Welcome to The Bar!
This is where we gather from time to time to talk about something big in the Padres world or just the Padres or just baseball. It’s a roundtable discussion. Except, you know, no round tables. This is a Public House…so we’re at the bar.
*All opinions are of those who are attributed to them. No opinion here should be construed to be that of the collective.
On Thursday, February 7, David Marver released his self-made documentary “Padres: The Sad Truth.” It is, simply put, a scathing indictment of previous Padres ownership groups. Whether it is in payroll (or the lack thereof) or in flat out lies (or perceived lies), David Marver (also, and perhaps better known as Change The Padres) takes on the Padres organization with the hope that the new owners will not repeat the practices of owners past. He is calling on a boycott of the Padres, at least from a financial standpoint. No money on tickets or merchandise.
On a matter that is both very near to any Padres heart and on a tactic that draws a varied amount of opinions, Padres Public sat down to discuss the good, the bad, and the interesting of “Padres: The Sad Truth.”
Left Coast Bias
My initial take on the documentary, having only seen Part I so far, is that it’s a pretty scathing indictment on a bunch of people that aren’t here anymore. I will never understand the Jake Peavy trade but I say that as someone who would put Peavy in his Top 5 All-Time Padres. Loved the guy. Still like the guy. Nothing was more fun than going to a game and hearing his Southern Fried rock blaring from the speakers. But I’m not sure I accept the premise that this was a fire sale. I’ve seen fire sales before. This wasn’t one. The trade of Adrian Gonzalez was unfortunate and hard to take. But the financial picture of baseball has changed dramatically just in the last few years (between television deals and the Dodgers sale). Where today Seattle can sign someone for $175 million, 3 years ago that would have been impossible. And by all accounts, the Padres haul they received in return was substantial AT THE TIME. Now, in retrospect maybe not as good as we had hoped. But such is the danger in trading for prospects.
What bugged me was the nit picking. Ludwick, our highest paid player, is traded and the fact that he was the highest paid player was the evidence for why that was more lies from the Padres. Ludwick was terrible and the team was going nowhere. Same for Mike Adams. I love that guy but what good does a great set-up reliever do on a 90 loss team? And most would agree the arms coming back were substantial. The Rizzo part bothered me the most. Jed Hoyer said he wanted Rizzo for the long-term. Then he was traded to Chicago. Which would be evidence of Hoyer lying except Byrnes is the one who traded Rizzo. Not Hoyer.
Ghost of Ray Kroc
Well researched and somewhat relevant to the front office makeup currently. But ultimately comes down to blaming past owners for current problems. I’m not saying Moorad, Moores and Werner don’t deserve blame for what they did, or didn’t, do when they were in charge, but that’s not fair to anyone.
The Vocal Minority (David)
In a vacuum, you can make the case one way or another for any trade. I think the overall point of the piece was that the Padres have contradicted themselves time and time again over the last few years. I wrote back in June that any new ownership group was inheriting a perception problem that they need to address. I’m not saying it’s necessarily fair, but Jeff Moorad killed whatever good will San Diego had remaining after the Moores divorce.
RJ’s Fro (SDPads1)
As I stated in the comments section, my main problem with this documentary is that while he put a ton of effort and research into this project, he’s ripping into the team with this video while mainly using quotes and comments from past owners (Jeff Moorad) and GM’s (KT & Hoyer). All these people have no current stake or interest in the team though therefore what does it have to do with the current group? Yes, we all know Moorad was a tool. Yes, Moores is now a bitter old (rich) man and has turned into the Grinch of San Diego. Yes there was a Fire Sale in 1993 (Under the Werner group). I have been very vocal about how underwhelming this off-season has been for the Padres, but at the same time the current group of owners haven’t even been on the job for a full year yet. And despite being reportedly far apart in negotiations, at least Chase Headley was signed to a 1 year deal before going to a panel of arbitrators, which is when it gets real ugly.
Woe, Doctor! mentioned in the comments section that “the obvious intention of this project was to call upon the new Padres ownership to distance itself from the franchise’s past follies and to hold themselves to a higher standard.” But is that the intention when he’s calling for everyone to “stop going to games, or less games and to not buy any new merchandise” at the end? That one plea to the fans right there paints a completely different picture than just trying to make the current group aware of past mistakes. That’s an ultimatum. And I don’t like being told what to do.
