Recent news flash from Padresville:

The Padres, without owner John Moores intervening with a better contract offer that recognized Trevor Hoffman’s value as a Padres icon, made their future Hall-of-Fame relief pitcher so angry he signed a deal to play with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Tuesday news flash from Chargersville:

The Chargers, with team president Dean Spanos intervening in contract talks with LaDainian Tomlinson, kept their Chargers icon in town by recognizing their future Hall-of-Fame running back belongs in San Diego.

“It was important to me to get this done so LT could continue his career here in San Diego where he means so much to our team, our fans and our community,” Spanos said in a statement when the club reached a deal with Tomlinson Tuesday to restructure the final three years of his contract. “The alternative was just unthinkable. He belongs in San Diego.”

For most of the past decade, Moores has been viewed as the good guy and Spanos has been viewed suspiciously (largely because he’s had to patch up mistakes made when his father, Alex, and other front office personnel ran the team).

It’s now obvious those assumptions about who the good guy is (if owners can be considered good guys) needs to be reevaluated.

For if you’ve read my previous blogs, you also know that Tony Gwynn was on his way out of San Diego until he decided, with an assist from his son to calm him down, that money wasn’t a good enough reason to leave town. So he accepted a contract offer from Moores that had angered him.

In other words, Moores was willing to let Gwynn walk, something he did indeed do a few years later with Hoffman.

Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani, a man who worked in the Clinton White House and for Al Gore’s 2000 Democratic presidential campaign before working for the Republican-backing Spanos family, has said for years he would never have taken the job to spearhead the Chargers’ bid for a new stadium if he wasn’t convinced Spanos was committed to keeping the Chargers in San Diego.

Tomlinson made it clear that Spanos was crucial to restructuring his deal to remain with the Chargers in 2009 and possibly beyond.

“Obviously, I have a lot of respect for him,” Tomlinson said Wednesday after his deal was announced. “Relationships build over time. That relationship is something that has built and it’s been a strong one. I appreciated that friendship.”

It’s possible, though, that Tomlinson could go through this again next year. One way to avoid it is if he LT has a big year, which I predict from him if he can avoid the injury bug, the Chargers block better and the Chargers get him in space more with more creative play calling.

The only other way to keep him here is for Dean Spanos to intervene. As we’ve seen with the Padres, that’s not something John Moores does — or would do the second time around.


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