Where There’s a Game, There’s Hope

From October 1, 2004:

Well, it’s October and technically the Padres still aren’t out of the race. Or, if you’re reading this later in the day, maybe they are.

The Pads have already won 22 more games than they did all last year (and they still have three more to go against the worst team in baseball), and they’re the only NL team that had a losing record in 2003 that managed to push themselves above .500 in 2004. They’ve surpassed my preseason prediction of 84 wins (which I actually worried might be overly optimistic). The Padres will end up within shouting distance of the 800 runs forecast by GM Kevin Towers despite getting virtually no production from the key free agent acquisition (Jay Payton) and a whopping nine homers from Ryan Klesko.

The Padres scrapped and battled, and slowly began to believe they could win. Fan support was tremendous, eclipsing the 3 million mark for the first time in club history on the final day. But for all the positives, we are left frustrated and disappointed by a season that could have been so much more. In what looks to be their fifth best season in 35 years of existence, the Padres repeatedly failed to execute in key situations (how often can a team have two runners on base with nobody out and not score?). They made questionable roster decisions (Eddie Oropesa, Jason Szuminski, Kerry Robinson, the #5 starter revolving door, failure to acquire any names bigger than Rich Aurilia and Dave Hansen for the stretch run) and fielded a squad that collectively wasn’t well suited for their new ballpark and who individually seemed all too aware of and frustrated by that fact.

I should be happy, and for the most part I am. This truly has been a great season of Padres baseball, and Petco Park takes advantage of what San Diego has to offer in ways that the Q never could. Every time I step into the ballpark and look out onto the skyline, I am reminded of how blessed I am to call this city — for whatever faults it may have — my home. Corny as it sounds, I do take pride in Petco and the way it shows off our city. And this year, unlike in years past, I have been able to take pride in the Padres as well. Even when they’ve struggled to execute or blamed the new park for their problems, I’ve never doubted their desire to win. That’s not something I’ve always been able to say about some of the recent editions. Then again, it’s hard to get too worked up about these things when you’re routinely losing 90+ games a year.

On the one hand, I find it irritating beyond words that the Padres haven’t been able to wrap up a playoff spot and must visit Coors Field to play one game (or flip a coin, if you prefer) against the hottest team in baseball. On the other, I’m grateful that the Padres are committed to fielding a competitive ballclub, and that they at least have given themselves a chance to make a third straight postseason appearance.

Monday’s game starts at 4:37 p.m. PT, and will be broadcast on TBS and XM 183 [update: the Padres feed can be found on XM 184; hat tip to Phantom in the comments]. We’ll have the IGD up and running about an hour before first pitch. Luck permitting, it won’t be our last…

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176 Responses »

  1. 143: why do you think I’ve posting funnies the last two times?

    here’s another: http://tinyurl.com/6yycu

  2. Brady Clark can be included on the roster because he was in the organization before Aug 31st….Tomko cannot

  3. 147 Stephen: No…..just talking about the failure this weekend in general. But Darren just repeats what he said 5 minutes ago over and over and elaborates to no end.

  4. any confirmation on the lack of mlb.tv tonight? How does one find out?

  5. 1090 says blum getting start today.

  6. The preview of tonight’s game at BPro invokes the name of Sterling Hitchcock. Peavy’s got to channel Hitchcock tonight.

    Hitchcock in the ’98 playoffs:
    22 IP, 3 ER, 32 K’s

  7. No Barrett!!

  8. 156: Bummer. I’d rather have the superior D behind Jake.

