Thursday, May 29, 2008

Looking To The Draft

By Josh Elwell

As a Padre fan desperately trying to keep the faith in the midst of a losing season, the future state of the team is what I’m holding onto. With the least exciting draft in professional sports (baseball’s) coming up on June 5th, what’s on the horizon for the Padres is on my mind more than usual.

Since the only Type A free agent who was offered arbitration, Michael Barrett, stuck around last off-season, the Padres only get their own first round pick, at #23. Even with the mini-turnaround for Kevin Towers’ offense, I’d prefer sticking as the worst team in baseball, and get the #1 pick next year. Who knows? Maybe Matt Bush’s little sister will be available. Just kidding – Matt Bush’s little sister is always available! Ouch!

Even if baseball’s draft is sport’s least exciting, it’s in no way inconsequential. More excitement is put on other drafts – like football – because in baseball, players need time to develop. No matter whom the team drafts, these guys won’t be helping until 2010 and beyond. In football, you can draft a Reggie Bush and turn your franchise around that same year. Tim Beckham, on the other hand, is nowhere close to being a household name, even though he’s the likely #1 pick. (Not that any baseball player becomes a household name…unless he does steroids.)

Looking at our own farm system, we have guys bursting at the seams in AAA, ready to make an impact. By ’09: Chase Headley (LF), Matt Antonelli (2B), and Nick Hundley (C) could be leading our offense with Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Kouzmanoff. Maybe even Will Venable in CF, too.

On top of these position guys, strong pitching waits below AAA, in Matt Latos & Will Inman. These are two guys who could join Peavy and Young in the rotation, by the end of next year. As much respect as I have for Greg Maddux – I’d much rather have Peavy as the veteran in the rotation.

What’s even more exciting is that the future could be soon. Greg Maddux, Trevor Hoffman, Randy Wolf, Brian Giles, Tadahito Iguchi, Michael Barrett and Tony Clark have some heavy (multi-million dollar) contracts being erased this fall. Investing in our youth, plus one or two impact free agents (Adam Dunn, anyone?), could serve the Padres well, moving forward. I wouldn’t mind having Milton Bradley back either. Now that he’s staying healthy and hitting bombs in Texas, maybe he’s reaching his potential. Is it too much to ask Kevin Towers to sign a free agent as he reaches his potential, as opposed to after? Dunn will still be in his 20’s next year, maybe Petco is where he can come to get away from Dusty Baker forcing him to bunt. Bud Black won’t do that to you, Adam, I personally promise. For anyone who missed that random Reds game, after pulling back the bunt, Dunn homered on the next pitch. Take that Baker.

Anyway, even with the recent solo HR parade, watching Towers’ articulately put-together offense struggle this year, forces me to look to the future and hope for the best. With the draft coming up next week, I’m allowed to do that.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I Liked Indiana Jones, But That's Not What This Column Is About

By Joe Chandler

It’s a great time at The Kept Faith. The Padres are terrible and I have a feeling that it directly correlates to the best thing I’ve got going right now. Hockey is having a resurgence and while many of you have been suffering through Albert Pujols injuring Friars willy-nilly, I’ve been watching the greatest show on earth. Nor have I been alone: The first game of the Stanley Cup Finals was the highest rated finals game in several years. The fall of the Padres may seem unrelated to the rise of hockey, but I assure you, it is not.

For the last several years the Padres have been “good.” You’ll notice that good is in quotes, the reality of whether or not the Padres were ever really competitive is questionable. During the Padres run of upper level mediocrity hockey has suffered through a dearth of writers questioning the reason for its existence, a lockout and general lowering of reputation. I’ve of course loyally followed the sport that I grew up loving, much as I followed the Padres through their suffering as a child. While I was following awful Padres teams as a kid, hockey was experiencing unprecedented growth. The playoffs were widely recognized as the most exciting in sports and the ratings were pulling dead even with basketball right around the time I was graduating high school.

Now that the Padres have faltered (in a much more real way than hockey ever has) people have begun to notice how exciting hockey still is. The ratings have gone up and has been running hockey stories on the front page. Sportscentre (that’s how it’s spelled in Canada) has been leading with hockey stories and featuring Don Cherry (he invented Canada). Frankly, it feels like the finals are actually being covered by the mainstream media. The final series features the future of the sport Sidney Crosby (not the next Gretzky (but maybe the next Messier)) versus the Detroit Red Wings, who might be better than they’ve ever been. Things could not be rosier for the National Hockey League and people have stopped looking down their noses at me when I talk about my passion for the game.

There is no way the rise and fall of the Padres and the National Hockey League are not directly linked. The Padres recent “success” was clearly causing the recent “failure” of the NHL, just as the very real failure of the Padres has been pushing hockey into the spotlight. So I invite you to abandon a lost season and watch the last few games of what has been an exceptional hockey playoffs. Channel 7 (in San Diego) is just a few clicks away from Channel 4. The Padres might beat the Nationals tonight, but it won’t matter because Chris Osgood hasn’t given up a goal in the Finals and the Penguins are going to put up a huge fight before giving away the series to the big red machine. Seriously, watch, because you might see something like this:

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Indiana Jones and The Canadian Team That Wasn't There

By Nick McCann

Tonight the Padres start a series with the Washington Nationals at Petco Park. I haven’t looked at the entire MLB schedule this week, but I am sure one could make a strong bet that this series is among the worst offerings the sport is putting forward.

Ten years ago, when the Nationals were the Montreal Expos, I would have jumped at the chance to go down and watch the game because the Expos were the single greatest Padre opponents to heckle. If you can get on a roll, making fun of Canada never gets old (especially when you could also make fun of the poor bad team from Canada that basically had the best minor league system run in the last 30 years, only to have it picked apart by the bigger market clubs).

Baseball never worked in Montreal and it will probably never go back there. This last weekend, a lot of people I know experienced something that also never should have been brought back. Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull hit the theaters on Thursday, and almost everyone I know saw it, and hated it. Sure, Indiana Jones is far from the Washington Nationals/Expos in the spectrum of quality entertainment, but watching the trailer for that movie, and reading who tonight’s starters are, gave me the same emotional response: I don’t want to see this, because it will never be the same.

