“Padres Head out of Town-Has Season Gone South”?
It was a strange feel yesterday out-front of Petco Park. So different than a year ago.
You remember a year ago, don’t you? When the Padres and their brash General Manager ‘won’ the winter baseball meetings, by making 7-trades, including the Matt Kemp-Justin Upton deals, and then shocked the world the night before the season began by dealing for relief ace Craig Kimbrel.
That was a long time ago, and alot of disappointing losses ago too. A year ago this morning, as the Padres headed to the Cactus League, the buzz in the town was something. Season tickets had rocketed . Ticket sales overall had gone up 600% from where they were the year prior heading into 2014. Yes, 2015 was to be different.
It was, oh it was, a real let-down of a season. It takes us now to where we were yesterday outside Petco Park.
The Padres tried to create some energy with the loading of their equipment trucks, taking some 17,000 pounds of baseball gear to Arizona for the start of spring training. Bats, Balls, weightlifting equipment, boxes upon boxes and jerseys, shoes, hats, bubble gum and sunflower seeds.
What I thought would be a fun thing to see and cover for Channel 6, turned out to be just like last season, a disappointment. Hardly anyone showed up.
The Padres put single game tickets on sale yesterday, and the most fans standing in line at any one time I counted, was ten, ten, ten. Granted you can also buy tickets via their website, and most people wanted ducats for opening day at home vs the Dodgers. But there were no long lines in the 3-hours I was there.
Compare this off season to last off season, and it was night and day, North Pole-Equator etc, etc. Last year, during the off season, the Padres held four big press conferences. The arrival of Kemp, the Upton trade, the James Shields signing. This winter, not one press conference, aside from the new manager Andy Green. . Guess the deal for Cardinals outfielder John Jay doesn’t merit such.
Whereas there was so much buzz this time last year, this winter sounds like a bat hitting a ball in the inside cages at Petco, echoing off the walls in an empty building. That’s the feeling you get from what the front office has done, strip-mine the roster, import a ton of prospects (suspects), who will be in the minor leagues to start the season.
Nobody wants to use the word ‘rebuild’ around the Padres offices, but it sure looks like that. The club isn’t tanking like Houston did for 3-years, or like the Cubs did, but there are not alot of starts on their roster right now aside from the names Kemp-Myers-Ross-Shields..
The other thing that struck me odd, in a winter of discontent, with all the self-destruct things the Chargers did to their reputation, the Padres missed a window to grab this town by the shirt-collar, and create excitement. There should have been a press conference a month. Introducing Mark McGwire. Bringing in John Jay. Importing the hot rookies they got from the Red Sox. Could have created interest. Instead nothing.
Smart people run that organization, from Ron Fowler and Peter Seidler, to Mike Dee and Wayne Partello. Those guys have made Petco Park a fun place, a destination point, to be in the summer. They missed an opportunity to further sell baseball, especially when the NFL team was creating enemies everywhere. Buzz became zzzzzzzz.
So the trucks are off on their 10-hour trip to the Cactus League. Pitchers and catchers report, then the full roster, then all the phenoms who will probably make the San Antonio Missions a Texas League champion.
For all the excitement yesterday could have brought, it was a letdown, like the winter, like last season, hopefully not for the season to come.