Friar Wired: Around the Horn

Myers named All-Star Week ambassador
First baseman eager to represent Padres, MLB during festivities in San Diego 6-17-16
Fangraphs has a new article titled, “Wil Myers Utilizing All Fields in Return to Prominence.”  Of course they say the Padres should trade him, like everyone else. They’ve been wrong all along, but NOW they know…

Wil Myers 1B

Padres, Edwin Jackson agree to Minor League deal
San Diego seeks depth for depleted pitching staff 6-17-16
“There was a point in mid-March when projections had San Diego’s starting five as: Ross, Shields, Cashner, Erlin & Maurer.” Maurer is in the bullpen, Shields traded, and the rest are DL’d.  Padres are desperate, so this is what a GM does.
No way they trade Wil Myers, he’s their cornerstone.

Jon Jay for Jedd Gyorko (STL) was a great swap for the Padres, even with them eating $7M this year.  I hope the Padres extend him a few years.  Alexei Ramirez was a nice low-cost pick-up, instead of the overpay on Ian Desmond who couldn’t play SS anyways. A.J. Preller also snagged starting pitchers Drew Pomeranz, Luis Perdomo & Christian Friedrich this past off-season, which were all under-the-radar moves that have paid off and show future promise. He also restocked the farm system with the Craig Kimbrel trade, and set the Padres up a nice 2016 amateur draft.  Yes they are in last place this year, but they’re in better position than ARZ & COL for the future.

From the 2014-15 off-season, Wil Myers was a steal. Shields was an overpay, and costing them $20M to go away, but an understandable gamble at the time for rotation stability.  Preller did a great job unloading him before the bottom fell out, and we’ll see about RHP Erik Johnson & prospect Fernando Tatis, Jr.  Matt Kemp was Preller’s worst deal, but it is still better than a lot of other GM’s biggest blunders.  Overall Preller has done a fantastic job rebuilding an organization that was in shambles when he arrived.

Erik Johnson aims to impress in home debut 6-16-16
The Nationals are the last top NL team the Padres have yet to face. It’s another good test for this team, and die-hards hope it doesn’t get ugly. Luckily for the Padres, Stephen Strasburg pitched yesterday. Hopefully fans will get a good look at RHP Joe Ross, to get some measure on the Wil Myers deal. The other piece of that deal from the Padres system was (soon-to-be) age 23 SS Trea Turner, who was up briefly for 3B Ryan Zimmerman on paternity leave, but is now back in AAA Syracuse hitting .293/.357/.439.

Billy Joel at Petco in May 2016

MLB announces All-Star Concert Series lineup 6-16-16
Gwen Stefani, OneRepublic, Tori Kelly headline acts set to perform 6-16-16
Did anyone here see ‘piano man’ Billy Joel @ Petco?   Just wondering since they advertised it all off-season. [1]

Perdomo stays grounded, gets first win as starter 6-16-16
Like AJ Preller said, with Perdomo’s stuff he would be a top 10 draft pick, if that was his availability. Gotta stick with him, too much upside. Snagging Luis Perdomo from STL is hopefully going to make up for trading away Ozzie all those years ago.  That’s been A.J. Preller’s plan since the Rule 5 draft.  Perdomo’s 22, sits at 95-96, and gets to 98 w/ tons of ground balls. Electric stuff here.

Luis Perdomo

Padres best Rule 5 success was surely 2B Bip Roberts taken by the Padres from PIT in the Rule 5 draft in December 1985. At the plate OBP is life and making outs is bad. Bip Roberts (.294/.358/.380) was a super-utility player, and one of the most underrated players in franchise history.

Bip Roberts card

After 1991, GM Joe McIlvaine traded him to the Reds for lefty closer Randy Myers. Note, any deals during this period in Padres history must be understood in the context of Tom Werner ownership, which ran from June 1990 to December 1994. Roberts had injury issues in SD, so of course he tore himself up playing on the notoriously hard turf (and unpadded outfield walls) of Riverfront Stadium. Along with CF Eric Davis, (HoF) SS Barry Larkin, and others, Bip Roberts could never really stay healthy playing for the Reds.

Marge Schott

Marge Schott owned the Cincinnati Reds from her inheritance in 1984 to 1999. Schott was hailed by luminaries such as Oprah Winfrey as a model of ‘feminist success’ after the Reds won the World Series in 1990. She was later suspended by MLB (1996-98) then forced to sell-out, due to her statements in support of Nazi party leader Adolf Hitler.

Padres string together rally to sink Fish in finale 6-15-16


Ichiro is an amazing & unique player. Notice how well he takes care of himself. It makes all the difference.
RHP Luis Perdomo is now 2-2, and hitting .250 (1 for 4). He pinch runs and has a stolen base.  Reminds me a bit of Fletch with the Lakers– he does all the little things they need. I don’t know where the Padres would be without him?  An All-Star in my book, admittedly his current ERA (8.79) is a little high…

Fletch Dreams

Shields, Sox optimistic rough debut just a blip 6-9-16
Padres fan here: for those CWS fans who didn’t know, James Shields is cooked. If Reinsdorf, Hahn or Williams are interested in another bat, Matt Kemp is available– please contact Padres GM A.J. Preller ASAP.

Alexei Ramirez SS

BTW, Padres fans have developed much appreciation for Alexei Ramirez. For a long time, the Padres have been replacement level at SS, and while the Cuban Missile has very little pop in his bat and doesn’t walk much, he hits just enough & is super-slick with a great arm in the field. He’s improved the Padres defense tremendously, and therefore helps their pitching staff. The Padres mostly can’t score runs, and have been shutout 10 times already this season. It was a situation where the CWS wanted to move in a different direction at that position, and it worked out for another team. Wondering what White Sox fans think of Tyler Saladino & SS prospect Tim Anderson?  Best of luck with Jimmy Rollins!!


Green: Padres deserving of ASG consideration 6-8-16
I don’t believe rookies should ever be All-Stars, as anyone can get hot for a few months & fool people. I think LHP Drew Pomeranz is for real, but this excludes him from consideration by my criteria.  Closer Fernando Rodney may be the only Padres 2016 All-Star. CF Jon Jay is very underrated. 1B Wil Myers may be their franchise guy, but it’s a deep position.  When 3B Yangervais Solarte stays healthy, he’s All-Star level.  A few pieces are there, but many are still missing for the Padres.

Amateur draft begins tomorrow night, so keep these thoughts in mind. There are only 30 or so MLB players in every amateur draft, so if a team get one player that’s average. If they get two, that’s spectacular. Three or more in one draft is extraordinary. There are one or two HoFer’s per draft, and obviously those are the picks to make. They aren’t always 1st round either, as Albert Pujols & Mike Piazza prove. It’s about scouting and the ‘eye for talent.’ This draft is considered ‘college light & high-school heavy,’ so expect many HS picks. People who have no clue will yell & scream no matter what GM A.J. Preller does, but the truth is no one will know how anyone did for at least 3-4 years.

Terry Collins

The All-Star manager (Terry Collins- Mets) gets to pick his staff, and obviously he takes his own guys. It would be really cool if he also selected Padres pitching coach Darren Balsley. I witnessed Jim Hickey in TB for many years and he deserves all his accolades, but for my money Balsley is the best pitching coach in baseball today. Without him, Drew Pomeranz isn’t a phenom.  [Andy Green was later invited by Collins. Cool]


Rime of the Seattle Mariners & Padres Ownership

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Ron Fowler

Padres chairman Fowler expects better from team   6-1-16
Ownership 101: be quiet and speak with your checkbook.  If there’s a problem with the front office or GM, then deal with it directly & decisively.  Don’t vent through the media. Building a winning organization takes time, hard work, money & luck.  Most owners are overgrown babies who are used to getting everything they want immediately.
The biggest historical detriment to the Padres winning, has been their ownership.  Ron Fowler’s weakness seems to be his impatience & meddling.  When an owner hires a new GM to a 5-year contract, that’s his guy.  That means the owner must refrain from bitching and throwing regime personnel under the bus, just because he can’t stand losing.  Since baseball is about losing, perhaps Ron Fowler is in the wrong business?  It’s going to take a leader with vision (along with a generous & meddle-free owner) to ever get it done for the Padres and their fans.
James Shields’ ERA went from 3.06 to 4.28. One blow-up start can do that early.  He’s been pretty solid mostly, but poorly supported.  He’s a professional, and owned that he stunk the other day.  Padres need OBP & SLG.

Padres homer four times to rout Mariners
Cano’s 16th homer isn’t enough in San Diego 6-1-16
Padres really caught a break with RHP Felix Hernandez going on the DL, as I was expecting to wake up to another Padres shutout loss.  Right calf strain for King Felix, and fans hope he gets better soon.  One of the best of this era– HOF no question.

Padres need support at the All-Star ballot box 6-1-16
Closer Fernando Rodney will be the Padres lone All-Star representative.  I hope he closes out a win, getting the NL home-field advantage in the WS. Except for 2010-12 (and a tie in 2002), it’s been all AL in the mid-summer classic since 1997.

Fernando Rodney

Padres watch 10-run lead disappear vs. M’s 6-2-16
When the Padres are bad, they’re really bad, as they keep finding unbelievable new ways to lose games. Frustrating & fascinating, all at the same time.  Give the Mariners credit for not giving up.  The best recent news for the Padres is that RHP Cesar Vargas won’t need Tommy John surgery.  Press on, Padres!!

