John Moores is ceding ownership control of the San Diego Padres to former player agent Jeff Moorad. New owner -- but the same initials, and the same paltry payroll for the upcoming season. If Moorad could hit with power to right field, that’d be something to cheer, and I’d help lead the wave if he were coming to town with former client Manny Ramirez in tow.
No, wait, Ramirez just turned down a one-year, $25 million offer from the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Padres, who lost 99 games last year, expect to have a total estimated payroll of $44 million. For Moorad to bring in a Ramirez under that budget, the team would have to fill in reserve roster spots with ballplayers from Rancho Bernardo High. That's not a knock on a great program known as The Factory, but because of history tests and chemistry labs, things like 10-game road trips are tough on high-schoolers.
The Friar Faithful can nurse beers at East Village Tavern and speculate on what Moorad means to the team until drops of blood form on their brows. Some who seek optimism might look to the cinema. In "Major League," a collection of has-beens and unproven youngsters bond in their hatred of a new owner who won’t spend money and wants to move the Indians out of Cleveland.
Moorad isn’t going to save what looks to be an abysmal 2009 season. The team may as well bring in Charlie Sheen, Tom Beringer and Corbin Bernsen to reprise their "Major League" roles. Barring any other script change, Petco Park is going to be a gloomy set this summer.
Ron Donoho, formerly executive editor of "San Diego Magazine," is a regular contributor to NBCSandiego.com who covers local news, sports, culture and happy hours.