That’s like going to a bar that is closest to your house and you get a bartender on his first night on the job. That night he serves you 2 beers when you were hoping to get at least 6. Where was that bartender all night? In the bathroom? Taking a smoke break? Misreading how busy the bar was getting? Who knows what he was doing the whole time. In the past at that same exact bar, previous bartenders gave you horrible service, terrible pours, spilled beer all over you, foam like crazy, overcharged you repeatedly and even once poured Budweiser when you clearly asked for a Sculpin. You immediately have a bad taste in your mouth from previous experiences but was that bartender serving you 2 beers the worst service you have ever had at that place? No it’s not. So perhaps you might visit that bar again and give it another chance being that it is the closest bar to where you live?
The Sac Bunt (Ray)
If Fowler’s the bartender, who/what are Byrnes and Garf?
Left Coast Bias
Wouldn’t Byrne’s and Garf be the bartenders and Fowler the owner?
I agree though, we are holding Fowler to answer for the sins of previous owners. It’s irrelevant to the Padres today what Moorad promised 3 years ago.
The Sac Bunt (Ray)
Except that Fowler’s done nothing to distance himself from Moorad. He’s kept his boys on, and even gave them votes of confidence, and has given off a general “If it ain’t broke, why fix it?” attitude concerning the team.
RJ’s Fro (SDPads1)
Fans get bent out of shape when new owners come and make total changes right away and they get bent out of shape when you make no changes. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t I guess.
“RJ’s Fro (SDPads1)
Woe, Doctor! mentioned in the comments section that “the obvious intention of this project was to call upon the new Padres ownership to distance itself from the franchise’s past follies and to hold themselves to a higher standard.” But is that the intention when he’s calling for everyone to “stop going to games, or less games and to not buy any new merchandise” at the end? That one plea to the fans right there paints a completely different picture than just trying to make the current group aware of past mistakes. That’s an ultimatum. And I don’t like being told what to do.”
To be clear, I am not in 100% agreement of the examples, message, or noted calls to action, but I think that such pleas from a fed-up fan were intended to be polarizing comments in order to draw attention to the overall situation in San Diego. While the Padres’ past woes are in the past, there are five returning members from the Moorad ownership group, including their point man in Ron Fowler & front office executive in Tom Garfinkel. I may not agree with some of the heavy-handedness, but I don’t really have an issue with acting a bit brash in order to let the new owners in town that some of their peers were at least partially complicit in some of the franchise’s past sins.Actions will eventually dictate whether this was necessary or not and the new ownership group has every chance to prove any doubters wrong. That said, I think it’s important to draw a line in the sand and inform that the honeymoon portion is over. They may have rode in and vanquished the franchise’s miserly & widely unpopular dictators, but they made it clear that the bar has been raised as to how they conduct business, so to must they know that our expectations have raised accordingly. Ignoring a lot of the negative commentary directed toward the filmmaker, I’d like to believe that this spawns some thoughtful discussion and the perception of something other than the stereotypical, disconnected San Diego Padres fan.
“…past woes are in the past…”Shit, just ignore me. It’s beer o’clock.
Ever notice “Under New Management/Ownership” signs outside of businesses? It’s an obvious attempt for new owners to distance themselves from previous ownership, especially when it was considered inept, corrupt, etc. The new group couldn’t literally hang that sign outside of Petco Park, but they could have done something that was sort of a figurative “Under New Ownership” sign. Kind of like when John Moores came into town and wanted to distance himself from Tom Werner’s group. It would have been a clean break, symbolized some sort of new era. Instead, they essentially stated their intention to maintain the status quo.
Now, on one hand, I don’t blame them. There’s no sense in blowing up the whole operation in the middle of the season. On the other hand, when you don’t make any sort of break, fans are going to come to the conclusions we see in this documentary. It’s not the biggest stretch to link everyone together. I don’t agree with everything in the documentary, but I’m okay with the overall message.
Left Coast Bias
It’s not the biggest stretch but is it a fair stretch?
What could they have done that would had satisfied the disillusioned fan? Extend Chase Headley? Sign Edwin Jackson? I don’t think anyone is excited for the off-season we’ve just been through but it’s a much different thing to suggest that it’s evidence of “more of the same.” Or worst, showing this off-season as proof the new ownership group has lied.
