrongly was based on feedback from fans." The MLB required an off day on Monday.
- Dee was part of the Larry Lucchino group that initiated the building of Petco Park and then left for Boston before its completion. He says that the park matches their vision of what they wanted for San Diego. The Padres just did some research and it was determined that fans love the ballpark. He'd give the ballpark a 9 or 9.5 out of 10.
- There are stark differences from being employed in San Diego and Boston. Dee said he was fortunate to work with some really smart people. Nothing prepared Dee for working in San Diego again more than his prior 8 years with the Padres in the 90's. The 1998 World Series was just as impactful on the city as the World Series win was in Boston.
- Dee thinks that baseball fans are more cognizant of the fan experience than the NFL.
- Dee describes the process for getting an All-Star game as "constructive persistence". This was a promise that was made when the ballpark was being voted on. There's no reason why the MLB wouldn't want to have the game in SD, but there is a queue.
- Dee says the vibe at Spring Training was "really, really good". Ron Fowler and Dee both talked to the team. There's a quiet confidence with the team. "This team has a chance to have a really good chemistry."
- Dee's first night in San Diego he was asked if he was going to bring back the brown. He was never
I was here for 8 years and I was never once asked that. -Mike Dee
asked about brown in San Diego from 1995-2002 He thinks this all came about in the past 5 or 6 years. Fans want the team to have an identity. The hard core portion of the fan base wants consistency and to grab on to the history that the Padres have and the brown and gold is part of that.
- Dee says that the current ownership is in it for the right reasons.
- The name on the back of the jersey "unquestionably" matters to the fans. There was an effort before not to market the players. Dee told the players that the team is only going to go as far as the players take them.