Monday, September 24, 2012

Keeping The Faith

It's Monday night. TV is bad on Mondays. The only show I'm watching right now on Mondays is Revolution, and I'm not at all excited about that after the pilot. Monday Night Football? Maybe with the sound off. So here I am, looking for something to do, and I noticed that the Padres were one Cardinals win away from being completely eliminated from the playoffs, and they play tonight while the Padres have the night off for the last time this season, so I thought I'd write something.

The Padres' elimination number isn't the only thing that I noticed today. I was off work and not wanting to clean, so I did something I don't normally do and read the latest post from Dex over at Gaslamp Ball. I guess it was the last in his 2012 series on how to enjoy being a Padres fan, or something like that. Lo and behold, part of that post drew my particular attention:
All's I'm saying is that in the grand scheme of things, the Padres are doing pretty well. Sure, there are haters out there who will point out all the random stuff that's wrong with the Padres and the cable deal and all that, but let's be honest. Those guys are idiots. Don't listen to them. They don't actually live in San Diego and probably cry when they masturbate.

Hey, I think that guy is talking about me! Obviously he doesn't know me very well though. Other than in dealing with a recent serious family medical issue, I'm generally pretty stoic and nearly dead inside, no matter my activity, although I make other exceptions for when I watch movies like Field of Dreams, The Notebook, or Dear Zachary (oh man, that one is a crusher).

Here's the thing, and the reason why I'm writing this tonight: I agree with Dex. The Padres have been doing pretty well for some time, and there's a lot to like about the team they've been putting out on the field the past few months, especially from an offensive standpoint. The pitching? Well, that's a work in progress, for sure.

It's September 24th and the Padres are just now being eliminated from playoff contention. Even with the new 2 wild card format, nobody could have thought that possible on June 1st. The Padres have made great strides as this season has gone along, boosted by a strong rookie performance by Yasmani Grandal and a career year from Chase Headley that has been an absolute joy to watch, especially for people who already loved the guy like you know I do. The offense has been quite good, especially when adjusted for park factor, and even a below average hitter like Everth Cabrera has been exciting to watch on the base paths.

Yes, I question the sustainability of this success. Yes, I'm wary of another offseason with Josh Byrnes calling the shots. Yes, I think the fact that over 40% of San Diegans still can't watch the games on TV is ridiculous. The Chargers being blacked out for one game seems to have gotten more attention than a whole season's worth of this Fox Sports SD debacle. But there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic:

  • Chase Headley - even allowing for some regression, with the adjustments he's made to his swing, approach, and ability to maintain his weight in-season, it appears that to go along with his strong defense and OBP, Headley is entering the prime of his career with a real power boost that I think should be sustainable in the 20+ home run range. Padres fans (who still use these stats as their benchmarks) have longed for a .280/20/80 guy at that position. Well now you have a .281/29/108 guy who should add on to that in the last 9 games. Be excited. Beg Josh Byrnes and Tom Garfinkel to lock him up.
  • Yasmani Grandal - Yonder Alonso was the most MLB-ready prospect obtained in the Mat Latos trade, but Yasmani was the best prospect, and he has shown exactly why. His WAR-rate has actually been better than Headley's. Can he keep it up next year? Will he regress or is he an all-star? I don't know, but I'm looking forward to finding out, and with Nick Hundley's troubles seemingly being able to be traced to his meniscus injury, the Padres catching situation should be really solid next season
  • Money to Spend - the Padres have been said to be looking to target multiple outfielders and multiple starting pitchers this offseason. Even if you don't trust the GM, that's exciting. I've got a wish list that includes BJ Upton, Anibal Sanchez, and Edwin Jackson. Your wish list may differ. It's fun to debate who the best options are and which ones might actually sign with the Padres.
  • Even the Fox Sports SD situation seems to be looking up. There are rumors that DirecTV will add the channel in its entirety at some point in this offseason (so you can watch reruns of the Giants' playoff clinching celebration, and not just have to suffer through it live), and grumblings that AT&T U-Verse will be adding the channel as well as part of a scheduled upgrade of their Fox lineup. Will Time Warner or Dish get in on it as well? Not as optimistic, but if U-Verse does, that should give San Diegans without satellite availability a legitimate option to switch providers, in what I would classify as an upgrade all-around.
So yeah, things aren't so bad, Padres fans. I agree with Dex, and I didn't even have to resort to name-calling to make my point. I will respond directly to the slap about being an out-of-towner. I was born and raised in San Diego. I left in 2006, 3 weeks before my 25th birthday, for Cleveland because I had fallen in love. I've been here for 6 years now, married for 2 1/2, and not only am I still a big fan of San Diego sports, I feel more connected to the Padres now than at any point in my life. With technological advancements, I have the ability to watch every game the Padres play on Slingbox, and because the games usually don't start here until 10pm, my day is winding down while the game is on and I don't have a lot of distractions to deal with. Not only am I a bigger Padres fan now than I was in 2006, but I use the Padres as a way to maintain my connection with my hometown. What was the first thing I did last time I flew home? Ate Mexican food. What was the next thing? Went to a Padres game with my dad, uncle, and brother, even though I'd been up since 3am local time and traveling all day. Padres fans that live elsewhere have two options; let their fandom fall away, or make a commitment to the franchise by choosing to continue to follow the team, even as distance makes it more difficult.

It's 4-1 Cardinals over the Astros in the 6th. Looks like tonight's the elimination night. But anything can happen, right? Keep the faith.


  1. Good Read Bro, your pops pointed me to your blog


  2. Update: I will no longer be watching Revolution. Mondays will be for Netflix.