That said, for better or worse, this new ownership group comes into a situation where people have felt burned and flat-out lied to. We can nitpick with whether that’s fair or not but that’s no longer the point. That perception exists, earned or unearned. And until they do something that distances themselves from ownership groups past, that perception will remain. Personally, I think the documentary veers into a hit piece too much for my taste. I’d rather had seen at least an attempt to show both sides of the story even if it was to reach the same conclusion.
But in the end, here’s the question I think. Will you boycott the Padres as the film ask you to do? Withhold your money by not attending games or buying merchandise? I can tell you now that I won’t and I wouldn’t even if I 100% agreed with the film.
Like I said, I don’t agree with everything the film says or implies. I bought season tickets in 2011 because the Padres traded Adrian Gonzalez. Do I understand why fans were upset by that move? Absolutely. Do I agree with that? It’s fair to use hindsight to judge moves in sports, but I still support the trade. Actually, my criticism would be that they didn’t move him soon enough. Of course, it’s hard to justify that when you’re in contention for a playoff spot.
As for whether it’s fair? Yes, absolutely. 8 members of this ownership group were part of the previous group(s), and they’ve retained just about everybody. As we’ve both stated, the perception is there and they have to deal with it. Both of the things you suggested likely would have signaled to some fans that things were changing. To some, perhaps trading for (and extending) Street and Quentin signals that. Maybe I’m biased because I’m not a fan of either extension, but I don’t feel that way about it. Jackson (as an example, not a specific request) would have addressed a major issue with the 2013 Padres. The argument is that he was overpaid, but reality is that he was paid market value. The market moved, and the Padres failed to anticipate or adapt to it.
Am I going to boycott the Padres? It would make writing for this blog awfully difficult! We’ve definitely reduced our spending and have attended fewer games since last season. That’s mostly due to anticipating/having a newborn, but I’d be lying if I said a desire to see some change hasn’t stifled our motivation a bit. As I’ve demonstrated, I’m more than willing to support the club financially.
Avenging Jack Murphy
I was thinking about this last night. How would our (all Padres fans) collective reactions be if the Padres didn’t do any contract extensions last summer and had saved them all up for the winter?
“Look! We’re throwing money at Quentin and Street and we think this platoon of Venable and Denorfia can work! Look! We’re spending money! Damn! We just barely missed Edwin Jackson! What do you think fans? Does this not entertain you?!”
On the one hand we wouldn’t be able to say they didn’t do anything during the winter on the other hand they aren’t the most exciting moves. But they are moves nonetheless.
The Sac Bunt (Ray)
The thing about bringing back Quentin and Street is that they don’t make the team better. The problems that plagued the Padres in 2012 will continue to plague them in 2013.The Padres can whine about how much money Dan Haren made or how many years Edwin Jackson received but none of that changes the fact that they have not improved.
Son of a Duck
Disclaimer: Due to time constraints, I watched only the first 20 minutes of the film. My comments are based solely on those 20 minutes.First, it takes guts to speak with such conviction and risk public judgment. Mr. Marver clearly has strong feelings about the issues raised in his film. As someone who started blogging because nobody was saying what I thought needed to be said, I appreciate his desire to speak out and try to improve the situation. His initiative, effort, and passion are to be applauded.Unfortunately, the film falls short of its lofty goals. Facts are muddled and often fail to consider other points of view.
Here are a few problems I noticed:
* The bit about Jake Peavy neglects to mention that Kevin Towers moved an injured pitcher whose future was far from certain for a stud prospect (Aaron Poreda ended up fizzling, but prospects sometimes do that), getting the White Sox to absorb all of Peavy’s remaining contract in the process. Even Peavy’s agent expressed surprise that Towers was able to do what he did.
* Having lived through the 1993 Fire Sale, I didn’t find the notion of dumping a lousy, expensive veteran outfielder (Ryan Ludwick) or trading a good veteran reliever (Mike Adams) for two legitimate prospects (Robbie Erlin, Joe Wieland) troubling in the slightest. The Padres were losing with Ludwick and Adams, they could just easily lose without them. Ludwick may have been the Padres’ highest-paid offensive player, but he sucked. This was not a fire sale.
* I disagree that “we’d like to keep Rizzo” and then trading him equates to lying. I’d like to do a lot of things that don’t happen. Circumstances change.
