Troy Aikman’s been a Renaissance man of sorts since retiring from the National Football League. The 3-time Super Bowl winning QB for the Dallas Cowboys has been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, established himself as one of the major figures in the behemoth NFL broadcasting landscape for FOX, been involved in various business ventures, organizations and charities. Now? He’s an owner of a professional sports franchise – the San Diego Padres. Aikman paired up with a group led by Arizona Diamondbacks owner Jeffrey Moorad to take over the team this season. The plan, as you’ll hear, is to build the Padres back up from the ground up rather than hoping to vault into contention with high profile and expensive personnel acquisitions. The good news is the NL West is so weak that the dysfunctionality of the Padres organization could very well get swept under the rug with that one thing that seems to cure all sooner rather than later – winning.
Aikman joined XX 1090in San Diego to talk about how he got involved in the venture and what he and his ownership group intend to do in the short and long term to get the Padres back to respectability after an abysmal 2008 season and an off-season mired by organizational chaos.
On his background and familiarity with the game of baseball:
“When I was coming out of high school…I had a number of friends who went on to play college baseball as well as Major League Baseball. And at that time, I thought that’s what I would probably do as well. And it wasn’t until we [my family] moved to Oklahoma my junior year of high school that I realized that football was probably going to be the sport for me.”
On who he grew up cheering for:
“I grew up both an Angels fan and a Dodgers fan, primarily an Angels fan because I was so close there in Anaheim….But right now I’m all about the Padres and excited about the start. I know there’s a lot of games. It’s amazing that there’s as many games with what they do. But it’s hard to finish well if you don’t start well so I’m excited where it’s going so far.”
On whether he turned to his partner in the booth, Joe Buck, who’s a big baseball fan, for his thoughts about joining the ownership team:
“I did. There was only a couple of people that I actually reached out to, primarily because I have so much confidence in Jeff Moorad and what he’s done and his understanding of what it takes to put together a quality team. And I think…the people of San Diego and Padres fans should be excited about Jeff and what he’s going to do this baseball team. But to answer your question specifically, I did call Joe. I wanted to get his thoughts really on the state of baseball. You know with everything that’s going on, whether it’s the steroids, you know, I’m used to the football side of it – salary caps and revenue sharing and all that goes on there. So trying to get my arms aroud the Padres, particularly as an investment, that was my number one concern…I just wanted to know from a financial standpoint and it was encouraging to me, hearing Joe. Quite honestly, I thought he’d come at it a little differently, but he felt very strongly about the long-term health of the sport.”