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Biz of Baseball Organizational Report - San Diego Padres PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Devon Teeple   
Sunday, 08 June 2008 15:12

Padres Organizational ReportThe following is a continuation of our Organizational Reports, filed by Devon Teeple. As with the prior reports for the Toronto Blue Jays, and the Pittsburgh Pirates, this report delves into the San Diego Padres historically, financially, and from a facility perspective. -- Maury Brown

The San Diego Padres franchise name was derived from the Pacific Coast League team, which had been in the city since 1936.  That same team won the PCL title in 1937 led by then 18-year-old Ted Williams.  In 1969 Major League Baseball was looking to expand into four new markets; the Montreal Expos (now the Washington Nationals), the Kansas City Royals, the Seattle Pilots (now the Milwaukee Brewers), and finally the San Diego Padres.

The original owner was C. Arnholt Smith, a prominent San Diego businessman and former owner of the PCL Padres.  Though the initial excitement was well deserved, the first few years in San Diego were anything but successful.  Even with the guidance of Buzzie Bavasi, and a brand new playing field, the team placed last in each of its first six seasons, losing 100 games in four of them.  One of the few bright spots in that time was Nate Colbert and expansion draftee from the Houston Astros and as of 2007, was still the team’s all-time homerun leader with 163.  C. Arnholt Smith, who brought the team to San Diego, was also looking to sell the team as well.  As a businessman looking to make profit on an initial investment, he could tell after the first few years that this was an impossible idea.  Before the 1974 season began Smith, was on the verge of selling the team, but there were a few issues standing in his way.  Smith was a businessman, not a baseball man.  On July 17 2005, Maury Brown, Founder and President of “The Business of Sports Network”, conducted a interview with Mr. Buzzie Bavasi; President and part owner of the San Diego Padres from 1968-1977, to discuss the issues as mentioned above.

BizBall: Let’s talk about C. Arnholt Smith and the selling of the Padres. What was your reaction to him trying to sell the Padres to Joe Dansansky, without the League’s permission, with the idea of moving the franchise to DC the year after DC had lost the Senators?

Bavasi: It was tough to make some of those people understand. He thought that if he owned it he could sell the team. Didn’t realize he had to get permission, and I told him when he called and he said he sold the club for $12.5 million and I said, “You can’t do that without permission from the league.” He couldn’t understand that. Found out that he had to have permission. He just didn’t understand the rules and regulations of baseball. But he was a good owner. He really was at the time. I think he favored the club, I think he favored the operation. But of course he didn’t know what he was doing.

BizBall: What did you make of Ray Kroc when he was mentioned as a possible owner candidate for the Padres?

Bavasi: He was a good one. I loved that about Ray. To know Ray is to love him.  He was a great guy. Great man. You wouldn’t know Ray had fifteen cents if you were around him all the time. But Ray Kroc loved the game of baseball as Gene Autry did. Loved the game. Loved the players. As a matter of fact, sometimes he loved them too much. But I’ll never forget, Don Lubin called me and told me he had a buyer for the club and I said, “Who?” And he said, “Ray Kroc” and I said, “Who’s he?” and he said, “Well, he owns 6,000 shares of McDonald’s.” To myself, I said, “McDonald’s is selling for $2.” But that was McDonnell-Douglas. I made a mistake. It was selling for $50. But when he took over this club, it was the greatest thing in the history of the town because he saved the club from being shipped out.

In the following seasons, there was not much to be happy about in San Diego.  Two things brought up good thoughts of the Padres in the upcoming years; 1984, and Tony Gwynn.  The 1984 San Diego Padres achieved the unthinkable and made it to the World Series only to get steam-rolled by a Detroit Tigers teams who were on pace for greatness from game one.  A 35-5 start to the season, 104 victories and a team that consisted of Kirk Gibson, Alan Trammell and a staff led by Jack Morris, Dan Petry and Willie Hernandez.  Though the season brought great accomplishments, one main stay was Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn.  We are all familiar with Gwynn’s accomplishments, a career .338 batting average, 3141 hits, 16x all-star 5 gold gloves, but one thing that Gwynn shared in common with his team the Padres; was there strive for success.  Rough years were ahead, but in November 1995, things turned around with the promotion of Kevin Towers from scouting director, to General Manager.