Granted, I still haven’t seen the movie, but everything I know about it already pisses me off, and on top of that, I’m pissed off at myself at being pissed off about it. At the end of the day, it is probably just a fun movie that plays to fond memories shared by millions of people my age. But there are three things I already hate about the movie that I know I will not be able to get over: (A) Shia Lebeouf makes me feel like River Phoenix feels today (B) there should never be a repeat love interest in an Indiana Jones movie (although Karen Allen was stunning in her prime) and (C) after the last film, doesn’t Indiana have the ability to live forever? I thought he drank from the cup of Christ, and that meant he was never going to die. Wouldn’t that fact lower the stakes of any dangerous situation he gets himself into, or was that supposed to mean the everlasting eternal life that comes with giving yourself to Christ? What kind of Jew are you Spielberg?

The Indiana Jones movies were not really a saga, so there is no reason to see where the overall story is going. People went to see it last weekend, because they wanted to see Indiana bounce through another adventure and ultimately win. Going in, you know Indiana is always going to win, but you always go back to watching him win because it makes you feel safe. I’m sure if I saw the new film, it would only remind me that I am not a virgin anymore. Think about it, how many people did you know this weekend, who NEEDED to see The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, were also virgins in 1989, the year The Last Crusade came out? This is why most people in our age group hate Steven Spielberg as adults. He is at his best when he is making non-threatening action adventure films that don’t challenge us to stray away from our own childhood innocence. Then when we watch him try to be Stanley Kubrick as adults, we think he is a hack (as we should).

Before I had sex, I spent a lot of time crafting jokes about the Expos. Sure, looking back this is really sad, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit that the adoration I received from my friends because of my A+ Expo material was a significant confidence booster. In the bleachers behind right field, I was Reggie Miller walking into the Garden just trying to shut Spike Lee up. I was Muhammad Ali, and Larry Walker was my Joe Frazier because I needed him to force me into greatness. Essentially, I was the Indiana Jones of the drunken assholes sitting behind Tony and I hated fellow hecklers who had to curse as much as Indy hated snakes.

The sad thing-besides the current state of the Padres-is that if I actually went to the game tonight, I know I would feel like I belong in a museum. Also, let’s be real, D.C. is a pretty cool town, and I got nothing.

Friday, May 23, 2008


We will be back on Tuesday!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

It Could Be The Best Worst Season Ever

By Nick McCann

Padres’ pitcher Chris Young left Wednesday's game in the third inning after being hit in the face by a line drive off the bat of St. Louis first baseman Albert Pujols. At the time of the injury, the Padres were leading the Cardinals 2-0 after a two-run home run by Adrian Gonzalez in the first inning. Young was then taken to Scripps Hospital in Torrey Pines with a nasal fracture and a laceration on his nose.

And then the Lakers beat the Spurs.

This season is becoming more and more fascinating because we already know it is a train wreck, but we still have a long way to go and more bodies to count in the wreckage. Chris Young is the Padres’ second best pitcher and probably second best player. Now his nose is smashed and there is nothing his Princeton education can do about it.

Where are we going with this disaster? What else can happen that would be bad, but also interesting?

The Top Five Bad Things That Could Happen to the Padres that Would Make The Season More Memorable.

Chris Young Nose Job Night! Everyone who wears medical tape on their nose during Young’s first start back gets two dollars off on their 9-dollar beer. Sorry 7$ beer night, the Padres’ talent on their roster looks and feels like a bad topical comedian, so take a back seat.

The Crucifixion of Kevin Brown Night with a free giveaway of stone throwing stones from The Stone Brewery. He would probably come back three days later and say something like, "I hate Shamu! Give me a Dodger Dog!"

The San Diego Chicken bombs on his only performance of the year. Few people know this but the reason why the The San Diego Chicken, the most groundbreaking pioneer within the mascot genre, was fired by the Padres was because the players, lead by Tony Gwynn, complained that he was stealing from “their” show. AlthoughTony’s show in the late 80s was basically the blueberry scene in Willy Wonka (I had dream once about watching that scene where I was watching it with a bunch of really excited LA Crips), Tony always gets his way. What if the Chicken just came out and tried all of his classic bits and nobody laughed except for Tony sitting in the announcer’s booth? He would probably turn over to Mark Grant and say, “JUSTICE!”

The Padres make a bad trade for Ken Griffey Jr. during this weekend’s series. He is basically Jim Edmonds with a little more pop and he wouldn’t help us at all, but he would allow those of us (me) who grew up in the 90s idolizing The Kid, a chance see him in our home uniform. He would probably complain about the ballpark with the rest of the hacks in the lineup, but with 600 plus homeruns to back him up, I would listen.

Khalil Green has a religious breakthrough during the top half of an inning, takes his clothes off, and walks away from his MLB career. He then goes into the clubhouse and writes a note on his locker that says, this isn’t what I want, but you will see me again. He then travels the world playing baseball in Japan, South America, Europe, and a few pick up games in Africa, all while looking for a common truth within every version of the game. Decades later, at Bruce Bochy’s funeral, a stranger dressed in a black cloak will step forward and reveal himself. It will be Khalil. He will stand there before everyone having not aged or cut his hair, and say, “I found in my travels that striking out too much sucks where ever baseball is played.” Then he will vanish into the night.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Case For an NBA Team

By Dallas McLaughlin

So, this week I was going to make a new sports minute episode, but I decided that trying to play beer pong every night, going to L.A., San Francisco, and then in turn losing my voice, was a better idea. It was.


I am bummed however; I was in two “rival” sports cities and got no outside opinion on the Padres season. But I think if I did it would have gone something like this: “Excuse me, what do you think of the Padres’ dwindling season going into hell?”

