The San Diego Padres have a strong military fanbase, and I love reading soldiers’ comments online, which typically go something like this:
“I’m in the Marines, and this team is what we call FUBAR’d…, this is what’s wrong…., this is what needs to be done…. BOOYAH!!!”
Rarely are the merits of these posts criticized or debated, and the poster often disappears for awhile; all of which I find fascinating.
It’s a very open & democratic forum, and generally laid-back with Padres fans. It’s a relief from being a Rays fan, having to deal with all the Red Sox/Yankees hyper-competitiveness. Here’s what I had to say about the Pads in their MLB forum this fall:
Andy Green is energetic, has managerial experience in the minors, embraces sabermetirics, and is well-respected in the Diamondbacks organization. The San Diego Padres need to rebuild, so I like this hire. [posted on Facebook]
11-02-15: Padres move quickly to bring back Balsley
I too am relieved that Darren Balsley is staying. I wasn’t sure he’d stay with this mess in SD, but this is his home. It appears the Nationals are even worse off in their management situation with the Black/Baker fiasco. Balsley will help rebuild this pitching staff– he’s the best as so many have already pointed out. The fan support in this forum surely helped.
11-13-15: Kennedy, Upton reject qualifying offers
A.J. Preller wins another one for San Diego this week– every little bit helps. Kennedy isn’t worth more than $10/year; he & agent Scott Boras are banking on an overpay deal. We’ll see…
Deal Matt Kemp who had decent numbers in 2015, but needs to be in the AL where he can DH. Shields & BJ Upton are surely on the block too, but Kemp is the priority. So far, so good for Padres fans, the Kimbrel deal is the right idea. Keep adding depth to the farm system, and work on player development; that’s how the Royals, Astros & Cubs did it. No one really knows how any of these prospects are going to pan out. Smart GM’s look for prospects with high upside, and grab as many as they can get.
Note: Teams don’t keep their compensation pick if they re-sign their free agent. They would also have to forfeit the pick should they sign another qualifying free agent and not have a first-round pick to give up (either because they pick in the top 10, or because they sign more than one qualifying free agent and have previously surrendered their first-round selection).
These compensation picks currently sit at # 31 & #32. If the Padres don’t sign a qualifying-offer FA this off-season, these picks will end up in the low 20’s or high teens. They already have the #8 pick, so this will immediately add talent to a depleted system if Preller & Co. make good selections in the June draft. The Padres have historically had a terrible farm system, and this is how you fix it.
Preller has made his share of mistakes in his first year on the job, most noticeably the Matt Kemp trade. However he also stole Wil Myers, who can be a franchise player if kept healthy. Franchise players don’t grow on trees, and this organization is still reeling from losing Adrian Gonzalez, and then giving away Anthony Rizzo. Preller cleaned house and got rid of many assets that were largely fungible. Preller is obviously a stat guy, and his blind spot seems to be baseball tactics and in-game management. He needs to get at least one lefty in the rotation, an adequate (affordable) shortstop, and another LOOGY (Left-Handed One Out Guy) in the pen, so his new manager isn’t handcuffed like Black & Murph were in 2015.
In response to another fan on the board who disagreed with SD trading Trea Turner & Joe Ross for Wil Myers:
How about “acquired Wil Myers? For a 22-YO 2B who ‘hit’ .225/.295/.325 with the Nats in 2015 & a 22-YO potential 2/3 starter in Ross. 24-YO Myers has superstar upside, but he obviously has to stay healthy. His wrist injuries began in Tampa from diving for balls on their artificial turf. Diving for balls in CF last year didn’t help, which was Preller’s fault as much as Myers’. He’s a corner outfielder & stud prospect. It was a great trade for the Padres, and it’s been overlooked because the 2015 Padres were so badly put together.
How’d I do on the rest?
11-20-15: Padres announce Spring Training schedule
Below are the remaining off-season dates of which Padres fans should be aware. The Rule 5 draft is next, and it could be an opportunity for Preller to snag a prospect– depending on the talent available and their roster situation in 2016.