* The complaints about spending money on Orlando Hudson undermine earlier complaints that the Padres are too frugal. If anything, Hudson’s legacy should be to serve as a reminder that the Padres aren’t frugal enough.
* Overuse of words like “pathetic” weaken his argument. Viewers don’t want to be told what to think. Present the evidence and let us decide whether it is pathetic.
The stuff about Karsten Whitson assumes that the Padres are lying but the Whitson camp is not. Where is the evidence of this?* A. J. Vanegas was committed to Stanford. Nobody signs guys away from Stanford commitments. The Padres knew this. So did everyone else, which is why he slipped to the seventh round. That wasn’t being cheap; that was taking a high-risk, high-reward gamble.
Anyway, you get the idea. As for Mr. Marver’s call to boycott the Padres, it’s a noble concept but one that won’t make a difference. After the last work stoppage in ’94-’95, I boycotted MLB for quite some time. I was angry, and justifiably so. Guess what: MLB has lots of money. My boycott didn’t hurt it one bit. You know who it hurt? It hurt me. I denied myself the pleasure of watching baseball, replacing it with a well-intentioned stand that made no difference.I get the frustration. Not being able to watch games on TV last season forced me to rethink my priorities. For the first time since 2002, I am not a Padres season ticket holder. For the first time since I can’t remember when, I don’t have any live TV coming into my home. But I won’t stop going to games. I won’t stop supporting the team. The Padres may piss me off sometimes, but they’re mine. I guess you could call them family.
At Friar Fest today, Fowler was asked about the documentary. He said something to the effect of “we need to spend more on payroll, we need to spend more on draft/development, and we want fans to hold us accountable.” It may be lip service, but time will tell.
In the end, I suppose it doesn’t matter what we think, because the face of ownership has seen it and is at least giving the impression that he’s been affected by it.
RJs Fro (SDPads1)
You can have an agenda but at the same time you need to know when to back off a little bit, or at least be somewhat open to accepting the other side of the argument. I feel like Mr. Marver does not understand either one of these concepts.Yesterday after a day of free fun (NOTE: it was free for everyone and we didn’t have special privileges) some of the Padres Public crew went to Lolitas and grabbed (purchased with our own money) some food and then headed off to Mission Brewery (by foot, not by a limo purchased by Padres Executives) for some drinks (that we all paid for ourselves) with no Padres employees in attendance (that we know of). We had a little contest where we’d buy (meaning I would buy with my own money that I earned working hard at my job that is nothing to do with the Padres) a beverage of choice to the first person to successfully give us a haiku in person. Haiku’s are short and fun. I did 17,000 in the weeks leading up to Padres Public. And then Padres President Tom Garfinkel hit us with this gem on Twitter:
Baseball in the air/
Lolitas and IPA/
Hey, where’s the bacon?
It was excellent haiku form and was perfect for our little jaunt. It wasn’t in person so he was disqualified from the contest. We all laughed as we threw back a couple more fine Mission brews (I was not paid to say that, they really do have fine beer). A couple hours later the Change the Padres Twitter feed replied to Tom & us with:
Haikus about beer/
Are just blatant distractions/
Resign Chase Headley
Hijacking conversations to shove your agenda down our throat? Yeah, uhhh no thanks. Please tone it down a bit.
Ghost of Ray Kroc
Why does Change the Padres want Chase Headley to resign? Was he caught with a “lady of the night” or with a couple underage girls & a suitcase full of blow at the San Ysidro border crossing?
Oh! Re-sign Chase Headley! I get it now. That was a call to action for the Padres. Man, I need to get out more and quit watching old Brian DePalma movies.
I’m over this already. Change the Padres has gotten his message out. It’s been analyzed, broken down, poked, prodded, probed, sifted through, studied, felt out, felt up and all the other nasty sounding synonyms. It’s the equivalent of a prostate exam at this point.
The fact is it’s not likely to change anything anytime soon. At least nothing that matters. And calling for a boycott of the team won’t accomplish anything.
And is this the point where we announce that the Padres are lending us and Gaslamp Ball the use of a charter jet so we can all film a special Padres and Pints with Ray in South America? You know, because we’re all employees of the ballclub, apparently.