So, instead I got to thinking. I have been spending a lot of time watching the NBA playoffs (and wishing they actually aired the NHL playoffs.) because they’ve been kickass! KICKASS! KICKASS! I have never been a big regular season NBA watcher, but this season has gotten me all up in arms about fouls, traveling, horrible acting, and Greg Popovich’s hair doing it’s best to stay down! I have always been a bigger Baseball fan than any other sport, but the NBA is creeping its way into my life as a close second. The storylines! The crime! The cheerleaders! I LOVE THIS GAME.

San Diego has never had itself a reputable NBA franchise and it’s something that has knocked this city into a second tier sports hell long enough. The Rockets went the way of early Mexico and then Bill Walton came to town to destroy Republican views, and the Clippers hopes of competing. Since then, we have had a few attempts at “Pro” Basketball but they have all slowly gone the way of the Buffalo.

My favorite incarnation of this was the ABA’s San Diego Wildfire! Featuring the cheerleading/dance squad known there as the Firestarters and known outside of the arena as the wait staff at Chili’s. My friends and I would frequent the Wildfire games at the Sports Arena that could seat close to 20,000 (these games drew close to 300). We would pay for nosebleeds and walk down to courtside because no one cared. What was so amazing was how we could heckle and the players would hear us – then threaten us – then we’d shut up. But, alas when you draw no fans and become more famous for violence outside the arena rather than your team losing to the Vermont Frost Heaves inside the arena, you go belly up and the fire is no longer wild (It got pretty bad near the end. To the point where at one of the last home games players had duck tape on the back of their jersey’s with their name written in sharpie on the tape).

As a bigger city in America we deserve a top notch NBA franchise! Or at least another shot at one. I mean, even Charlotte has a team and we could draw as many fans as the WNBA right?


Right now, as San Diego sports fans we are dealing with the possible departure of the Chargers, another terrible season for the Pads, and the fact that the winningest franchise in the our city’s history were an indoor soccer team called the Sockers*! It’s a bleak future and the only way I can see our town’s leaders making it better is by welcoming a new form of mediocrity to our cities scoreboards! We need basketball and basketball needs us! I mean think of all the awesome cut-a-way shots they could do of Charles Barkley at Sea World getting splashed by Shamu during broadcasts! Think of Kobe coming to town (hide your daughters!), and think of that first San Diego Battleships’ (you know that’s what we’ll be called) superstar being hauled off in hand cuffs after driving drunk into a Bennigans!


So, I am officially putting this issue on the floor. As the campaign for our new Mayor heats up, I want us loyal Kept Faith Battleship supporters to protest and argue and ask the question – why not us? Who cares about who is lying about what Government spending! Tell me when I’m gonna see a lay-up!


Steve Francis for Mayor and you know which Steve Francis I’m talking about. San Diego Battleships 10! We can do this people!

*When I ran spell check it did not recognize the word Sockers and instead gave me the option of changing it to Suckers. It’s like even Microsoft Word knows how much our city sucks at being competitive!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Final Four Of The NBA

By Nick McCann

There was an explosion yesterday at the new Hilton Hotel being built downtown, Jake Peavy had an MRI on his arm, and the Cardinals kicked the crap out of the worst team in Major League Baseball, our San Diego Padres. As a city, we have had better days.

At lunchtime before the news of the explosion had reached me, one of my non-threatening female co-workers whom I generally like, came up to me while I was scanning over the Padres’ schedule, and asked, “So which game are you going to?” Three seconds after the words left my mouth, I almost regretted telling her to fuck off.

It’s cool, she listens to speed metal and we curse a lot at each other on our breaks.

Although she understood, she knew she had to change the subject, so she started talking about how her boyfriend was really into the NBA and the San Antonio Spurs. I have found that she talks about her boyfriend a lot. They are not living in the same city and at the end of the summer, she will move out to Texas to be with him. Then, they will buy season tickets to see the only major sports franchise in the vicinity of the Alamo, the Spurs (this is crazy to me because they will actually be living in a town that is an hour and a half away from the arena).

I feel no real emotion about her leaving, besides the fact that I have been stealing string cheese from her for four months and she doesn’t seem to have caught on (she actually replaced a girl who I used to steal string cheese from. To be honest, string cheese always tastes better stolen and I rarely eat it any other way). After a few minutes of talking hoops, I decided to lie to her and tell her that I was rooting for the Spurs.

I love that about the NBA. I don’t have to care who wins and I get to root along with people who do care within all the many circles I belong to in my life. There are four teams left and I can root for all of them with different people.

I will root for the Spurs at work because I love stolen string cheese. I will root for the Boston Celtics because I have a Kevin Garnett jersey and my girlfriend is from Boston. I will root for the Lakers because I consider their point guard, Derek Fisher, to be a true friend even though I have never met him, and I generally adore watching Kobe and his storyline develop. And last, I will root for the Pistons because my old college roommate and I can only agree on one thing, we both love Rasheed Wallace for four reasons (A) he was, and probably still is, a productive pothead (B) he truly believes that he is a slave to the man because the NBA is generally evil (even though NBA players are by far the highest paid athletes on the planet) (C) he has a legendary badass temper that he can’t control and (D) he is a very knowledgeable hockey fan from Philly.

I love this game because I don’t have to love any one thing about and it’s almost like I get to be in a one sided relationship that is all about me where nobody gets hurt.

The Kept Faith officially endorses not caring about who wins the NBA Championship, because not caring helps right now.

Monday, May 19, 2008

It Seems So Natural...

By Josh Elwell

The season-less Seattle sees cold and rain all year long, while the equally season-less San Diego faces the treachery that is beach weather 12 months a year.

And the way Seattle's Best dukes it out with Starbucks in the Pacific Northwestern city, resemble how Starbucks competes with hipster coffee houses in Hillcrest.

Let’s not ignore it - San Diego & Seattle’s baseball teams (and cultures) are obviously the west coast equivalent to the Red Sox & Yankees. I've already laid out the contradictions that pit us against the former home of A-Rod, and the history is rich with bitterness.

