Morning Coffee with Mark Whelan: It’s Time to Look Toward The Future


In baseball, as in life, we must sometimes face the harsh realities in order to move on to better things. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Baseball is a lot like life. Sometimes you have to give up what you have to get something better. You don’t stay in bad relationships. You don’t work for 10 years at a job you hate. You don’t do everything possible to end up with the best won-lost record this year when you’re not going to make the playoffs. Or at least, you shouldn’t do these things. In the long run, you’ll be happier dealing with some pain now, resetting, and working toward a better future.

It is time for the Padres to do that.

There are 67 games left in the baseball season. San Diego has a 41-54 record. Ten games before the break, I suggested that the Padres still had a chance at the playoffs. That proposition started with the team going 8-2 in those final 10 games.

They went 3-7.

Oakland has the best record in baseball. If, for the rest of the year, San Diego won at the same rate Oakland has been winning, the Padres would finish with an 82-80 record.

2014 is over. I’m sorry to be the one to break it to you.

So, it’s time to deal with a little pain, and plan for the future.

Trade rumors have been flying for weeks, yet no trades have been made. Perhaps the front office still had hope for this season, as I did. We should sincerely hope that they do not waste any more time trying to win this season.

That’s a very freeing attitude. Losses will not hurt as much now as they did in June, because they don’t matter. Players on your team can be viewed only in terms of whether or not they will help your team next year. Prospects can be given the chance to get a taste of the major leagues without jeopardizing your season. You can set innings limits, distribute at-bats, and determine playing time in terms of how you think it will benefit the players who will be on your team next year and the year after. You don’t have to rush players back from injuries; you can give them all the time they need to heal.

Is it as much fun to watch teams like this? It’s not as bad as you might think. While it’s frustrating as hell to watch Chase Headley strike out with men on second and third, it’s not as bad to watch Hunter Renfroe do that. Because we’re focused on the future instead of the present. If Renfroe hits .200, it’s OK, because he’s learning how to hit in the major leagues. He’ll be better next year for the experience he’s gaining now.

It’s like Spring Training all over again, except this time, we’re getting a seven-month head start.

So, like the person in the bad relationship who ends it, suffers through a breakup, and looks for the love of their life, like the person who quits their crappy job in order to follow their dreams, we should view this as a positive step forward in our lives as Padres fans. Let’s give up the painful 2014 season, and start focusing on the future. It’s going to hurt at first, but ultimately, we just might find that world championship that currently seems so far away.