Indoctrination 101: On Losing Streaks

There are certain areas of life where beliefs must be arrived upon using one’s own freewill. Padres baseball is not one of those areas.

I haven’t discussed the recent 10 game slide with my daughters or provided context as to what it really means in the grand scheme of their burgeoning fandom. Why ruin a good thing, right? I suppose that in a proper course on Indoctrination nothing of the sort would ever be discussed out of fear of free thinking and revolution. With each mounting loss the bright eyed innocents, who I attempt to inculcate regularly, would invariably wise-up, setting the stage for rebellion. It’s best to just keep this losing streak on the down-low, as they say.

In light of these recent losses and a return to the NL West cellar, those who are not Padres fans might be inclined to ask, “Why would you do this to your children? Why would you make them fans of this team?”

Geez, make me feel bad why don’t you! It’s a fair question, I guess. Just a week and a half ago the Padres were making an unlikely charge to the top of the table in the NL West and now here they are with 10 consecutive losses (and counting). To witness such a downward spiral is painful and I’m not inclined to share such ignominy with my daughters. They’re just not ready for it.

In 2010 the Padres also lost 10 games in a row. Now that was painful. The Padres were in 1st place, held a 6.5 game lead, and it was August. Things were looking good and then came the unraveling.

Two 10 game losing streaks in the span of four summers – again, why heap such pain upon a child?

Since 1995 the Padres have been managed by an individual bearing the initials, BB. Whether it Bruce Bochy or Bud Black this team has seen it’s share of losing streaks. Black now has 2 streaks of 10 or more losses not to mention a streak of 9, 8, and three 7s. Bruce Bochy never looked 10 losses in the eye but during his 12 seasons in San Diego Bochy did contend with streaks of 7 (5 times), 8 (6 times), and 9.

The streak of 9 losses in 2003 was particularly brutal. From May 14th to May 23rd the Padres lost 9 consecutive games to the Marlins, Braves, Brewers, and Diamondbacks. But it could have been far worse – on May 13th the Padres narrowly edged the Marlins in extra innings 6-5, a win that halted a three game losing streak. Prior to that three game losing streak, on May 2nd, the Padres trailed the Phillies 4-3 in the bottom of the 10th and somehow managed to rally for 2 runs and secure the win. Before that unlikely win the Padres had lost another 5 straight. Are you counting the possibilities? That streak in 2003 could have easily been 25 consecutive losses without the small bit of  luck they experienced in extra innings. Instead it was a paltry 9 losses in a row and a stretch of 3-22 baseball.

Such pain is not without it’s rewards though. The terrible season of 2003 (the worst team in baseball) allowed the Padres to compete for the services of Jered Weaver, Stephen Drew, and Justin Verlander in the 2004 Rule 4 Amateur Draft. Of course the Padres instead opted for Matt Bush. The pain . . . it never ends.

So why do this to a child? Why condemn children to a lifetime of misery when, as a parent, it would be quite easy to force feed them a team like the Yankees, a team who, due to economics, will always have a chance? Well it’s simple really – we live in San Diego and that’s who we cheer for, for better or worse. And let’s also be honest, every team endures a rough patch whether it be during a season or spanning across the years (or decades). These are facts that cannot be ignored and more importantly they cannot be controlled.

I would prefer that the Padres win and I would prefer it come sooner than later. But winning a World Series will not validate my decision to push my daughters towards the Padres. This decision is validated every single time we sit next to each other and talk about baseball, a conversation which always leads to another aspect of life and a lesson that can be taught and learned. It is in these moments that mounting losses matter very little.*

*But don’t get me wrong . . . this losing crap has got to stop.

I contribute to Padres Public on Thursday mornings and when I’m feeling particularly inspired. I can also be found on twitter at @AvengingJM where I set my eyes on 2014, 7 days a week. The dusty archives are located at avengingjm.blogspot.com

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  • kevintheomanharris

    I like to remind myself that winning feels a whole lot better within the context of losing previously.

  • 3-22 stretch in 2003? Ouch. Glad I was out of the country for virtually all that season.