Originally Posted by Raider Disliker
Owner Fowler referred to his players as "miserable failures", and specifically made reference to the Ray Kroc incident of the early 70's where Kroc seized the public address microphone and apologized for such stupid ball playing. I recall sending an editorial letter to the San Diego Evening Tribune in support of Kroc, which they printed.
With about 45 years to think about it, while I retract nothing in my support of Kroc (who, with his wife, single-handedly saved professional baseball for San Diego, as opposed to the Padres becoming the replacement franchise for the Washington Senators), I have to think that this current round of criticism, while crowd-pleasing for the fans, is really quite unnecessary. Everybody knows there's a bad product out on the field. There is no need to emphasize the obvious.
The Padres occupy a weird little niche in San Diego Sports history. Other than a World Series appearance against Detroit in 1984, and getting swept in the World Series by the Yankees circa 1998, the Padres have been the team that couldn't. Yet we love them none the less. As was said of the Brooklyn Dodgers, "They may be bums, but they're OUR bums!"
A combination of complacency, and the relaxed Summer beach atmosphere, leads fans to show up, place the big bucks for tickets, food, and souvenirs, and still leave semi-satisfied just for the sheer entertainment value of baseball.
As was said in a long-departed comic strip ("Pogo", I think), "We have met the enemy, and he is us!" The good-natured nature of the fans is not something I would attack; however, ownership needs a top-to-bottom shake-up of the front office; some Billy Bean-style statistical analysis may be in order. San Diego is a fairly significant place for science, given its size and location. Perhaps a committee of experts, hired as consultants (and preferably with some baseball knowledge) could undertake a "Manhattan Project" type analysis. After all, they started building the atomic bomb under the football stands at the University of Chicago; within a few years, scientists had a weapon, a weapon that ended the Pacific part of World War II. The Padres don't need to weaponize in terms of developing some "super weapon" to win games; but they need to develop a more disciplined approach to personnel selection, and overall economics. The Padres can never compete with New York or L.A. teams on an economic basis; they have to figure out how to out-smart the big franchises, just as the Oakland A's did, for a time.