SBD/July 10, 2013/Franchises

Garfinkel Out As Padres President & CEO After He And Ownership See "Big Picture Differently"

Garfinkel had been among the point figures on the Padres' impasse with TWC
Padres President & CEO Tom Garfinkel resigned yesterday after more than four years on the job. Garfinkel, who previously held positions with Chip Ganassi Racing, Texaco and Miller Brewing, followed former Padres Vice Chair Jeff Moorad to the club from the D'Backs in '09. Garfinkel then remained with the Padres following the departure of Moorad early last year and for 11 months after the arrival of a new ownership group led by Ron Fowler and Peter Seidler. Fowler will assume Garfinkel's responsibilities on an interim basis while a replacement is sought. Garfinkel had been among the point figures on the club's high-profile impasse with Time Warner Cable to carry FS San Diego. Multiple industry sources pointed to an ideological divide on the direction of the club between Garfinkel and ownership, but the move arrives without acrimony. Garfinkel in an e-mail wrote, "My time at the Padres has been incredible. I thank them for the opportunity and wish them nothing but the best in the future." Garfinkel said he has not determined his future career path, and will take some time off before deciding (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer). An anonymous Padres official said the move “has been building for some time,” as Garfinkel and the ownership group “saw the big picture differently.” Padres Exec VP & GM Josh Byrnes added, "I’m not totally surprised. I’ve been around long enough not to be stunned. But I don’t expect any additional changes." In San Diego, Bill Center notes Garfinkel "oversaw a number of changes at Petco Park, including the upgrading and expansion in variety of concessions and refining the Padres season ticket plans." He also "worked to bring other events to the ballpark, including concerts and other athletic events including international soccer and rugby matches" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 7/10).

PRELUDE TO MORE?
In San Diego, Matt Calkins writes the Padres need to make some moves “that actually make waves and not just ripples in a puddle." Garfinkel was an "influential off-the-field figure, and every organization needs one of those." But there has "never been a SportsCenter anchor who shouted 'did you see the way he negotiated that television deal?!'" If the Padres are to "upgrade themselves to contender-status, then Garfinkel's departure must simply be the prelude, because if it ends up as the headline, this story is barely fit for print." Garfinkel's exit on its own has "no more significance than a producer leaving a TV show." It "doesn’t hinder the writers" or "take actors off the set." And in "all likelihood, it wouldn’t affect ratings." If Garfinkel's removal was the "drizzle before the downpour, then it might provide fans with something they have long struggled to experience in Petco Park: Hope"  (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 7/10).
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