For 20 years as a player, Tony Gwynn excited Padres fans. He's, without debate (not even for the amazing Trevor Hoffman), the most accomplished player in franchise history.
With the 2012 Padres in a battle for the worst record in baseball and an ownership group that's in complete disarray, San Diego baseball fans need something to be excited about.
Once again, it might be Tony Gwynn. Leave it to a Hollywood producer to write this script.
Gwynn confirmed he recently committed to joining a group that's trying to buy the Padres from majority owner John Moores. Friars fans are ecstatic to hear their favorite player might be riding in to save the day.
However, while it is great to have an identifiable face on the group, Tony is not the guy to focus on. Heck, he's not even the guy to get goosebumps about. Gwynn, interestingly, is really filling the role that used to be held by Hoffman.
He's the closer.
The man who's really driving the group is Thomas Tull, the CEO of Legendary Pictures. I'm a baseball fan, sure, but I'm also a Comic-Con fan. That's why I'm hoping against hope that Tull is the man who buys the Padres.
Tull has deep pockets. His Legendary Pictures is worth a reported $1 Billion, which is astonishing when you consider it's only been in business since 2004. Of course, when you start your run with "Batman Begins," follow it up with blockbusters like "Superman Returns," "300," "The Hangover," and "Inception" you're going to make some cash.
"The Dark Knight" did over $1 Billion is worldwide box office alone, and this summer's "The Dark Knight Rises" has a chance to top that.
Tull is a creative genius. Just this month, Fast Company Magazine named him one of the 100 Most Creative People In Business. Here's a snippet of Senior Editor Jason Fiefer's analysis:
"Here's the kind of question that excites Thomas Tull: If a giant robot is chasing an alien (as many will in Tull's summer 2013 blockbuster Pacific Rim), how much ground can that robot cover in a short amount of time? 'How, physically, will it move?' he says. 'How will it be powered? How big is its stride? You just keep going deeper and deeper. You consult experts. Today's audiences are so sophisticated and research-savvy; you just want to take the time and attention and care to create something real and tangible.' "
Is that rad, or what!? It's not hard to see Tull applying this kind of analysis to the baseball world.
Tull grew up in Binghampton, NY, about an hour's drive from Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall of Fame. He was a good enough player in his youth to earn a tryout with the Atlanta Braves. It makes sense that he'd understand how to build a ballclub from the bottom up, but instead of waiting for the rich farm system to yield a solid crop (like the team is doing now) Tull will want a winner on the field every year.
In Hollywood, you're only as good as your last film. In professional sports, you're only as good as your last season's finish. Tull doesn't like to lose. When he founded Legendary Pictures he knew he needed to open with a bang.
What better way than rebooting Batman, which had never been done properly on the big screen, and turning it in to the franchise long-time fans have always wanted to see?
Tull obviously understands story structure, which brings us back to Tony Gwynn. Tull made a pitch in person to the Hall of Famer. Tull knew, recruiting Gwynn put him in the lead among the hand full of groups (reportedly five, but more realistically three) angling to buy the Padres.
I mean, isn't it fitting for the man who made his bones producing Batman team up with a man who's famous for swinging a bat?