Cesar Vargas

As a Padres fan, it hurts to come up short (yet) again, but what a run & great season guys. Amateur draft next week, Padres have 6 picks in the top 85.  International draft begins July 2.  That’s the organizational focus right now, and real Padres fans know it.  Again, hats off to the Seattle Mariners on that comeback, but Padres fans have seen it before.


Padres, Snakes & Trade Rumors

Posted @ MLB

Padres tap into Solarte power behind Friedrich 5-27-16
Andy Green finally got that 9-0 game where he could use Luis Perdomo like he wants to. Perdomo’s ERA remains under 10.00, so it’s good. It’s really nice for the Padres to have 3B Yangervais Solarte back, as they need his bat & glove.


If ARZ’s annual payroll is capped at $100M, then they had no business signing Zack Greinke to that deal. That falls on the GM and upper management. Those who say the Diamondbacks need to clean house are likely correct.

The Federalist

BJ Upton still rocks, a true team player for moving to LF for CF Jon Jay. One of my favorite new nicknames is the ‘Federalist,’ every time Jay does something good I’m looking up our founding fathers & constitutional history!

John Jay

Friedrich making case to stick with Padres
Lefty cruises over 7 innings as offense thumps D-backs  5-27-16
Christian Friedrich has good stuff, and he’s left-handed so he stays in the rotation. Lots of swings & misses, check swings, etc…thank you, COL. The Rockies also gave up on LHP Drew Pomeranz & just gave away Rule 5 pick RHP Luis Perdomo (Cardinals). Evidentially there’s no concern for developing any kind of starting pitching in Denver.

James Loney

Mets acquire Loney from Padres 
Veteran figures to be primary option at first until Duda returns  5-28-16
Padres GM AJ Preller acquired & stashed guys like 1B James Loney all off-season. Loney has hit at AAA El Paso and has an opt-out, so good luck except against the Padres. No real power here. How much is “cash considerations?”

Padres’ ninth-inning rally falls short vs. D-backs 5-28-16
GM AJ Preller needs a nice haul for James Shields, as reliable 200+ IP starters don’t grow on trees. Shields is proven AL-tough and his contract is fair, especially in light of what was handed out this past off-season (Ian Kennedy, Zack Greinke, etc…). Padres might eat a little salary, but not much as it’s mostly about what they get in return. Matt Kemp is another story. CWS are an interesting organization, owned by Jerry Reinsdorf who normally is cheap, but every once in awhile does something crazy. The White Sox are currently 1.5 GB in a wide-open AL Central, so we’ll see if anything comes of this.

IMO, GM Preller should hang onto RHP James Shields for now, as shortstop prospect Tim Anderson in exchange isn’t enough and the CWS have a notoriously thin farm system. They always have, it seems.  Anderson was the 17th overall pick in the 2013 draft, he’s batting .314/.342/.408 in Triple-A Charlotte, which convinces no one he’s MLB-ready or has much of a ceiling. Preller got way better in the Craig Kimbrel deal, and Shields is more valuable. In SD he helps anchor a young & developing starting rotation, that needs an innings horse. He’s pitched really well and that’s worth a lot, even to a last place team such as this. It keeps the younger starters from being overstretched, and then injured. It also makes them nearly respectable, which is better than being a laughingstock. He’s a team leader whom everyone respects, so if he’s dealt it must be for a good haul.

Matt Kemp RF-DH

From the Padres perspective, it’s Matt Kemp whom Preller is really trying to trade. Christian Bethancourt, Travis Jankowski, and a host of AAA-prospects are waiting for their shot at RF, and it won’t happen until Kemp is dealt to the AL where he can DH regularly. It’s in the Padres best interest not deal Shields (or any other major contract) until Matt Kemp is traded. For full effect, dominoes need to fall in their proper order and right now the Padres bottleneck is in RF.

Padres place Vargas on 15-day disabled list  5-29-16
Just another reason not to trade James Shields. Get a MRI.



San Diego Padres: Gay Pride Night, Smokeless Tobacco & Losing

Padres apologize following Pride Night mix-up 5-23-16
Great back & forth discussion!!

MLB satisfied with Padres’ response to chorus mix-up   5-26-16
Unfortunate, but well-handled, Padres.  Bring the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus back to sing the national anthem on a military Sunday.   Now that would be interesting!   ‘COMMENT PENDING’

San Diego Gay Men's Chorus

Pomeranz’s gem wasted as Giants walk off 5-23-16
That’s about as tough a loss as it gets for the Padres; two bloops beat them, and the final one should have been caught by RF Matt Kemp. Only two hits and no walks (again) from the SD lineup. Very little Andy Green can do about it, which is what makes all it so frustrating to fans.

Green says Padres need to ‘raise the bar’
A closed-door meeting was a good call by manager Andy Green. It proves he knows when to act, and it holds the players accountable– they’re the ones not getting on base or scoring any runs.

Gwynn family addresses media following suit
Wife, children allege that tobacco company contributed to Padres Hall of Famer’s death 5-24-16
I have mixed feelings on this. I’m a dentist by profession, and always counsel patients to quit, but most are too addicted to stop. Tony Gywnn started in 1977, when smokeless tobacco was still advertised on television. Jocks like Carlton Fisk & Earl Campbell did commercials for it. Big tobacco definitely lied about its health effects and deserve to be held accountable, but at some point people have to take responsibility for their actions. Everybody knows dipping is bad for you. Most lawsuits are about $$. RIP #19

Smokeless Tobacco Results

Padres can’t hold off Giants’ rally, drop series 5-24-16
A win for the Padres today would be a pleasant surprise for their fans.

Padres lose 4-3 in 10 innings, Giants sweep series 5-25-16
The Padres are showing their fanbase every way a team can lose a game this season, getting swept by the Giants who are now 9-0 against the Padres this year. Much of the losing in this series falls on the shoulders of RF Matt Kemp. In the opening game of this set with the Giants, Kemp’s lack of range cost the Padres a 1-0 loss on a routine pop-up that should have sent the game into extra innings. In game two, Kemp was 2-4, getting thrown out trying to stretch both hits an extra base, a case of him trying to do too much, but still making outs which are bad. Game three just ended with a 4-3 loss in 10 innings, where he went 0-5. He batted third and therefore was given multiple opportunities to deliver a win, and again he didn’t. In 2016, Kemp has 197 PA’s, with 4 walks. Matt Kemp (.228/.240/.446) needs to be moved down in the lineup, or sat down on the bench. Or better yet, moved on to the AL. This is easily GM A.J. Preller’s biggest mistake, and he needs to eat whatever it takes to get this done. This situation is hurting player development, and disheartening fans who’ve seen losing all-too-often in San Diego. This is also where Padres owner Ron Fowler becomes accountable, as this can’t affect the Padres ability to spend money in the upcoming amateur & international drafts, or negate any future helpful free-agent acquisitions. That’s the price an owner must pay to own a winning team.

Jake Peavy


Hector Sanchez greeted warmly by Giants fans
Padres catcher plays at AT&T Park for first time as a visitor 5-25-16
I like the way Giants fans appreciate former role players who helped them win, as it’s not all about the stars.
AJ Preller decided to add some depth to the Padres catching mix, as top prospect Austin Hedges went down with a fractured hamate bone. Derek Norris has hit poorly, and waiver pick-up Christian Bethancourt is raw. Padres stink, so why not?

Padres y Gigantes

Previously posted @

Morrow, Spangenberg suffer setbacks 5-17-16
“I don’t want to say he pulled it again, but it just didn’t feel good,”  [Padres manager Andy] Green said. “Something happened where they had to pull him back. There’s kind of swelling in there.”
That means 2B prospect Cory Spangenberg pulled it again.

Kemp’s homer lone damage vs. MadBum 6-18-16
Of course Madison Bumgarner is a great pitcher, and 29 other teams would love to have him. He just needs to control himself better. He doesn’t need that horsebleep [staring down Wil Myers after striking him out], just head back to the dugout like a professional.
What the Padres really need is some OBP in their lineup– zero walks again last night.
Padres have played the Mets, Cubs & Giants, and SF is the best team in the NL to this fan.

Giants fans: Padres are rebuilding under a smart new GM, and will be very competitive in a few years. If you’re too apathetic or belligerent to see that, then save the insults as you’re just embarrassing yourself. In the meantime, Padres fans need to deal with losing like real men & women. Baseball (like life) is about dealing with losing, and it’s how you respond that really counts.

Madison Bumgarner

Benches empty after MadBum fans Myers 5-18-16
Padres don’t need to throw at anybody, they just need to play better and score more runs.

Padres send Blash to Minors after deal with Mariners 5-18-16
James Loney has an opt-out, not sure if it’s June 1. Padres have the right of first refusal.
I’m glad to see the news about Jabari Blash. Padres are the only organization that’s giving him a shot, and he needs to play everyday– in the minors.

Pence, Cueto push Giants to 7th straight win 5-19-16
RHP Johnny Cueto was the best primetime free-agent starting pitcher signing of the past off-season, in terms of value & contract length. As long as he stays healthy, he’s a second true ace for the Giants. David Price & Zack Grienke are fantastic too, but cost more, for longer. Note: Cueto has an opt-out after 2017, and SF holds a $5M buyout for 2022 if he stays. To me, this was the move that put them over the top in the NL.

Johnny Cueto RHP

Shields outdueled as Friars fall to Giants 5-20-16
At this point, the Padres are no match for the Giants, who are a championship-calibre team. Padres got swept: losing 5-1, 2-1, 3-1; with no walks again in the finale. It’s time for GM A.J. Preller to deal his remaining tradable assets– starting with RF/DH Matt Kemp.  As predicable as this scenario was, it’s still tough for Friar fans to follow, but it’s the reality this organization must face.

