Third Door on the Left/Patchwork Pitching Staff Blues

You are in the wrong place. You want hope — third door on the left, just past apathy and before foolishness.

SDSU right-hander Stephen Strasburg
Take a good look at what you cannot have.

It is written that the Padres will be terrible this year, and what is written must be true. Cancel the games, record them as losses, save us the trouble of going through the motions.

Nobody gets hurt. Nobody suffers through six months of torture in the form of baseball.

I keep staring at the names on this year’s pitching staff. It’s like I’m at a crime scene: Who are these people, and what are they doing here?

You will have time to do other things in life. Take comfort in knowing that your team’s fate is assured. It has been decreed that the Padres will lose 90 games or more, and so it shall be. Predictions are prophecies. Experts speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

I look at Jake Peavy and Chris Young. No problem. Heath Bell and Cla Meredith? Not great, but not bad.

Besides, loss is cleansing. The absence of winning reminds us how magnificent its presence is. Good lesson, that.

Now we just need to work out the details (we also need a giant foam hand with 30 fingers on it, but that’s another story). Is it 88 losses? Or 94? Or maybe 102?

After those four, I’m not seeing big leaguers. How hard will this staff push the theory that Petco Park is a safe harbor for downtrodden arms?

While I’m thinking of it, a belated congrats to the USSR for winning the gold in hockey at Lake Placid in 1980. And we’re all thankful for the legacy left behind by the Dewey administration.

They come from Cleveland, Portland, San Antonio, Albuquerque, Monterrey, New York, San Francisco, and D.C. They have names like Mujica, Duaner, and Eulogio (which sounds like “eulogy” but which derives from the Greek for “reasoning well”).

Cancel the games. Calculate the amount of money you would have spent watching them and give that to the owners, who will distribute it among players.

No, they won’t actually play. Why risk unexpected outcomes, not to mention injuries? These people are paid a lot of money — best not to let them set foot on the field and hurt themselves.

They are the outcast, the unwanted, the hungry searching for a chance to prove something to someone, looking to cast doubt on the doubters, be greater than they are, leave a glowing impression, be the improbable, the unexpected, the surprise of no hope.

Still, we dream about the new ownership group. Eleven have been revealed, and of course, the twelfth is Ellen Tigh.

Jeff Moorad, who once represented Matt Bush, leads the charge. Moorad has proclaimed that his “goal is to build a consistently winning organization that has a chance to compete for a World Series year in and year out,” which sounds suspiciously like the “consistently competitive” mantra that endeared the old regime to fans.


Speaking of Bush, he was released by Toronto toward the end of spring training “for failing to comply with the guidelines the Blue Jays set out when they agreed to invite him to camp.” Quick geography quiz: Which of the following is furthest east?

  1. El Cajon
  2. Toronto
  3. Unemployment
  4. Jail
  5. Mmm, beer
  6. None of the above, you dolt; the Earth is a sphere, directionality an artificial construct

Now, back to our story…

Then again, some folks think Sandy Alderson is a Cylon. It could be an elaborate scheme, a ruse, subterfuge, bamboozlement, shiftiness, skullduggery, pettifoggery, connivery, mountebankery, thimblerigging… This is one fine thesaurus; I could go all day.

Walter Silva? Luke Gregerson? Edwin Moreno? The next inning they pitch in the big leagues will be their first. Silva is 32 years old. Gregerson is 25; Moreno, 28.

The point is, the Cylons may already have won. Someone should have advised the new guard that San Diegans don’t fall for straight talk. Don’t tell us about a “consistently winning organization.” Your hope is not our hope.

If you want to stress test the ballpark, running these guys out there is a great strategy. If you want to win games, not so much.

Spin an elaborate yarn that will capture our imagination. Distract us with shiny objects. I won’t do all the work for you, but here are some things you could promise:

  • The sun and the moon and the stars — Cliche, but classic. We could win a lot of games with celestial bodies on our side.
  • Free beer for everyone — True, it will give us less reason to complain, but think of the children.
  • A World Series winner every year — Victory is assured, just like in that Twilight Zone episode where Sebastian Cabot plays Satan (I always thought there was something fiendish about Mr. French).
  • Big name signings — “We offered Manny Ramirez $80 million, the Republic of Malta, and a recurring role on Two and a Half Men to play for us on Thursdays. He chose to sign elsewhere. Who knew he wasn’t a Charlie Sheen fan?”
  • More offense — Move the fences directly behind the infield. Save money on outfielders, expand seating, profit!

What the hell am I talking about anyway? You were looking for hope and all I’ve given you is nonsense. In my defense, hope and nonsense are not entirely incompatible. Ask any political or religious leader.

If this is a legitimate big-league staff, then Kevin Towers is better than I thought he was. He’s seeing things that aren’t visible to the unaided eye — like Neptune in the night sky.

Bottom line: The Padres will stink in 2009. So it has been decreed, and so it shall be. My completely unbiased advice, without any ulterior motives whatsoever, is to avoid attending games as much as possible.

Because, you know, I could put my stuff in your empty seat.