Monday, October 4, 2010

Hindsight is 2010

I haven't posted since Opening Day 2009 and I have no idea how much I will continue to post. I stopped for a number of reasons. Studying for the bar, looking for work, moving when I found that work and, frankly, because there are Padres blogs that are better at this then I am. I have no access to any players or media, no partner to post when I forget. Really, just one dude who loves the Padres. And how interesting could that possibly be?

But I felt compelled today to write something. The 2010 season has come to an end. Baseball, perhaps more than any other sport, leaves a melancholy feel when it ends. I love football, but thats a once to twice a week event. Baseball is like school or a job. It is everyday, its a grind and, when a team is chasing down a playoff spot, it can be exhausting to keep up with. So today is weird. No Padres lineup being posted via Twitter today. No debate over who is in CF and who should start vs a LHP. Instead, we are left only with memories and thoughts of "what if?"

Which brings us to the retrospective of 2010. This has become an interesting debate today. How do we all feel about this season? It's a question 29 out of 30 teams have to deal with to varying degrees, but perhaps no team has a more complicated answer then the Padres.

On the one hand are those that seem to revel in negativity. This camp will point to the 10 game losing streak, and the 14-23 record over final 37 games. This is the camp that will constantly remind you how they had a 6.5 game lead on August 25th and that 2nd place in the NL West with no playoffs should not be considered an acceptable season. And this camp isn't wrong. No Padres fan can be honest with themselves without dealing with how the final month of the season went for the Padres. It was brutal and hard to watch at times. At times it felt like watching a runaway train with no way to stop it. And all fans could do is watch, and wonder "what happened?" The what ifs are plenty, and there is no way around that.

But then there is another camp. A camp that will tell you how the Padres were picked to finish last in the NL West. They will remind all of us of how Adrian Gonzalez was to be traded by the deadline and that September would be merely a showcase of Triple and Double A players as all eyes pointed toward 2011. And how this team of $38 million in payroll and one household named player stormed the National League and shocked every expert and most (ok, all) fans. And how, no matter what, they played 162 meaningful games and far exceeded expectations.

I align myself more with this second camp. Of course you can't ignore the disappointment of the last month. Its a tough pill to swallow to be up 6.5 on 8/25 and not be in the playoffs today. Its hard to think that if, instead of a 10-gm losing streak they had only gone 3-7 they would have won the NL West. But, I choose to not erase 6 months of enjoyable baseball simply because the end result wasn't what I wanted or believed it would be. The simple fact is that the 2010 season was the most enjoyable season I've had as a fan of this team since 1998. Sure, they had made the playoffs since then. But watching a team go 82-80 to win the division is hardly enjoyable. Or watching the manager blow out the knee of your starting outfielder because he is a loose cannon in the same game your starting CF gets hurt, not so fun. But this year was fun. And to me, its as simple as that.

What I take away from this season was watching a team that stole bases with reckless abandon, Latos coming into his own and looking like an ace, the bullpen turning 9 inning games into 6 inning games, the Yoda backpack, Miguel Tejada and the "Spotlight", and yes, stumbling on the stretch run. It was all part of the same journey and while I wish the end result was different, as they say, the journey is sometimes more important then the destination.

So, who's heading to Peoria in March 2011?

P.S. As for the future of this blog, we shall see....

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