If you spent any time this weekend on social media or down at Petco Park, it was impossible to miss the buzz surrounding the San Diego Padres.
Omg. This is the line to get into the team store after the game. pic.twitter.com/aWxolFtktB— thalia tatchado (@thalia_m1) March 31, 2019
While it’s important in moments like these to stop and smell the roses, it’s also important to remember the context of where you’ve been. For Padres fans, that means remembering when the collection of Padres podcasts and blogs got together (including GLB!) in an effort to get the team to fire its President and CEO, Mike Dee.
It was the loudest Padres fans bringing their voices together in unity, and in pain, to state that they felt they were being mistreated by how the team was being run. Here is a pretty good starting point if you don’t recall what the biggest issues were at the time. It was, without a doubt, rock bottom for a franchise that has made a number of mistakes.
Four months later, and just after the end of the regular season, Mike Dee was out. Not necessarily fired, but a parting of ways between him and the team, whose most loyal fans had grown to publicly hate him.
In the two and a half years since, here’s what the San Diego Padres have done:
- Signed Wil Myers, Eric Hosmer, and Manny Machado to contracts worth a total of $527 million. All three were the biggest contracts in team history when they were signed. This changed the perception that the Padres would never be willing to pay the money to acquire, or even keep, big stars.
- Publicly announced a switch in the team’s primary colors from blue-and-white to brown-and-gold after 10+ years of outcry from Padres’ fans to do so.
- Put Fernando Tatis Jr. and Chris Paddack on the 2019 Opening Day roster, skipping the usual manipulations of service time for top prospects and focusing on building a winning baseball team as quickly as possible. This was seen as a groundbreaking move that sent shockwaves throughout baseball.
Do those things happen if Mike Dee is still President and CEO of the Padres? Maybe! But it certainly feels as though the primary focus of the team has switched from TV/ballpark experience and debt reduction to winning baseball, which is why you see fans buying in now in ways they never did when Dee was in charge.
It’s possible Dee just wasn’t around to see the fruits of his labor. After all, he was here for the massive international spending frenzy A.J. Preller and the Padres went on in the summer of 2016 and was here when the team ate a bunch of James Shields’ remaining money in a trade that brought back Fernando Tatis Jr.
However, it’s just as possible that Dee’s departure led to a restructuring of the upper ranks of the San Diego Padres, and that those moves is what has led to this renewed interest in putting the best product possible on the fields.
Either way, it’s great to see how far the Padres have come in just a short time.