So here I am taking over as the Blogger for the San Diego Padres. Thankfully I am not a PR rep for this team to try to spin the 2011 season’s woes into a positive. I sit here thinking of positive things to write about this team and this gives me writers block.
What is it about this team that it can’t win at home and why are they so much better on the road? Is it the pitcher friendly dimensions of the ballpark? Is it the heavy sea air that causes pitches to curve and move more? Is it the mental approach by the home hitters when playing at home? Is it the loss of Adrian Gonzales and other leaders like Ecky? Is it the team that was assembled for this season? Is it the lack of fan support and attendance? Is it the home uniforms or home cooking?
The answer isn’t simple, but it is all of the above.
The Padres are currently 9-20 at home (and 13-11 on the road) This all reminds me of the motto of Under Armor – “We have to protect this house!”. How can you let teams come into your house and punk you this badly.
As of May 30th, the Padres are last in the league in hitting & on base percentage and are also last in strikeouts. These are huge hitting woes that can’t be ignored, but firing another hitting coach isn’t the answer – Randy, are your bags Ready?
The answer is that this team just wasn’t built for this ballpark. The park requires exceptional defense, speed on the base paths, great base running, hitting behind the runners, line drive hitters to the gaps, and contact hitters that don’t strike out. The Padres are in a bind with their low payroll and rely on mixture of young hitters as well as veterans trying to rebuild their careers. They can only afford players that are coming off a down year or even surgery. The focus of the Padres needs to be their farm systems and develop players that are ideal for this ballpark themselves. When these players hit their prime they will be under contract for a few more years, and when they hit free agency, trade them away for young minor league talent to reload again. Keep the pipeline filled at all times.
I see the Reds, Indians & Tampa Bay and they have low payrolls, but have tons of homegrown players.
What is the answer for this season? The Padres aren’t that far off – they are one timely hit or one great defensive play away from being still in there. There may not be an answer with the players we have. Is it time to dump the players we have? I don’t think that this is the right time. As badly as they have played, they are only 7 games back in the division and they are one great 20 game streak away from being back in it.
Perhaps they need to stay in a hotel at home and wear their road greys?
About the Author
Written by Craig Weiss
We moved to San Diego in 1983 right before the Padres improbable run to the 1984 World Series. My family has been season ticket holders since 1987 and love our seats in Petco. We have remained loyal Padres fans through all the ups and downs. Real fans remember these events - the bad times: Scrub Chub, Roseanne, Lamar Hoyt, San Diego Swap Meet & Tony Gwynn Jr getting a triple off Trevor Hoffman. It's the good times that keep us coming back for more. Tony's 3000 hits, Trevor's 600 saves, Rickey's walk & run records, All Star Games, Playoff Runs, sweep in LA to end a season and The Murph and now Petco Park. As difficult as the Padres are to watch at times, they are our team. I am not a professional writer, but a pessimistically optimistic fan - or just a realist.