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Padres CEO Tom Garfinkel: “I feel terrible and I am truly very sorry”

Apr 23, 2013, 9:41 AM EDT

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Last week Padres CEO Tom Garfinkel ruffled more than a few feathers when a recording of him comparing Zack Greinke to “Rain Man” surfaced. It showed insensitivity to both those with social anxiety disorder, like Greinke. It also showed insensitivity to those with and those caring for people with autism, who have to deal with “Rain Man” stereotyping pretty constantly.

Garfinkel had apologized even before the furor began. But as Maury Brown notes, Garfinkel has gone the extra mile here, showing genuine remorse for his comments and being a pretty darn standup guy about it all. Maury, by the way, has a special interest in this — and was among the harshest critics of Garfinkel last week — as he has a child on the autism spectrum. Even knowing him a little bit and/or following him on Twitter, you get a pretty good idea of how challenging raising an autistic child can be, so you can understand why he was particularly irked among baseball writers.

Everyone makes mistakes. These days everyone apologizes for them. Rare it is, however, that you see apologies in human terms which evince genuine regret over those mistakes. Good on Garfinkel for doing so.

  1. tfbuckfutter - Apr 23, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    I would just like to take this opportunity to say that Grandma’s Boy was a very underrated movie and is fun to watch when you’re wasted.

    • historiophiliac - Apr 23, 2013 at 10:20 AM

      cur will need you to list your 10 favorite movies, write an essay on Dumb and Dumberests’ take on modern masculinity using at least 5 words that knock his monocle loose, AND pitch a screenplay wherein Anne Murray befuddles the entire American expeditionary force with song in order to save Canada during the War of 1812 before he will take your movie suggestions.

      • cur68 - Apr 23, 2013 at 10:53 AM

        Dumb & Dumber is one of my favourite movies. No mere essay could do it justice and deconstruction would merely weaken it as a comedy. But a screenplay wherein Anne Murray befuddles someone/anything? I think not. Anne Murray is not befuddling. She fuddles, and that well.

        If I could really make a movie out of anything right now, I’d do one on John Keller, and that’s not a comedy. If you insisted that it be a comedy, then of course it would be baseball related and I’d probably ask Dirk Hayhurst to help write it.

        Of course all good comedies have memorable characters and since my all time favourite comedy characters are Statler & Waldorf from The Muppet Show, I will want a couple of characters not unlike them in there. Perhaps a pair of fans. They’d have to mismatched, memorable not only in appearance but in behaviour and language, too.

        Perhaps a history nerd and an ecologist? A preppy semi-snob and a hippy bearded social inept. They meet by chance at the first game and proceed to get to know one another by heckling the visiting team. Their relationship would evolve as the season/movie unfolds, but we’d only know about it in brief shots of crowd reactions to the on field drama. So many possibilities…

      • historiophiliac - Apr 23, 2013 at 11:05 AM

        A buddy film with an enlightened but sarcastic AL fan and a curmudgeonly pitcherwannabehitter ball nut, you mean? Call it “Interleague Play?” No one would go for that. Plus, there’s no one to cast as a preppy — since it’s no longer 1988.

      • cur68 - Apr 23, 2013 at 11:09 AM

        I wasn’t aware that you KNEW it wasn’t 1988. I shall adjust the casting accordingly.
        /hat tip

      • historiophiliac - Apr 23, 2013 at 11:27 AM

        /looks down and notices that she’s wearing kakhis and loafers today…sighs

      • cur68 - Apr 23, 2013 at 11:31 AM

        Knew it
        /smirks. Adjusts monocle

      • tfbuckfutter - Apr 23, 2013 at 10:55 AM

        Who would watch a movie about Canada?

        Not even Canadians would.

        Fact: Every movie set in Alaska was originally supposed to be set in Canada but they changed it to Alaska so it would have broader appeal.

        Mystery, Alaska was originally titled Ottawa.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 23, 2013 at 11:27 AM

        O’Tawa? Irish, right?

  2. raybrower - Apr 23, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    Good for him. Though a good way to get out of a public apology is not being an asshole to begin with.

    • waiverclaim - Apr 23, 2013 at 11:50 AM

      This.