Dodger fans: Padres play LA next and few of you lurk in here, so I’ll speak now because it is difficult for Pads fans to correspond with you– due to the sheer numbers in your forum. Padres have 20-30 regular fans, who often listen and sometimes thoughtfully add to a discussion when compelled. Their average post total reaches 30-50 on a decent thread. For the Dodgers it is hundreds, sometimes thousands after a big game; and honestly most of it is noise.

LA Dodgers & the Time Warner Cable Deal

This can be partially explained by the fact that Time Warner Cable owns the rights to the Dodgers’ games on SportsNet LA for $8.35 billion over 25 years. Over 70% of the LA cable/satellite TV market can’t watch a Dodger game on television, so it’s 1) Vin Scully [last time around] on the radio; 2) MLB Gameday; and 3) online posting in team forums during the game. This is pushed to the extreme for the Dodgers, as most of their fans can’t see them play, save going to Chavez Ravine. The LAD lead the world in baseball attendance every year, so there is no reason for them not to be on television. MLB blackout restrictions further add to a fan’s frustration. Theirs the most ridiculous situation in MLB, and deserves to be seriously addressed from a fan (public) interest perspective.

Rougned Odor 2B

Last thoughts on fighting in MLB: the other day TEX 2B Rougned Odor (age 22 career .263/.306/.442) nailed TOR RF Jose Bautista with a solid overhand right to his maxilla, after a hard slide into second base. Bautista slid well past the bag, so it had to be considered a bit dirty. When Joey Bats got up to protest indignation he got nailed by Odor because he wasn’t ready to fight, going in with his hands down & leading with his head.  Rangers ended up winning the game, and both sides have now gotten in their shots, so it’s over– pretty much.  When the dust settles, it’s about wins & losses as well as dignity; so players should cut out the horsebleep (as most of them don’t know how to fight anyways) and just play ball.


Friars & Brewers

Posted @

Perdomo makes first start, kicking off bullpen game 5-14-16

Luis Perdomo has worked hard to get his ERA below 10.00, so he gets a chance to start. Besides, who else do the Padres have at this point? Carlos Villanueva, Brad Hand & Brandon Mauer are all relievers. The Brewers aren’t a great team, so it’s a decent opportunity for the kid. I have no problem with this move, but I’ll admit I’m more intrepid than most. It will be interesting, for sure.

Luis Perdomo RHP

A quick review of the overall numbers that matter: in Defensive Efficiency Rating (converting balls-in-play into outs) Padres are 19th, with much of that due to injuries– having to play poor defenders such as Brett Wallace, Adam Rosales, etc… Padres fans seem to agree they are better defensively. In composite ERA they are currently 13th, a major improvement over last season. In AVG/OBP/SLG the Padres rank 27th/28th/29th, which is the real problem.

Friars fortify ‘pen with Campos, option Dickerson 5-14-16

1B Wil Myers, RF Matt Kemp, LF B.J. Upton, SS Alexei Ramirez (and the rest AAA players) started for the Padres tonight. Rule 5 pick (from STL) RHP Luis Perdomo made his first MLB start. Before this season, he’d never pitched above A-ball. Perdomo went 2+ innings: giving up 2 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 4. He threw 60 pitches, only 31 for strikes. This kid has stuff– he just needs to learn control, command & economy. Sounds simple, but it’s not.

Lefty reliever Brad Hand entered in the 3rd to clean up Perdomo’s mess– keeping the youngster’s ERA under 10.00. The Padres have had a rash of injuries so far, so the only remaining Padres 2015 Rule 5 pick may be starting again sometime soon. This form of ‘stacking’ guys who really aren’t legitimate starters, is innovative. It lets GM A.J. Preller rotate pitchers (with players who have remaining options to the minors), getting them MLB experience without over-stretching their arms or abilities. Perdomo can’t be optioned (because he’s Rule 5), so if 2 innings are all he can give the Padres then this becomes Andy Green’s bullpen game-plan. RHP’s Tyson Ross & Andrew Cashner are out, so Green & Preller have to get creative. It’s forward & bold, so I like it.

Brad Hand went 4 shutout innings, ending the 6th by coaxing a come-backer from 2B Scooter Gennett, to leave the bases loaded preserving a 6-2 lead. Myers & Kemp provided, and others contributed, if not with a hit– then a walk or nice defensive play.

That got Andy Green to the 7th, where he managed his thin bench and shaky bullpen well enough. It was Kevin Quackenbush, then Ryan Buchter who blew it, with help from the second CI of the night from newly-acquired Hector Sanchez (with 2 out, on a 1-2 pitch in the 8th), giving the Brewers what they needed to tie it at 6-6. Low-cost bullpen has its downside, but the money saved will buy the bats needed to win. Reliever options are better if not perfect for the new Padres skipper, as he has lefties and decent righties to closer Fernando Rodney–> but they need to throw strikes. To be fair, it looked like they were all getting squeezed by HP umpire Manny Gonzalez on Gameday. BTW: Fernando Rodney in the 9th, a walk and throwing error (on a pickoff attempt), ends with a strikeout-throwout double play– Sanchez to 3B Adam Rosales. Vintage Rodney 😉

By the bottom of the 10th, Green is out of bench players, with plenty of bullpen arms available. Green chooses righty Leonel Campos who delivers 2 shutout innings.
Derek Norris (who replaced injured Wil Myers at 1B) & Bossman Jr. hit 2-out solo homers in the 12th. RHP Carlos Villaneuva gives one up to Lucroy, but closes it out for the save. It’s a big win for the Padres, a team trying to find the right track. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but this shows good reason for optimism.


This series in Milwaukee brings back memories. I grew a Reds fan in Wisconsin, before interleague play; Brewers were AL back then, so it was acceptable to also root for the Brewers– since they never played each other. #4 3B/DH Paul Molitor was my favorite. I’ve always thought Phil Garner was their best manager– he had very little with which to work, but he maximized what he had. Not his fault they stunk. I remember Rory Markas & Del Crandall as my favorite television broadcast team. Of course, I listened to Bob Uecker on the radio many times.

Harry Doyle

The Stadium bus to the ballpark & back was always affordable & convenient, as were ‘general admission’ (good) seats. Mostly we tailgated with beer & brats hours before the game, like most Brew crew fans. Outsiders need to realize that Wisconsin’s loyalty is primarily to the Green Bay Packers. The Milwaukee Brewers are proudly supported, but not loved like the Packers. Winning & tradition have a lot to do with this. The Brewers have never won the World Series, coming into MLB the same year as the San Diego Padres– 1969. Brewers heartbreak year was 1982, when they were the best team in baseball, until injuries (Rollie Fingers & Pete Vuckovich) and STL rookie CF Willie ‘bleeping’ McGee beat them in 7 games. Brewers have never been anywhere close since.

Willie McGee-CF

I went to many games at County Stadium when I was in college, and it was always a blast. Miller Park is convenient in that it has a retractable roof, as the weather can get nasty in Milwaukee. Miller Park was (and still is) reviled by many. Three construction workers were killed on July 14, 1999 when a 567-foot crane lifting a 400-ton section of retractable roof, bent in half and collapsed. Brewers owner Bud Selig had been pushing to get Miller Park opened on time, and this ‘rush to complete’ was cited as a primary cause of the accident. The dead were Jerome Starr, 52, Jeff Wischer, 40, and William DeGrave, 39, who were in a cage that was being hoisted by another crane when the disaster occurred.

If anyone wants to see how beautiful County Stadium was, Major League (1989) filmed its regular season game scenes there, as Municipal Stadium in Cleveland was considered a dump.  County Stadium was a great ballpark which first brought the Braves (Boston), then the Pilots from Seattle.  New stadiums are mostly about ownership greed, and Miller Park is no exception.

Pete Vuckovich-Clu Haywood

The Brewers franchise was ruined by decades of Bud Selig ownership, in so many ways it still taints the organization. Paul Molitor managing the Minnesota Twins is one example. Brewers GM David Stearns primary task is to build a program that develops quality & reliable starting pitching, which this organizational has always lacked. MIL just wasted an offensive peak (created by superior scouting & player development) consisting of 1B Prince Fielder, RF Ryan Braun, LF Corey Hart, SS J.J. Hardy, 2B Rickie Weeks, C Jonathan Lucroy… because too many starters had ERAs north of 5.00, with no ace. RHP’s Ben Sheets & Yovani Gallardo, championship #2 starters at their best, were it; and that’s not nearly enough.

Yovani Gallardo

Until next time, hey dere Brewers fans!!  Over & out


How to Win Friends & Influence Online

Content gathered & edited from the forums, primarily SD Padres

Shields tallies 9 K’s as Padres blank Brewers 5-13-16
Let’s be clear on what James Shields is: 2-5, 3.12 ERA in 52 IP– in less than a quarter of a season, on track for another 200+ IP with an excellent ERA. He has been poorly supported in most of his outings, hence the losing record. All the other young pitchers (Colin Rea, Drew Pomeranz, Cesar Vargas, etc…) will likely be restricted to 120-150 (max) IP-limit, for their own protection. Padres can no longer count on Tyson Ross and possibly Andrew Cashner for awhile. $21M/year is what quality reliable starting pitching costs, and actually Shields’ contract is fair in open-market (capitalist) terms. If he doesn’t opt-out after this season he has $21M, $21M & $16M (team option- $2M buyout) remaining through 2019, his age 37 season. No one expects much after that, so it’s a good contract and I hope Shields stays– if the Padres can be competitive.