Left Coast Bias
I think Geoff nailed it. For one, not only do people not like being told how to think (especially when many of the arguments in support of thinking a certain way are not sound) but people don’t like to be told that the thing they love and spend so much time on is a fraud. No one wants to hear that. Sports, while a business, are not like other consumer products. If Pepsi stopped spending money on product development or supported something I strongly disagreed with, boycotting them would be easy. I have no emotional attachment to Pepsi. But sports are different. They are your childhood memories, your passion. If you are a sports fan, you have an emotional attachment to that team that, at times, defies any logic.
We can argue the merits of Mr. Marver’s statements and I think we’ve done a good job doing that here. But in the end, what he wants us to do I’m simply unwilling to do. As Geoff Y. points out, boycotting the team only punishes myself. It takes away something I love to do with the misguided hope that it will somehow force the Padres to change.
Family. That was a perfect metaphor. That’s what being a sports fan is.
Avenging Jack Murphy
OK, I finished the last part of Marver’s documentary:
I was surprised that David Marver, someone who is described as a “math/numbers/analytics” guy, would rely on subjective appeals to emotion. It sounds damning for the Padres when you say they traded their HR leader for the second consecutive season. But it sounds laughable when you give the player’s name: Ryan Ludwick! All I wanted for Ludwick was a bag of balls and maybe a .25 cent reduction in beer for the remainder of the 2011 season. “I” didn’t get either and “I” was still ecstatic. Marver’s argument is weakened using examples like this.
Another argument that weakens Marver’s assertions is the comparison between the Padres and Pirates in regards to draft spending. Casual baseball fans will look at any comparison to the Pirates and immediately scoff at the notion that San Diego could possibly be behind the woeful Pittsburgh franchise. But the truth is that the Pirates and Padres are both doing great jobs of recognizing the importance of the draft for them as small market teams. Each franchise has made significant financial commitments to recent drafts.Marver could have still made an effective documentary had he been more balanced with his analysis. Give the Padres credit where it’s due and attack the chinks in the armor where necessary. For example:
- Fans should be pissed about the Padres (Byrnes) claims that Upton’s salary would be difficult to manage. With the new television money that’s bull crap. Marver could have played this angle up a lot more.
- Not signing Headley shows a lack of foresight on behalf of the Padres. Even before his torrid three month end to the 2012 season, Chase had shown himself to be an excellent defender, fantastic at getting on base, and an extremely durable player. Ooops! Now the Padres are in a position to either buy high or sell. It’s a likely lose-lose situation.
- We should also be extremely pissed that MLB EVER allowed this ridiculous lay-away sale to the Moorad group. It made John Moores a ton of money and screwed the fans.
Those are issues that scare me as a fan and are reasonable points of attack.
I appreciate David Marver’s passion. As fans we want to see an honest effort by the front office to put a winner on the field. Bloggers/Commenters/ Message Boarders are some of the most passionate fans there are and more people (other fans and Padres management) are beginning to listen to our voice. Our obligation is to be critical where necessary and for our analysis to come from a position of reason.
The Sac Bunt (Ray)
I can’t help but feel that we’re missing the forest for the trees here. I agree that many of Marver’s arguments are pedantic and that he can be an ass (love ya, Marv!) but I don’t think either of those points take away from his overall message, which is that we, as fans, need to start holding ownership accountable.
Over at the UT, Matt Calkins asked fans two questions: do you have faith in the new ownership group and do you think Chase Headley will be here in five years? Twenty-three of 25 polled said that they do have faith in ownership but 20 of 22 said that they do not think Headley will be here. As fans, we need to start looking at those two questions as one and if Marver’s documentary can get us on that path, I’d say it’s a success, even if he hurts our own personal feelings in the process.
Final word: We’re all talking about it, people all over Friar Fest were talking about it, and the owners of the Padres are talking about it. Like it or not, people are paying attention. Mission accomplished. There’s a lot I don’t agree with in the video, but the overall idea that the Padres have a public perception problem (again, fair or not) that ownership has to deal with is something I’ve long written about and agreed with.
So far, Ron Fowler has been saying all of the right things. Kudos to him, I hope it stays this way.
Ghost of Ray Kroc
I can’t help but feel like we just went through a couple of stages of comedian Larry Miller’s “Five Stages of Drinking” routine:
Level 2: Midnight. Just had a few more beers. You just spent 20 minutes arguing against artificial turf…
Level 3: One in the morning. You just abandoned beer for tequila. You just spent 20 minutes arguing for artificial turf…
I think that explains it all.