Select Read More to see details on the Towers tenure as GM, the development of PETCO Park, Sandy Alderson, broadcast information, community outreach, historical information regarding the Forbes valuation of the Padres, and much more

The Kevin Towers Tenure as General Manager 

Kevin Towers is a general manager, not of administrative background but of being a former minor league pitcher in the San Diego Padres organization. Towers strength is in player procurement and player evaluation. On Monday May 17, 2004, Maury Brown conducted a interview with Kevin Towers, which discusses his playing days, life as a General Manager and Stadium and Player Development. His minor league playing days lasted approximately eight years, that led to scouting, scouting director and eventually GM. His tenure as GM of the Padres has been a successful one. He has lead the team to 4 division titles, and one World Series appearance in 1998. All GM’s make mistakes by giving out contracts that are just not feasible at that time, or signing long-term deals after one good season; Bubba Trammell, Wiki Gonzales. Mistakes occur when a contract makes some players untradeable; Ryan Klesko and Phil Nevin. Things happen, but some GM’s, in this case Kevin Towers, has the ability to find great solutions, makes trades, and take advantage of the system that has taught him everything. Towers has shown success in the Rule 5 Draft; with Shane Victorino being his biggest signing, though Victorino has shown moderate success in Philadelphia. Towers has shown off his skill with acquisitions made from the Waiver Wire/Independent Leagues/International Signings. Notably his premier signing was Scott Linebrink from the waiver wire, and picked up players of marginal value, but did contribute when needed; Brian Tolberg. These signings brought value to the team when needed, but Towers excels in drafting pitchers that became mainstays and Cy Young Winners; Jake Peavy, and acquiring pitchers, who at the time did not seem like much but provided the club with a boost at the right time; Woody Williams and Sterling Hitchcock. Recently Towers, has been using his skill set to acquire and put together some very clever dealings. Despite having some subpar drafts which could be due to some financial constraints (Padres Payroll as of 2008 - $72,626,616), he has acquired, arguably his best hitter, Adrian Gonzales and pitcher Chris Young, for Adam Eaton and Akinori Otsuka. In addition, he bolstered his bullpen by acquiring Heath Bell form the Mets in 2006 for Ben Johnson.

 The Padres have seen improvement on the field while Towers has been GM but it is scattered success. Seemingly rotating from 1st in the division to 3rd to 5th, coming full circle in approximately 6 years.

Year
Record
Winning %
Attendance
Standings
2007
89-74
.546
2,790,074
3rd
2006
88-74
.543
2,659,754
1st
2005
82-80
.506
2,869,787
1st
2004
87-75
.537
3,016,752
1st
2003
64-98
.395
2,030,084
5th
2002
66-96
.407
2,221,230
5th
2001
79-83
.488
2,378,130
4th
2000
76-86
.469
2,423,142
5th
1999
74-88
.457
2,523,178
4th
1998
98-64
.605
2,555,901
1st
1997
76-86
.469
2,089,333
4th
1996
91-71
.562
2,187,886
1st

PETCO Park

 

Though the team is currently struggling, the upside this team has financially, is endless. In 2002, Chairman John J. Moores and the San Diego Padres organization made a commitment to Major League Baseball and the city of San Diego with it plan to construct PETCO Park. PETCO Park is an open-air stadium in downtown San Diego, California. It opened in 2004, replacing Qualcomm Stadium as the home park of Major League Baseball's San Diego Padres. Before then, the Padres shared Qualcomm Stadium with the NFL's San Diego Chargers. The stadium is named after the animal and pet supplies retailer PETCO, which is based in San Diego and paid for the naming rights. The downtown park, which is located at the hub of the San Diego transportation system, is easily accessible by Trolley Car, the Coaster, bus and future water taxis. In its inaugural season, PETCO drew 3,016,752 fans, and has eclipsed 2.6 million fans every year since. In addition, PETCO Park has played host to two Division Series and the inaugural World Baseball Classic semi-finals and finals, as well as several other international sporting events including the 2007 USA SEVENS rugby tournament.

