Padres Editorial: San Diego Padres Fans, Get Excited!


With the signing of James Shields, the San Diego Padres are suddenly thrust into the national spotlight. The addition of Shields and the massive offensive upgrades of Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Wil Myers, Derek Norris and Will Middlebrooks have transformed the normally mild-mannered “Small Market” Padres fans into “Big Market” fanatics!

For the first time ever, I can actually say the Padres have the ability to acquire or purchase any player they want. If they want to break the bank and go after Cole Hamels and/or Yoan Moncada, they most certainly can do so. If they want to wait until the trade deadline and scoop up the likes of Mat Latos, Johnny Cueto, or David Price, they can do that too. Nothing is really out of the question. In seasons past, that would just be a dream. 

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The Padres front office has finally discovered that in spending a little money, the fans will show up. Most importantly a commitment to a winning way, a tradition that has been lacking for years. Promises were made when the new stadium was built, ultimately the lack of quality ownership depleted what we as fans had to see on the field. I’ll just move on from that for a later day, because I could go on a rant.

Seeing empty seats in the stands has always upset me. For one, the fans are not embracing the team and supporting them. Also that the team is not embracing the fans, and giving them a reason to show up! Putting a minimal effort on fielding a team year after year was getting old with the core fan base. What kind of excitement was generated in the past to rival this off-season? None, nothing…No effort was put in by the management.

Before this season who was the Padres highest touted free agent acquisition? Mike Piazza? Greg Maddux? Come on! That was just a front, put up to quiet down the fans and pacify them. With respect to either player, they (at that point in their careers) were complementary players not guys you build a team around. They provided Hall-of-Fame names at fractions of the price.

Fast forward to the winter of 2014 and oh how things have changed. Now with what has been done these past three months, there is absolutely no excuse for the fans not to show up. This team will be exciting, it will grab your attention. Every time Kemp, Upton or Myers bat, I guarantee you will be watching. Even after they strike out, you will still watch again. Why? Well, because they bring something to the plate every time they bat. They bring excitement. Instant offense, instant reason for a fan to jump up out of their seat and cheer. That was something we lacked in seasons past.

The pitching staff brings its own excitement in itself. Andrew Cashner and Odrisamer Despaigne flirted with no-hitters last season and the other spots in the rotation go to pitchers that can be as dominant. The bullpen has been solid and trustworthy, and shouldn’t disappoint with the additions of Brandon Maurer and Shawn Kelley.

So I call to the fans to support this team and rise up. As James Shields said during his press conference “we hear you”. They do In fact hear you, they see the fans in the seats. Don’t ever let them tell you otherwise. The love and support a team gets from their fans can absolutely will a team to the next level. No PECOTA rankings will ever be able to calculate the human element to the game. The Kansas City Royals were absolutely willed to the World Series by their fans. They came within a base hit of a World Championship.

This season’s Padres team has just as much talent as any team in the Major Leagues. They have to believe that and play for each other. Nothing is given in the sport of baseball, that is why they play the games. It reminds me of an old saying I once heard. Every Major League Team is going to win 60 games and every team is going to lose 60 games. The true mark of a champion, is what you do as a team with the other 42 games.

For the San Diego Padres to be in the contention for Yoan Moncada, proves that baseball has never been more diverse. What I mean by that, is any team willing to take a little chance can be instant contenders. The Royals last season, the San Francisco Giants winning three out of the last five World Series titles. It’s fantastic that teams are no longer able to buy a playoff appearance.

It’s truly amazing to see the national media cover of the Padres on a weekly basis. They are constantly mentioned on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight or any show on the MLB network. People are excited, and they aren’t even Padres fans. This team should play well together and provide quality entertainment.

The additions and long-term investments in Matt Kemp and James Shields also show that management wants to compete for years and years. You don’t make additions like that to a team unless you plan on fielding a competitive team that has championship goals.

They are invested in competing for the next four seasons. The Padres have a solid nucleus in Kemp, Shields, Norris, Gyorko and Myers. Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner, who are also under team control for the next two seasons. That is a solid group for at least the next two seasons and you still have the aforementioned assortment locked up until 2020.

Justin Upton and Ian Kennedy are both in a walk year. They both are free agents at the end of the year. Kennedy has Scott Boras as his agent, so he is gone. There is no way the Padres will pay a Boras type price for Kennedy. Upton has remarked he would like to play in San Diego long-term, but said he would not negotiate during the season. I just don’t see the Padres being able to pay the $100 million he is likely to command on the open market. Especially with Kemp and Myers on the roster ready to play a corner outfield spot. The Padres also have Hunter Renfroe and Rymer Liriano down on the farm to potentially replace Upton.

Padres fans, if you are not going completely crazy for this team then you need to check your pulse. Ticket sales are already up as expected, but I anticipate sales to skyrocket even more once the fans actually see the team on the field in Peoria. Right now I think it all just seems like a dream to most Padres fans…

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