Tagged: padres

I can’t believe what I just saw: Could the Padres be the new Gashouse Gang and other first week MLB musings

It’s been a great season to date, the first week of MLB 2009. Lots of surprises, uplifting moments, tragedy and pathos as well as new stadia.

With the exception of Fox’s odious Saturday blackouts, every game is available for live viewing between MLB Extra Innings and MLB.com.

I’ve watched every inning of every game. Your reporters and anal assyss hired by MLB.com haven’t. Neither have your MLB TV studio analysts, baseball executives, sports observers, practically everybody else in America.

For what it’s worth, since everybody else gets the recognition and perks — MLB.com doesn’t believe I know anything about baseball or have any insights, ability etc., and denies me access to the press room, thanks Dinn Mann, Bill Hill, Jim Banks — here are some of my insights into the new season.

For starters, looks like I was right on about the Royals. I believe this team will be in the playoffs for the first time in decades. Too bad the Orioles are deficient in pitching since they have a hitting juggernaut. Rangers pitching appears improved. They throw bat after bat at you with a legion of MLB-ready players in the high minors along with several MVP candidates including my fellow Hebrew Ian Kinsler and the Mickey Mantle clone that is Josh Hamilton. The Angels have been hit hard by injury, death, everything, so we got a race here.

We got a race everywhere in fact. It looks surprisingly — given the disparity in team payrolls — like parity on the field. I firmly believe in parity. That makes it great for the majority of fans. Dynasties are for elitist losers.

The teams succeeding this year — year two of the steroid-as-free-as-monitor-able era — have certain similar characteristics. These teams comprise a slew of interchangeable, moving parts; extreme flexibility as far as position players and pitching assignments. The Cardinals look to be a prime example of this post-steroid phenomenon along with the aforementioned Royals and restocked for prime time Marlins.

The new stadiums have been great. Despite pre-opening pitcher park rhetoric, the Mets new Citibank ripped me off and now gets a government bailout and gets to name their stadium a la” Enron Field remember that kiddies, ballpark, looks to be good hitting. So does the new Yankee Stadium, which looks like the ultimate culmination of the new age of cookie cutter cool experience stadiums, but in a good way. The games there have been wild and the ball goes Babe Ruth into the Right Field day.

The most amazing series of on-field happenings have surrounded my pride and “joy?” Padres. While I predicted 105 losses, the first week has given me pause. They still may lose a ton of games but as in the 2000 stolen presidential election — and thanks for screwing up the world, Bush — the results may take a while to come in and surprise in the end.

A number of factors have aided the Padres, which is why I’m saying the season is too close to call as yet. For one thing, they beat up on the Dodgers at Petco — an annual tradition, regardless of disparate team strength — then beat up on the Giants. the Jints, however, appear weak and listless, any progress they seemed to make last year probably was a mirage.

The Padres ushered in new Enron Field. Initially, I looked at this like Texas scheduling Rice for homecoming, a sure win for a new era. On further review, one might conclude the Padres caught a break as the Mets may have been tentative and nervous with the new field. As well, the Mets were no more familiar with the field than the Padres, losing part of the traditional home field advantage.

Yet, the Padres clearly played with unusual fervor, a newfound sense of purpose and true grit. I was unprepared for this based on last year’s listless litany of loss. Part of this, it turns out, may be due to adding Ted Simmons and Jim Lefebvre to the senior coaching staff. These guys — and Bud Black is the first to acknowledge — have added a lot of knowledge and pizzazz to the team mix.

Even more-so, the addition of David Eckstein, maturing of Chase Headley and Kevin Kouzmanoff, solid pitching, especially from castoff relievers added in the last few weeks of spring training, as well as a tough, underdog, devil-may-care attitude — maybe a new Gashouse Gang in these troubled economic times — has paid dividends.

Here is the yin and yang of this. Some of the success of the new wave of Padres pitchers may be due to the league’s unfamiliarity with them. Maybe the second time around the league won’t be so fruitful. Same goes for Padres hitters, most of whom are young and untested. On the other hand…

A team that learns it can win, often does win. The Padres have come from significant deficits in difficult games to win several times. Given their lack the high-priced talent, they also lack the high-priced egos. Many Padre players already have noted the team chemistry and spirit of self-sacrifice, although winning generally pins a happy spin on such perceptions, Despite the individual nature of much of the baseball experience, it remains a team game with sacrifice and execution a large part of team success.

Several come from behind victories on the road — including Saturday’s shocking stopping of Brad Lidge’s 47-save straight streak — have planted a seed in the Padre brainwaves and sometimes that seed grows to be a mighty redwood. It has happened before.

