Let’s be honest with ourselves: I clearly have some sort of sway within the Padres organization. I declared it was time to release Orlando Hudson and hot damn a couple of weeks later it was done. Last week I asked the Padres to make a call on the future of Nick Hundley and within days he was sent to Triple-A. We’re doing it guys. We’re changing the world. The Powers That Be are reading my articles and taking my advice. And, why not – It’s amazing advice! Well, some of it. My whole thing about every Saturday home game starting at midnight and being called “Slumber Party Saturday” never seemed to catch on, and there were a lot of sleeping bag ‘issues’.
So, what’s next? What great idea will I unleash upon the Padres to further our relationship like Tom Hagen and Sonny Corleone?
Well, honestly I don’t know. The hometown boys are actually playing some pretty good ball! They’ve won five games in a row, Alexi Amarista has begun to be the player the team had hoped they had traded for, and Yasmani Grandal has made his presence felt on defense and offense.
On this day, the day we celebrate our independence I also want to celebrate the Padres ‘coming out day’. Not to confuse that with Anderson Cooper’s ‘coming out day’, because that was way different and much more interesting. However, this team has been very impressive as of late. Mainly because it SEEMS the front office is making a pretty clear commitment to the future. No more Mike Piazzas and David Wells’. No more Jorge Cantus and Brad Hawpes. Instead we’re getting more Amaristas and Grandals and Alonsos. The future. “Let them play!” said some guy at some point, and I’m inclined to agree. Let’s find out where were at and what we have. These prospects need to succeed and fail, get big hits and make big mistakes. We don’t have the next Mike Trout or Bryce Harper waiting in the wings, but we do have some really talented young guys who are dying to prove they can make it in The Show. Sure, this front office commitment will no doubt piss some fans off and we will not be going to the playoffs anytime soon. However, we will get to cultivate some homegrown players and while they’re getting used to playing with each other they’re also getting better. In three seasons or so we could have the payroll room to actually go out and get a few key parts to fill in the holes our prospects have left vacant. It’s risky and it’s definitely not attractive to the average fan, but for a small market team like ours – it’s smart. And, let’s not get in to the fact that we don’t have to be a small market city, but for some reason we are plagued to be one. That’s a whole different post.
Many teams in similar cities with similar payrolls have done exactly what I’m talking about and it’s worked. A few seasons of utter failure followed by a few seasons of real success. The 2002 Angels, 2003 Marlins, The Rays and Giants throughout the 2000’s and most of the Braves’ teams in the 1990’s. Of course it won’t always work, just like nothing in Baseball ever will. The Yankees have spent more on payroll than anyone in history and only have one championship since accomplishing that level of greed to show for it.
Nothing is guaranteed, but for now it’s exciting to see that the only thing you can guarantee is the future.
This is a much more positive article from me than you’re probably used to, and it’s either the bottle of wine or the fine play of Chase Headley* that’s causing it. I by no means am drinking any Kool-Aid though and do not think we’ve all of a sudden become a contender. Because with rookies the only thing you can count on for sure is that they will find a slump. But, until then let’s celebrate this! Get out your grills, your beer and celebrate the independence of America the way our forefathers intended us to – by getting drunk and peeing on the lawn. God Bless America and God Bless the Padres!
* Chase Headley is not an all-star and he did not get snubbed. I’m sick of people complaining about this. Get over it. He’s hitting .272 with 8 homeruns. He’s maybe the 6th best third baseman in the National League. One time I was at a bar flirting with a girl and my friend Mikey came up behind me and said something I’ll never forget, “Just cause she’s the cutest girl at the bar, don’t mean she’s cute.” He was right. Just cause he’s the best hitter on the team; don’t mean he’s a good hitter.
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