14 May 2008

Magowan out? + Aramark responds to violations report

Matier and Ross have jumped on special meeting of the Giants' ownership group scheduled for Friday, during which managing partner Peter Magowan is expected to exit stage left. The rumor, originally reported in a rather innocuous matter by former Merc and now Chicago Tribune scribe Mark Gonzales, has many wondering why. Surely the stress of the Bonds situation and the minute possibility of a world championship could have provoked the move.

The real question is: who will replace Magowan? Matier and Ross point to former Apple/Pepsi CEO John Sculley, who will always have a place in my heart for his championing the Newton. Also mentioned is William Neukom, best known as Microsoft's general counsel during their most predatory, anti-competitive days. As high-profile as both men are, it's unlikely that whoever replaces Magowan will be as prominent as the former Safeway head. Such a role is no longer necessary, considering the Giants' future financial security was guaranteed by Magowan's dealing (China Basin and CSNBA). The Giants are a turnkey franchise with a modicum of young talent. No need to pump things up right now. Also, I don't expect them to do anything in regards to territorial rights. They have a massive competitive advantage over the A's right now in the Bay Area market. Any concessions, including a payoff for territorial rights, would border on charity.

I find this interesting:
Some partners privately complained that Magowan's management style was autocratic - and, indeed, it may have contributed to some early powerhouse investors such as Walter Shorenstein, Don Fisher and Charles Schwab eventually pulling out, observers say.
Does John Fisher have the same aversion to autocratic management styles as his father? Makes one wonder how large Fisher's role is within the A's ownership group. Lew Wolff has always presented himself as a genial consensus builder. Another observation: Look at those names above. Those are some big-time heavy hitters that came in to help keep the Giants in S.F.
On the other side of the bay, there's been a dustup over a Condé Nast Portfolio report about health code violations at major league ballparks. The Coliseum, or rather its vendor, Aramark, came in second worst to Angel Stadium, home of the postgame landfill. When asked to comment, the A's passed the buck to Aramark, who responded in a typically corporate manner:

David Freireich, spokesman for the Pennsylvania-based Aramark, confirmed the company received notice of the 493 violations. He said the violations were corrected immediately and he offered the following statement:

"It's our top priority to ensure the food served at McAfee Coliseum is of the highest quality and prepared in the safest environment possible. We take all violations very seriously and take the necessary corrective action to address the issues identified by the health department."

Aramark is an enormous food service company that is no stranger to complaints about their practices. I can only say that I'm glad I normally bring in outside food and tailgate. Though some of that may have been prepared in questionable conditions as well.