With that said, I continue to believe the Padres will sink fast into oblivion, but 

my slam dunk feeling has tempered greatly given what has transpired this first week. I’m willing to let it slide a few weeks because stranger turnabouts have happened.

I also want to make it perfectly clear that being the frontrunner I am when it comes to hometown baseball, I am quite willing to jump on the Padres bandwagon should it continue to roll downhill.

But that’s for another day, a further column. In the meantime, continue to play ball!

And a shout out to MLB.com for employing everybody but me, so I get to stand in the soup line and starve, while everybody else gets to get paid for covering baseball somewhat less well than me. At least, I was able to pay in advance for MLB.com before I went completely broke this week. 

Pity the poor Padres: Free fall below, as in Opening Day awaits with105 losses to go

The arty party line as spring training ends is this team is going to surprise people.

Lose 105 to 110 games. Surprise!

The Padres somehow while we were sleeping or something became the worst team in baseball. Surprise!

While plenty of blame can go around, the continual spin is quite disingenuous. Saying this team is better than it looks is such a misrepresentation that trying to fool people will work only so long, say the first 10 or 15 games of the season.

Let’s see what the Padres bring to the table. Adrian Gonzales, Jake Peavy, if he doesn’t get hurt;  Kouzmanoff, Headley somewhat, maybe even a bit of an occasional spark from Gerut.

That’s not even enough for team mediocrity considering the rest of the story. An incredibly overpaid Brian Giles, adequate in right, Eckstein adequate at second even though other teams couldn’t wait fast enough to get rid of him in the last few years.

Ahh, hmmm, pitching, Besides Peavy who would be gone asap if the Padres were at all reasonable in trade demands, Chris Young, who does not appear right and can’t win on the road even when he is right; no other starting pitching, really none. Bullpen in disarray, Bell might be good, but consider Meredith as his primary set-up man followed by five pitchers acquired in the last two weeks, each of whom was about the be cut and by teams such as the Nationals.

This team is a disgrace. John Moores is to blame of course. So is Sandy Alderson whose tenure as baseball president was a disaster. I wouldn’t blame Bud Black since his hire was a Good Old Boy network type of thing apparently. His in-game moves are pitiful, but he seems like a stand-up guy. First manager to be fired this year? Possibly. It’s hard to see how he could last the season unless management feels the season is so lost it doesn’t matter. Otherwise, he’s gone.

Not helping the viewing fan is Cox Channel 4 monopoly on coverage yielding the insipid Mark Grant — probably the worst MLB announcer in the nation, a sad combination of zero actual baseball knowledge with disgusting self-promotion of the nothing brand that is his awfulness — and a new guy who spent 20 years at Tulsa and is boring, over-his-head, etc. 

Thanks goodness for MLB.com, Direct TV baseball package, etc. so at least we’ll be able to watch baseball, and not be limited to Padres games circa 1970s baseball world.

It’s going to be one of the worst seasons ever by an MLB team.

Thanks for nothing Moores-Alderson ad nauseum liars all. Enjoy your MLB bailout and non-performance bonuses.

JOKE–NO JOKE: Padres will lose 105 games this year

Note: I am re-printing this article from March 31 just so everybody knows who knows it first…

The Padres are about to embark on one of the worst seasons in baseball history. Plenty of blame to go around although much of it at this point must be centered on John and Becky Moores and Sandy Alderson.

While it’s all good and well to go around saying how much one loves the Padres etc., the fact is Moores and family milked this sucker for all it was worth and a lot more. They turned — or rather, circumstances, the economy and MLB popularity turned — an $84 million investment into $500 million. Good for them, but don’t pretend your love for the Padres, their fans and San Diego is paramount when it isn’t. Just witness the dismantling of the team over a few dollars in an environment when teams are expanding rosters and payrolls.

What’s more, the Moores’ choice of Alderson was disastrous. The drafts were terrible, maybe the worst in baseball. Not only was Matt Bush recently called the second worst draft pick in MLB history, but the lack of drafted players in the majors is amazing. Other than that, Alderson’s stupidity drove away all decent baseball guys and left yes-men and sycophants or a few smart guys whose advice was ignored.

The Padres will lose around 105 games easy. Thanks for nothing!

As an added blog bonus today only, this is the e-mail I sent the Padres TV pigs about their coverage, too (Thanks goodness for MLB Network, MLB Extra Innings and MLB. com for real coverage)…

You don’t even have a proper way to e-mail you with comments, how user unfriendly with this form.

The fact is the only reason anybody would watch your Padres coverage is you have a monopoly, but that will end, too. This year, don’t complain  when your ratings are zero, or say it’s because the team is bad or the economy sucks.