I make it a point, when I visit Seattle, to rub it in everyone's faces how beautiful our weather is and how much ass we kicked in winning the NL West two years in a row. You see the same thing when a Boston local travels into the Big Apple hyping up their clam chowder and two World Series rings. Maybe that’s why so many San Diego baseball people root for the Red Sox – we identify with the rivalry.

So, yeah, this was a big weekend for me.

May 16th – Game 1

With 7 hits between Tadahito Iguchi and Brian Giles (including two 2B’s and one HR), our veterans actually showed up with their B+ game and gave us a win.

Not to mention, it couldn’t have been done without Cla Meredith and Heath Bell holding it down. Those guys are the models of consistency, right?

We really stuck it to Seattle in this one. If only I had the opportunity to go into one of their sports bars soaking wet, then go into the bathroom and dry off, and then come back out and rub it in all of their Safeco Park loving faces.

May 17th – Game 2

When Ichiro strolled up to the plate with his cocky little post-swing shuffle step, I was ready for Josh Bard to jump up and take him out, reminiscent of Jason Varitek’s fight with Alex Rodriguez. I mean, with both rivalries being totally, freaky crazy, it’s gotta come sooner or later, right? Maybe if Ard, just like Tek, had taken out I-Suzu, and in Tek’s case – A-Rod, the double that led to our loss would have never happened.

But that kind of unpredictability is what makes such blood-boiling competition come alive. Ooo, Ichiro – you really know how to get under my skin!

Whatever, we’ll untie the series tomorrow…

May 18th – Game 3

Shit, we didn’t untie the series.

And in both games, Meredith and Bell took turns giving away wins like Jose Canseco gives out used needles to high-school athletes. Looks like the consistency we were excited about after Friday’s game was an empty promise. Not that it matters, ‘cause Seattle just got lucky. We had a couple of off days, that’s all. I know we’re better than that. We just need to start Tony Clark more, and get Michael Barrett back – then we’ll be set.

In conclusion, this was interleague play at its best, where regional rivalries flame from the tempers of the players on the ground. Hey, Seattle, you dirty Evil Empire you, I can’t wait to see Adrian Beltre back at Petco in June…it’s on! And as for you, J.J. Putz, there’s a special place in hell reserved for you. Right alongside Ty Cobb and O.J. Simpson. It’s the “Mariner, Racist & Wife Killer” section.

Thank you, Commissioner Bud Selig, for giving us the magic that is interleague baseball. And, most importantly, for reminding us San Diegans of the rivalry we have with Seattle each year.

What would we do without it?

Oh, we’d play meaningful games against National League opponents, that’s right.

Friday, May 16, 2008

They Are Brothers No More

By Nick McCann

On Thursday, the Padres lost the last game of their series with the Cubs in a 4-0 shutout. Sadly, this occurrence has become normal for the team that is the worst hitting team in the league. Therefore, it is time to look for possible bright spots in the very very very recent past to lift up our spirits.

Adrian Gonzalez’s older brother, Edgar, is up in the big leagues for the first time after eight long years of minor league ball. In his first three games he is 3 for 7 with one homerun. Sure, the idea that the Padres called up Adrian’s brother, who is also a local out of Chula Vista, could be considered a questionable PR move just to be a nice story in a season that is rotting away faster than Debra Harry’s face. However, it is nice to know there is somebody on the bench who needs to prove something. Edgar can play all the positions in the infield and he has hit well on every minor league team he has ever played for. Finally it is now his chance to show that he can play at the major league level.

If E-Gonz stays on the Pads’ roster until June 14th, he will celebrate his 30th birthday as a rookie in major league baseball. His brother on the other hand came up when he was 23, and it was clear early on that he could contribute at the top level for well over decade.

I’m sure both brothers, along with their parents, are thrilled at their accomplishments, but could you imagine being Edgar in the minors the last few years watching his younger brother, who he must have picked on at some point, establishing himself as a solid starting San Diego Padre while he was riding around in the bus leagues? Then can you also imagine what it must feel like now for Adrian to have this older brother in the same clubhouse he has already made a name for himself in, as rookie who might not stay around? I’m sure anybody who gets to play MLB has a pretty significant competetive streak in them, and I’m sure there was a point in their childhood growing up where Edgar picked on Adrian when Adrian looked up to his older brother. Now Adrian’s older brother has to earn his respect, not only as a brother, but also as another participant in the same craft?


Adrian Gonzalez and Brian Giles Watch Edgar’s First Homerun
By Nick McCann

(A-Gonz and B-Giles sit in the dugout at Wrigley Field. They watch intensely at E-Gonz at the plate. E-Gonz swings and hits the ball out and the dugout goes bonkers. E-Gonz rounds the bases.)

Hey, how do you feel man?

I feel weird. What am I supposed to feel? Emotion has never been my thing.

Your older brother is one of us now. HA!

Hey, he hit 330 in triple a last year.

I’m sure Chris Gywnn hit 300 somewhere too.

Should you really be making jokes like that?

YES! (Somewhere in the world Chris Gywnn walks into a Donut shop and says, “Ah shit!”) We are in Chicago; as long we stay away from Ryan Sandberg and Andre Dawson jokes, we are fine. Lighten up. You are the talented brother.

My brother has talent. He just hit a homerun at Wrigley.

Hold on a sec, I’m getting a text from Pedro Martinez. (Giles checks his phone) Ha! That guy is so funny. Hey Giles, even my brother Ramon struck out the side once. LOL! That guy is great.

Is Pedro watching this?

Pedro sees all. (Edgar comes back to the dugout) Let’s do what we have to do. (Giles and Adrian go to give high fives to their teammate. Adrian shakes his hand and gives him a modest hug. They both act like it is no big deal and that it is just part of the job. Giles and Adrian go back and sit down).

How is your brother doing?

I don’t give a shit.

Why not? Markus was a good guy.

He hated you.


