Ron Fowler got national headlines back in early June when he referred to his San Diego Padres players as “miserable failures.” That comment drew criticism from many circles, and apparently Fowler didn’t learn from the experience. He’s at it again.
Fowler, the executive chairman and co-owner of the franchise, just doubled-down on those comments, ripping the now-departed James Shields and Matt Kemp. At a town hall-style meeting for fans on Wednesday night Fowler went off on his former players. He had the following to say:
“I’ll be damned if we’re going to pay high-priced talent to sit on their butts and not perform.”
Upon Kemp’s trade to Atlanta, the outfielder penned a letter to Braves fans promising a rebirth of his career and a change in attitude. He also claimed he had “never really played in a baseball town before.” Ouch. Fowler didn’t hold back on either Kemp or Shields:
“We made a conscious decision to ship them out because we want people that are prepared to improve. If you’re making a lot of money and you think you’re already there, you’re not going to get better.”
He continued: “They had a bad attitude. You saw Kemp’s letter. Talk about a bunch of B.S.” Then he wrapped it up: “Most of ’em are gone, thank God.”
Fowler has every right to be upset if neither Kemp nor Shields were putting in the work to justify their enormous contracts. I’m not sure ripping former players is a great public relations move though. His franchise has to sign free agents, and I’m not sure many guys will want to play for an owner who has publicly blasted former employees.