The reason nobody will be watching is evidenced today by your Padres=Brewers coverage. The announcers are the worst in baseball. Do yo have any doubt if a Vince Scully or even a Matt Vasgersian were broadcasting you would have a few viewers, just because it was interesting despite a terrible team. But now, you have a Mark Grant who is so odious, obnoxious and disgusting with his self-promotions and BS fake knowledge and your new guy is so boring and nondescript that it is a chore to listen and watch, actually like a job (bad) or even an affliction.

I’m a big baseball fan, but I’m afraid I will watch alternative baseball coverage rather than yours because yours is so sub-standard, even annoying and worse, stupid and maddening.

Don’t bother with your form reply, we blah blah and other people blah blah blah… You’re fooling only yourselves. The fact is you’ve dug your own ratings grave whether you believe it or not and I HATE YOU FOR REMOVING THIS PLEASURABLE EXPERIENCE of enjoying Padres baseball on TV, even if the team is bad,, although I’m sure watching the Rockies, Giants, Dodgers, D-Backs, anybody but the Padres will remain my baseball solace.

Thanks for nothing!

Pity the poor Padres: David Eckstein is the face of the franchise now

The Padres finally made their big off-season free agent player acquisition. David Eckstein. Ouch.

No disrespect to Eckstein who has had a fine career making so much out of so little in terms of physical attributes. But DOUBLE-OUCH!
The fact is the Blue Jays couldn’t get rid of Eckstein fast enough last year. They finally gave him away to the DBacks where he had a mediocre run. He’s in his late 30s, too, no power, no range, no arm and now switching to a new position, second base.
That’s pathetic. So are all the excuses and I’m grandfathering them back to the early 2000s. For years, Padres officials have been touting their player acquisition skills, the buying low, selling when used up, locking up guys with “San Diego discounts,” all that lying crap.
The fact is the Padres player development apparatus has been broken for the entire John Moores stewardship. It’s been pathetic and even ludicrous when Padres officials claimed the minor league baseball ranking services understimated San Dieo player potential. But not surprising since that’s what incompetent people have to say. How else could they keep their jobs or even self-esteem?
The only reason the decrepit John Moores 2000-2009 era — he did better in the late 1990s with teams he inherited before his lackeys got going — wasn’t blasted in real time was the woefully poor state of the NL West. So, the Padres won a few divisions with .500 records and got bounced out of the playoffs each time winning barely a game.
Moores is from Houston, and not suprisingly took a page out of Enron’s scambook. He levereged into Padres ownership and used the club for personal financial gain with Padres fans at the bottom of his pyramid scheme. Now, his entire net worth is simply the increase in franchise value through no contribution of his own.
And so, David Eckstein, nice guy, ultimate hustling ballplayer — as opposed to hustling faux ownership — has become the face of Padres franchise futility. His acquisition pretty much says it all. The Padres are going to lose somewhere around 100 to 105 games.
Padres fans: Condolences and good luck. Maybe Moores will clear out sooner rather than later so the rebuilding process can ensue (although the Moorad deal appears to leave Moores as principal owner for now).
My fellow former Rancho Santa Fe neighbor has left a bitter, if not revolting, legacy.

TOUGHEST JOB IN BASEBALL

Hitting coach of the San Diego Padres apparently. The fourth hitting coach in four years, Wally Joiner, bit the bullet today, his agent citing his “frustration level with realizing…his philosophy.”

Philosophy. How about a see the ball hit the ball philosophy. Is that too much to ask?
Losing it as Padres hitting coach mysteriously coincides with number of years at Petco Park. Yes, it’s possible to hit there. Just not very much.
Fortunately, being let go or letting go as Padres hitting coach is far from a hinderance to future employment opportunities. Witness Dave Magadan. His resume includes Padres hitting coach, 2003-06, the advent of the Petco Era. Now, he is the hitting coach of the World Champion Red Sox, so he can’t be too bad. Same with Merv Rettenmund.
It all relates to Padres upper management, which is greatly in need of a bailout plan, namely somebody needs to bail them out of the front office and into the recycle bin.

TWO HUHS AND A HAH: Juan Pierre, Ned Yost and me or “The Best Jack is a Self-Jack”

