Thursday, September 4, 2008

Waiting For Next Season

By Nick McCann

For some reason I always find myself mid-week flipping my AM radio dial to Mighty 1090 at the exact moment when Sandy Alderson comes on for his scheduled weekly interview (I had the same thing happen in the 90s when I would always seem to flip on the same Saved By The Bell re-run where the whole gang does the sprain to win a dance competition at The Max). The conversation is always the same between the hosts (which varies because Sandy’s schedule of doing nothing to help the team changes week to week), but what I am always struck by is the pace and tone in which Alderson speaks. It almost feels like his slow monotone why am I stuck doing this fluff bullshit PR voice is an exact representation of how he operates the team.

The Padres will never be in a position to make quick fixes, and yes, they are doing the right thing with bringing up the kids under the current model for success they have chosen, but it feels like every response coming from the Anderson front office is that the fanbase is too impatient, and that we should just wait it out.

I’m not totally opposed to the Moneyball philosophy to running a small market team, but that is not what we are. It is always good for young players to develop the skill of getting on base by being selective at the plate, but it seems like after Moneyball became a well-known part of baseball, some mid market (San Diego) and big market (Dodgers under the new ownership) teams adopted it as a way to cut corners.

Moneyball Guru, Billy Beane might be a genius, but he also might have gotten lucky drafting Barry Zito, Mark Mulder, and Tim Hudson all around the same time. He has never won a World Series and he probably never will in Oakland because the Angels are going to be for real for a really longtime.

Sandy Alderson was hired to create the same semi-successful situation in San Diego. And if he weren’t operating in the worst division in baseball during his time here, he would be a complete failure. Sure, there are division titles that have been won in the recent years, but we all know somebody had to win those races and somebody had to get stomped by the Cardinals.

Right now, I’m sure there are fringe minor leaguers in America today standing around the water color, shooting HGH, and discussing how great it would be to be in the Padres system. They probably look at our roster and think Man, if was playing in Portland this summer; my miserable existence could be validated if only for a month. Half of the kids that are up should not be major league players ever. But the Padres are showing patience with them and letting them be who they are. I guess somebody has to, but I don’t think I can wait.

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