Thanksgiving, still my favorite holiday of the year.
Also, the time of year where everyone’s “[XX] Reasons For [insert team name] Fans To Be Thankful” pieces come out. And I do mean EVERYONE’S.
Two years ago I wrote about the things I was thankful for as it relates to the Padres. I thought it would be fun to go back and look at how those things worked out then give a new reason to be thankful.
Mike Dee needs to go away.
There, I said it.
In the three years Mike Dee has been the president of the Padres, the amount of public relations screw-ups, oopsies, and outright disasters have far outweighed any good that may have come during his tenure.
From forcing general managers to waste draft picks on alcoholic football players, to naming a part of Petco Park after a reviled figure in baseball, to just straight up screwing the pooch when it comes to fans complaints, Dee’s reign at the top is marked by failure.
Mike Dee needs to be fired.
“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.
The San Diego Padres ended their 2015 season by telling interim manager Pat Murphy he would not be returning as full-time manager in 2016. And they waited slightly more than an hour after the last out of the season to tell him.
There has been plenty of speculation already on who the Padres are going to hire for the manager’s job. Most of it is just that, speculation. There aren’t many details other than a few reports on people being granted permission to interview. Which is better than no news, I suppose.
Let’s take a look at the candidates, no matter how ridiculous their candidacy seems, shall we?
It’s time to play Whack-a-Manager!
Here’s some stuff I read this week that you might enjoy:
- Bud Black was fired this week, replaced by Pat Murphy on an interim basis, as A.J. Preller continues to overhaul the organization he rebuilt over the winter with the promise of a brighter future that has yet to materialize. Among those with thoughts on Black’s firing are Jeff Sullivan (FanGraphs), Wonko and jbox (Gaslamp Ball), Dustin (Padres Public), Jon Heyman (CBS), and Tim Brown (Yahoo!). And Dennis Lin tells us a little about Murphy, who had been the manager at Triple-A El Paso.
- Gwynn Jr. reflective on anniversary of father’s death (Padres.com) – Overshadowed by the current regime’s ongoing drama was the anniversary of Tony Gwynn’s death. Barry Bloom checked in with son Anthony: “For me, living in San Diego, there are constant reminders of him. I don’t know if I’ve had a full chance to grieve, but I’ve had time. It gets easier every day. But you’re still going to go through your first year with him gone. The anniversary of him passing, birthdays will always be popping up.”
- Scandal on the South Side: The 1919 Chicago White Sox (SABR) – Here’s another book I haven’t read that sounds fascinating: “We now have access to crucial information that changes what we thought we knew about ‘baseball’s darkest hour’ — including rare film footage from that fateful fall classic, legal documents from the criminal and civil court proceedings, and accurate salary information for major-league players and teams.” This one is edited by former North County Times staffer and all-around good guy Jacob Pomrenke. The e-book is free to SABR members. Shifting to the other side of the Windy City, Mark Kram wrote in 1977 about why Hack Wilson isn’t in the Hall of Fame. [h/t Jay Jaffe for Kram on Wilson]
- For a Catcher Who Had a Pitcher’s Surgery, Recovery From a Different Angle (New York Times) – Baltimore’s Matt Wieters shares his theory on the current Tommy John epidemic: “Pitchers are now throwing with 100 percent effort almost every pitch they throw out there. I think back in the day, one, they didn’t have all the M.R.I.s and things to find it, but also those guys would save their 100 percent effort for when they needed it.” Speaking of catchers, former Padres backstop John Baker (FOX Sports) pens a pensive piece on “playing the right way.” [h/t VocalMinoritySD for the Baker bit]
- The Physics of Calling Pitches from Your Sofa (Hardball Times) – David Kagan discusses the difficulty of judging balls and strikes on television thanks to the various camera angles employed in different ballparks, aka parallax error. From the comments, this collection of center-field camera angle screen shots is also worth reviewing.
Everybody makes a bunch of decisions every day. Sometimes they work out great and sometimes they fail miserably. Most of them have very minimal impact on your life, either way. Whether it’s deciding to pass the car in the slow lane a half-mile before your exit or having that cup of coffee or soda a little later in the day than you normally do even though it could keep you up half the night, every decision we make throughout the day has a potential negative consequence, and yet almost all of us somehow manage to get out of bed everyday and get shit done.
For example, the other day I thought it would be fun to pick up a bag of Doritos Roulette chips at the grocery store. They were on sale and I was shopping hungry. The thing about these chips is that most of the chips in the bag are just regular Nacho Cheese Doritos, but at least one per handful, though they all look the same, is a very spicy chip. As someone who enjoys very small amounts of danger, large amounts of junk food, and does not enjoy spicy things very much, I figured this kind of challenge to my manhood was perfect.