HUH # 1

Juan Pierre Juan Pierre. Power hitting papa. See, Jeff Kent, hitting in front of Manny does help. That’s where Pierre was when he rocked a homer to right tonight. It was not a cheapy either, going well up into the stands. And this on the heels of Angel Berroa’s homer last week. 
Guess it’s the Dodgers year after all.
News flash: I HATE THE DODGERS!!!
(and their fans) But I do like Juan Pierre…So happy, Duane Kuiper Day…
HUH # 2
Fans of this blog will note I have no great love for Ned Yost. I haven’t liked a lot of his moves. I don’t like him personally.
But firing the guy with his team tied for a playoff spot and a dozen games to go?
Huh, huh and double-huh. THAT MAKES ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE.
Really, go for two points on the conversion with no time left to win the game , why don’t you, but you better be correct..
Sounds dicey. Earlier this year Bill Bavasi bounced himself from M’sworld by his bizarre post-game press conference directive. Sounds like Bob Melvin is next, illustrating my classic quote: “The best jack is a self-jack”.
And obviously, the Mets are on their second manager. Isn’t there annual collapse getting old? Shouldn’t they be firing Jerry Manuel? I hear Ned Yost is available.
…and a
HAH
Ha and Ha. As I predicted. In economic news…The economy is shot to sh…AND YOU ARE VOTING FOR JOHN MCCAIN. COME ON A-WIPES. GET REAL. MR. MAVERICK AND HIS PARTY CAUSED THIS CRAP. Anybody who votes for those pigs is a pig and you can be a pig but stop screwing with America and me.
OK??? 

Go to Moto World and shove it, Mark Grant

Catch the drift from the title?

The Padres home television package on Cox Cable 4 is a disgrace. Geez, and why does that cable outlet have exclusive rights to Padres games anyway? Yeah, I get it, but there are people in their home market that don’t even get Cox Cable, so what do they do?
The worst parts, however, are two-fold. Mark Grant is one big problem. The other is whatever moron producer/director is choosing the shots. Each makes the actual attempt to watch Padres games on TV sometimes excruciatingly awful, especially for someone who actually is a baseball fan.
#1 MARK GRANT
Mediocre pitcher despite being a Top Five draft pick, wasted talent I guess. But as a commentator, THE WORST. Beyond mediocre. Constantly crying about ball-strike calls, official scoring, whatever, nonsense. WE DON’T CARE WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT IF HE HITS IT IT’S A DOUBLE ON CHECKED SWINGS AND WHINING ABOUT BALLS AND STRIKES. The fact is Grant is such a complete homer he has zero credibility, especially when replays are so prevalent. Enough already.
Then, there’s Grant’s supposed expert analysis. Simpleton stuff. No insight. Crapola really. He should be ashamed. Or he’s making some dumb non-baseball comment or trying one of his really dumb puns or takeoffs or who does this guy look like…Pretty much everything except what is going on or helpful or interesting at all. Guess he’s the anti-Vince Scully. Honestly, I pity Matt Vasgersian, who is a Bob Costas-type guy and really being held back by having to appear on the same screen as Grant. Lose-lose, Grant makes everybody look worse and if you call him out on something he goes into this why are you picking on my thing.
But the worst of the worst are these constant Grant self-commercials while the game is being played.
Not like there aren’t billions of commercials during any conceivable break in the action. The worst of these are Grant’s constant harping on Moto World or whatever bike shop has him on the payola rolls. Constant chatter about Moto Crap even tying it in during plays or based on a flimsy lead-in. Then, during the breaks, he has more actual motorcycle world commercials. He also has a similar deal with Viejas Casino and goes on and on about eating at their buffet or some nonsense. Guess they can buy him for a free lunch or slot play.
Enough of this shill already. It’s not only not funny, Grant, but tired and sad, disgusting actually.
We’re interested in baseball and hate you for being such a no-nothing shill.  But guess if you don’t actually know anything you can be vice-president (Sara Palin) or Padres pseudo fake announcer. How much money is Moto World and Viejas paying him under the table? Man, it looks and sounds so bad, how do they get away with it?
#2 NOT SHOWING THE ACTUAL GAME
Speaking of Cox disgusting coverage, they often have some person totally unrelated to baseball or the game show up, like Sam the Cooking Guy, or whatever flotsam appears on  Cox 4.
OK, that stinks, but they take it even further by NOT SHOWING THE GAME, instead focusing the camera on the booth and talking head interviews while the game is being played. Again, we’re watching the games because we’re baseball fans and WE DON’T CARE ABOUT SAM THE COOKING GUY, or whatever, much less want to be forced to watch him and can’t even see the game. If you feel the need to shill your worthless shows nobody watches ever, do it, but also allow us to watch the game. It’s disgusting and a poor reflection on you.
With the Direct TV and MLB.com packages, we can watch everybody’s coverage. It’s, in fact, impressive how many top-notch broadcasters and crews do baseball games in the U.S. and Canada. Love it! So, the bar is obvious and when a D- or F+ “talent” like Grant is around, it looks especially evil.
On the plus side, again, Vasgersian does a good job when allowed. Bob Scanlan, another former pitcher, currently handles post-game duties and you know what, he is outstanding. If he stays in San Diego, it would be so much more preferable to have this guy do the games. He actually seems to know something.
But Grant.
Go to Moto World and shove it. YOU’RE OUT!