Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Grand(al) Illusions

By David Israel
Guest Contributor

It certainly feels like the walls are coming in.

Even if it is just the fences, the last few weeks seem to be a telling microcosm of Padres happenings. The 2012 season just… was. We entered with low expectations, and while Savior’s 5th place MVP season went mostly unnoticed outside of the NL West, we made headlines with the fences debate and a new owner. Yet, things felt… stagnant. We were unsurprised by the early season failure, and too embroiled over the lack of TV coverage (which is still absurd) to notice the second half surge, taking only enough notice of the foundational blocks we’d waited so long to be in place to give us hope for 2013, where a core of Headley, Alonso, Grandal, and half of Quentin might lead us to respectability.

And then the news hit. And it felt… deflating, yet unsurprising, somehow. When the headline alone can cause even the most devout to lose faith…

Thanks for letting me steal this off your twitter page, @Jodes0405.

…it’s probably not good.

The apathy scares me most; that after attending 18 MLB games last year, 14 at PETCO, that it was possible to just be resigned to the mediocrity we have seen year after year, unsurprised when the next great thing for your team gives you reason to question their potential.

Fortunately the offseason does not pause, moving daily towards Pitchers and Catchers. We get to ask if it is spring training yet and speculate about the hot stove season. And, on that note, a wish list for the 2013 Padres:

1) Bring back Mike Adams. The bullpen, still stocked with serviceable pitchers, has lost most of its personality. Gone are the goofy Bell, the swag Adams used to bring to the Penitentiary, and even Frieri’s little kid smile.
2) Grady Sizemore. As much as we’ve come to love Denorfia’s dive, a low-risk incentive laden contract for Sizemore could work. And it would increase female attendance in right field by about 800%. Anything to get those guys who think Yankee Stadium roll call is OK to be less of a presence out there.
3) Brandon McCarthy/Francisco Liriano: McCarthy for his arm and humor, Liriano as a cheap back of the rotation option, where he can be (potentially?) protected by modified bastardized Petco dimensions.
4) Faith. And fewer Tommy John surgeries.

91 Days until pitchers and catchers, when our faith will be renewed again.



Anonymous said...

David, forget about Grandal until he's back with the team. This PED business is all a crock anyway. There's no medical or scientific evidence that steroids or testosterone does anything but help build muscle. The player has the eyesight, reflexes and hand-eye coordination he was born with and no magic bean can take him "to the next level" or give him "that extra edge".

It was a meme started by idiot sportwriters in the dying newspaper and MSM industries, and it turned into such a witch hunt that Bud Selig and Donald Fehr had to whip up testing as a firewall before the game was destroyed. If the idiot sports writers had looked more closely, they'd have noticed that the offense explosion came during the era of expansion and some serious dilution of pitching talent.

McGwire, Sosa and Bonds were the biggest offenders? They were in the NL where all the expansion was, though the pitching scarcity affected both leagues. If the idiot sports writers looked even more closely, thy'd have noticed a big move during the so-called "PED era" away from huge multi-purpose stadia to smaller baseball-only bandboxes.

Like all memes, this one will run its course. The ballclubs responded to pitching dilution with more emphasis on developing pitching, and we're already well into a new dominant pitching era. Someday we'll look on this phase of baseball the way we now look back at the Salem witch trials: a sordid era of irrational mass hysteria. Grandal may become the poster boy for the damage that lunacy created.

GTH said...

I'll let David respond in full but in principle I agree with this. I'm not sure I agree that it has no effect on a player's talent. Warning track power becomes HR power. I do agree that a player's inherent skill i.e. eye hand coordination, timing, instincts are not helped in the slightest.

Whether this was created by the sportswriters or not I have no idea. But it's time to end the branding of all PED users with the Scarlett A in baseball in my opinion.

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