Padres CEO apologizes for likening Zack Greinke to 'Rain Man'

Tom Garfinkel
Tom Garfinkel called Greinke 'Rain Man.' (Getty Images)

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Thursday marked a week since the Padres-Dodgers brawl started when Zack Greinke hit Carlos Quentin with a 3-2 pitch that may or may not have been errant -- depending upon whom you ask.

In the aftermath, Greinke had surgery to repair a broken collarbone, the war of words between the two teams has continued and the Padres swept the Dodgers in Los Angeles.

And Thursday, a story surfaced that Padres president and CEO Tom Garfinkel made light of Grienke's history with mental issues. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports obtained a four and a half minute audio clip of Garfinkel talking to a crowd of Padres fans at Petco Park Friday, in which this was said by Garfinkel:

"He threw at him on purpose, OK? 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."

Garfinkel then went on to specifically mention Greinke's bout with social anxiety disorder.

Thursday, Garfinkel apologized.

Again, via Yahoo Sports:

"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. I was out of line and I apologize.

"Obviously, I don't condone fighting and I wish it wouldn't have happened. You never want to see any player get hurt."

OK, so this is hardly a "47 percent" level snafu caught on audio, but obviously Garfinkel shouldn't have said it. The reactions of readers will vary from those who whine about "PC police" to those who are extremely offended. I think we can -- or at least should -- all agree it's pretty stupid to make fun of someone's mental issue, especially in public. That appeals to the lowest common denominator and we should all be better than that.

From a personal standpoint, I have a daughter with autism and the Rain Man comment stood out for me -- as Dustin Hoffman's character in that movie had a relatively severe case of autism. I don't know Garfinkel, but I'll give the benefit of the doubt here and guess he was not specifically attacking people with autism (if he was, well, he's going to have an issue with me in this space in the future). My guess is he was pandering to Padres fans and made an obvious, foolish mistake. He has apologized for his error in judgment.

Just maybe think things through better in the future, you know? Strive to be better than low-rent stuff like Rain Man references.

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Snyder has been a baseball writer with CBS Sports since 2011. A member of the BBWAA, he's now covered the last six World Series beginning with the epic 2011 Fall Classic. The former Indiana University... Full Bio

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