The Addition of Sandy Alderson 

In addition to having one of the best baseball stadiums around, the Padres acquired one of the best baseball minds around. Richard “Sandy” Alderson was named CEO of the San Diego Padres on April 19, 2005. Sandy Alderson brought quite the resume with him to San Diego. “In his role as one of Major League Baseball's highest-ranking officials, Alderson oversaw baseball operations, umpiring, on-field operations and security, and facility management in the Office of the Commissioner. In addition, Alderson, who joined Major League Baseball in New York in 1998 after spending 17 years with the Oakland Athletics, was in charge of various special projects involving international play, including Major League Baseball's participation in the historic games with the Cuban National Team in the spring of 1999 and the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, where Team USA won the Gold Medal. Alderson was instrumental in the creation of Major League Baseball academies in Australia and Italy, and, domestically, the Urban Youth Academy in Compton, CA”. Alderson’s first two seasons at the helm of the Padres have been a success. The team reached the post-season in back to back seasons for the first time in franchise history, with National League West titles in 2005 and 2006. Alderson was also a major factor in bringing the semi-finals of the World Baseball Classic to San Diego in March of 2006.

Television and Radio 

As of 2006, the Padres' flagship radio stations were XEPRS 1090AM and XHBCE 105.7FM, collectively known as "XX Sports Radio" (pronounced "Double X".) When XX was only on AM, the station was known as the "Mighty 1090." Jerry Coleman, Ford C. Frick Award winner, former Yankee second baseman and Padres manager, and Ted Leitner take turns on the play-by-play. Andy Masur will fill in when Coleman is not available. The games are also broadcast in Spanish on XEMO, "La Poderosa 860 AM".

Padres' games are shown mostly on 4SD, a cable-only network controlled by Cox Communications. Matt Vasgersian is the play-by-play announcer and Mark Grant is the color commentator. Spanish language telecasts of Sunday games are seen XHAS-TV channel 33. Until September 2007, Friday and Saturday Spanish games were seen on KBOP-CA channel 43, until that station changed to an all-infomercial format. This makes XHAS the only over-the-air-television station carrying Padres baseball. English-language Padres over-the-air broadcasts aired over the years on XETV, KUSI, KFMB-TV and KSWB.

Along with being very accessible to fans through TV and Radio, the San Diego Padres are branching out into to other ventures to promote the game of baseball, worldwide. In April of 2008, the Padres officially arrived in the Dominican Republic, opening a baseball academy that will house 64 players serving as the team’s base of Latin American operations. The opening ceremony not only included members of the Padres front office, but representatives of the Dominican Government and Major League Baseball and the US Ambassador to the Dominican Republic. Currently the academy has 32 players, which is only a portion of the 81 players that the team currently has under contract.

Community Relations 

Community relations are very big in the San Diego area as well with the Padres. The Padres are involved in all areas not just baseball. To view the complete list of areas the Padres are focusing on, follow the link here.

EDUCATION

“The Padre Scholars” - The Padres Scholars program provides bright but financially challenged students a $7,000 scholarship to attend a four-year college or university. Students are selected as middle schoolers based on the premise that they, who invariably face dangerous temptations, might opt for the straight and narrow route through high school if they had a guarantee that their good efforts would be rewarded with a college education.

“Teacher Appreciation” - For the eighth consecutive year, the Padres will honor exceptional San Diego County schoolteachers at PETCO Park. In 2008, the Padres are honored to partner with Ashford University to present Teacher Appreciation Night. During pre-game ceremony on May 20, the Padres will pay tribute to the reigning County Teachers of the Year and the District Teachers of the Year.

