Alright, Padres, We Are Interested

Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Alright, Padres, we’re interested.

I’ve always been interested because I’m a baseball fanatic and the Padres are my team. When I say fanatic, I mean the kind of Baseball-America reading, minor-league playoff watching, prospect-monitoring, rec-league coaching, season ticket-holding, fanatic. I played my first game at the age of four. Until my arm falls off (which may happen soon), I’m going to get near a field as often as I can.

But, not everyone cares about the Padres—sometimes even their fans. They are tired of hearing the same things from the front office with promises that this time, it’ll be different. For years, Padre’ fans languished as a combination of ownership and front office incompetency burnt them. The dawn of the baseball analytics movement illuminated how far away the Padres were.

Butts left the seats.

Eyeballs left the TV.

For a number of reasons, ears left the radio as well.

Sure, some Padres Twitter ever-fans kept talking like hope was just around the corner. “The MLB squad is better than most people think,” they said. They said it every year, though, and objective fans knew the team wasn’t close. In fact, the Padres name was becoming synonymous with “cheap” and “losing” in MLB. Those terms were well deserved. Fans would say things like, “payroll spending should be withheld until we are competitive,” without acknowledging circular reasoning of such a statement. It was a lot of Pollyanna and good hometown loyalty without much holding ownership accountable. We weren’t supportive, we were enablers.

But alas, hope has actually dawned, and it starts at the top. Ron Fowler would be one of my favorite owners in baseball even if I weren’t a Padres fan. He speaks directly to the fans. He’s accessible, plain-speaking, and willing to spend money to make the team better. His partner, Peter Seidler (the quiet giant), has dedicated himself in reversing the problem of homelessness in San Diego. A.J. Preller has whiffed on a few things (Kemp, Shields, etc.) and hit on others (Tatis, and the mine of prospects the Padres now possess). But what I love about him is he keeps trying. He is unequivocally unafraid of failure. Great leaders have that trait. Occasional failure is the tax on success. I love Andy Green in the dugout—what a grinder.

The table is set at the top, to me. But, what about the team?

This year’s rendition of the Padres’ major league squad is genuinely interesting. They are young, quick, athletic, and energetic. They smile as they play. They have power and presence. Every position has a likely starter who plays a fun style of baseball. They are interesting.

Though I’m often critical of the Padres—all in love, I must say…this team is getting close to contending. I don’t mean in the, “just wait until all of our 16-year-olds get to the majors,” way. I mean…I think if the Padres want to, they can make a legitimate playoff run next year based on their current MLB personnel and those likely to join from the minors soon.

They strike me as a .500 team this season with their ticket symbol pointing up. Vegas currently has them tied with several other teams for second-to-least likely to win the World Series. For this season, they have something more important to their long-term future: they are interesting. That is what gets people to re-engage. Fans need to be part of the rebuild by re-engaging.

We have reason to. Choose nearly any player or position, and there is a storyline. Here are a few:

  • Many Padres fans are down on Wil Myers. I am not. I think he’s in for a great year. In fact, I think he could quietly have an MVP-caliber year. Will he rebound? How will he do in the outfield?
  • How will Hosmer change this team?
  • Does Clayton Richard have another solid season in him?
  • Will Luis Perdomo realize his potential…or is this just what he is?
  • Will Dinelson Lamet further develop a credible change-up and step toward becoming the ace?
  • Bryan Mitchell, Strohm, Erlin, Rea—who will step up here?
  • Who would you keep: Spangenberg or Asauje?
  • Which outfielders would you trade…and for what?
  • Hunter Renfroe: the next Rob Deer or Mark Trumbo? Who is he?
  • How good can Brad Hand be?
  • Will Hedges realize his potential at the plate, not just behind it?
  • Which prospects make it to the Majors this year?
  • How will Chase Headley respond to being back in San Diego? Does he stay or get traded?
  • How will Andy Green grow as a manager?
  • Will Manny Margot step into his future as a star?
  • Chris Young and Tyson Ross…do they have anything left?
  • Was Jose Pirela a fluke? Or, is he a diamond in the rough?

I’m not even slowing down yet. There are a lot more storylines where these came from. The Padres aren’t going to the World Series this year. The Padres aren’t going to the playoffs this year. But they are interesting this year.

So…

Wear your gear. Show up to the ballpark. If you can’t, put the game on your radio or TV. Watch and listen…because this is getting interesting.

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Tim Spivey
Tim is a former pitcher and avid, life-long baseball fan. He is also a husband, father, pastor, writer, and professor...who drinks a lot of coffee.

This article has 9 Comments

  1. Wow, for a Padre fan you should realize that your team has a chance to make the playoffs this year and every year.
    Remember 2010 ? With consistent performance from key players, decent pitching, and other teams sucking, the Pads can be in the top 3 of the NL west. Our goal should be to play .500 . If you can do that you may find yourself in the mix.
    Why does everybody want to wait to for 3 – 4 more years before we compete ? Hit the ground running on opening day, have a great April & May, and we could be in the mix come September.
    The talent is there. We need no injuries and better pitching. I never thought we would have a surplus of hitters.

    GO PADRES !

  2. This year will be the same as last year … and the year before that, and the year before that … The highlight of the year, the main thing many Padre fans will look forward to is hoping to flip one or more players at the trade deadline. Yes, we hope in a couple of years this will all FINALLY pay off

  3. Wil Myers has a good bat protecting him in the lineup. I think you’re right with your prediction there. This will be a fun team to watch this season. And, for the first time in my fanhood, the future is breeding real optimism.

  4. Ok…I’m excited too…things are getting good….we,as Padres fans have a lot to look forward to…but I’m really sick of tuning into a home game and seeing fans from the other team sitting in the best seats in the house…Season ticket holders….STOP selling your tickets to every jackass from Frisco who offers you a few bucks…Put on your Padres gear,and GO TO THE DAMN GAME….Seriously,fans….are’nt you sick of this too ????? GO PADS !!!!!

  5. Great article! Bring Back the Brown!!!!! You make great points and point out very legit scenarios. Padres man since 1969, feeling good about this season. Thank you for the read.

  6. You nailed it! I live in AZ, raised in San Diego. Dedicated Padres fan and everything you said is perfect. I have my MLB TV package purchased and am ready to be engaged (not that I was ever disengaged). Only thing left to do is bring back the brown.

  7. Thanks for the article. As a senior member of the Padres Fan Club, I am one year shy this year of 5 Decades following this team. I am also excited about the current direction of the team, agree about the cieling for this season around 78-84 wins. I am not high on Will Myers like you are. But their is HOPE!!!!

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