Last week a short “film” went as viral as a video focused on the Padres could go viral. When I got around to watching it last Friday it had over a thousand views on dailymotion.com, and is well over five thousand today. It’s called ‘Padres: A Sad Truth’ and is the creation of a fan named David Marver, who by all accounts knows what he’s talking about. Well, as much as any outsider can know. The backroom deals that run rampant in professional sports will always be foreign to those of us unlucky enough not to possess millions of dollars in play money.
The video focuses on the last four years of Padres Baseball, which many feel have been some of the worst years in the organizations long history. Not just when it comes to the win/loss column, but overall management and broken promises. The video is about 37 minutes and breaks its story into four parts with each part taking the time to point out various villains, with the finger seeming to always land back on ownership. The video ends with a call to action, which I will get to.
Something you should know is that this video is not professionally made. The sound, look and feel of the film are clearly provided from the wealth that iMovie provides. This is not an insult, as I encourage this kind of “underground/punk” kind of filmmaking. Use what you got, just make sure the content stays strong, and this video certainly follows that mentality. The videos four parts detail the destruction of the last four years.
In part one, Marver claims ‘The Padres Have Lied To You’, which is undoubtedly true. I don’t think anyone could really dispute that, as we’ve seen Jake Peavy, Adrian Gonzalez and Mat Latos all shipped off in recent seasons after guarantees from the Padres that they wouldn’t be. That’s just the tip of the iceberg as any fan can see the giant lie that is PETCO Park staring us in the face and clogging up the already scarce parking in downtown.
Part two is titled “The Padres Are the Cheapest Team in Baseball.” Again, if you are a fan of the Padres then you already know this and have known this for decades. Baseball itself often writes off the team as a joke. We’ve been relevant what – five times in fifty years? We had to beg and pay Dave Winfield to go in the Hall of Fame as a Padre, and even after he did Major League Baseball threw a fit and changed the rules so players didn’t get to choose their team anymore. That’s how Baseball sees us. A mistake. Marver’s film goes on to point out the stats that back up part two’s claim, and again he couldn’t get an argument here if he tried. His biggest gripe is based on the fact that the largest free agent salary the Padres have ever given out is to Orlando Hudson for a tad over $11 million a year. If you’ve read me before you know how much I care about Orlando Hudson. Our teams “attempts” at going after free agents goes about as well as me trying to trade Bud Smith for Derek Jeter in a 2001 fantasy league. It’s a joke, and everyone knows it. The video begs the question, “Why?” As Marver points out that the Padres make almost half their payroll in shared revenue, before they even touch their own revenue from ticket sales, concessions, and TV deals. The Padres consistently draw over 22,000 fans per game, which puts them almost smack in the middle of the pack since 2009. They’ve had some money to flash around, especially after this year’s huge TV deal with FOX Sports SD, so it’s almost insulting that the team did nothing with that money. Where is it going? It’s a fair question, and one that should be answered. Our one big signing this off-season was Jason Marquis. The Indians who recently inked a similar TV deal, draw a similar amount of fans, and have hovered around our payroll for a while now went out and signed Nick Swisher, Bret Myers, and Daisuke Matsuzaka. Those are all guys I would love to have on our team. But, we couldn’t afford them and the CLEVELAND INDIANS could. I call shenanigans. Were a cheap team, but we aren’t a cheap city, and we definitely don’t act like a cheap city or support the club like cheapskates, so why are we a cheap team? Solid question. Answer?
Part three of the video is titled “New Ownership = Old Ownership” and deals with the utter disaster that was the Jeff Moorad era. Let’s just put it this way – Moorad used to be a sports agent, and have you ever known those guys to be good people? He broke this team down in payroll, players and city morale faster than John Moores could complete his divorce. He was a snake, and we should have gotten a quick clue when the other Baseball owners wanted nothing to do with him. He brought in Jed Hoyer who was another disaster and gave us Jason Bartlett. Wow. Glad he and his cronies are gone. Well, as the video points out they aren’t. And the “point man” for this new ownership group is Ron Fowler, who was a major part of Moorad’s group. As Charlie Brown would say, “Good Grief”, and as my friend Phil would say, “What the f*ck?!” It’s the same guys with new money, and they’re gonna break our hearts all over again. Nothing changes when everything changes.
