San Diego Padres: Optimism at Camp Product of Youth
The San Diego Padres are more confident than in past years in spring training, evident thus far based on the way players and coaches are carrying themselves.
There is a “new attitude” at the San Diego Padres 2017 spring training facility in Peoria, Arizona, according to NBC San Diego.
The club is visibly more loose, confident, and determined to defy expectations in 2017. And while it isn’t fair to pin the change of attitude on the absence of one particular player, the youth movement San Diego is currently going through is quite clearly the primary cause. the organization is no longer held back by overpaid veterans, and nothing is holding back young budding stars.
Even based on comments made by players, it couldn’t be more clear to fans that there has been a shift in attitude. According to outfielder Hunter Renfroe:
"I think the vibe is unbelievably different. I think it’s moved more towards a positive attitude and everybody’s having a great time. Everybody’s played with each other for a long time now. Even the new guys that have come in have embraced the movement here."
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The leader of the club, 39-year-old manager Andy Green, also has quite high praise of the way his young players have approached this spring.
"I’m sure the clubhouse environment has changed substantially as there’s been a turning over of the guard from last year’s Spring to this year. Naturally when you’ve played with guys through AAA you know them better so it’s a much more relaxing atmosphere in that regard. I don’t think it’s a slight on anybody who was here in the past. You just don’t walk in to the clubhouse and see 35 new faces that you’ve never been around. That’s uncomfortable for anybody. All these guys know each other very, very well and the new guys we’ve brought in have assimilated very quickly."
As Green says, the level of comfort within the clubhouse is partially a credit to the familiarity the players have to each other. This is one benefit of steering clear of major free agent signings and building a major league roster from within an organization.
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To a degree, this is what the Padres have done. And now, despite having suffered two consecutive ugly seasons, they are beginning to reap the benefits. If the club can continue to stick close together and the optimism remains throughout the month of March, fans could be feeling as good as possible about a club projected to finish in the NL West cellar once again by just about every analyst.
But there’s no evidence to indicate that the Padres are planning on changing their attitude. Every year, spring training brings out the most optimistic fans, and brings the entire team together. While there may not be reason to be super psyched about 2017, the Padres are doing their best by keeping their spirits up in Peoria.
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With Cactus League play getting underway and Opening Day just five weeks away, the change in culture is a welcomed sight. After all, the past two seasons didn’t feel like this, even during spring training. Baseball doesn’t see it yet, but the Padres are poised to show the league what a change of attitude can do. At least, that’s the plan.