NEW YORK — Commissioner Bud Selig welcomes the possible purchase of the San Diego Padres by the O’Malley family.
John Moores put the team up for sale in April, a month after his agreement collapsed for a sale to Jeff Moorad.
The O’Malley family owned the Dodgers from 1950-98. Walter O’Malley moved the franchise from Brooklyn to Los Angeles after the 1957 season and eventually turned the team over to son Peter. Peter put together a group that was among the failed bidders for the Dodgers this year, when they sold for $2 billion.
“San Diego fans and the club deserve a good ownership, great ownership, and assuming this deal goes through — and it hasn’t yet — so we’ll have to wait a little bit, but it’s great,” Selig said Monday during a telephone conference call. “The O’Malley tradition is remarkable, going all the way back to Brooklyn and to Walter and on to Peter, and now you’re getting the sons and the nephews involved. Plus the San Diego club’s minority partners in the last deal were a very solid group and all San Diego people, which means a great deal to us, are all going to be involved.”
The sale is being negotiated with a price in the $800 million range, a person familiar with the talks said, speaking on condition of anonymity because no announcements were authorized.
The failed deal with Moorad had been valued at around $500 million. The new sale price of $800 million is believed to reflect the $200 million in upfront money the club received as part of a $1.2 billion, 30-year deal with Fox Sports San Diego.
“As for all the details, including the upfront payments, that’s all to be worked out yet,” Selig said. “So it’s a little premature for me to comment, but this is an excellent development for baseball to say the least.”
The O’Malley family group includes Peter and four grandchildren of Walter — Kevin and Brian O’Malley, and their cousins Peter and Tom Seidler, the chief executive of Class-A Visalia. Peter Seidler is the lead person in the O’Malley group. Golfer Phil Mickelson also would be an investor.
Moorad, a former player agent, began a purchase of the Padres on an installment basis before the 2009 season and had five years to complete the deal. His group’s stake reached 49 percent and a vote to approve him as controlling owner was scheduled for January, but the vote was postponed and Moorad in March withdrew his application to finalize the purchase and resigned as the Padres’ CEO. Ron Fowler, chief executive of Liquid Investments, succeeded Moorad as general partner of the group that owns 49 percent.
On other topics, Selig said Major League Baseball remains intent on a slight expansion of video review by umpires, which has been used since 2008 to check potential home run balls. Any change would likely not take place until 2013.
“We will move ahead on balls hit down the left- and right-field line plus trapped balls in the outfield,” Selig said. “People in our sport don’t want anymore and frankly given our attendance, given everything we’re doing, I think we’re in the right place on instant replay.”
He also defended NL All-Star manager Tony La Russa against criticism from Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker, who thought more Reds should have been selected for next week’s game.
“Everybody would like to have all their players on,” Selig said. “But in fairness, the Cincinnati Reds have three players on, which speaks well for them as they’re having a terrific year.”