Note: James Shields was my favorite player in Tampa, until he was traded in December 2012 for Wil Myers. I understood why the Rays did it at the time, but it still hurt as a fan. The results of this deal illustrate how much a GM means to an organization, as soon as TBR GM Andrew Friedman left for LAD, new Padres GM AJ Preller was able to swindle Myers from their new Rays GM Matt Silverman. It cost the Padres a nice pitching prospect in Joe Ross to WAS (let’s see if he stays healthy under Dusty Baker?), and SS prospect Trea Turner who’s hitting .310/.377/.442– in AAA Syracuse. It’s the Rays who really got nothing out of the deal, and lost their franchise hitter to boot. Padres fans are grateful  🙂

James Shields

Friedrich slated for Padres debut in series rematch 5-13-16
I don’t see the Padres 23-inning scoreless pitching streak lasting much longer in today’s game, as LHP Christian Friedrich is an emergency call-up with all their injuries (Tyson Ross, Robbie Erlin, Andrew Cashner?). Hopefully they can get 5+ innings out of him (with run support) and a good extended-relief stint from someone like Luis Perdomo. Another good challenge from Andy Green last night earned Alexei Ramirez a hit.  Padres are threatening to climb out of last place, starting to come together, etc…


Suitors for Lincecum reportedly whittled to three 5-12-16
Padres fan here: I don’t see Tim Lincecum as a starting pitcher in the AL. His fastball velocity isn’t what it was, and it’s not enough to consistently get through stacked AL line-ups with DH’s. He belongs with the Giants, but needs to at least be in the NL. My $.02

Any organization has to insist on a reasonable base salary ($4-6M?) with performance incentives for Tim Lincecum.  He’s got reward potential, but obviously is a huge injury risk– and clubs need to protect themselves. That’s surely what’s being negotiated now.

Pomeranz leads Padres to DH sweep of Cubs 5-12-16
“I got a long memory… He’ll learn.” — John Lackey on how Christian Bethancourt — whom the veteran hurler had never faced — watched his home run.

That just sounds like an excuse to throw at Bethancourt the next time they meet. Padres (and their fans) have long memories too.
For perspective, Christian Bethancourt is a 24-YO kid from Panama, trying to establish himself as a major-leaguer. He was obviously excited in the moment, but there was no intent to show up John Lackey, who is a quality veteran pitcher. Bethancourt will ‘learn’ from Padres manager Andy Green, hitting coach Alan Zinter, and bench coach Mark McGwire– who knows all about HR etiquette.

Fernando Rodney RHP

Padres closer Fernando Rodney shoots 2 arrows at Wrigley, in one day!!
To Cubs fans– your team’s winning percentage is no longer double that of the Padres. Wrigley Field is the most beautiful ballpark ever. Great series, tight games–good luck until Petco! Over & out

Padres claim catcher Sanchez from White Sox 5-11-16
AJ Preller trying to add some catching depth, which you can never have too much of. Example– top prospect C Austin Hedges (was raking in AAA) is now out with a hamate fracture. We’ll see if Hector Sanchez, the switch-hitting witch sticks. I just wanted to say that 😉

Wallace ends up-and-down day with a blast 5-11-16 Beats Cubs 7-4 @ Wrigley
Padres need Brett Wallace to stick at 3B. Both his errors earlier today were throwing, which is easier to fix than a bad glove. He showed a decent glove with a nice pick to snuff a Cubs rally later, so there are signs of improvement. This lets GM A.J. Preller wait for Yangervais Solarte get 100% healthy, while getting a good look at Wallace who walks a TON and has a stick. A bunch of organizations have tried this guy and given up on him. He just needs some coaching, and a chance to play. Preller cleaned house (mostly), and kept what was essential (Balsley) this off-season, so their dugout staff is much stronger. Brett Wallace is another Preller lottery ticket, and it’s great that fans have bought into his plan of trying these guys out, with less regard for winning.

Andy Green ejected

It’s Andy Green’s job to put the expectation of winning on the players, so they don’t embarrass the organization and their fans, Green has done this well so far and Padres fans have (mostly) noticed & appreciate it. Padres now have much more upside, with young players like Wallace, Colin Rea, Drew Pomeranz, Cesar Vargas, Luis Perdomo, Jabari Blash, & others. An organization with brains that isn’t afraid to lose games, can quickly spot & develop its talent.

Brett Wallace 3B

Weeks strains hamstring, likely headed to DL 5-8-16
How many groin/hamstring/quad injuries for the Padres so far?  Looks like Adam Rosales at 2B with Brett Wallace at 3B for awhile. Infield depth is now stretched to its limit, any more injuries at those positions and the Padres are well below replacement level. Who gets the call up?
@Alvin77 & Rolfes: I’d forgotten about 2B Jose Pirela. AJ Preller got him from the NYY for 21-YO RHP Ronald Herrera, who’s in AAA (Scranton). That indicates depth, which is something this organization has lacked in the past. GM did his job (extremely) well this off-season, and this is where it shows up. Manager Andy Green still has usable options, which is nice 🙂

Sabathia says injured groin improving daily 5-7-16
I know it was a great start for him, to get a win the Yankees needed– but it wasn’t worth it to land on the DL. A player has to be honest with himself & his team in that situation. CC Sabathia’s quotes indicate he’s still in denial about his injury. Sad & scary; hope he figures it out.

CC Sabathia

Ross progressing, but not ready to throw 5-4-16
Thanks for this injury report, AJ Cassavell.
The Padres approach with RHP Tyson Ross is correct– let the labrum tear heal, while building protective muscle in the shoulder. You can’t rush tears of ligaments, cartilage and tendons; if you try, you just risk setbacks with no real improvement. The labrum is a piece of fibrocartilage, therefore no throwing yet for Ross. He’s probably at least 4-6 weeks away from throwing, if things go well in his rehabilitation. If things aren’t going well, then much longer.
Also, it sounds like LOOGY Matt Thornton will likely be awhile w/ his Achilles tendonitis.


Kemp & Myers work well together 5-3-16
Appreciate Matt Kemp (career .289/.344/.491) is the point. He may soon be a luxury the Padres can no longer afford.  Meanwhile, appreciate him.
For the record, it’s at least a push for the best player Wil Myers has ever played with. Evan Longoria 3B (gold glove) career .270/.346/.485.


Vargas cements spot in Padres’ rotation 5-4-16
Can the Padres keep him healthy, or will he flameout?  That is always the question with promising young pitchers.

Vargas turns in solid outing, but Padres fall short
PadsFans: 8 shutouts in out first 28 games. I really don’t know any other way to describe it except pathetic.
RicSize: Don’t be sad, two out of three ain’t bad

Ceasr Vargas

Upton, Rea lead way in game-changing 5th inning 5-1-16
Luckily there’s some depth a C, so the chances of that turning around for the Padres are decent. ATL is the worst team in the NL (by far), precisely because they do stupid stuff like giving up on C Christian Bethancourt, who at least has upside. Instead ATL went with veteran CWS-rejects– Tyler Flowers & AJ Pierzynski.

Matt Kemp is better defensively in RF, partly because BJ Upton covers so much room in LF, so CF Jon Jay can shade more to right field. Thus Kemp’s lack of range becomes less of a liability. Still not great, but at least passable in RF at present. BTW– if Jay (presently .271/.333/.323) can move his walk rate up a tick, he becomes a very valuable player.

Kemp’s homer snaps Padres’ skid in LA 4-30-16
Matt Kemp increases his potential trade value, while beating the Dodgers– Padres fans approve!

Matt Kemp 2015

Wallace is becoming an elite pinch-hitter 4-30-16
What the Padres like about Brett Wallace is that he walks. In 31 PAs so far in 2016 his line is .174/.387/.217. He’s walked 6 times, and been HBP twice. For comparison Matt Kemp has walked only twice (!) in 91 PAs for a .284/.297/.591 line. It’s the low OBP (lack of walks) that hurts Kemp’s value at the plate. Wallace is brutal defensively at 3B, and not much better at 1B, so his value is primarily depth off the bench– until an opportunity presents itself. His career .399 SLG is pedestrian, and needs to improve.


Posted @

Support White and Niemuth in 2016!

Niles Niemuth & Jerry White

Socialist Equality Party announces presidential campaign    22 April 2016
SEP has tried ballot access in the past and has always been blocked & cheated (every step of the way) by Democratic Party machinery, proving it’s mostly pointless to pour resources into reformist measures.

Obama in Flint: Let them drink lead     6 May 2016
Barack Obama drinking Flint water is reminiscent of gubernatorial candidate Montgomery Burns eating 3-eyed fish on The Simpsons.

Look at today’s filmmaking … then look at the world      11 May 2016
There are important parallels between David Walsh’s discussion of ‘feminist filmmaking’ and current ‘feminist’ politics, personified in Hillary Clinton.

Obama and the bombing of Hiroshima     13 May 2016 
“The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb” by Gar Alperovitz is the scholarly work on the subject, and was referenced in an older WSWS article. Also read the “Hiroshima Diary: The Journal of a Japanese Physician, August 6th – September 30, 1945” by Michihiko Hachiya for details of its horrible aftermath. The Hiroshima & Nagasaki atomic bombings were imperialist war crimes of the highest magnitude.

Scarred Survivor


Friar Musings

San Diego Padres are 7-15, last in the NL West as of this publication.  Everything below was originally posted here, content has been edited slightly.