You are a talented brother. You are with me and Pedro, Ken Griffey, Tony, and even Jose Canseco. Markus will always be with Ramon Martinez, Craig Griffey, and that fat fuck Chris Gwynn. Ha, I can say that here.

My brother is going to make it. I don’t care if he gave me wedgies when I was three, and because of that I have always had a fear of changing in front of guys. I believe in him.

Hold on (Giles looks at phone again). Pedro, you are nut. Giles, hey Ozzie Canseco never wrote a book. Oh wait, he probably did. Was it called I’m The Wizard of Oz and I Poop My Pants? Classic Pedro.

You know what, my brother never let me play with my toys. I kind of always hated him growing up.

We can get him back.


(Giles pulls out a laxative, puts in a Gatorade bottle, walks over and hands it too Edgar. Giles then walks back to Adrian who is stunned). Next time we play the Mets, you, Pedro and me need to do the town talented brother style. We are your family now. (Giles puts his arms out)

Brothers gotta hug. (A-Gonz hugs Giles and then looks over to Edgar from his embrace. In Edgar’s face, A-Gonz can see a huge part of himself dying. A-Gonz feels nothing)
The End.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

DePodesta 09

By Josh Elwell

Now that former Dodgers GM and current Special Assistant to Padres’ Baseball Operations, Paul DePodesta, has entered the blogosphere – the campaign can begin to pressure one man, aforementioned wizard Sandy Alderson, to vote Paulie Boy as GM of our hometown Friars. Even if Sandy still ends up calling most of the shots – Kevin Towers out of the organization has to make us a better team.

Towers has proved one thing: he can consistently build a mediocre ballclub. Even when the team made the playoffs for two straight years, they got knocked around like a prostitute I was done with on Grand Theft Auto IV. Offense has always been our weakness and it’s no different now. Towers focuses on strong pitching, which he excels at. He actually made an entire ballpark for pitchers. Only problem is that pitching consists of half the game. He’s physically incapable of constructing an offense and the briiiiiiiliant idea to bring the right-field fence in 11 ft. is proof of that.

If I show up to work tomorrow and do 50% of my job, I’d be fired. Now, if I’ve been doing 50% of my job for close to 13 years (as Towers has been doing), I’d have to be sleeping with my boss. This brings me to the only logical conclusion – Kevin Towers is sleeping with Sandy Alderson.

Alderson and Towers stick to a buy low philosophy that continually line John Moores’ pockets with revenue, but DePodesta proved in L.A. that he can balance the Moneyball approach with big league spending. Not that it’ll happen with Alderson & Moores sitting at the top; however, the potential is there. For a suffering Padres fan – potential is enough to get me excited.

Okay, back to DePodesta’s blog. Scrolling through his first entries and his replies to numerous comments, it was refreshing to see some honesty come out of the front office. Despite what it seems, the Padres aren’t run by a Terminator-ish, Skynet system that has a fatal flaw of churning out sucky move after sucky move. Instead, it’s full of guys like DePodesta trying to put together a championship team.

With his strong track record in Oakland and L.A., it’s time for a team to commit to DePodesta as GM; something Dodgers ownership refused to do. With Towers consistently accomplishing half of his job, the time is now. Come on Sandy, move Towers off of your lap and see what Paul can do. It can’t be any worse than the current legacy of mediocrity.

Here’s a final slam on Towers (for this article, at least). When Paul DePodesta mentions intelligent conversations going on at separate Padres’ blogs, I wondered if The Kept Faith would quantify as part of that group. Looking back to my accusation of the GM’s personal relationship with the president, I thought “eh, maybe not.” But then I remembered what KT did to Jim Edmonds last week. Before releasing him, he got on 1090 and assassinated the shit out of his character, so that no one could question why he was getting let go. Steroid Era or not, Edmonds was an elite player and for Towers to treat him like he did after trading for him in the first place, knowing he’s lost most of his ability, means I can treat Towers however the hell I want…and still attempt intelligence. So yeeeah, eat that Towers, you suck and your legs are weak. Oh, and I still won’t give you the cure for your son’s cancer. Sorry…oh wait…no I’m not!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Man Behind The Curtain

By Nick McCann

Last night the Padres evened the series against the Cubs with clutch hitting from Khalil Greene, and some bright moments from their new breathe of fresh air, Jody Gerut. Jim Edmonds has been gone for almost a week and it feels like it was the right move (opposed to starting a centerfielder who can’t walk).

However, this morning when I looked on for extra info on the game, I noticed that Jim Edmonds is still on the All Star Ballot. When you turn to the Padres recap section of that mega site, you see all of San Diego’s candidates listed out with their faces next to their names, and Mr. Ed, our favorite disappointment of the month, is right there among them.

Ultimately, the universal complaining that comes along with the All-Star Game every year makes the game, and the build up to it, unbearable: The media thinks the fans are stupid, the players think the fans are stupid, but they can say it, and the fans believe they are legitimate evaluators of talent, even though they will probably vote Ken Griffey in this year again because he was so cute when you used to take BP with his helmet on backwards in 1993 (I will be one of these people).

A huge part of me wants to see Jim Edmonds voted in the game this year. Not because it would be ironic and completely fucking rad to celebrate a huge mistake made by a front office that keeps itself interesting by making interesting mistakes, but because if he made it, the national baseball audience would catch a glimpse of what is going here. Jim Edmonds basically signed a contract and then went on the DL before the ink was dry. He missed spring training, and when he had enough time to heal from his injury (I guess), he had no bat speed, and he couldn’t run.

A bad signing is a bad signing, but has anybody noticed that there has been absolutely no talk of firing Kevin Towers from the front office? This should be a deal breaker if he is the real reason for the moves being made.

If you look at the All Star Ballot, you will notice that there is only one Padre, which was drafted by the Padres, eligible for this years' midsummer night’s dream, developed by the Padres. Khalil Greene is the only one and he is hitting in the low 200s.

