This is an unfinished draft but it looks like now is a good time to post it anyways. I wrote a similar article a while back that also listed Dee's off field mistakes, but I wanted this to be chronological and include source documents. Anyways, #FireDee
I'm an off the field kind of guy. Always was, always will be. Which isn't to say I don't care how the team performs - I do, it's just that I know how hard it is to win. The thing with winning baseball games is that there are 29 other teams trying to win too. When one team wins that means another team has lost. It's competitive. Even with the difficulty, it should obviously still be a goal and failure should always result in criticism. It's just that we should remind ourselves that winning isn't easy. You know what's easy though? Off the field stuff. Especially in a beautiful ballpark like Petco. Not getting the easy stuff right? That's just unacceptable.
Yes, yes, I know. "If the team is winning, nobody would care about any of this off the field stuff." Sure, that has some truth. But even winning can't overcome all the obstacles of a lousy brand experience. In any case, the team isn't winning so this stuff DOES matter. If the Padres can't do the hard thing right, then they better do the easy things right. Besides, If both the on and off the field product is bad (which it is), it hurts revenue and makes building a winning team that much harder.
Let's take a look chronologically at Mike Dee's tenure as CEO of the Padres.
Mike Dee didn't leave the Dolphins on the best of terms. He wasn't ran out of town or anything, but he was definitely on the way out one way or another. "Dee's job change comes about two months after the Dolphins were denied public money for a stadium upgrade by Florida's Legislature." It's important to note that Dee did not have control over the on the field product when he was with the Dolphins. Dee's primary responsibilities were to get money for the stadium upgrade and get fans into seats. Well, he failed at the butts into seats thing as well. "He was charged with reversing a shrinking season-ticket base in Miami. The Dolphins, who sold 61,121 season tickets in 2006, sold just 47,000 in 2008. But the season-ticket base continued to drop during Dee’s tenure as the team struggled on the field. Last season the total was in the low 40,000s and the club purchased tickets to avoid local-TV blackouts." There were some successes such as creating the Dolphins Cycling Challenge which raised $4 million annually for cancer research, but none of his successes were in regards to getting fans to the game.
Once in San Diego, Dee quickly began to surround himself with staff from his previous employer. In November 2013, Wayne Partello was hired as Chief Marketing Officer. Partello owes all his career success to Dee. Partello went from positions at Entercom owned WEEI Boston including On-Air Personality ("Big Bamboo") and Video Production Specialist to Dolphins Senior Director of Content and Creative seemingly overnight. Because of this, Partello "...reveres Dee and...is virtually incapable of disagreeing with Dee." To be frank, Partello just doesn't have the experience or education needed to be head of Marketing for a multi-million dollar brand.
In early 2014, Dan Sileo was hired by Mighty 1090 (the Padres flagship station). Sileo had previously "served" the Miami market. "Sileo was fired from WDAE-AM in March 2012 after he called three black NFL free agents 'monkeys.'...In January 2013, he was suspended from [WQAM-AM] after a series of sexist tweets directed at Fox Sports broadcaster Erin Andrews." Also on WQAM-AM he made an anti-Jewish remark and attempted to justify it by claiming his own Jewish ancestry. He was fired from WMEN for offering $1,000 to any University of Miami football player to target harm to FSU players. While at Mighty 1090, Sileo downplayed the insult of "you sing like a girl" in reference to the gay choir scandal.
I particularly adore this article Kevin Acee wrote in September 2014. I find myself re-reading it a couple of times a month. Dee has surrounded himself with sycophants. Dee has built a bubble around himself where nobody informs him of his bad decisions. On top of that, his ego is so large that he doesn't question himself either.
The same Winter that Dee hired Partello and recruited Sileo, he also fired Padres Public Address announcer Frank Anthony. Anthony had held the position for 10 years and seemed to be terminated without cause. To make matters worse, the replacement was handled by an open casting call which was more akin to a circus. Anthony said it best himself: "To make it appear that anyone can walk off the street and can apply for this demeans what I’ve done for 10 years." The casting call didn't even find a replacement in time for the start of the 2014 season. Meanwhile, one of the farm teams (the Storm I believe) was also searching for a new PA announcer, but they actually required experience to audition.
Another termination that Winter was that of Broadcaster Andy Masur (to make room for Jesse Agler). I personally ended up really enjoying Agler and the Padres Social Hour program. My real complaint here is mostly of timing I suppose. There was a lot of change that Winter involving installing Dee's cronies. I wish the organization would have took a little time with Masur and see if he could fit somewhere else. Besides, at the time, Agler was only joining the radio broadcast occasionally. Masur's salary couldn't have been all that much. Change for the sake of change was not a good way for Dee to introduce himself to the market.
In February 2014 the Padres announced their promotional schedule. It got mixed reviews. A Padres Public poll rated the schedule a 'B' with 43.66% of the vote. This would be the last time the Padres put together any semblance of a decent promotional schedule though. 2015 and 2016s promotional schedule would be universally panned.