“Spring is the time of year when it is summer in the sun and winter in the shade.”

Spring Training is upon us once again. A time for optimism. A time for learning. A time for critiquing.

The Padres front office has recently been doing interviews where Mike Dee, Ron Fowler, and Peter Seidler all declare their belief in being big believers in belief, despite all apparent evidence to the contrary.

In other words, they have Great Expectations for this season.

What follows is my Padres brain dump for this spring, using select quotes from Charles Dickens’ classic novel, Great Expectations.

“I loved her against reason, against promise, against peace, against hope, against happiness, against all discouragement that could be.”

I love the Padres. I want them to do well. I want them to make the postseason. I want them to play in the World Series. I want them to win a World Series. I want this all to happen multiple times.

This doesn’t mean I can’t be critical of the front office, especially when they deserve it. And it doesn’t mean you can’t be critical too.

In fact, you should be jumping down the front office’s throat when they do something stupid or nonsensical.

Does this mean you or I no longer love the Padres? No. Like Pip loves Stella, we love them unconditionally, even when they smash our hearts to pieces and treat us like dirt. And, while it seems to be happening more and more, it is just the unfortunate trend of Major League Baseball now.

It’s a business, first and foremost, despite how much we want to believe otherwise. The goal of any business is to make money. And the only way to grow your business and make money is to try to attract new customers. Because, as much as we like to tell ourselves we will live forever, the fact is we will not. A customer base is only that. A base.

Have the Padres done a good job of expanding their customer base? Beats the crap out of me. Without any insider knowledge, I can only guess. My guess is they’re trying. Granted, they are going to do things that make you mad. They are going to do things that make me mad. They are going to do things that make no sense whatsoever. It happens. All we can really do is complain. If that doesn’t seem to get us anywhere, I guess we are going to have to learn to live with it.

“Ask no questions, and you’ll be told no lies.”

Someone asked me on Twitter if the bloggers were just a private clique or did we like to share our knowledge and opinions with other Padres fans.

My answer was this: “If I didn’t want to share, this account wouldn’t exist.”

I mean, if I didn’t want to engage with other Padres fans, I wouldn’t bother writing 1000-word blog posts about stupid things like the Egg McMuffin or Alexi Amarista in centerfield.

Which leads us to the following:

“Her contempt for me was so strong, that it became infectious, and I caught it.”

The media and/or bloggers are not the enemy. We only exist because we work for a media organization or we care enough as fans to have started a blog. Some do both. We just want to share as much information as possible. In the case of the blogs, there’s mostly opinion in there, so you should take whatever we say with a grain of salt.

I know in my case, I just want to express my opinion. And 140-characters on Twitter usually just isn’t enough to express it. Doesn’t mean you have to agree with me. Doesn’t even mean you have to like me.

I have always had a standing rule: If someone wants to write something I will give them an outlet, no matter how bad I disagree with it. I mean, I did post this thing after all.

I won’t say “If you think you can do better.” However, if you think you can do better…

Enough about those stupid bloggers and the biased media. Getting back to the Padres now.

“Take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence. There’s no better rule.”

Okay, that’s a fair point. Let’s look at some of the evidence:

The Padres are coming off a season which they went out in the offseason before and traded for some big names and big bats in an effort to generate some wins and buzz. They did a good job with the second part, “winning the offseason” in 2014-15.

However, as predicted, Matt Kemp‘s bat went to sleep in the first half of the season. Derek Norris hit the cover off the ball for the first two months of 2015, then his offense dropped off. Justin Upton was the Padres best hitter in 2015, and he’s gone now.

In the end, the Padres went 74-88 in 2015, their worst record since 2011. Along the way, Bud Black finally lost his job.* His interim replacement, Pat Murphy, was never really seriously considered to take over permanently. Some say because he never really had the attention of the players. Some say he was being undermined by his coaches. Who knows?

*Why this didn’t happen before the season started or after the season ended will always be a mystery to me.

Will new manager Andy Green have a better grasp on the situation? Will the almost total overhaul of the coaching staff improve this club? Will Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice tank at the box office?

The answer to all of these questions is: We’ll just have to wait and see.

“We changed again, and yet again, and it was now too late and too far to go back, and I went on. And the mists had all solemnly risen now, and the world lay spread before me.”

If this doesn’t sum up the last few years as a Padres fan, nothing does. Everything changed. And we’re still here.

Then it changed again. And we kept the faith.

It changed once again. And we believed in belief.

But we go on. And we’ll keep going on when it changes again. Because it’s too late to turn back. Or become Angels fans.

“One should never be ashamed to cry. Tears are rain on the dust of earth.”

Let it out, Padres fans. It’s okay. It’s going to be alright. Or at least in a couple of years, that is.

And we need all of the rain we can get in San Diego.

I write something for Padres Public when I am in the mood. Especially before the regular season starts. Since you’re likely already following me on Twitter, tell your enemies, ne’er-do-wells, and people you flat-out dislike to follow me.

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