Rule 5 footnote: Organizations may also draft players from AA or lower to play for their AAA affiliates for $12,000; and may draft players from A teams or lower to play for their AA affiliates for $4,000. Most 12/4K picks never approach becoming MLB players, but serve as organizational filler which has value in that they help true prospects develop quicker, and with more success.
Dec. 7-10 — Winter meetings, Nashville, Tenn.
Dec. 10 — Rule 5 draft
Jan. 7 — Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2016 announced (Trevor Hoffman)
Jan. 12 — Salary arbitration filing
Jan. 15 — Salary arbitration figures exchanged
Feb. 1-21 — Salary arbitration hearings
Feb. 18 — Voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers and injured players
March 1 — Mandatory reporting date
Any updates on the AFL, winter ball action, or any other Padres buzz are always welcomed by out-of-area fans. Thanks!
11-21-15: Henderson, Yount recount milestone moments
Pete Rose (24 seasons): .303/.375/.409, w/ 198 SB, 149 CS; Tim Raines (23 seasons): .294/.385/.425, w/ 808 SB, 146 CS. Rock was more valuable, and it’s a joke he isn’t in the HoF. Rose should obviously be in too, but that’s another discussion…
11-23-15: Open-minded Green embraces defensive shifts
“He’s open to any idea that’s going to help a team, help an organization get better,” Preller said. “He’s not looking at any idea or a particular statistic as being gospel. I think that’s something we share. You present an idea, he wants to hear it and then he wants to see how it works.”
The GM & manager are communicating, and on the same page. This already makes the Padres better than last season.
Andy Green has managed in the minors, so he presumably knows how a roster needs to be constructed in order to win. Green needs to be in agreement with A.J. Preller, and vise-versa. That isn’t interfering, it’s called attempting to understand one another so they both can do a better job.
Old-school vs sabermetrics is a misnomer. Statistical analysis is meant to illuminate parts of the game that were traditionally overlooked or had gotten lost. Run production & run prevention are thought of much differently today, than they were 20 years ago. If you fall behind, you get left behind.
Moneyball critics always point to the fact the Oakland A’s under GM Billy Beane have never won (or even reached) the World Series. All that proves is that you need SOME payroll investment from ownership, in order to win it. The TB Rays were the same way, and it was maddening to root for them when team owner Stuart Sternberg didn’t care to invest. Many Rays fans (such as myself) quit the day they traded David Price, and not coincidentally GM Andrew Friedman & Joe Maddon left soon after.
Stats GM Theo Epstein joined the Red Sox in November 2003, and ended their Curse in less than a year, building a mini-dynasty in the process. That’s what happens when you combine a more-than-adequate payroll with moneyball. Ask any true blue Brew Crew fan, “Which do you want: beer or brats?” and they will ALL correctly answer, “Both!” It’s the same way with old-school & sabermetrics.
11-20-15: Report: McGwire in talks for Padres’ bench coach job
Mark McGwire would be an inspired selection for bench coach. He was a power hitter who knew the strike zone. See how much more valuable he is, over a contemporary 1B who didn’t control it as well:
Mark McGwire (16 seasons) .263/.394/.588 1626 H 1317 BB
Cecil Fielder (13 seasons) .255/.345/.482 1313 H 693 BB
They both could mash, and PEDs surely inflated McGwire’s .588 SLG%, but the ability to take a walk is a baseball skill which big Cecil lacked– hurting his value.
It’s Mac’s career .394 OBP that truly separates him as a HoF-level performer.
Mark McGwire acted honorably during the PED show trials of 2005, by quite correctly refusing to answer whether or not he had ever used PEDs– as any answer would have put him in legal jeopardy. He told the committee, “I will use whatever influence and popularity that I have to discourage young athletes from taking any drug that is not recommended by a doctor. What I will not do, however, is participate in naming names and implicating my friends and teammates.”