RECREATIONS

“Little Padres Parks” - To help celebrate the 60th anniversary of professional baseball in San Diego, dating to the 1936 Pacific Coast League Padres, Moores suggested providing 60 diamonds where youngsters throughout the region (including Baja California) could play ball in clean, safe settings. All Little Padres Parks have grass infields, big-league landscaping, scoreboards, and signature palm trees in the outfield.

“Coaches Clinics” - The Padres are proud to host Amateur Softball Association (ASA) coaches and managers clinics at PETCO Park on Saturday March 1st. This clinic will meet the ASA requirement for All Star managers. There will be no walk-up registration so please contact your District Commissioner to pre-register or for more information.

On Saturday and Sunday January 12th & 13th the Padres hosted free coaches clinics at PETCO Park for all youth baseball and softball coaches. Training sessions were led by world-renowned Al Price of Al & Al Baseball and coaches had the opportunity to learn fundamental coaching techniques through hands on training on the field at PETCO Park.

The Padres are committed to supporting youth baseball and softball and will continue to build upon our coaches clinics programs. Please check back for more information about coaches clinics for 2009.

CHILDREN’S HEALTH

“FriarFit” - The San Diego Padres and The California Endowment have announced a new fitness initiative, FriarFit. FriarFit was designed in collaboration between the Padres, The California Endowment (a statewide health foundation) and SportService (PETCO Park concessionaire). FriarFit's long-term goal is to improve the health and fitness of San Diegans.

“Cindy Matters Fund” - The Cindy Matters Fund is the Padres' vehicle for reaching out to children battling cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. Named for an inspiring young woman who demonstrated remarkable spirit before succumbing to colon cancer on January 18, 1997, the fund was established less than three months later and over the past 11 years, we raised $1,100,000 for the UCSD/Children's Hospital Cancer Center.

PADRES FOUNDATION

The Padres Foundation for Children, established in 1995 by Padres Chairman John Moores, is the primary source of funding for the club's health, education and youth baseball/softball initiatives. The Foundation raises funds through a number of programs in which the fans can participate including Scoreboard Surprises, an online charitable auction and Shirts Off Their Backs fundraiser. The Padres Foundation is a fund of The San Diego Foundation, a not for profit public charity. We thank our 2007 generous corporate partners that helped make our community programs a success.

The Padres Foundation is a fund of The San Diego Foundation, a not for profit public charity. We thank our 2007 generous corporate partners that helped make our community programs a success.

  • Sycuan Resort and Casino
  • QUALCOMM
  • Teammates for Kids
  • Union Bank
  • Point Loma Nazarene University
  • Genentech
  • AFLAC
  • WeissComm Partners
  • King's Seafood
  • Dick's Last Resort
  • General Mills
  • Mesa Distributing
  • Kyocera
  • Bank of America
  • Wells Fargo
  • Coca-Col

PLAYERS PROGRAMS

“Player Programs” - Baseball thrills us, lifts our spirits, and connects us to our community in very special ways. Padres players understand that this connection is personal and precious. It is the privilege and responsibility, of Padres players, management and staff to be involved in the community in a positive way -- from greeting fans at the gates to Photo Day to participation in Autograph Alley, community caravans and many programs embraced by individual players.

COMMUNITY OUTREACH

“Charity Ticket Programs” - The Padres Charity Ticket Program provides complimentary tickets to non-profit organizations that serve disadvantaged children who would otherwise not be able to attend a baseball game. The Padres are proud to have again teamed up with our Players and corporate partners Nokia, ViaSat, Wells Fargo and Major League Baseball's "Commissioner's Initiative" to donate complimentary tickets to these deserving non-profit organizations

During the 2008 season, the Padres will provide more than 40,000 tickets to over 250 deserving groups, including after-school clubs, inner-city youth recreation programs, education and literacy projects, shelters and other culturally diverse youth organizations -- all who focus their efforts on helping the youth of San Diego.

