Friday, April 6, 2012
Silver Linings on Opening Day
I've been accused of being an optimist and an apologist when it comes to the Padres. Guilty on both counts. When Conan O'Brien signed off from NBC for the last time, amid one of the strangest controversies in television history, he said this:
"Please don't be cynical. I hate cynicism -- it's my least favorite quality and it doesn't lead anywhere."
That's a lesson we could all stand to heed after Opening Day.
Yes, the Padres lost. Yes, Volquez walked in 2 runs which ultimately proved to be decisive. And yes, the Padres committed 3 errors, an "accomplishment" that was as rare as a unicorn last year.
But if you choose to draw sweeping conclusions from one game or have chosen cynicism over optimism over one day, then you don't get the point of Opening Day at all. Opening Day is for new beginnings. Everyone is still in it, everyone has a chance. Sure, it's unrealistic to expect a World Series parade in November down J street this year, but that doesn't mean we can't at least enjoy the fantasy for a little bit longer.
Ownership is in upheaval, they have the lowest payroll in baseball and have jettisoned 3 of their best and most popular players in the past 2 years. So yes, there are real reasons to be cynical. A 5-3 loss to the Dodgers on Opening Day is not one of them. With that being said, here are the silver linings from Opening Day. Deep breaths everyone, we got 161 of these to go:
- The first 3 innings of Edison Volquez: He lost his control in the 4th. In part due to a shrinking strike zone but Volquez was unable to mentally handle being squeezed. But before that, the guy was lights out. He was both high risk/high reward on Opening Day but I was encouraged by the high reward part. As he becomes more comfortable in Petco and a year with Balsley, I'm confident that the first 3 innings of Volquez will be more the guy we see.
- Cam Maybin: Boom Stick! 7th longest HR in Petco Park history. Win or lose, that was just a fun moment.
- Yonder Alonso: Got robbed of a base hit by Dee Gordon. But he hit the ball well. And played a pretty nice first base I thought.
- Jesus Guzman: 2 out hits will get you to Heaven. Got the Padres on the board for the first time this year with his 2-out double. He is suspect in the field without question. But that guy can straight out hit.
- It's Freaking Opening Day: CALM DOWN! The Padres aren't going to walk in 2 runs and commit 3 errors in a game very often. Unfortunately it came on Opening Day where there is a bigger microscope then normally. But despite falling behind 5-1, the Padres were able to make it a game.
Finally I leave you with this: There were 7 games played yesterday. And except for one that went 16 innings, more runs were scored in the Padres vs Dodgers game then any other game.