Believe Padres CEO is sorry for Zack Greinke ‘Rain Man’ comment?

San Diego Padres president Tom Garfinkel stands on the field before a baseball game between the Colorado Rockies and the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on September 14, 2012 in San Diego, California.
(Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

It’s a new world out there, which Mitt Romney and the 47% could tell you, but some are a little slow to embrace, or at least recognize.

This world texts, tweets, Facebooks and records on smartphones. You shouldn’t have to be smart to realize this, just breathing in a modern country. If you mess up and are anything close to a public figure, chances are decent you could be trending in a moment.

Padres President and Chief Executive Tom Garfinkel was caught supposedly being emotional, and most certainly utterly stupid, and you have to wonder how this all plays out.


In a meeting with season ticket holders at Petco Park the day after the Zack Greinke-Carlos Quentin brawl in San Diego, Garfinkel not only accused Greinke of hitting Quentin intentionally, blamed Greinke for breaking his own collarbone by using his shoulder to protect himself and essentially accused Greinke of lying, but mocked Greinke’s social-anxiety disorder by implying he was autistic.

Surprise -- apparently at least to Garfinkel -- it was all recorded.

“He threw at him on purpose, OK?” Garfinkel told an estimated crowd of 40 or 50. “That’s what happened. They can say 3-and-2 count, 2-1 game, no one does that. Zack Greinke is a different kind of guy. Anyone seen ‘Rain Man’? He’s a very smart guy.”

Makes the stomach queasy. The audio tape was obtained by Yahoo Sports and Garfinkel was quick to apologize when reached by Jeff Passan.

“I was emotional the day after the game and, regrettably, while defending our player, I said some things I shouldn’t have, especially as it relates to Zack Greinke,” Garfinkel told Yahoo Sports. “I was out of line and I apologize.”

No doubt he does believe he said some things he shouldn’t have, at least now that he’s been caught. Funny how that always works. Makes you think that’s what he’s really sorry about.

Garfinkel told the crowd Greinke was “a $147-million pitcher because he hits his spots” and did not buy that the upper-arm hit to Quentin was accidental.

“This is my opinion, and I can’t say it publicly,” Garfinkel told the crowd, “but I guess this is public, so please don’t tweet it out. We’re in the trust tree here, in the nest.

“He hit him on purpose. That’s what I believe.”

That trust tree, with a crowd he really didn’t know, didn’t work out too well.

Quentin was suspended eight games for charging the mound and initiating what became a pair of brawls. When Quentin, who has about 50 pounds on Greinke, charged, the right-hander met him with his left shoulder, fracturing his collarbone. Greinke’s expected to be out approximately eight weeks.

“I don’t know about you guys, but I’m 6-3, 225,” Garfinkel told the ticket holders, though he might be feeling a tad smaller today. “If Carlos Quentin was running at me, I would not put my shoulder down.”

No kidding? Pretty sure Greinke regrets meeting the charge with his shoulder now, too, but exactly what was he supposed to do? Throw a punch? Run to center field? Pull out a red cape?

Garfinkel also made sure the crowd was aware of the history between the two, which is very real, and mentioned how in 2009 Quentin had attempted to reach out to Greinke.

“When Zack Greinke threw at his head a couple times, [Quentin] let it be known through teammates and intermediaries and others that if he does that again, he’s going to have a problem,” Garfinkel said. “This was a couple years ago. So Zack was very aware of that and Zack never apologized and never told him, ‘Hey, I didn’t mean to throw at you. It got away from me.’ Whatever. This was a couple years ago. He knew darn well that was going [to happen].”

Right, blame the guy with a social-anxiety disorder for not organizing a pow-wow. At least Garfinkel was consistently clueless.

But then he also said Quentin lied to the media when he said the “final straw” before he charged the mound was something Greinke said to him.

“We don’t know what he said,” Garfinkel said. “I asked Carlos. He doesn’t know what he said. I do know that, I mean, everybody saw the tape. Everybody saw what happened. He didn’t say, ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to hit you.’ He threw his glove down, stuck his chest out.”

So Quentin doesn’t know what Greinke said, but it really ticked him off that he said anything. No doubt Greinke could have attempted to diffuse the situation better, but who casually takes a first step or two, and then suddenly charges over something he didn’t even really hear?

Garfinkel is in damage control mode now, and good luck with that. Hard to take back what was already said.

I asked Dodgers President and Chief Executive Stan Kasten if he had any reaction to all this, but he smartly decided to pass. And for those of you still in third-world countries, he responded via text.


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