Padres shut-out by Dodgers in 3-game series 4-6-16
You gotta admit: 1) this is now must-see inept baseball, & 2) A.J. Preller really keeps it interesting. It’s helps to have a sense of humor. Life (like baseball) is mostly about dealing with losing.

Tyson Ross

Tyson Ross lands on DL with shoulder inflammation 4-9-16
Good to be cautious, as he’s too valuable to risk damaging. Get a diagnosis ASAP. Shoulders are the most serious pitching injuries and hardest from which to recover. MRI needed.

Padres lose 2-1 to Phillies 4-13-16
That was a great defensive play by 1B Wil Myers to C Christian Bethancourt who showed nice athleticism with the tag, to erase two errors (Rosales & Amarista) and prevent a run– to end the inning.
I watch a limited number of games and from what I’ve seen, their defense is fundamentally better but still not sound. Checking their box scores routinely, they’re turning a lot of double plays, as they had 3 more tonite in their 2-1 loss to the Phillies. Defense is a difficult & underrated team skill that takes time to gel– but is worth it. Teams can no longer win a WS without good defense.


Padres reaping benefits of increase in shifts 4-13-16
Here’s another stat for y’all: the Padres have a much better winning percentage when they don’t get shut-out.
Padres early are getting decent individual performances, but don’t put things together as a team. There’s talent here but not enough, so expect more of this for awhile. Andy Green is already an excellent manager, but GM A.J. Preller needs another year or two to draft & develop the players & pitchers he needs to win.

AJ Preller & Andy Green

What’s good for Padres fans, is that we know early. Padres fans have been deceived (and strung along) in the past. Preller now knows he needs to move the contracts, ASAP. Many Padres fans foresaw this scenario, proving Preller had a clear plan for the worst contingency. Fans can see and understand the process, which isn’t as good as winning but at least inspires some real hope for this franchise.

Preller is lined up for both summer drafts, which are his areas of expertise. This could be a HUGE shot in the arm for the organization & their fans. As long as ownership is willing to maintain payroll and draft slot commitments, good things can happen quicker than expected. Remember it’s only baseball, and be thankful it’s here everyday for 6 months.

LHP Drew Pomeranz

Drew Pomeranz notches 8 K’s in shut-out loss to Phils 4-14-16
Once again, at least the fans & AJ Preller know early. I love Matt Kemp but he needs to go, as OF’s Jabari Blash & Travis Jankowski need at least 350-400 PAs for Green & Preller to know if either are a player. Same for Wil Myers & Cory Spangenberg who need 500+ PA’s, and reps at their positions to improve defensively. Off to ARZ in search of a win, or at least a run.

Padres shut out in 5 of their first 10 games, including a MLB-record 30 innings to start the 2016 season 4-15-16

Padres threaten in ninth but fall to D-backs 4-16-16
I have to admit it’s easier to follow this team on the east coast, as I can just go to sleep with justification that I’m not going to torture myself by staying up late for this. It’s much easier to review the videos, wrap-ups & box scores; and catch an occasional game– somehow. When a franchise is rebuilding, fans need to step back and relax– otherwise it’s maddening. A few fans posted the other day about going to a game of their minor league affiliates, which is a great idea for any baseball fan. Win or lose it’s always interesting to follow, and the minors are where fans can get a good look at an organization’s future, and decide for themselves if they’re on the right track.

AAA Padres

Slow-recovering Ross sent for MRI 4-20-16
What a brilliant idea. For the record, I recommended this as soon as his start was to be skipped. That was April 9th. Wait longer, and it costs you more.

Padres place Robbie Erlin on DL with left elbow strain 4-21-16
Padres have to get healthy while doing a better job at preventing injuries. That’s a huge inefficiency in MLB, which smaller market teams must exploit, as they can’t compete dollar-for-dollar with high-payroll behemoths. Padres will continue to lose if they don’t figure this out.

Robbie Erlin LHP

Tyson Ross will not require surgery on shoulder 4-22-16
It’s good to read the Padres got a MRI on Cory Spangenberg too. They now know the exact extent of his quad injury, and can plan and monitor his rehab accordingly. The fans now know too, so they won’t be getting frustrated with him being on the DL, or accusing him of being ‘soft.’ Padres fans will also be interested to hear the exact diagnosis on the right shoulder of Tyson Ross for all the same reasons.
When MLB teams ignore or postpone necessary medical imaging & science, they are reduced to voodoo doctoring.

Cardinals take two out of three @ Petco 4-24-16
I agree with die-hards that the Padres need have brown in their team colors, as their name means ‘friars’ in English. They looked best (IMO) in brown & orange, late Tony Gwynn era (1996-98). These were also their best teams. Coincidence?


Vintage Upton on display this season in SD 4-29-16
No one loves BJ more than me. He’s in his age 31 season, with a .243/.329/.378 line in LF, which is below average for the position. His defense is superior, proving he still should be a CF, where his batting line plays a lot better. He has a cannon for an arm, and kills many rallies with an ease & grace that ignites a crowd & dugout– instantly. His 6 SB w/ 3 CS is a wash, proving he needs to be more selective on steals. His biggest negative is that he doesn’t walk enough, and that’s just who he is. He’s not a superstar, but a bunch of really good teams would love to have him. Only a year-and-change left on his contract and he’s a championship-level CF.

Matt Kemp & BJ

With that said, 1B Wil Myers is clearly the Padres best player. Bossman Jr & Matt Kemp are valuable veteran parts– soon-to-be traded. All the other younger guys have something to prove, before they can be called real players. Solarte (health), Spangenberg (health & consistency), Norris (consistency), and Jay (consistency). Blash is intriguing and needs to play, but he’s blocked by Matt Kemp. Kemp has shown other teams his value already, and he’s on pace for another solid year at the plate. Plenty of AL teams in need are looking at him now and the Padres are definitely for sale– if not now, soon. Preller will be first to market, which is how you get the best return.

Wil Myers 1B Padres

As for the pitching, Shields is still a horse, and a bunch of good teams are coveting his services. His opt-out will not be waived (BOS already asked), which actually hurts his trade value. Big-market teams consider his 3-years remaining (if opt-out is declined) a bargain. Young pitchers are always about stuff & staying healthy. Ross (health) and Cashner (consistency) each have their issues, but are highly prized around MLB. Pomeranz, Rea & Erlin all show promise, but the later two are shut down with injuries at present, proving that pitching prospects are always the toughest to project, due to health.


That is why injury prevention is the most important inefficiency in modern MLB. It’s the new OBP & defensive metrics. Despite the conventional wisdom you may hear, injuries don’t “just happen.” True, they are sometimes random accidents, other times they are misfortune or malicious intention; but they always have causes– and most injuries are preventable. This is particularly true for repeatable-motion injuries in pitching. Pitching overhanded generates more velocity, but is an unnatural & destructive motion as compared to throwing sidearm or submarine. Mechanics have to be perfect throughout the kinetic chain, otherwise disabling tears eventually occur in the elbow or shoulder, requiring surgical intervention. The prognosis for pitching again is much better for Tommy John (elbow) as compared to labrum (rotator cuff) surgery, so preventing shoulder breakdowns is of critical importance.


Pay-off pitch to A.J. Preller late March, 2016
Injuries now cost MLB franchises hundreds of millions of dollars/year in lost player value. While some injuries are inevitable, most of this loss is due to inefficient management and outdated science, which can be corrected with elite baseball brains putting proper injury risk-assessment & prevention systems in place. I can help integrate the advanced metrics, with the physiology and high-performance bio-mechanics. Warning: no illicit PED use acceptable for me, and will be quickly detected if deception is attempted. I do realize you’ve already hired new personnel across the board, including new medical staff. I’d love to work with them (and you), to help this organization win. My posts in this forum demonstrate my baseball expertise, eye for action, management skills and medical knowledge. I’m pretty sure my efforts have helped the off-season Padres in many areas, including advertising & ticket sales. I live a busy life in Florida, so contact me through my site or Facebook message, if interested. Thank you, RS
PS_ I’m still a Padres fan, even if refused or ignored at this time; I just think it would be fun to consult for MLB. How’s that for cojones?

Note: I never received a response, so the above offer is now open to all MLB teams. Until retained, I’ll simply be a Padres fan.


2016 San Diego Padres Opening Day Projections

Opening Day (OD) lineup projection: LF Jon Jay, 2B Cory Spangenberg, 1B Wil Myers, RF Matt Kemp, 3B Yangervis Solarte, CF BJ Upton, C Derek Norris, SS Alexei Ramirez, P Tyson Ross

tyson ross

Rotation is #1 Tyson Ross, #2 James Shields, #3 Andrew Cashner, with a trio of 25-year olds– LHP Robbie Erlin, and RHP’s Brandon Maurer (acquired by A.J. Preller for 33-year old Seth Smith to OAK) & Padres prospect Colin Rea, competing for the #4 & #5 spots. LHP Drew Pomeranz (acquired w/ Jabari Blash from OAK for Yonder Alonso & Marc Rzepczynski) is age 27, and profiles more as a set-up man, but he’s also in the rotation mix.

If the Padres are going to be any good in 2016, then Tyson Ross has to pitch like an ace. That’s why he’s been named the OD starter.  Recognizing & rewarding the best players is always a great organizational message. If Cashner steps up and becomes a real #2 (which Padres fans hope he can be), then they have a great rotation with Shields at #3. Success is going to be about scoring runs. Notice there are lots of ‘ifs’ including: if it doesn’t happen, they’re probably all getting traded.

