Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings begin today in Orlando, Florida. Traditionally, this is where Business Picks Up and general managers start Wheeling AND Dealing. However, things have kicked off a bit early this year. Robinson Cano is a Mariner, Jacoby Ellsbury is a Yankee, and the Padres have acquired The Final Piece, Seth Smith. Clearly, most of the air has been let out of the balloon…but there is still work to be done in Orlando. Surely rejuvenated by #PadsChat, Josh Byrnes has a couple of moves he still needs to make.
The 2014 Hall of Fame Ballot was released not too long ago and boy is it loaded. Only 10 players can be elected in one year and, one year removed from a giant goose egg in Hall of Fame inductees, we could be looking at a very crowded class entering Cooperstown.
But as this is a Padres blog, let’s look at some candidates with Padres connections.
Piazza might have been the greatest offensive catcher in baseball history. I got to think this guy is a stone cold lock for induction. And when he goes in I have no doubt it will be wearing that nauseating Dodger blue or potentially as a Met. So it goes. But in 2006 the Padres signed the then aging catcher to a 1 yr deal worth $2 million. Piazza wasn’t the Piazza he was in the mid to late ’90s by time he made his way to the Gaslamp Quarter but he had a decent year as a Padre, playing in 126 games, hitting 22 HRs and hitting his highest OPS in 4 seasons.
The batsman who can be most relied upon for a single-base hit is worth two of your home-run class of hitters. –Henry Chadwick, The Art of Batting
Chadwick wrote this in 1885, when baseball was different, as was our understanding of it and much else in the world. Thanks to the Internet, I am reading his words 128 years later on a device that did not exist then, in a large metal contraption that allows humans to soar eight miles above the once-uncrossable Pacific Ocean. (Albert Spalding’s world tour to promote our national pastime would have been so much easier with such technology.)
Kona is warm when we land–low 80s and humid. It’s the same when Mrs. Ducksnorts and I walk into Kailua the next morning to celebrate our 18th anniversary with a tour of Kona Brewing Company that includes several unique beers. After the tour we enjoy kalua pork nachos and a few more beers.
At one of the local shops that we visit and support faithfully each year, I buy a book of 400 songs for ‘ukulele to keep me occupied back home. Mrs. Ducksnorts has endured my version of Jeff Buckley’s “Eternal Life” long enough. If I want to celebrate a 19th anniversary–and Padres fans will recognize 19 as a sacred number–I’d best diversify my repertoire. Maybe I’ll really impress her and stop playing the instrument altogether. (Read More…)
When the Padres traded Mat Latos I felt very disappointed. Actually I was pissed. I remember playing FIFA when I received the ESPN text alert that he’d been traded to Cincinnati. I was up 2-1 late against Manchester City, a perennial powerhouse, playing with poor little underdog Stoke City. Do you have any idea how hard it is to beat a 5 star team with 2 star team? DO YOU?! Well, distracted by the news, I forgot to pause the game, and of course City equalized late. I eventually lost the game in penalties. Fucking Byrnes.
It’s the same line I hear from every single Padres employee that has come through the doors in the past few seasons: “Bobbleheads don’t do well in San Diego.”
And it’s not like it’s worded even remotely different either. It’s verbatim. Word for word. Exactamundo. Twinsies. Well, you get the point. It’s as if upon their hiring they are forced to watch a movie that brainwashes everything that they previously thought was right. Brown = Evil. Bobbleheads=don’t do well in San Diego. I first heard that phrase uttered from an employee back in 2009 and have heard it more times than I can count since.
Word is spreading that there will be no bobblehead next year, but as we saw last year that could quickly change. And by quickly I mean 3 months into the season. I chatted with AJM last night about this topic. He wrote a great piece this morning about how his young daughter is a Chase Headley fan BECAUSE of the bobblehead. The AJM daughters are also very fond of Everth Cabrera (which they have a bobblehead of). Notice a trend here? They see that little bobblehead on their shelf every morning and start to get interested in that player.
Let’s take a look at all the bobblehead giveaways in Padres history and see how the attendance figures stack up. Keep in mind there are many things that factor into attendance (opponents, day of the week, month, pitching matchups, win/loss record, etc) but just for the sake of this post I won’t go that in depth.
Winter is here and sounds of baseball no longer permeate through the familial living room. It is a time when the women of the AJM household manipulate programming to a far greater extent than they do during the summer season. I am an adult and I have learned to cope with such sacrifice. This free time however, has been known to cause consternation amongst the daughters AJM as they are forced to grapple for leftover scraps of free TV time. Fortunately the Mrs. and I have taught the girls mechanisms for fair decision making . . .
And by “great” I mean “all.”
Yesterday, the Padres acquired outfielder Seth Smith from the Oakland A’s in a trade for Luke Gregerson. The news caused shock and disappointment on the Twitters.
This is not about that.
Upon hearing about the deal, I started wondering how many guys named Seth have played in the Major Leagues. The answer is 7 (8 if you count Conrad Cardinal, whose middle name is Seth). None of those players have ever been on the Padres. Until now.
A quick glance Exhaustive research on Baseball Reference reveals there have been a grand total of 3 players (now 4) named Seth in the Padres organization.
This is about them.
They almost had me.
I was willing to give the Padres the benefit of the doubt this afternoon when they completed a one for one trade with the Oakland Athletics, acquiring left-handed outfielder Seth Smith in exchange for slider whispering setup man Luke Gregerson. Losing Gregerson stings for fans because he’s been a very successful player for 5 years, and very successful players who stick around awhile are pretty well liked by fans, regardless of position. Think about who the top 3 best Padres of all-time are. Trevor Hoffman is in that group, right? Even those of us who have devalued the closer position and the save stat still put him in that group. That’s what success + longevity gets you.
In any case, Gregerson was set to make approximately $5 million in his last year of arbitration, and no smart team keeps guys like Luke Gregerson through their free agent years anymore. Relievers are bred to be journeymen, and raised in the seclusion of the bullpen as an acknowledgement that they are never really a whole part of the team. This is their lot in life. Heath Bell signed a free agent contract with the Marlins 2 offseasons ago, and as of today will join his 3rd team since officially leaving San Diego. Maybe he’ll get to close again. Maybe not. (Read More…)