According to the Associated Press, commissioner Bud Selig has given his full endorsement for the OâMalley family to return to baseball.
Of course Selig also endorsed Frank McCourt buying the Dodgers in 2004.
The OâMalleys brought one of the marquee franchises to Southern California and would win a World Series title in just their second year out west. The family oversaw the most stable organization in baseball. In the first 38 years in Los Angeles, the Dodgers had two managers and a fertile farm system that produced Hall of Famers, Rookies of the Year, MVPs and Cy Young winners at a terrific clip.
And they made thirteen postseason appearances, winning nine pennants and five World Series.
Granted, they also had that success in the second biggest market in the country. If the OâMalleys hope to have even a fraction of that success in San Diego, they will have to do so by appealing to one of the game's truly microscopic fanbases.
That is not a slight to the many wonderful and passionate Padre fans. The team does not have a gigantic revenue pool. To the east of San Diego is a desert. To the north is Los Angeles and Orange County. To the south is Mexico. To the west is the Pacific Ocean.
And yet Fox Sports San Diego has agreed to a $1.4 billion television deal to broadcast the Padres for the next twenty years. And $200 million of that is an up-front payment to current Padres owner John Moores.
As Forbes.com pointed out, Moores is doing exactly what Frank McCourt was not allowed to do: use money from a TV deal for his own personal use. Smart new ownership could use that television moneyâ"and perhaps a little bit more from the payroll tax poolâ"and turn the Padres around relatively quickly.
If the OâMalleys take over the team, they would give the Padres exactly what they need: stability.
If the Padres front office is allowed to develop players and the manager is in place for the long haul (like the Dodgers did for so long) then San Diego could be treated to a championship organization.
And if maintaining that success is contingent on income, then the new television deal could provide just that. And the O'Malleys would not need to spend that on their own personal debts. The O'Malleys are not the Mooresâ"nor the McCourts for that matter.
Maybe this is why Selig is endorsing their bid.