The last part of the video is titled “How Can You Help?” and this is where my views differ from Marver. The finale of the video calls for a change to the Padres. It pleads with the viewer to send a message to the ownership and organization that we want a real team. A team that can compete, that can give us playoff hopes and then might have a shot to actually win a playoff series. These are all things that I agree with and have been pushing for as a fan since I can remember being a fan. However, I have to say their method for achieving this change, their “message sent” is flimsy at best. The video wants you to stop spending your money on the Padres. Stop buying jerseys and hats and tickets. Stop going to games and buying concessions, and stop spending your hard earned money on season tickets. In essence the video is telling you to stop supporting the Padres. That this is the only way to institute real change and send a real message. The only problem with this mentality is that there is absolutely no proof that it will work. If we look at the two franchises just as tortured as the Padres, we can clearly see that a fan not supporting the team ultimately doesn’t result in change. The Baltimore Orioles and the Pittsburgh Pirates have been without winning teams for decades now. Sure, they’ve had a couple of seasons spattered throughout that span which showed some promise and some hope, but for the most part neither team has enjoyed lasting success since the early 1980’s. In both cities new ballparks were built with the decree that a new ballpark means more revenue resulting in higher payrolls and top-notch players. Sound familiar? It should, and it should also sound familiar that in those cities those decrees were also shouted from silver tongues. Whether it was greedy owners, bad general managers, injuries or underperforming superstars, these two cities fell flat. In fact they barely lifted payrolls as promised and let young superstars walk one after the other. This should all be ringing several bells for you right now. So, what happened? Both cities shunned their teams, attendance fell off, and both franchises, although two of the most historic in Baseball, became irrelevant. Fans left the teams behind and the result of that action was nothing. Nothing happened. The teams didn’t get magically better, the owners didn’t ‘get the message’ and the teams continued to suffer. You might point out that the last few years the Orioles and Pirates have both actually re-emerged as some sort of contenders. Which is true, but when you factor in that PNC Park (Pittsburgh) and Camden Yards (Baltimore) were built in 2001 and 1989 respectively and since those years the teams have combined for 31 losing seasons you start to understand that messages are often not received. Stopping the flow of fan cash will result in some financial burden sure, but to a desired point of changing the way a team does business? Not likely. As Marver points out himself in his own video, the team still makes a ton of revenue without us, so who will ultimately care? Not the billionaires, but we will, the long-suffering fan.
Which is why I believe Marver’s call to action is found in his own, rather than in his message. David Marver made a video that is getting national attention from the MLB Network, CBS Sports, Grantland, and the local media is lining up to talk to him. He’s done something that the sports media isn’t used to seeing: He’s cared about the Padres. So much so that he took his own time to make a well researched, completely informative 37-minute video about why the last four years of being a Padres fan has been…well…sad. He did what we should all be doing. What Matthew T. Hall did with Padres to the People. They made an impact. It may be small now, but it’s growing everyday. Ron Fowler’s seen the video, which means I’m almost certain most of the front office has seen it. With technology the way it is, there’s no reason why we can’t bring about real change without the threat of monetary drought. I honestly believe real change comes by not shutting up. By taking to the Internet and exposing the people who have made the decisions that have led us here. The real call to action is just that: Action. Hit them where it hurts – the media.
Here is a link to the Change the Padres Facebook page that serves as homebase for David Marver and his movement.
Because I was so excited someone went to this extent to show they’re support for the Padres I had to meet them. I sat down with David Marver, and we talked about the video and his feelings on the future. That interview will be posted on Sunday.
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