Gossage Inducted, Masur Hired, San Diegans Too Laid Back

That got your attention, didn’t it? Goose Gossage will be inducted into the San Diego Hall of Champions Tuesday night. This might not be the Hall of Fame that Gossage, who now resides in Colorado, had been hoping for, but he’ll take it. He’ll also take the opportunity to grace the world with some choice quotes. Here’s my favorite:

But back then, we were our own setup men. Guys like Rollie (Fingers), Mike Marshall, Sparky Lyle, Dan Quisenberry and myself were our own setup men. I worked the seventh and the eighth as well as the ninth.

I’ll tell you one thing, to sit in the dugout after getting out of an eighth-inning jam waiting for the ninth is apples and oranges from coming in from the bullpen to start the ninth fresh. I think the setup guy often faces a tougher situation than the closer.

I actually took a cursory look at Gossage’s workload in 1975 a while back over at Knuckle Curve. What I found shocked me. For instance, he worked three innings or more in just over a third of his appearances that year, and faced 20 or more batters in a game on six different occasions. Can you imagine asking a closer to do something like that now?

The other point worth mentioning is Gossage’s final sentence in the previous quote about the importance of setup men, which echoes what many sabermetricians have been claiming for years. I expect he arrived at his findings in a slightly different manner, but the conclusion remains the same.

Yes, But Can He Play Guitar and Get Runners Thrown Out at the Plate?

The Padres have hired Andy Masur to join mainstays Ted Leitner and Jerry Colemen in the radio booth this season. Masur takes over for Tim Flannery, who followed Bruce Bochy to San Francisco and became the Giants’ third base coach. Masur previously hosted pregame and postgame shows for the Chicago Cubs, so his memories of 1984 might be a little different from ours. ;-)

Hey Man, We Lost — Bummer, Dude

Mark Zeigler advances a few interesting theories about why San Diego hasn’t seen a big winner in any of the major sports. I think he may be onto something. Key quote from sports psychologist Steven Ungerleider:

It’s a laid-back culture and a laid-back sports culture, and you’re not going to have as high expectations to win. That can send a message to athletes and owners: ‘We want to win, sure. But it’s not the end of the world. We’re also interested in other things. We’re interested in having fun.’

I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I’d like to see more of a killer instinct from my teams. On the other, I’m not sure it’s worth the tradeoff of having to exist in an environment where winning is all that matters. At the risk of sounding incredibly elitist, living in San Diego is pretty much its own reward. If you don’t believe me, go to a public place sometime and eavesdrop on tourists plotting ways to blow their life savings so they can move their family of five into a closet behind some laundromat in Encanto.

This brings me to the next point Zeigler makes. It’s one that frustrates me to no end. I’m not a native San Diegan but I’ve lived here for nearly 20 years and I’ve been in SoCal for all but the first year or so of my life. Quoth Scott Sarver, former baseball coach at Point Loma Nazarene University:

How long does it take you to find a fan of another team in San Diego? About two minutes. How long would it take you in Green Bay? There are just so many other (sports) cultures here that it contributes to the softening of our own culture, because you don’t have everyone on the same page.

It’s not just sports, of course; it’s anything. I’ve complained numerous times about displaced New Yorkers who can’t find “good pizza” in San Diego. Hey, I know where you can get some “good pizza”; c’mon, I’ll give you a ride to the airport.

Not that folks from other places aren’t welcome. Obviously they are. But why not make at least some effort to adapt to the existing culture? I’m from Los Angeles; I don’t hate the Dodgers the way a lot of Padres fans do but I sure as heck hope we beat ‘em every time. And I don’t spend my days pining for LA. If I liked it so damn much, I’d be living there now.

Anyway.

San Diego is too laid back? It’s full of expats from other places? Former Padres pitching coach Dave Stewart ain’t buying it:

It has absolutely nothing to do with the city. It has everything to do with who’s in the uniforms. You get to a certain point, and the only thing that matters is what a player does in that situation on that day.

I admire Stewart’s stand-up attitude, but I wonder if he’s missing something. Or maybe I’m the one missing something. Like, say, a championship team?

37 Responses »

  1. LA is considered laid-back by the rest of the country. LA teams have won multiple championships in several spots. What’s the line about SF, live there but get out before it makes you too soft? The 49ers were a dominant football team. Philly has far fewer championships despite rabid fan interest. Chicago was a doormat before and after Michael Jordan.

    I don’t buy the attitude thing. The Chargers are in the AFC championship game if not for 1 or 2 dumb plays, plays of dumb aggression and not dumb disinterest.

  2. 1: sports, not spots.

  3. Dave Stewart is right…it has little to do with the city and everything to do with how we have always constructed teams…oh yea, and a bit of bad luck…Running up against the 1984 Tigers and the 1998 NYY’s may have something to do with it…Let’s not forget how good the 49′ers team was that spanked the bolts…

    As a native, I can tell you that I am more laid back than most of the country. I stand out on the East Coast for the SoCal attitude I have been accused of having…When my biggest dilemma is whether or not I should wear jeans when we go to a “Nice Meal”, you know you have San Diego in your blood!

    Go Pads…and Free Pat the Bat!!!

  4. 3: Dead-on. Timing is crucial. The 94 Chargers against the 99 Falcons or 05 Seahawks is a game instead of an embarrassment. The 98 Padres could have beaten several WS winners from the 90s, but the 98 Yankees were one of the best teams of the last 30 years.

  5. That is some really good writing, great article.

  6. Petco Park certainly hosts a very laid back crowd that only wakes up for home runs, Trevor Time and mid-inning scoreboard surprises. To say that causes the Padres to lose their motivation to the point of not winning a playoff series is silly – especially when you consider the players we have to watch. I don’t think I’m the only one at Petco hoping the Padres aren’t ahead by more than 3 runs going into the ninth so I have a chance to cheer on Trevor. Other than Peavy striking guys out, and Khalil’s hair, the Padres aren’t very interesting for the average fan to watch. Go back to the days of the juiced up Cami at 3rd, Eric Owens Dirty T-Shirt Night, Wally’s World and Tony Gwynn, and you’d have a different attitude from the fans (I hope).

    As for Goose – he worked in a different era, one that I only remember through the plastic goose-caller I was given one night at San Diego Stadium.