Peace through victory - the American way.

Monday, September 26, 2005

I Hate The Padres.

This is a rant, I know, but I can't take it any more.

It's embarrassing and frustrating to be a fan of the San Diego Padres. They are the worst first place team in baseball history leading their division with a record of 77-79 with just 6 games to go. That's right a losing record!

I'm a season ticket holder and all year I've been going to games and watching this team hold on to first place by losing and losing and losing. The local sports announcers say it's all right because all that matters is getting into the post season. It's easy for them to say. They get paid to watch the games. They don't have to put down $30 per ticket. That's $60 bucks a game to take a friend to watch the Padres lose and not only that, lose weakly.

Tonight for example, 3 hits is all they could muster, and 2 runs scored in the first inning. That was it.

Poor Jake Peavey pitches his heart out again and leaves after 8 with a 2-1 lead. And why was he pulled after shutting down the Giants for 8 innings? Why because Bruce Bochy had to bring in Trevor Hoffman in the 9th to get the save. Not apparently because Jake needed to come out or because Trevor needed to come in to save the game. Jake had pitched 116 pitches or so but if he finished the 9th and got a complete game victory he could have sat out the rest of the season and rest his arm until the playoffs. That's because a victory tonight would have brought the magic number down to 2 with 3 more games against the Giants and 3 more against the Dodgers. Practically a slam dunk to clinch the division.

So Jake did not need to come out to protect him and he didn't look like he was losing it. Instead, Trevor came in to finish the 9th because that's how Bochy manages. "Duh, it's the 9th inning and there's a save situation. Time to bring in Trevor. Doh de doh de doh!" It doesn't matter that the best starting pitcher in baseball is dominating the game, the 9th inning came with a save situation, so in came Trevor. It's absolutely mindless!

And tonight the move was a failure as Trevor gave up two runs and got tagged with the loss. (Ugly box score here.) Why Boch would bring out the best starting pitcher in baseball rather than letting him finish the game and beat the team he had dominated for 8 innings is beyond me. It's just mindless managing on automatic pilot.

It's a shame that Boch just got a contract extension. It's also a shame that Dick Williams is no longer available to manage this team. He'd kick their butts from here to Sunday and put the fire into them that they lack.*

But Boch's pitching moves are not the real problem. The real problem with this team is that it can't hit. It can't hit worth a damn. Their offensive weakness makes them probably the most boring team in baseball to watch. Nearly every game is the same. Three up and three down or when people get on base nobody comes up with the clutch hit to score the runner or if there is a hit, it's a single with the runner advancing one base. Station to station play. Boring, boring, boring!

Still, it's looking like the Pads will stumble across the finish line and make it to the playoffs, perhaps with a losing record. Part of me hopes that happens and the Pads go on to win the World Series. The prospect of a losing team winning the World Series is too good an irony to pass up. But another part of me hopes the Pads fall on their faces for the rest of the season. They've played like losers for most of the year and it would be only fitting that they lose their way out of the playoffs in the last week of the season. They are the least deserving team for the playoffs I've ever seen.

It's been an ugly year and I'm going to have to think long and hard before I decide to spend between $2,000 and $3,000 again next year for season tickets for this team. Back when I was in law school in the last three years of the 80s my East Coast roommate had a nickname for the Padres. He called them the "Wimpres."** It's looking like things haven't changed much since then.

I hate this team. I hate them with the hatred that is reserved for those who betray you and break your heart. I just hate them.


* I remember back when Dick Williams was managing the Padres and they were in a pennant race playing in Atlanta. The Braves pitcher, the cowardly Pascual Perez, hit one of the Padres batters and riled up the team because it looked like he did it on purpose. So what did Dick Williams do? He had his pitcher throw at Perez every time he came up. It was worth watching the game just to see Perez cower in the batters box each at bat. Each time it happened the umpires threw out the pitcher and the coach who was managing at the time. Finally the job got done when I'm pretty sure it was Craig Lefferts hit Perez and a brawl ensued. The Pads gelled as a fighting team that night and went on to win the pennant. They lost the World Series but they were not wimps by any means that year.

I miss those days.

Here's how ESPN described the 1984 game:
In an ugly bean-brawl game, the Padres and Braves engage in two bench-clearing brawls. After Pascual Perez hits Alan Wiggins, Padres pitchers throw at Perez his four trips to bat. The second brawl involves several fans and there are 19 ejections total. Managers Dick Williams (10 days) and Joe Torre (three days) are both suspended.
(Read the sidebar at this story here.)

** The spell check program kept wanting me to replace "Padres" with "faders." Appropriate.

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