Kevin Towers should be fired at the end of the season, but he probably won’t be because he is not the one calling the shots. Who is this Sandy Alderson? Why did he not fire Kevin Towers when he came on board a few years back? Usually when a new president comes in, they fire everybody and fill positions with people they can control. Sure, Boch is gone, but Kevin has stayed and made moves that don’t seem plausible for someone who is widely considered to be one of the top baseball minds in the business. Is this because he loves San Diego and he doesn’t want to move his family? Did the man who has dished out the San Diego discount for over a decade take one himself?

At the end of the Wizard of Oz, we finally find out who the man behind curtain is, and we realize that every thing about the Wizard was a lie. After moving into Petco Park, padre fans should be able to say, “We aren’t in Kansas City anymore,” but this year we all know that the Royals are going to give us one hell of a series.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Sports Minute 2: Minute Harder

And that is 25 Posts!!!!

Friday, May 9, 2008

There Is No Place Like Home

By Joe Chandler

Yesterday the Padres lost to the Atlanta Braves for their fourth straight loss. They’re 2-8 over their last 10 games, entrenched in last place, and I couldn’t be happier. This is the Padres team that I have come to know and love.

Over the last couple of years the Padres have won the NL West a couple times and raised the hopes of the entire city. Just ask Nick (the ultimate cynic) what he did after we got swept out of the playoffs a couple years ago (answer: he set his t-shirt on fire). I, for one, never really bought it.

Despite record attendance since the opening of the new ballpark, the Padres ownership has demonstrated an unwillingness to spend money on putting together a winning roster. The Padres recent success has been the result of a couple of lucky breaks. Which is fine, but if the ownership is content to field a loser I’m going to wish for a loser. The thing is my youth was spent watching the Padres lose. I don’t think I attended a game that the Padres won until I was 15 or 16. When I graduated college and moved back to San Diego in 2001 the Padres were absolutely dreadful. The period of my life in which I attended the most Padres games were the two years I lived in San Diego after college. This combined with the losses I saw as a child led to my fondest memories of attending Padres games being linked with losses. Horrible, no-chance-in-hell losses were the order of the day. I saw Ruben Rivera bat on a regular basis. Tony Gwynn’s weight was ballooning and the fans were outraged when we traded away Eric Owens. We used to heckle players by telling them that they hit like the home town team (Nick’s joke). Five bucks would sit you in the front row in RF where a man claiming to be Ruben Rivera’s cousin, who called himself Panama, would regale you with stories.

Being the worst team in the league had its advantages, and the main advantage was fun. As we overachieved over the last couple seasons I found myself missing the days when wins and losses didn’t matter. The ballpark became crowded and every pitch counted. Following the Padres started to actually drain energy. The expended energy would’ve been tolerable if the team was ever truly contending. Any discerning fan knew we were never really in it. The Padres were a team built to fail whether it happened in August, September, or October. All a fan’s energies expended over the season were ultimately for naught and for me the experience of winning was negative because of that.

It’s nice to return to the feeling that just attending the game is the true pleasure. Wins and losses are unimportant. Some view this as defeatist or nostalgic, but I believe that this is the way ownership views the team, why should I look at it any different? That being said, it’d be nice to get a win tomorrow.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Catch The Fourth Place Rockies

By Nick McCann

On Thursday afternoon, after the Padres continued their downward spiral into becoming exactly what they are by losing to the Braves, my first college roommate, Will, emailed me about the up coming Rockies series with a subject line that read The Battle for Who Could Care Less. This was funny for two reasons (A) he has stated many times since we lived together that the thing he remembers most about me was coming back into our dorm room to find me sitting in the dark listening to Ben Folds Five’s second album Forever and Ever Amen (his chosen subject title is the third best song on that record) and (B) because he lives in Denver now and thinks that he can pass for being a real baseball fan.

I know for a fact that Will doesn’t give a shit about the game. I remember him saying countless times, from his soccer loving worldview, that Baseball was too slow for him. People who need sports to have speed, high scores, violence, and or stupid little red and yellow cards, are the same people who need movies to be in color, rock n roll to be “good” again, and politicians who are the “real” thing. Our grandparents had the golden years, and our parents fucked it all up. Let’s just wait to die together, and let the boys of summer remind us that hope is gone.

I don’t think the series this weekend will change much for either team. The Rockies have a bright future and the Padres don’t know what their future will be. In the present, both teams are near each other in the standings, and probably have no prayer of catching the Diamondbacks. That said, we can either watch the Padres literally catch the Rockies this weekend, or we can get really drunk on Coors light while they don't.

My old roommate moved to Colorado last spring and obviously got caught up in the hysteria of going all the way to the World Series. This shouldn’t be surprising to me because during our first week of school, he burst into our room and showed me a tattoo he had just gotten. I knew he was going to do it because everybody else was getting them. He pulled off his shirt and showed me his left shoulder that had a fresh bloody image of a cat’s game of tic tack toe on it. When I asked him why he did it, he answered, “Who cares? It’s early in the semester!”

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Playing God In High Def

By Nick McCann

It is easy to complain about the San Diego Padres (see: 99% of the content on The Kept Faith), but it isn’t easy to ignore them if you are emotionally invested in their performance. The hardest thing to deal with when your team isn’t winning, and you can’t avoid them because they share your environment, is that you cannot do much to change it. This lack of control of a situation can cause a desire to run away.

In this case, you can either do drugs, or you can play a video game by yourself.

On Sunday afternoon, while watching the Padres lose to the Florida Marlins on my beautiful new 42-inch Hi Def flat screen TV, I decide it was time to play God. I picked up my unused new copy of MLB The Show 08 and popped it into my brand new Playstation 3 (made possible by George W. Bush and his destructively awesome short term Republican logic) with the clear intention of creating my own version of the 08 Padres in my own image using the latest and greatest digital technology created by man, so that man can be God, even though he doesn’t really know how to be God, or if God really even exists.

This is the story Nick’s 2008 Digital Padres. Please have faith in me that it is true.