Padres may go with 13 pitchers on Opening Day, due to the 3 RHP’s as Rule 5 selections, and other considerations. Preller isn’t handing anyone a job, but he didn’t clear his roster to cut these guys without giving them every chance to prove themselves– and that means being on the OD roster.

RHP Nick Vincent is age 29 and out-of-options, battling three younger Rule 5 guys, who must stay on the Padres 25-man roster all season, or else be offered back to their original team for $25K.  Vincent needs to impress this spring, or he probably won’t make the SD roster.  LOOGY (Left-handed one out guy) Christian Friedrich (COL), just signed on a minor-league contract. He is definitely a project for ace pitching coach Darren Balsley. RHP’s Kevin Quackenbush & Carlos Villaneuva may get optioned to the minors.  RHP Fernando Rodney is the Padres closer for now.

Keeping either IF Adam Rosales or Jemile Weeks means SS Alexi Amarista is traded or cut, as the Padres don’t need two utility infielders.  Amarista ‘hit’ .234 (15-for-64) in 17 games in Venezuela this winter, and likely has no trade value. This foolish early-A.J. Preller contract (on 1/16/15) to the ‘Little Ninja’ is costing the Padres $1.35M in 2016.

WAR stands for Wins Above Replacement. Replacement level is roughly defined as AAA-level. Alexi Amarista is really a AAA player who is in the majors because the Padres couldn’t find a big-league SS. An average player at any position is around 2 wins above replacement level. A good player is 3-4 WAR. An all-star is 5-6 WAR. An MVP-level player is 7-8+ WAR. If you fielded an entire team with replacement level players, you would win around 48 games out of 162. To win in MLB, you must stay away from replacement level at all positions.

It is likely that at least 2 or 3 (if not all 4) of A.J. Preller’s Rule 5 picks will be on the opening day roster.  OF Jabari Blash has tons of upside. Younger RHP’s Luis Perdomo, Josh Martin, and Blake Smith (also 2015 Rule 5 picks) get every chance to make the roster– in competition with RHP’s Nick Vincent & Jon Edwards.  For reference, 11 out of 14 2014 Rule 5 picks, stayed with their teams in 2015.  There is more on the Padres Rule 5 Draft history below.


Barring injury or a breakout performance, it’s a Derek Norris/Christian Bethencourt catching tandem– with Austin Hedges sent down until he hits more.  The defensive spectrum runs C-SS-2B-CF-3B-RF-LF-1B-DH. Catchers (like shortstops) need to hit some, but the position is mostly about defense. Pitch-framing, game calling, saving PBs/WPs, controlling a running game, etc. are difficult to precisely quantify, but that’s why baseball now uses advanced metrics. Austin Hedges excels defensively, but hasn’t proven he can hit enough at the MLB level, and neither has Bethancourt. Hedges can still be optioned to the minors, and that’s likely where he’ll go after spring training. A good catching tandem is crucial to winning.

1B/3B Brett Wallace (former #1 pick [13th overall] of STL in 2008) is intriguing, and Preller will give him a long look, as many other teams have already.

For spring training and beyond, it’s up the the coaching staff & players. Observing with an objective eye is critical & difficult skill-set for most fans. With so many young players on this year’s roster, it’s about development. A lot of these guys are still trying to become big-leaguers. How players fail, and how they handle that failure is often the difference.

Brandon Morrow

RHP Brandon Morrow will likely never be healthy again. His shoulder issue is a career ender, with a poor prognosis for returning to full strength. Labrum tears typically never regain their former velocity. Padres Special Instructor Mark Prior is THE classic example, when he was abused (along with Kerry Wood) by Cubs manager Dusty Baker. In 2003, Prior (age 22 in his second MLB season), threw 211 innings, plus 23 more in the post-season.


His last 2003 appearance was in the NLCS against the Marlins, where he pitched into the 8th inning, throwing 119 pitches in a game they lost, due to poor bullpen management & bad defense, but was blamed on a fan trying to catch a foul ball. That (over)workload caused fatigue and mechanical breakdowns, which led to the labrum tear that ended his career. Many long-time baseball scouts will tell you he was the best pitching prospect ever, comparable to HoFers Greg Maddux & Roger Clemens.

Note:  Reds CF Billy Hamilton is still not able to throw, after jamming his shoulder last August. They’re DH-ing him in Cactus league, but he’s talking about “not wasting any throws” in 2016. Hamilton still isn’t really a MLB player (.242/.287/.330 in 3 seasons), but Reds’ management won’t DL him like they should.  That’s how you waste a prospect.

The same applies to pitching: if you’re hurt, you can’t pitch effectively– in relief or starting. Relief pitching isn’t absolutely safer than starting, in terms of injury risk. Injuries occur during fatigue, leading to mechanical breakdowns, which stress and tear ligaments, cartilage, muscle & tendons. This happens just as often in relievers who are used a lot, as it does in regular starters. Relievers throw harder, for shorter outings, with more appearances. Starters pitch longer, more-paced outings, followed by 4 days of rest.

Brandon Maurer is 25, and only threw 51 innings in relief last season. Can he stay healthy as a #4 starter for 120-150 IP?  That’s quite a jump.

Brandon Mauer

Padres fans like the fact that Preller listens to his players.  Brandon Maurer thinks he can start, and A.J. Preller is willing to give him that shot. If it doesn’t happen, Maurer accepts his role as a reliever and respects the organization for giving him an opportunity.


B.J. Upton’s 2016 salary is $15.45M and it’s $16.45M in 2017. He’s at least a 2-win CF, and remember that just one WAR cost around $8.5M in FA this off-season. If BJ is healthy, he will be appreciated, as long a fans don’t expect him to be Eric Davis (Reds). If Preller later decides to flip him, there are contending teams that would value his services. NYY CF Jacoby Ellsbury (2015: .257/.318/.345) at $21M for the next 5 seasons (with a $5M buyout) is a huge overpay in comparison.

Note:  Melvin Upton, Jr. happened when he signed with Atlanta. I learned that B.J. stood for Bossman Jr. when Dwyane Staats mentioned it once during a Devil Rays broadcast to partner Joe Magrane, who couldn’t believe it. B.J. had already been with the team for years. I never heard them mention it again, and I watched a ton of Devil Rays/Rays games, up until David Price was traded. Is it a player-contract issue? Everyone in Tampa thought B.J. was a birth name, not a handle. After I discovered that, he was always one of my favorite players. He can go get them in CF, just ask James Shields.

Padres 2016

One lesson that should be learned this off-season is that the value of free-agent talent, always goes up. Chris Davis 7/$161M, Justin Upton 6/$133M and Yoenis Cespedes 3/$75M (all w/ player opt-outs), make Matt Kemp at 4/$73M look much more attractive for AL teams that need to upgrade at DH.

There’s been some discussion concerning the Rockies trading Carlos Gonzalez. Cargo can still play outfield and he’s a year younger than Kemp, with 2/$37M left on his deal. Like all Rockies hitters, he has extreme home/road splits. Matt Kemp can’t play everyday outfield anymore, but he’s a better hitter if he can be kept healthy.

RF Matt Kemp needs to be given regular days off, where he’s available only to pinch hit; as well as being substituted for a defensive replacement late in games the Padres lead. He should also DH in all AL park games. That should keep him fresh, productive & focused in order to maximize his trade value.

Ian Desmond

Final MLB Off-Season Free Agent Thoughts:

No DH in the NL, fans need real baseball in at least one league. Double switches are interesting, and an important managerial skill. Pitchers coming to bat prevents them from throwing at hitters recklessly, a la AL Roger Clemens. You gotta face that music in the NL.

Ian Desmond 1/8, Dexter Fowler 1/14, and Howie Kendrick 2/20 made bad player/agent choices, which cost them money. Mistakes were roughly equal on both sides, so the system is fair– in capitalist collective-bargaining terms.  Ian Desmond was punished for his arrogance & poor performance, which everyone liked. Many doubt that .233/.290/.384 (Nats) in 2015 at SS, gets it done in LF for TEX in 2016.  Expected LF Josh Hamilton, battling a cranky knee, may not be able to play.

SS Alexei Ramirez

A.J. Preller blew Desmond’s market when he signed SS Alexei Rameriz (1/$4M or team-option 2/$7M). Ramirez also didn’t cost the Padres a draft choice. To most teams, Ian Desmond (at any position) was not worth losing the draft pick, even at league minimum salary.  Can Texas make him a QO after 2016, and expect him to refuse?  Attentive fans, GM’s & agents will be following this closely.

Andrew Friedman & the Dodgers really got burned on LHP Brett Anderson’s qualifying offer (QO). It was announced a few days ago that he has a bulging disk in his back, and will likely miss 2016.


Houston has already gotten singed with LF Colby Rasmus accepting his $15.8M offer. Hypothetical GM question: If LF Rasmus puts up an identical line in 2016 as 2015’s .238/.314/.475, does HOU make him another QO?

Colby Rasmus Photo/Orlin Wagner

The Orioles got a fair deal with C Matt Wieters accepting, and it made sense with what they are doing.

Matt Wieters C

There are many important & misunderstood facets to this updated form of free-agent compensation. There should be no crying about a broken system, as Desmond & Fowler rejected a $15.9M QO’s from their former teams. That is called not understanding the market and playing your hand poorly, and when that happens you take a financial loss. Padres GM A.J. Preller is definitely ahead of the curve on this.

