Sunday, July 10, 2011

Keep the Faith: Why Frustration in the Face of Failure is a Good Thing

*The last three days have been as excruciating as any three games in Padres history. I venture to say that the last two games far outweigh the frustration of 10/3/10 or Game 163 if for no other reason than the fact that, unlike those two teams, this team provides little reason for hope. This culminated in a "no-hit" bid that really wasn't thanks to the inability of the Padres offense to, yet again, push across even 1 run. I have been searching for the words to encapsulate these feelings over the past 48 hours but have found nothing that could be considered coherent. Luckily, occasional Left Coast Bias contributor David Israel found those words.

Guest column by Left Coast Bias contributor David Israel

A little bit of background: I have been a Padres fan for as long as I have been cognizant of MLB’s existence- sadly, those began around the time of the 1993 fire sale. I was at Tony’s last game due to the September 11 schedule re-shuffle, I remember the run to the World Series in ‘98 (and still have the t-shirt that looks like a team photo to prove it), the hopeful years of the early 2000s, and still rue the momentous Game 163, otherwise known as the game where we are all still waiting for Matt Holiday to touch home plate. What is important here is that all I have ever known as a Padres fan is some level of futility, watching players leave town in their primes.

Being a fan of the Padres is like being in on an inside joke. Fans of other teams don’t quite get it, but for us, staying loyal to the Friars is something we will continue to do, and something we see as a badge of pride. Over the years, we have Believed in the Padres, Kept the Faith, and gotten chills at the sound of the ominous ringing bell.

And, all of this is why the last two games have stung as badly as any series of Padres baseball has. To fail to score in two straight games may be a hallmark of recent Padres baseball, but to do it against the Dodgers, while only allowing one run each game, is pathetic, and frustrating beyond anything this side of the aforementioned G163. What every fan knew (and expressed on twitter before and as it was occurring) was that for the no-hitter to be possible, it would take more than nine innings. We knew it before the announcers thought to mention it (although since it was Joe Buck, that’s not saying much), and that’s the worst part. We had no reason to hope.

We have seen a Padres team in transition the first half of the 2011 season. Early, it was easy to criticize, as players like Hawpe and Cantu didn’t even seem to be trying. It was easy to distance ourselves as fans; only Ryan Ludwick seemed to be taking his poor performance personally. With more and more players on Twitter, interacting with fans, it’s easier to see the effort of young guys Cameron Maybin and Anthony Rizzo; which makes it that much harder to hate the on field product.

One last note: as fans, we really shouldn’t be as frustrated as we are, but the fact that we do all feel the need to shout at the TV is good. Hear me out- the Padres came in to the season with no real expectations of being a playoff team again. We all knew they outperformed last year, and that even with Adrian, the playoffs were unlikely this year. Yet, we care about a season that we never really should have even hoped for. So we continue to Believe in our Padres, and Keep the Faith. And that’s a good thing.

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