Thursday, January 12, 2012
MLB owners delay OK of Padres sale
PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz. -- Major league owners have put off approval of sale of the San Diego Padres to Jeff Moorad.
Commissioner Bud Selig said Thursday that baseball's ownership committee and executive council unanimously decided to defer action "to get more clarity and technical information."
Moorad, who could be seen talking with Selig on a balcony outside the owners meeting Thursday, said he and the commissioner tried to work out an "11th-hour" agreement to get the matter presented to the full session of the 30 owners but were unable to do so.
"We'll support the process and are proud to be part of the process and look forward to addressing some technical questions and moving along," Moorad said.
Moorad was a prominent sports agent before becoming a minority owner first with the Arizona Diamondbacks, then with the Padres. His group owns 49 percent of the Padres and is set to buy the remainder from majority owner John Moores.
Selig pulled the sale from Thursday's agenda, a move that upset Moores so much that he was the only one of the 30 owners to vote against Selig's two-year contract extension, according to a person in the room who asked not to be identified because the details were supposed to remain confidential.
Selig said he wants the questions involved in the sale to be resolved "expeditiously."
"There's no hidden agenda here. There's nothing else," he said. "There were a lot of economic concerns. The most important thing that we do is bringing in new owners, so we have really become very, very fastidious about the economics of who can make it. And I'm not suggesting there were any negatives. There were just questions that we didn't have time to answer here."
Selig said Jonathan Mariner, MLB's executive vice president for finance, "frankly had been raising questions to me since last Friday" about the sale. Those questions intensified during meetings of the ownership committee and executive council.
"Both groups really did their homework," Selig said. `They were ardent supporters of Jeff and everything else, but there were questions they kept saying, `Well, we need answer to that,' so I've already instructed our guys to meet with them and begin to develop answers, and they'll come back to us."
Moorad said he was not surprised that nothing was resolved on Thursday.
"We got the word that they had some technical questions," he said. "We tried to resolve them this morning. It just wasn't possible to work that quickly, and that's it. I'm happy to defer and have it taken up at a more appropriate time."
Selig said it wouldn't be necessary to wait until the owners' next scheduled meeting in New York in May to approve the sale, that it could be done by conference call.
Moorad also said that the franchise wouldn't necessarily have to have the sale complete in order to sign a crucial television deal with Fox before the season begins.
Selig said the fact that Moorad was once an agent, on the other side of the bargaining table with owners, had nothing to do with delaying the sale.
"This was about economics," he said. "This was not about personalities."