Padre fans hoping for their team to lose is starting to piss me off.
For a little context here, I joined Twitter about five years ago. Hundreds of Padre fans beat me to the punch, which turned out to be fortuitous for me. I got to select from the buffet of Padre-related Twitter accounts.
Let me see, I’ll grab a few bloggers, a scoop of stats guys, one each of the local media members and I need my veggies, so I’ll grab some national writers.
I admit I’ve gone back and filled my plate a few times. And I know you’re supposed to eat all that you take, but I admit I’ve been forced to throw away some stuff I didn’t like.
I felt like I settled into a nice, little comfort zone. Some of the twitter accounts are cerebral, some are funny, but they all add something to the mosaic that is Padres’ fandom.
Then 2017 rolled around and things changed. Now, many Padre guys are literally depressed at Padre wins and cheering for something called “the tank”. In case you don’t know, that means these fans want the team to lose. These so-called fans make me mad.
First, let me explain why they want the team to tank, then I’ll tell you why it’s stupid.
The fans calling for the team to tank fall into two camps. The first, more populated, makes more sense, barely. These are the guys who think the team securing the number-one overall pick in the amateur draft next year will land the team an impact player or two or three. Hoping for this outcome is logical, but history is not on their side.
Since Alex Rodriguez in 1993, about half of baseball’s number one draft picks have made the MLB All-Star team. Being an all-star isn’t a metric of value, but I’m trying not to bore you with too many numbers. Let’s just say the hit-and-miss rate on number-one overall picks is about 50-50. For every David Price, seemingly, there is a Bryan Bullington. Bryce Harper meet Matt Anderson.
Let’s dig deeper. According to Alex Alvarado at RO Baseball: in the history of the amateur draft, which dates back to 1965, number-one overall picks have collected a 991 WAR. The second overall pick has a WAR of 638. That’s a difference of 353. That sounds like a lot. But spread that out over 51 years of amateur drafts and the average difference, per year, between the top two spots in the draft is 6.9, which is to say it is less than 7. Or putting it another way: that’s like downgrading from Ryan Zimmerman to Justin Upton.
Obviously, there are more than two picks in the draft. I concede the contact rate gets lower the deeper you go into each round. I am just trying to reinforce that a higher draft pick is no guarantee of anything. I’m looking at you, Tim Beckham.
To those fans: I respect your opinion, but I disagree. Losing sucks way more than the benefit of a higher draft pick.
That brings me to the smart-asses. Here is the logic: the Padres are going to stink, so let’s hope they lose 120 games so we can laugh at them. I assume they subscribe to the idea “if you’re gonna be bad, be memorably bad.” I can’t tell someone their opinion is wrong. It’s your opinion, after all. But, while I can’t tell them they are wrong, I will say they are on a crowded trolley being forced to stay in consistent contact with wrong.
I want the Padres to win for several reasons. The first, I believe I laid out earlier, but I will clarify here: draft picks are a crap shoot. The team losing to acquire more chips to lay on the table doesn’t interest me. Who knows if the first roll of the dice in 2018 is an 11 or snake-eyes?
Secondly, I want the kids on the team now to get in a habit of winning. I’ve heard stories of players growing to accept losing as a way of life. They become numb. This is a really scary place to be as an organization.
I want losing to sting. I want the players to crave wins, if for nothing else, to avoid the bitter pill of defeat. The only way to accomplish this is for the 20-somethings to drink the nectar of victory, repeatedly, and develop a taste for the sweet syrup of success. Not to mention losing is bad for attendance, TV ratings and merchandising, all of which contribute to the team’s financial bottom line.
Also, losing doesn’t look very good to potential free agents who see the team in San Diego playing bad baseball in front of nearly no one.
Padre fans, the tank sucks, and I don’t want to go anywhere near the thing. Doesn’t matter if it’s the military style or the “dunk” variety. I want nothing to do with the tank. Win some games now, have some success and start building culture, don’t wait to do it until the kids are ready to contend. Make them believe they can sooner, rather than later.
Go away, tank fans. Just leave.