AJ Preller Padres GM

On “5 reasons why Marlins are MLB’s top sleeper team”   Published on 3-2-16

You could probably just as easily come up with a piece titled, “Five reasons why the Marlins will change course and dump their players & manager by July.”

1) Too many holes in the infield & CF, 2) Manager Don Mattingly, 3) Owner Jeffrey Loria, 4) Lagging attendance, 5) History– Agree, or no?


On “Kimbrel in a class with Rivera, Hoffman”   Published on 3-5-16

If you’re trying to win a WS, then you need a ace closer like Craig Kimbrel. This was a great baseball trade for the Red Sox & Padres– two teams with different needs.

LAD 2B Chase Utley’s suspension was overturned by MLB, due to the off-season rule change on sliding, so he’ll be in the OD lineup against the Padres.  It’s a good rule change to protect infielders.

Craig Kimbrel

GM A.J. Preller made an unprecedented four (4!) Rule 5 selections this past December. Fans were taken unaware, as here is the San Diego Padres Rule 5 draft history since 1997:

Yr/Pk# Pos Player By From– Notes

4 RHP Luis Perdomo Colorado Rockies St. Louis Cardinals– Immediately traded to SDP, for a PTBNL or cash considerations
6 OF Jabari Blash Oakland A’s Seattle Mariners– SDP acquire Blash and LHP Drew Pomeranz from OAK for 1B Yonder Alonso & LHP Marc Rzepczynski
7 RHP Josh Martin San Diego Padres Cleveland Indians
15 RHP Blake Smith San Diego Padres Chicago White Sox– Second round selection

Jabari Blash OF

1 LHP Patrick Schuster Houston Astros Arizona Diamondbacks– Sent to the Padres as PTBNL for RHP Anthony Bass, returned to the Diamondbacks- still in AA

14 1B Nate Freiman Houston Astros San Diego Padres– Claimed on waivers by the Oakland Athletics; 2 seasons, 116 G, .256/.309/.408

11 RHP George Kontos San Diego Padres New York Yankees– Returned to NYY, March 14, 2011. 4 seasons w/ SFG as a setup man: 2.99 ERA, 210 IP, 1.116 WHIP

Everth Cabrera SS

3 SS Everth Cabrera San Diego Padres Colorado Rockies– 7 seasons (6 w/ Padres), 510 G: .246/.315/.328
20 RHP Iván Nova San Diego Padres New York Yankees– Returned to Yankees on March 29, 2009; 6 seasons as SP w/ NYY: 46-33, 4.33 ERA, 631 IP


*12 RHP R. A. Dickey Seattle Mariners Minnesota Twins– Rights traded to Seattle in exchange for Jair Fernandez on March 29, 2008
14 RHP Michael Gardner San Diego Padres New York Yankees– Returned to New York on March 18, 2008, never made it past AA
17 INF Callix Crabbe San Diego Padres Milwaukee Brewers– MLB career (all w/ Padres): 39 PA, .176/.282/.206; returned to MIL on May 16, 2008


2 RHP Joakim Soria Kansas City Royals San Diego Padres– 8 seasons mostly w/ KCR: 2.57 ERA, 451 IP, 202 SV
*3 OF Josh Hamilton Chicago Cubs Tampa Bay Devil Rays– Traded by the Cubs to the Reds for cash, who traded him to TEX for RHP Edison Volquez
13 RHP Kevin Cameron San Diego Padres Minnesota Twins– 3 seasons mostly w/ Padres in relief: 86 IP, 3.02 ERA, WHIP 1.483

6 RHP Seth Etherton San Diego Padres Kansas City Royals– Failed starter; 4-season career: 9-7, 6.30 ERA, 115 IP
*8 2B Dan Uggla Florida Marlins Arizona Diamondbacks– 10 seasons at 2B (best years in FLA): .241/.336/.447

*7 OF Shane Victorino Philadelphia Phillies Los Angeles Dodgers– 12 seasons (best in PHI): .275/.340/.425, 3 Gold Gloves in CF

2 OF Rich Thompson San Diego Padres Pittsburgh Pirates– Later traded by the Padres to the Kansas City Royals for number 10 pick, Jason Szuminski
10 RHP Jason Szuminski Kansas City Royals Chicago Cubs– Later traded by the Royals to the San Diego Padres for number 2 pick, Rich Thompson
*6 OF José Bautista Baltimore Orioles Pittsburgh Pirates– Then to BAL, TBD, KCR, NYM, finally TOR; 12 seasons in RF: .257/.368/.497


3 RHP Buddy Hernandez San Diego Padres Atlanta Braves– Returned to ATL, manager Bobby Cox liked him, but he never got past AAA
19 OF Shane Victorino San Diego Padres Los Angeles Dodgers Padres GM Kevin Towers returned him to the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 28, 2003

9 RHP Ryan Baerlocher San Diego Padres Kansas City Royals– Returned to KCR by opening day, career minor-leaguer

7 SS Donaldo Méndez San Diego Padres Houston Astros– 2 seasons w/ Padres: 221 PA, .183/.245/.277

*2 LHP Johan Santana Florida Marlins Houston Astros– Later traded by the Marlins to the Minnesota Twins for Jared Camp
8 OF Kory DeHaan San Diego Padres Pittsburgh Pirates– 2 seasons w/ Padres: 121 PA, .193/.225/.307
14 LHP Dave Maurer San Francisco Giants San Diego Padres– 4 seasons in relief; 22 IP, 8.87 ERA, WHIP 2.250

*4 OF Ricky Williams Montreal Expos Philadelphia Phillies– Mike Ditka’s famous April 1999 draft as Saints GM, Williams opted for the NFL [1]

7 LHP Sean Runyan Detroit Tigers San Diego Padres– 3 seasons w/ DET in relief: 64 IP, 3.66 ERA, WHIP 1.422

* denotes significant non-Padre selections

Below are the most notable June amateur draft selections that San Diego was unable to sign, under Padres owner Tom Werner:

Tom Werner

Todd Helton 1B, 17 seasons w/ COL: .316/.414/.539
June 1, 1992: Drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 2nd round of the 1992 amateur draft, but did not sign. Went to Tennessee U.
June 1, 1995: Drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 1st round (8th pick) of the 1995 amateur draft. Player signed July 1, 1995.

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Troy Glaus 3B, 13 seasons (best w/ ANA): .254/.358/.489
June 2, 1994: Drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 2nd round of the 1994 amateur draft, but did not sign.
June 3, 1997: Drafted by the Anaheim Angels in the 1st round (3rd pick) of the 1997 amateur draft. Player signed September 29, 1997.

Troy Glaus 3B

This is the culture GM A.J. Preller & new manager Andy Green are trying to change in San Diego. [2]  Here is the list of franchise owners:

Ray & Joan Kroc1

C. Arnholdt Smith
Ray Kroc
Joan Kroc
Tom Werner
John Moores [3]
Ron Fowler

Ron Fowler

Here is an awful list titled “Who are the Padres 5 best GMs of all time?”  [4]  Preller has already topped every ex-GM, except Randy Smith & Jed Hoyer– who left the Padres in 2011 to build the Cubs. Interestingly, Hoyer is not listed in their 5 best GMs.

Padres GM’s

Buzzie Bavasi 1969-1972
Eddie Leishman 1969–1972 [5]
Peter Bavasi 1972–1976
Bob Fontaine 1977–1980
Jack McKeon 1980–1990

Jack McKeon
Joe McIlvaine 1991–1993
Randy Smith 1993–1995  Under-appreciated [6]

Kevin Towers
Kevin Towers 1996–2009
Jed Hoyer 2009–2011

Jed Hoyer

Josh Byrnes 2012–2014  [7]

Josh Byrnes
A. J. Preller 2014–


The Padres are in good position with a $100M Opening-Day payroll in 2016, and room for more spending as needed, per Padres CEO Mike Dee & owner Ron Fowler.

With Ian Desmond (final qualifying-offer free-agent) signing with Texas, the draft order is set.  The Padres have the #8, #24, #25, #48, #71 & #85 picks in the June amateur draft. Furthermore, the 7/2 International Draft promises to be a scramble for low-cost young talent, with the Padres all-in.

Team’s International Signing Pools for 2016-17:

Phillies $5,610,800
Reds $5,163,400
Braves $4,766,000
Rockies $4,412,700
Brewers $4,098,500
Athletics $3,818,700
Marlins $3,569,600
Padres $3,347,600
Tigers $3,150,000
White Sox $2,973,500
Mariners $2,875,400
Red Sox $2,783,800
Diamondbacks $2,697,400
Rays $2,615,900
Orioles $2,539,600
Indians $2,467,400
Twins $2,399,100
Nationals $2,335,000
Giants $2,274,400
Angels $2,217,300
Astros $2,197,000
Yankees $2,177,100
Rangers $2,157,400
Mets $2,138,200
Dodgers $2,118,900
Blue Jays $2,100,200
Royals $2,081,200
Cubs $2,063,100
Pirates $2,044,800
Cardinals $2,027,300

There are 10 teams so far that are officially in the ‘penalty box’ for the 2016-17 signing period and will be unable to sign a player subject to the pools for more than $300,000. Those teams—the Angels, Blue Jays, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Giants, Rays, Red Sox, Royals and Yankees. They can still spend their entire pool allotment, they just can’t give more than $300,000 to any one player.