Setting up the game

Because I was playing from a divine place, I decided that time didn’t need to apply, so I set my season to 29 games, and the length of the individual games to 6 innings. I did this because I knew I would be playing God in front of a woman (my girlfriend who is a Boston Red Sox fan). I don’t believe in playing God through video games in front of women because of two reasons (A) they are of the earth and they do not understand, nor appreciate, digital merits and (B) I went to SDSU when the first Tony Hawk game came out and I remember seeing a lot of drunk highlight ridden worldly skanks dawning bored faces at parties because they were being ignored. Those faces haunt me to this day, along with flashbacks of puking into toilets while listening to Sublime records on repeat.

Game One
At Boston

I decided to go with the lineup provided by the “game”:

Brian Giles
Tadihito Iguchi
Kevin Kozmanoff
Adrian Gonzalez
Khalil Greene
Jim Edmonds
Josh Bard
Calvin Macnulty
Jake Peavy

It didn’t matter who hit when or where because my Digi-Pads were going up against Digi-Josh Beckett, a digital pitcher designed after dominating the 2007 World Series. Even a God needs to learn his craft through early failure (see: the platypus).

Innings 1 through 4

I struck out 10 times out of the 12 possible outs in the first four frames. Digi-Fenway Park was beautiful and Digi-Beckett was dealing. My earth was in the bathroom washing her face and I decided to make Jake Peavy throw a pitch at Digi-Manny Ramirez’s head. He went down hard, but my Earth didn't care. She asked, “Is there fighting in this game?”

I replied, “If it were a game, there would be, but this is more.” Then she shrugged, and left to go to the store to buy…things.

The 5th Inning

I looked up and realized it was 9-0 Digi-Boston. Digi-Peavy was pitching like shit, and I had to help him, so I called in Digi-Cla Meredith from the digi-bullpen. I wanted to have control over something different and beautiful. I wanted to throw side arm digital pitches, because in my digital reality I had given up on things like making a “comeback” or showing “pride”. I created my team to escape that stuff and I didn’t want to turn back.

Cla came in and held off the Digi-Sox nicely. I was proud of my creation, so I pressed pause on the game to check if I could change the weather. I wanted to go into the sixth with rain from the heavens coming down. I wanted control, but it wasn’t there. Maybe MLB The Show 09 will be better suited for giving the 1st Player God dramatic license.

The 6th

Digi-Beckett struck out the side and the game was over. I felt numb. I saved the game and then turned it off. It felt like coming back from Narnia through the wardrobe if I had left before Aslan had come back to life.

When I switched back on the TV to the “real” Padres' post game show, they had predictably lost the game and were still among the worst teams in the league. I could do nothing about it. I was just a man.

I hope the Digi-fans of my Digi-Padres keep their faith in me.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Screw You Bloodhound Gang

By Josh Elwell

The roof may be on fire in Downtown San Diego, but in no way will I sit back and “let the motherfucker burn.” Instead, I come bearing water. The Bloodhounds may not have needed it, but the Padres sure do.

After losing 2 of 3 to the Marlins, despite Adrian Gonzalez ripping HR after HR (a nice change of pace for a Padres fan) and Callix Crabbe filling in nicely for 1984 Sean Penn, Black & co. now move onto Atlanta, where a roster reshuffle may be in the works. And, seriously, maybe I’ll name my first-born, Callix Crabbe Elwell, or I’ll just give him my first born. That name is beautiful.

Starting with the Padres #5 starter, Bud Black announced it’s an open slot. After Justin Germano started the season blazing through lineups, he cooled down to the point of a 6.35 ERA. Obviously, a change is needed. With the Cubs & Phillies, the Padres have been the only team in baseball to get this far with only using 5 starters. Consistency like that is surely appreciated, but when a guy stinks - he stinks. See you later Justin. The question now is, who takes over?
Mark Prior is clearly penciled in for the slot once he comes off the DL next month, but until then, someone needs to step up. Can I cast my vote for Wilfredo Ledezema? Sure, they could go for experience and use Glendon Rusch or call up Shawn Estes, but Wilfredo has been lights out, out of the bullpen and on a shitty team like the Padres – I’ll take youth over experience.

For another non-consequential move, the Tigers have released Jacque Jones. Now Kevin Towers can pick him up for a league minimum salary. As a reminder, Jones was the back up plan fall of ‘05 should the Padres have failed to re-sign Brian Giles. Not that Jones fits into my desire for a fire sale, but he’ll offer a better bat in LF than Hairston or McAnulty and provide insurance in CF as well.

Finally, in my quest to see a young, winning Padres team before I die, I leave you with a trade I’d want to see in a picture perfect fire sale:

Brian Giles for Jeremy Sowers & Kelly Shoppach.

Brian Giles gives us OBP, frosted hair and El Cajon cred, which in reality, doesn’t exist (El Cajon cred that is, not frosted hair – we all know that exists in RF). As opposed to Josh Bard (watch The Sports Minute below), Kelly Shoppach’s name actually has the potential to be heard in the final game of a World Series. He’s stuck behind Victor Martinez right now, and needs a chance to break out. Would it be too much to ask for San Diego to be that place?

To anyone sitting in the front office for the Friars, please don’t let this motherfucker burn; despite what trashy 90’s alt-rock music would have you believe. If a fire sale is too far-fetched, be sure to make the smart day-to-day moves:

-Leaving Estes in AAA and starting Ledezema on Thursday. Try out Germano as your long-relief. He couldn’t be worse than as a starter - literally.
-Cutting Hairston or McAnulty (flip a coin) and signing Jacque Jones.
-Trading Brian Giles to the Indians, or any team that needs corner OF help. Here’s another phrase you definitely won’t hear at a World Series: “Brian Giles walks in the game winning run!” (Again – watch The Sports Minute!)

All three of those become more and more far-fetched. Whatever. While we’re at it – trade Kevin Towers. He’s more off base with his moves than Matt Holliday was when Michael Barrett tagged him out in game 163 last year.

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Sports Minute

Episode One

and that is the finest drunk journalism in San Diego!!!