I was wrong. This was a poor decision. I now have 90% of a bag of chips and post-traumatic stress disorder. The hot chips were too hot. There were too many hot chips. After 3 hot chips in my first 10 chips, my mouth was on fire. The can of coke I was drinking wasn’t helping. I needed a base to alleviate the burning, but I didn’t want to drink milk. I grabbed 2 slices of bread and stuffed them in my mouth. It worked. Great decision, me.
There are a lot of lessons here. One, don’t hire me to be your nutritionist. Two, know your limitations. Three, when you make a bad decision, recognize that it’s a bad decision, fix the mistake, try to make a better decision next time, and move on. This is where this post starts talking about the Padres, right before you were about to click away.
When I saw this, I was surprised:
I probably shouldn’t have been. Bud Black was in the final year of his contract, new general manager A.J. Preller has shown a preference, like most GMs, for bringing in “his guys,” both on and off the field, and Black’s teams haven’t won — not this year, where the Padres are a mildly disappointing 32-33, and not through his tenure as Padres’ manager, where he holds, as Scott pointed out earlier today, a 649-713 record in eight and a half seasons.
I’m not sure if firing Black was the right move, but what follows are some disjointed thoughts on the matter.
The search is on for the next ex-Padres manager.
The Padres announced that Bud Black is no longer the manager this afternoon.
After eight and a half seasons, a 649-713 record, and no postseason appearances, the Padres are finally going in a different direction. If not this season then in 2016 for sure.
The closest a Black managed team came to making the postseason was in 2007, Black’s first season, when the Padres lost game 163 after a phantom slide into home plate by Matt Holliday.
In 2010, the first place Padres lost 10 straight games in late-August/early-September to let the San Francisco Giants get within striking distance. And strike they did, eventually overtaking the Padres to win the division, and ultimately winning the World Series.
So, A.J. Preller now gets to hire “his guy,” which is what we all expected to happen ever since he was hired as General Manager last year. Who will that be? I don’t know. It’s probably too early to say.
As I write this, the Padres have just been dominated by a no-name pitcher and seen their record slip to a barely believable 20-24. Fans were promised a better team, and yet there’s this:
On the other hand, because of that promise, there’s also this:
(Data courtesy of Baseball-Reference.)
Only the Royals and Mariners have seen a greater increase in attendance. The Royals are coming off their first World Series appearance in three decades, and the Mariners are, uh, in Seattle.
Here’s some stuff I read this week that you might enjoy:
- Checking In On the Padres’ Defense (FanGraphs) – Jeff Sullivan revisits preseason concerns that San Diego’s gloves, or lack thereof, might pose a problem. Spoiler alert: oof. Dan Szymborski provides additional perspective as well. Wil Myers’ play in center field has been particularly brutal. On the bright side, Eno Sarris points out that Myers is finally healthy enough to cause damage with the bat.
- MLB Fixes the Trea Turner Problem for Everyone Else (FanGraphs) – As Dave Cameron notes, the 12-month waiting period for trading draftees has been reduced to “roughly five months.” However, Cameron’s assertion that “it was always a silly exercise to have to go through” ignores the historical context of this stipulation, which came into existence after Pete Incaviglia forced the Montreal Expos to trade him for pennies on the dollar. Owners hate lacking leverage in pretty much any situation. It makes them look bad. So they probably didn’t consider this a silly exercise. Which, come to think of it, kind of makes Cameron’s point.
- Padres’ pitching victim of Padres’ offense (U-T San Diego) – We’ve reached new levels of excuse making. Remember when the offense used to always be the problem? Well, now that the hitters are hitting, they are to blame for the pitchers not doing their job because “the need to act no longer exists.” Stupid hitters doing their job. Hey, maybe Austin Hedges won’t hit. Then the pitchers will need to act again. Whew, solving problems is hard.
- Is Yonder Alonso back on track? (Beyond the Boxscore) – Spencer Bingol wonders how much injuries have hurt Alonso’s production in the recent past. Bingol concludes that “he may never be a superstar, but finally healthy, Yonder Alonso can still be an above-average bat in a very difficult ballpark.” In other words, he might become the Lyle Overbay we all once dreamed he would become. Yay.
- Padres face big decision on Black’s future (Padres.com) – Skipper Bud Black is in the final year of his contract, and as Barry Bloom reminds us, Black’s services will be in demand. Bloom peppers his piece with quotes from Padres players and coaches, and even works in a fun dig at a previous management regime for letting Black’s predecessor, Bruce Bochy, walk in 2007. Rumors persist that Bochy has enjoyed some success since then.