To be considered for the 2008 Charity Ticket Program please download the '08 request form and follow the instructions listed on the application. For more details, please call our Community Relations Information Line at (619) 795-5275, and select option "4" for Charity Ticket Programs.

“Team Greening Program” - Throughout its rich history, baseball's greatest moments have been played out on its lush fields of green. Now thanks to an unprecedented partnership, the national pastime is embracing the color green in a whole new way.

Padres MBA Program 

In 2004 the San Diego Padres and San Diego State University partnered up to create an opportunity to offer a customized MBA with a specialization in sports business management. In 2004, this was the first partnership of its kind where a major sports franchise and a university team up to offer a degree program and support it on a on-going basis. This program will bolster the Padres intern opportunities within the organization along with working with current SDSU faculty on incorporating athletic and business experience into the course workload, while having current Padres employees give guest lectures.

“The Padres’ involvement will help make our MBA in sports business management one of the premier programs of its kind,” said Gail K. Naughton, dean of the SDSU College of Business. “This is an innovative way to greatly enhance our students’ educational experience and it’s the latest example of our long tradition of working with business leaders to help meet their needs.” Students in the sports business management program will be required to complete 49 units of coursework as well as a six-month internship with the Padres or with another professional sports organization. Depending on the course loads students take, they could complete the degree program in as little as 18 months. “The club’s participation will enable our students to learn from current pro sports executives in the classroom and in real major-league work environments,” said College of Business Professor Jim Lackritz, the faculty coordinator for the sports management program and associate dean of the graduate division at SDSU. “Our graduates will not only be well-versed in the high profile aspects of running a sports organization, such as negotiating with players and agents, but in the day to day operations, including facilities management, human resources, sports law, and marketing and customer service.”  “Through the development of real-life curriculum and by letting students see firsthand the issues associated with the operation of a professional sports team, we hope to provide a tremendous educational opportunity for program participants,” noted Katie Pothier, Padres vice president, general counsel. “This is really an extension of our commitment to education in the San Diego community.”

Forbes Valuations

 The value of the Padres, while increasing steadily, has never been as high as many other markets in Southern California. In The Biz of Baseball's historical accounting of the Forbes valusations, which currently runs from 2002-2008, the Padres have never ranked higher than 13th, even with the opening of PETCO Park in the mix, which accounted for the largest increase in value of 24% in 2005. While the Padres rank 19th this year in terms of total value, they are showing well in the profit column. Using operating income as a barometer of profitability, the Padres posted $23.6 million in profits compared to $5.2 million the year prior.

Forbes Valuations for the San Diego Padres
Year
Rank
* Value ($ mil)
One-Year
Value
Change (%)
Op Income
2008
19th
385
5
23.6
2007
16th
367
4
5.2
2006
15th
354
8
13.0
2005
13th
329
24
17.1
2004
17th
265
17
4.9
2003
19th
226
9
4.6
2002
21st
207
17
5.7

 Conclusions

 

The Padres are not an offensive juggernaut, and it’s the pitching that keeps them competitive. Kevin Towers is as good as any General Manager at building a bullpen from scratch and calculating a trade that is just far enough off the radar that no one notices until the season has concluded. If history does repeat itself, it looks like the Padres are in for a 3rd or 4th place finish. Numerous players are coming off injuries and Trevor Hoffman looks to be nearing the end of his Hall of Fame career. The Padres have been known to overachieve in recent years, but that cannot last forever. Aging stars will have to be replaced and having successful drafts is necessary. Fortunately, for the past three seasons the Padres have had successful drafts orchestrated by Grady Fuson, Vice President, Scouting & Player Development, and Bill Gayton, Director of Scouting. Though the Padres haven’t had any picks in the top half of the first rounds the past few years, they have been systematically rebuilding their minor league system from the ground up. If history tells us anything, the Padres rebuilding will certainly net results in the upcoming years.

Maury Brown contributed to this team report

 


Devon Teeple is a staff member of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey.. He can be contacted through the Author Profiles page
 
 
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