Friday, May 2, 2008

The Roof Is On Fire

By Josh Elwell

Only two teams in MLB have the balls to pull off true fire sales: the A’s and the Marlins. I’m trying really hard to remember what else they have in common. Oh, yeah – they field championship-caliber teams! Joe Fan and Joe Morgan would both have you believe that a fire sale is for bitches. (I’ll find that quote from Morgan another time.) However, that’s not the case. For everyone who knows the joy that is Live Free or Die Hard, a fire sale is actually when John McClane comes in to shut down a three-stage coordinated attack on a country's transportation, telecommunications, financial, and utilities infrastructure systems. Did Timothy Olyphant’s character really think he had a chance? We’re taking about John “yippee ki-ay motherfucker” McClane! All right, moving on…

If anyone thinks the 2008 San Diego Padres are in contention for the pennant, much less the World Series, you’re just as sadly mistaken as Timothy Olyphant was. When Tadahito Iguchi squeaked a HR out last Saturday night, I couldn’t have been more upset. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, I actually wet myself a wee-bit (that’s my new measure for urine – use it) and then I got upset when I realized there’s no point to be excited, because the Padres aren’t a championship team. The longer the Padres’ front office thinks they are, the longer some much needed trades don’t come. There is not one hitter to be feared and not one relief arm to be trusted. Kevin Towers has proved he can fix the latter but the former is something that continues to hinder us. That is, until Jim Edmonds came aboard. I kid, I kid. Towers lost a bet with God on that one (which means Towers’ kid still has cancer).

Back to the fire sale, the Marlins did it in ’05 when they shipped off Josh Beckett, Juan Pierre, Mike Lowell, Luis Castillo, Paul Lo Duca and Carlos Delgado for packages including Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, Ricky Nolasco and Mike Jacobs. (That doesn’t mention other players we’ll be hearing about soon.) They finished the sale this last off-season by trading away Miguel Cabrera & Dontrelle Willis for a package including stars-in-the-making Cameron Maybin & Andrew Miller. So far that’s looking pretty good as they sit in first place in the NL East.

Their famed ’97 fire sale after their World Series win sent them to last place in ’98…and another World Series win in ’03. Yeah, they sucked in between, but two rings in seven years are worth it.
The Orioles are trying it this year too after dumping Erik Bedard & Miguel Tejada (who’s actually 55, which I’ll be revealing when I interview him from the stands next time the Astros are in town). But any team attempting a fire sale with Kevin Millar, Brian Roberts and Melvin Mora still on the team obviously pulled out like it was prom night.

The A’s are in a perpetual fire sale, trading away and letting walk, elite players approaching out of their price range. See Johnny Damon, Miguel Tejada, Jason Giambi, Keith Foulke, Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, Dan Haren, Nick Swisher and Moneyball. I leave Barry Zito off the list because anyone being paid $126 million to throw a few pitches out of the bullpen doesn’t need to be counted as elite. Oh, and the A’s are in 1st place too, sitting in the top 3 of the most winning-est teams over the past 10 years – not a bad strategy.

Alright, with all of the pretext out of the way, here are my demands. In return, Kevin Towers, I’ll give you the cure for cancer that you missed out on when you traded for Jim Edmonds.

(1) Recognition that your current strategies will not produce a championship.
(2) Making the moves necessary to alter that strategy and give the long-waiting fans of San Diego the offense we so dearly miss. Yes, I’m talking about the trifecta of Tony Gwynn, Ken Caminiti and Steve Finley. And if anyone dare mention steroids and Caminiti in the same sentence – I’ll stab him.

Cool. That’s that - two simple requests. Can you do that Kevin?

My suggestion: start with Jim Edmonds. End with Khalil Greene (he doesn’t want a long term contract anyway.) And somewhere in between, dump Greg Maddux, Randy Wolf, Glendon Rusch, Trevor Hoffman, Brian Giles, Tadahito Iguchi, Michael Barrett and Tony Clark. We know why they’re there - you’ve created an aging, name-based smokescreen with guys who are getting in the way of the Padres future. On second thought, keep Greg – we might as well have a little fun while we lose.

In the meantime, I’ll be at Petco, rooting them all on. I mean, shit, it’s just baseball.
(Keep in mind that Kevin Towers does not have a child with cancer, nor do I have the cure for it. Although I’m sure that by writing about baseball, I’ll find it. Damn right I’ll find it.)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

April is Over

By Nick McCann

"We're a better team than we've showed. We are," Heath Bell, said, after last night’s game where he threw a scoreless eighth inning that helped secure the Padres’ victory.

Heath then followed that statement with, "I really feel like times are changing. You could sense that we weren't backing down. I think the attitude was a little different today. ... I think that we needed a little meeting."

Thank God that the month of April is over. The Padres had a horrible start to the season and they finished their month of hell on somewhat of a high note with a Trevor Hoffman save, and a victory for Chris Young that included a substantial amount of run support.

I do find it interesting that Heath Bell implied that one of the main reasons for the victory last night was due to a team meeting. Athletes and coaches on every team on every level bring this up all the time and it is always after the team does something good. Nobody ever says, “We just lost five straight, so we needed to get everybody together and talk about it!”

Did the Pads get together and say come to the realization that Adrian Gonzalez should hit a homerun early in the game? Did they have a brainstorming session where they thought it would be a good thing for the bullpen to hold the lead?

It is great the Padres won last night, because it (A) showed they could score more than 2 runs and (B) because it showed they could work as team on all levels. But why did Heath Bell feel the need to credit an activity designed to build team unity to the media?

There has never been, or ever will be, sports interview where a player says, “yeah, we got our ass kicked tonight because we had this meeting where the overhead projector busted, the coffee was burned, and everybody just came up blank when were thinking of ideas on how to hit a 97mph fastball.”

It feels good to know that the Padres can talk. They are all in a hectic relationship that is truly a grind. However, next time I want to hear what is said in a meeting that helps them win and break a long losing streak, because I want to know exactly what they have forgotten.