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What Can Padre Fans Be Thankful For This Holiday Season
- Updated: November 29, 2011
This (past) Thanksgiving (2011) there is plenty to be thankful for. Here at Baseball Reflections we talk about baseball and usually the world baseball fans live in is a bit different from what else is going on in the world or in our lives. Yet for some of us, baseball is our lives… it’s our pastime. And when it comes to being a fan of the San Diego Padres there are some holes… gaps that need to be answered. I guess fans will have to wait and see what the off-season moves will bring and how thankful we’ll actually be. It reminds me of so many years in the past. In the history of the Padres I can think of a handful of times when Padres fans were pretty excited about the coming year.
In 1968 San Diegans were excited to have landed a Major League Baseball team for the 1969 season. In 1983 the franchise built a team that made its first trip to the World Series the following year and in 1997 they did the same for their second trip to the Fall Classic. Then in 2003 it was preparing for a move into a new ballpark. Yes, there have been some surprises along the way, the most recent being the off-season of 2008. Not many people picked the Padres to have the success they had in 2009. What made that season exciting was the fact there was a young General Manager in Jed Hoyer, who got productivity from a group of young talent. The 2011 season saw the Padres finish with a 71-91 record and the departure of Hoyer, whom I referred to in 2008 as the “Boy Wonder”.
The “Boy Wonder”, has wandered off to Chicago. I am the type of fan who gets over things very quickly when it comes to sports, yet seeing Hoyer leave had a lasting taste of bitterness. I wanted to see him succeed here, more than just what he did in 2009. Now I’ll never know. I understand why he left, bigger opportunities with bigger results. Hoyer has a chance to be part of something very unique. To be part of what the Boston Red Sox did in 2004 and what is possible in Chicago.
Fans are also left with the fact that the team declined to pick up the option of Aaron Harang (14-7/3.64) and as of right now there are questions whether or not fan favorite and All-Star Heath Bell will be back as the team’s closer. They decided not to trade him. Since they did not trade him, now he’s going to walk and the team doesn’t get what they potentially could have gotten for him during the trading deadline last season! Heath Bell wants to stay in San Diego, he loves the community, and he loves the Padres.
I don’t want to take anything away from the team’s new General Manager Josh Byrnes, he has a window of opportunity here and I eagerly anticipate what will happen. So for now, this is what I am grateful for this Thanksgiving when it comes to the Padres.
New uniforms! Yes the team will fashion new duds in 2012. Really? Team President/Chief Operating Officer Tom Garfinkel said, “We spent a lot of time listening to our fans about the uniforms over the past two years,” said Garfinkel. “What we learned is that, while the current design isn’t loved, there is also a strong feeling that this club has had so many radical changes over the years that we didn’t need another one. With that in mind, our staff worked diligently, reviewing every detail to create a more traditional baseball design that San Diegans can be proud of. The new uniforms and logos focus on the unique elements of Padres history.” My thought is, why change the team’s look if the team is winning… oh yeah. If the team is winning consistently is it necessary to have a new look? Shouldn’t we be more concerned about what we are paying for on the field? What is nice to see (and I am thankful for) is the team’s support of the community, they announced that they would supply 10,000 youth baseball players from four local Little League districts, Padres jerseys for the upcoming season as part of the club’s ongoing effort to support youth baseball. As part of this program, the teams representing Little League districts throughout San Diego County will have their choice of selecting one style of uniform worn from throughout Padres history to wear during the 2012 youth baseball season.
There is more to be thankful for, such as former Major Leaguer and Padre Phil Plantier being named as the team’s new hitting coach and the signing of veteran outfielder Mark Kotsay. Plantier had success as the team’s California League manager this past season. He took over the team midway through the season and helped lead them to a championship; he takes over for Randy Ready who was fired following the Padres season. I’m excited to see how Plantier handles the challenge he has for the coming season. Kotsay will add veteran leadership off the bench and help some of the younger talent on the team. And lastly, I am thankful for the team announcing their spring training schedule; I can always get excited about a new season of baseball.