SAN DIEGO – A new generation of the O’Malley family, part of baseball royalty long associated with the rival Dodgers, is taking over ownership of the San Diego Padres.
Four cousins representing the O’Malley and Seidler families say they plan to turn around the Padres, who have struggled in recent years in the National League West.
Kevin O’Malley, co-founder of Top of the Third, and Brian O’Malley, minority owner of Top of the Third are the grandsons of the Dodgers’ legend owner, the late Walter O’Malley, who is enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
The new owners are joined by two cousins -- Tom Seidler, co-founder of Top of the Third, and Peter Seidler, managing partner of Seidler Equity Partners.
The sale price was a stunning $800 million.
The new majority owners named Ron Fowler, 68, as the chairman and CEO of the Padres and said that he would be the face of the franchise, not themselves. Fowler has lived in San Diego since 1974 and is widely known for his philanthropy.
Fowler, noting his age, got very emotional at today’s news conference that was telecast live on Fox Sports San Diego.
“I can’t believe [at my age] how damn lucky I am” to be running the Padres, Fowler said, his voice choking with emotion.
Fowler said the team would focus on fielding a winner, improving the fan experience and continuing the tradition of being a vital member of the community.
“The Padres are a civic treasure,” Fowler stressed. “We want to get even more engaged in the community. … We want to focus on the product on the field and on community involvement, not on us. … We want the players and the coaches to be the focus, not us.”
Fowler pointed to the youthful ownership and said that continuity over the next 30 to 40 years will be important to the franchise. He also said the new owners would bring consistency in both their plan and message. “We want to be part of what makes San Diego great,” he said.
Tom Garfinkle will remain president and CEO of the Padres, and Josh Byrnes as executive vice president and general manager. Fowler said that would be part of the continuity and consistency that he was talking about.
The new owners indicated that they would expand the payroll, which currently is one of the lowest in baseball, to improve the team. They said that Padres manager “Bud” Black will likely be retained.
The four cousins all indicated that they either have already moved to San Diego or will be taking up residence in America's Finest City.