At least four teams—the Braves, Cardinals, Nationals and Padres— are planning to exceed their 2016-17 bonus pools, and others might also join them. Teams may exceed their bonus pool by as much as 50% of their original allotment. Going over allotment puts a team in the ‘penalty box’ for the next International signing period. [8]

Lazarito Armenteros

The San Diego Padres are a team with an uncertain 2016, which no one is picking after their 2015. They’re probably the team with the widest range of possibilities, and will be interesting for fans & other GM’s to keep an eye on. Play ball!!


San Diego Padres 2015-16 Off-Season Wrap-Up

The MLB off-season is all about the general manager (GM), and what he does to improve the organization. Last off-season, Padres GM A.J. Preller was handed a checkbook by owner Ron Fowler, and he proceeded to make splashes. In hindsight, the only deal that Preller probably regrets is the Matt Kemp trade, although nothing turned out well on-the-field for the 2015 Padres.

Let’s get the Matt Kemp situation straight, and understand what it is. In San Diego, Kemp is a 5th wheel, and he never really fit– which isn’t his fault. The Padres only paid $3.25M of his salary in 2015, with the Dodgers covering the remaining $18M. It’s flipped for the last 4 years, with the Padres owing $73M ($18.25/yr), and LA paying $14M ($3.5M/yr). Preller definitely has to eat contract to deal Kemp, but that was understood when he made the deal for him with a low cost in 2015.

The real question is when will a opportunity present itself for a deal? A high-payroll AL team, desperate to make the post-season, looks at Matt Kemp much differently than the Padres do. If a team like NYY, BOS, DET or LAA (just to throw out examples) thinks he’s the missing piece, then Preller has something they want. At that point, it just becomes a matter of negotiations, with Preller dealing from strength. He’s been doing it all off-season, so there’s no reason why he can’t eventually get it done, to the Padres benefit. It would help if Matt Kemp got off to a hot start and stayed healthy.

Updated 1-17-16

All Padres fans interested in winning agree that Matt Kemp needs to move to the AL where he can DH, because all his value is now in his bat. He can spot-start or fill-in at corner OF (and maybe 1B), but he primarily needs to DH. He’s 31 this season, with a career line of .289/.345/.489, as a CF & RF. Last year it dipped to .265/.312/.443, and much of that can be attributed to being on a bad team, and being asked to field a position he really couldn’t play anymore.

Around two thirds of the teams in the AL are faking it at DH. Only BOS (David Ortiz), KCR (Kendrys Morales), MIN (Miguel Sano!), TEX (Prince Fielder), and TOR (Edwin Encarnacion), have a legitimate DH. One could also add Alex Rodriguez (NYY, age 40) to that list, but he’s a huge regression candidate & injury risk. Notice these are (mostly) competitive teams, that often play deep into October.

As of now, the fakers at DH include: Mark Trumbo (BAL), Adam LaRoche (CWS), Victor Martinez (DET), Evan Gattis (HOU), C.J. Cron (LAA), Billy Butler (OAK), and John Jaso (TBR); with SEA & CLE are still searching.

The only legitimate OF/DH bats left on the free agent market (as of this writing) are Justin Upton & Yoenes Cespedis. After that, DH options drop off to the likes of Ryan Raburn & Jimmy Parades, which is replacement level.  Rule # 1 to winning is, stay away from the replacement level.

There’s room somewhere in here to deal Matt Kemp fairly, while minimizing the damage to the Padres. Matt Kemp is a professional hitter, and a proud player who wants to earn his contract. This isn’t a “Manny being Manny” situation, which gives Preller time & room to maneuver, but this needs to get done sometime in 2016.

Wil Myers

Wil Myers was A.J. Preller’s steal of last off-season, and if he stays healthy he will rake, and be the face of the franchise for years. That’s a big IF, as health is a skill, but also depends somewhat on luck & other factors. A player increases his value if he has the ability to stay healthy. Cal Ripken, Jr. (BAL) is a clear example of durability providing & enhancing career value. A similar player from his era is Barry Larkin (CIN), who could have been the greatest SS ever, if he had had Ripken’s knack for avoiding injury. Instead Larkin spent much of his career on the DL, and that reduced him to merely a HoFer, which only shows just how good he was when healthy.

If we take a closer look at Barry Larkin’s injuries, we find a mixture of reasons for them. He played most of his career on Riverfront Stadium’s astroturf, which leads to more wear & tear vs. playing on natural grass.  That’s something a player can’t control.  Larkin blew out his elbow while participating in the Relay-Throw Contest at the 1991 All-Star game, which was mostly his fault.  MLB has eliminated that silly contest since that incident.  Barry Larkin even had a freak injury where he was struck in the knee by a bat while waiting on-deck; and there’s nothing you can do about something like that. That’s a concise overview & understanding of injury risk.

Barry Larkin

The Padres are definitely a better team as of this writing. Their 2015 opening day starting infield was: 3B Will Middlebrooks, SS Alexi Amarista, 2B Jedd Gyorko & 1B Yonder Alonso which was probably the worst in MLB.  In 2016 it’s 3B Yangervis Solarte, SS Alexei Ramirez, 2B Cory Spangenberg & 1B Wil Myers– which is a fair-to-significant upgrade at every position.  Plus the Padres will start the season with an actual CF (B.J. “he needs a nickname” Upton), who is healthy (recall he started 2015 on the DL w/ turf toe in his right foot).  In LF Jon Jay is not Justin Upton, but he’s left-handed, affordable, and a good candidate for a bounce-back season.  What remains is C Derek Norris & RF Matt Kemp (for now).

The pitching staff is the same at the top with James Shields, Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner– minus Ian Kennedy whom they don’t need.  Preller is building the back-end of the rotation & bullpen the correct way: from within the organization, via low-level trades, and by acquiring veteran arms on the cheap.  Buy low/sell high– especially with relievers.

Most Padres fans I’ve interacted with like (or at least are willing to be open-minded about) new manager Andy Green and the coaches he’s brought in.  All Padres fans are ecstatic about retaining ace pitching coach Darren Balsley.


The key to the Padres off-season was (believe it or not) when Ian Kennedy refused their $15.9M qualifying offer. That allowed Preller the financial flexibility to trade 2B Jedd Gyorko for OF Jon Jay, while eating the $7M necessary to make the deal, and then sign Rameriz as a stopgap SS to top prospect Javier Guerra. The Craig Kimbrel trade and the (4!) Rule 5 picks were also huge, but if Kennedy had accepted that offer (as he could have), then Preller would have been handcuffed and this team would now look a lot different–in a worse way.

Trading a player at the 7/31 deadline vs. keeping them (and extending a QO) is a razor’s edge. A.J. Preller hung onto Justin Upton (& the rest of his assets) at the 2015 trade deadline, because 1) he didn’t like what he was being offered in return, and 2) he owed it to EVERYONE (players, fans, etc…) to stick it out. In September, when it was hopeless, many fans still tuned in, and appreciated every bomb J. Up hit. They were electrifying, and win or lose, that still has value. It all depends on what a GM can get, and if its a flooded buyer’s market (like July 2015), then it’s best to hang onto the player and take the two-months value & the QO-compensation pick.

Ian Kennedy

Preller gambled his entire off-season plan on Ian Kennedy refusing the QO, because he WANTED that compensation pick. It’s a tough call & good GM’s play it close-to-the-vest; and that’s why they’re paid what they’re paid.

By avoiding stone-handed SS Ian Desmond (when many MLB ‘experts’ were clamouring for the Padres sign him), Preller sent a message to MLB that the SD Padres are not interested in being suckers in the bloated free-agent market. General managers of Padres past (Josh Byrnes, Kevin Towers, etc.) would surely have handed Ian Desmond a 5-yr/$80M deal, when he isn’t worth 2-yr/$25M. That kind of bad contract kills any chance of winning.

AJ Preller

An efficient GM gets his arbitration players signed quickly, with fair raises because he knows they are underpaid to start. If these players under-perform, they get smaller raises; but they aren’t nickel & dimed, because they are bargains to begin with.  Conversely, a saavy GM avoids handing an overly-generous multi-year contract to an arbitration eligible player who doesn’t deserve it (see Jedd Gyorko), as this hurts the organization too.

When the 2015 season ended, the Padres farm system was universally ranked 30th– dead last. With the young talent already added, along with the bevy of picks Preller has lined up for the June amateur draft, the Padres will probably jump up to a the middle-of-the-pack system by the end of the 2016 season. That’s a solid plan with measurable progress, which is just what Padres fans need.  A.J. Preller had an ‘A+’ off-season, even if the Padres have a worse record in 2016– and he did it without making splashes.  There is a lot more upside with this organization now, and it’s because the Padres finally have a smart general manager.

Final Note to Padres Fans 1-16-16

Before I started posting in the Padres forum, I observed the discussions; and it was mostly blame-storming, and always towards Bud Black, Murph, this player, that pitcher, etc…

Every team in sports is operated by a GM, and they are primarily responsible for an organization’s failure or success. They are the ones who must ALWAYS answer the tough questions and solve the difficult problems which inevitably arise. Whether that organization ever wins a championship is mostly on them.

A.J. Preller is definitely running the show for the Padres, and that is a 180-degree turnaround for this franchise, because since inception it’s always been the Show running the Padres.

A fan’s responsibility is to understand as much of what’s going on as possible, and educate other fans. When fans correctly understand when (and why?) to cheer vs. when to call out a mistake, player performance improves because they know they are being watched by intelligent & fair observers. Conversely, when angry fans act out with drunken belligerence, players tend to stop caring. Fans do have an influence, and a big part of it is what YOU share with others & bring to the ballpark.