    • forsch31 - Apr 23, 2013 at 12:38 PM

      Of course, that assumes most people are perfect and have never acted like an asshole in their entire lives. Which is to say, never. In fact, Maury leads off with that point.

      Garfinkel made the mistake of doing it in a public forum, But everybody has been an inhumane idiot at some point. The important thing is to genuinely own up to it. learn from it, and walk away a better man. Garfinkel has done something other public figures have failed to do in the same situation, and that’s to be applauded. Getting all high and mighty on the fact he made the mistake in the first place serves absolutely no purpose.

  3. raysfan1 - Apr 23, 2013 at 9:57 AM

    My son has an autism spectrum disorder, fortunately on the mild end, and I reacted the same way Maury Brown did. I appreciate the sincere apology Mr Garfinkel made and hold no grudge against him.

  4. realgone2 - Apr 23, 2013 at 9:58 AM

    Does everyon have an autistic child nowadays? Seems like every kid that acts a little weird or doesn’t pay attention in school is autistic.

    • tfbuckfutter - Apr 23, 2013 at 10:00 AM

      It’s always been that way.

      Now they have identified the problem though instead of just labeling the kid “stupid”.

    • jm91rs - Apr 23, 2013 at 10:09 AM

      It’s just a labeling thing. Getting a kid labeled correctly early enough can let them get some special help early on so they can keep up with the others academically and socially. A lot kids that fall on the mild end of the autism spectrum could survive without being labeled as such, but it’s a little harder for them. Getting the help early at school makes the parent’s job just a little easier at home.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Apr 23, 2013 at 11:35 AM

      Maybe you’re thinking about ADD or ADHD. But then, when I read such “snark”, I realize that the writer is actually not thinking. Or is in junior high school, which really, no diff.

  5. Paul White - Apr 23, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    As the father of a child with social anxiety disorder and as someone who ripped Garfinkel last week, apology accepted.

  6. Old Gator - Apr 23, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    As a parent of two children and as a husband of a wife, all of whom have mild forms of learning disabilities but have all succeeded wonderfully despite them, I’m relieved and pleased by Garfinkel’s enlightenment. It’s always much better to have someone grow in empathy and compassion than to have a convenient whipping boy for the lack of it. Thanks to both Brown and Garfinkel for being part of a chemistry of growth.

  7. Liam - Apr 23, 2013 at 11:03 AM

    As someone with social anxiety disorder, I’m still way more offended by everyone who spent the last three years assuming they knew which markets Zach Greinke could play in.

  8. yahmule - Apr 23, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    It’s nice to see this story turn out positively. Garfinkel had his eyes opened and hopefully his sincerity and contrition will make other people think twice about the impact their words can have on other people. Many individuals with developmental handicaps are cognizant enough to know people are making fun of them, but they lack the ability to comprehend why. Imagine being in that position.

  9. bigleagues - Apr 23, 2013 at 11:37 AM

    Here is the potential to turn a negative into a positive, watch for the Padres to soon be doing more for Autism related causes than most.

  10. waiverclaim - Apr 23, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    Does he still think Greinke threw at Quentin on purpose though?

  11. El Bravo - Apr 23, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    He still can’t come off the douchenozzle list until next year.

    • historiophiliac - Apr 23, 2013 at 2:25 PM

      Ok, but how about an astrisk then?

      • El Bravo - Apr 23, 2013 at 2:27 PM

        I’m not quite as forgiving as Craig. That comment grinds my gears.

  12. scoocha - Apr 23, 2013 at 4:11 PM

    CEO says what he truly thinks, then apologizes, standard operating procedure. Nothing to see here.

  13. kiwannabee - Apr 24, 2013 at 3:14 AM

    Your team stinks, Garfinkel, and they look horrible on the field. You should feel bad for more reasons than just that one dumb comment.

    Build the team into a winner, resolve the Fox Sports/Time Warner dispute, and for the sake of everything you hold dear, turn the jerseys back to brown. These are the Padres, not the Dodgers. The team should be wearing BROWN.

  14. louhudson23 - Apr 24, 2013 at 7:03 AM

    Never mind the idiocy expressed in saying it was done on purpose,irrespective of the count or game situation….

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