As the new ownership group took over the reins from John Moores in 2012, there was a sense that this group would have the best interest of Padres fans always in mind. The franchises fan base had been roughed up in recent years with the trades of Jake Peavy, Heath Bell and Adrian Gonzalez. The Gonzalez trade in particular inserted a certain amount of distrust between the fans and ownership. The fan base was battered and there was no stability from the front office either.
All though technically the team still belonged to John Moores, he had checked out mentally from the team since his divorce was first filed in January of 2009. From 2009-2012 the Moorad era stunted the growth of an already hurting franchise. It is no coincidence that Peavy was dealt in August of 2009, and the team would begin to take offers on Adrian Gonzalez as well. Once again Padres fans had been victimized by an owner and his misfortunes.
The attempt to buy the team by former agent turned business man Jeff Moorad turned ugly for the franchise. Moorad gathered a group to buy the team and was in the process of doing so. It would take years for the sale to be complete and Moorad basically attempted to use the profits from the Padres tickets and merchandise to pay the $300 million dollar asking price. The team was stripped of its high-priced players and no profit was put back into the team. Moorad was forced to sell his 49% interest in the team as major league owners were not likely to approve the sale of the team to him.
It was a dark era for San Diego Padres fans. The team had no intention of being anything better than a middle of the pack team. A great way to stay under the radar with most fans, but a horrible way to develop a franchise and its minor league system. The team continued to be mediocre and the fan base was left hungry for a winning franchise.
This new Fowler-led ownership era has shown some early promise for the fans so far. This group brought the city its first All-Star game since 1992. It will be a delight to see Petco Park on the national stage. The city of San Diego will have a huge spotlight on it and the MLB community will be a buzz. A very exciting time for Padres fans.
Fowler also brought in A.J. Preller who in a short time has revitalized the whole Padres fan base. His moves in the winter of 2015 put the Padres back into the thoughts of the national media. Many of those so-called “insiders” picked the Padres to be a success in 2015. The Padres committed a ton of money and made aggressive moves to improve the team on paper for the season. Unfortunately the game of baseball is not played on paper and the team failed to play with any unity or consistency. The season was a tragic fail, but still the team and its owners showed fans something they had not seen in a while. They tried. They actually tried to field a winning team.
This 2016 season is a clearly going to be a hangover of last years building up process. Justin Upton, Ian Kennedy, Jedd Gyorko, Yonder Alonso, Joaquin Benoit and Craig Kimbrel are gone. Their multi million dollar contracts were vanquished, but unlike times of the past, the motivation was not all financial. The team does have a plan, or at least it seems that way.
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