  9. 144: I’ll tell you what… And this here is important. What – we’ve – got – here – is – a – classic – case – of – Philly – Billy-ism…

    You’ve got to look at things like this.. Mmm-K? Now… It’s like I always say…

  10. Geoff, am I flagged?

  11. Wow, took a while to get through those comments. A couple of thoughts:

    (1) Jonathan Mariner, the CFO of Major League Baseball, has a dayplanner with every team’s three year financial projections. It has their projected balance sheet, income statement, and statement of cash flows for a 3 year horizon and (here’s the trick that is new since Mariner took over) they have to actually roll up together. So, when I heard that (from Mariner himself), my first thought was: Holy Shit, I’d love to get a hold of the Padres projections, then I would truly know what kind of money they were willing to spend! (project player contracts = salary expenses — note: you cannot value player contracts as assets and depreciate them, though I heartily disagree with tax law in that regard). Anywho, just food for thought…. the Padres have already established (with leeway I’m sure) what they are willing to spend over the next few years and have had to make that work financially, covering their expenses (cash outflows) with anticipated revenues and/or debt (cash inflows), in order to project positive results into the future. And, it should be noted that only one team actually “lost money” according to MLB financial records last year (as opposed to nearly every team some 5 years ago).

    (2) Being a SD fan on the east coast sucks. First, you have to watch games at wierd hours; and second, you have to constantly answer questions from locals about why you are a fan. Sometimes, it can get pretty tiring to stick up for the team (note: I’m in the heart of Redsox and Patriots nation) all the time, but the last few years, save a few notable exceptions (like this year with the chargers), it has gotten much easier. No longer do I have to put up with comments like “Padres?!?! Why do you like them?!? THEY SUCK!!”.. So, I’ll give the current upper management this much credit: They’ve made it a lot easier to be a Padres fan.

  12. #95: Possibly, though we’ve got a ways to go; we hit 246 last Thursday, and I’m not sure that’s the record.

    #113: Thanks for the funny, Didi!

    #126: Yep, it’s pretty much a religious debate.

    #150: Moreso than the Mets’ mission. ;-)

    #160: Spam filter is on overdrive; sorry, bud.

    Ack, too much to do. Carry on…

  13. 159 Less: Awesome!!

  14. Starting Blum is defensible in the current situation. Starting Barrett would not be.

    Maybe BB should bat Peavy 7th or 8th?

  15. Well best case scenario padres score 10 runs in the first and the Pads pitch Pewavy 1 inning while Cassel warms up, Peavy pitches on Weds. (a guy can dream cant he)

  16. 165: Yeah, but then we’d give up 10 runs in the 2nd. =)

  17. 165: If they score 10 in the first, they should scratch Peavy, let Cassel start in the bottom of the first, and keep Peavy ready for if the lead shrinks.

  18. 165: In all seriousness, I think it would have to be a 20 run lead that early for me to consider pulling Peavy. I know that sounds ridiculous, but there is no room for error on this one, and, I’m pretty sure Cassel could give up 15 runs to the Rox at Coors Field.

  19. NY Times has analyst’s post-season picks.


    Check these folks:
    Don Orsillo (play-by-play)
    NL CHAMPION: Padres

    Joe Simpson (analyst)
    NL CHAMPION: Padres

    Cal Ripken (studio analyst)
    NL CHAMPION: Padres

    David Aldridge (reporter)
    NL CHAMPION: Padres

  20. “The key to tonite’s game is to get an early lead and never trail.”

    It’s this kind of analysis which keeps me coming back. ;-)

  21. 170 … grrrr …

    Tony Gwynn (analyst)
    AL CHAMPION: Yankees
    NL CHAMPION: Phillies

    … perhaps that TG Jr?

  22. T – 1-hour … and counting … I’m *READY*!!!!

  23. 161 (2) – agreed wholeheartedly. I have a legit story about how as a youngster I was a Yankee fan (gross, I know) until my favorite players Nettles and Gossage became Padres. But most of the time people are then like, who?

    The 10PM gametimes suck for me, and even more the complete lack of TV coverage is the worst.

  24. My condolences to Pads fans. I was rooting for ‘em and hoping for a Cubs/Padres LCS; thinking back to ’84. I think bad karma must have finally caught up with Barrett — I could be way off base here but, perhaps he was bannished from Cubdom for having a bad attitude. By the way, saw a replay on ESPN this morning of the play at home plate. Looks like Holliday may not have touched the plate!