Former San Diego Padres President and CEO Mike Dee left quite a legacy. To most fans, seeing him go in October was a step in the right direction.
On October 12, San Diego Padres President and CEO Mike Dee disappeared as if whisked off into the witness protection program. The Padres issued a statement announcing his departure with no explanation.
More than two months later, the front office remains mum on the subject. Bleacher Reports’ Scott Miller cites the “roar of silence” that surrounds his exit, and even the rumor mill doesn’t offer much.
Actually though, the real question doesn’t revolve around the reason for his departure, but rather why Mike Dee kept his job as long as he did. Hired in the summer of 2013, Dee survived one public relations disaster after another.
Fans know the p.r snafus all too well, the most egregious being the naming of the Hall of Fame Plaza after Bud Selig. Fans had not forgotten that Selig caused and then ignored the Padres’ plight under Jeff Moorad. He also turned a blind eye to the steroid crisis in the sport.
But Dee also decided it would be a great idea to waste a draft pick on bad boy Johnny Manziel, a guy who never even played a game of baseball as a college player. One can’t forget the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus mess, rules that alienated season ticket holders, the firing of p.a. announcer Frank Anthony and public search for a replacement or complaints about Filipino Heritage Night.
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All those fiascos pale in the face of the quality of the team on the field and throughout the organization. As head of baseball operations, a job for which he had none of the necessary credentials, he presided over teams that never touched .500. He approved of the ill-conceived attempt to reach the playoffs by trading the best of the farm system for overpriced veterans like Matt Kemp. He approved the firing of Bud Black in mid season when the team was one game under .500 and brought in Pat Murphy who’d never managed a day in the major leagues.
Most galling though was Dee’ dismissive attitude toward fans, the lifeblood of any team. Reportedly he surrounded himself with sycophants and never listened to anyone outside of the cozy confines of Petco Park.
The decision makers that remain in those cozy confines need to heed the cautionary tale of Mike Dee when choosing his replacement.