None of the players were granted immunity in exchange for testimony, which would have allowed them to speak freely. Instead of dealing with the public health crisis of PED usage in young athletes, the congressional hearing cynically entitled “Restoring Faith in America’s Pastime” was an exercise in bipartisan political grandstanding. Rafael Palmiero (lying then finger pointing) & Sammy Sosa (pretending he didn’t understand English) truly disgraced themselves; but no one topped Bud Selig. The commissioner of the Steroid Era, in a snivelling & gutless performance, repeatedly claimed “no knowledge” or was “unable to recall” over a decade’s worth of overwhelming evidence of widespread PED use in MLB. More than anyone else, Allan Huber “Bud” Selig is responsible for MLB’s PED era, which still persists today.
Mark McGwire confessed his steroid use in 2010, with contrition. He is a proud, yet humble man who burns for redemption. New manager Andy Green & hitting coach Alan Zinter are inexperienced at the MLB level, which can be a problem with veteran players. Big Mac’s presence in the dugout & around the hitting cage would be an asset for the Padres, commanding respect from the players, while not challenging Green’s authority. I believe if he is given a fair chance, he will act with integrity & work his butt off to help the Padres achieve their goal of finally winning a World Series. That’s all a fan can ask for.
Open Letter on the Padres from an outsider’s perspective:
An argument can be made, that the only season the Padres had a true ace was in 1998. That was the only season the Padres had Kevin Brown, and unfortunately they ran into one of the best teams ever in the World Series. Jake Peavy had four seasons of ace-level pitching in San Diego, and is the best career starting pitcher the franchise has ever had. Who is #2? It’s a toss-up between Andy Benes and Andy Ashby.
The franchise all-time MVP pitcher, measured by WAR is closer Trevor Hoffman. The Padres have been in existence since 1969 and their franchise 5-man rotation leaders by IP is: Eric (Win, Lose or) Show, Randy Jones, Peavy, Ed Whitson and Benes; which clearly reveals an Achilles heel that has existed since inception. The Padres must develop (and retain) better starting pitching, or it will never win a World Series.
Another organizational Achilles heel is their failure to recognize the talent within. Consider these players: Dave Winfield (left as FA), Ozzie Smith (traded after 4 seasons), and Roberto Alomar (about to turn 23, and by far the best player in that deal). In 1992 young 3B Gary Sheffield was handed to the Padres by Selig’s Brewers. He became an overnight star, then was shipped to the Marlins who won the WS with him in 1997. San Diego got Trevor Hoffman in the deal, but Sheffield (22 seasons, .292/.393/.514) was worth much more, PED arguments aside. Hoffman is a HoFer because you need a closer, but his overall value is limited by his 1098.1 career IP. For comparison, Tom Glavine (Braves) had 4413.1 IP. More game time means more value towards winning.
Dealing 1B Adrian Gonzalez was another deathblow to a Padres competitive window. He would have been Señor Padre at the end of his HoF career, if they had kept him. Organizations typically don’t recover from that, especially when they squander the trade’s centerpiece by sending 1B prospect Anthony Rizzo to the Cubs for Andrew Cashner. Cash definitely has good stuff, with 2/3 upside if he can figure it out & stay healthy, but who knows how good Rizzo will be? He was age 25, hitting .278/.387/.512 in 701 PA in 2015.
Only RF Tony Gwynn (20 seasons: .338/.388/.459) and Trevor Hoffman (18 seasons: 2.87 ERA) stand out as HoF-level career Padres, and that’s just not enough to win consistently in 47 seasons.
This is the legacy new GM A.J. Preller inherits, so long-time fans (who are understandably frustrated from decades of incompetence) need to cut him some slack. He’s had some missteps, but he’s also proven a quick study. Let’s face it, this entire organization needed an enema. Much detritus has been flushed as the Padres start anew, hopefully with better planning, scouting, coaching, and eventually players. A winning philosophy combines the best of ALL baseball thinking, as this game is too vast to ignore either its historical lessons or its recent innovations.
As far as team president Mike Dee and owner Ron Fowler go, their job is to provide Preller with the necessary payroll, while staying out of the day-to-day operations. The mantra with GM Andrew Friedman while he was in TB was always “trust in the process,” meaning if you are doing things correctly you will eventually see good results. The Rays were a moneyball franchise that never won it all, because they were hamstrung by ownership– competing short-stacked in the AL East, always forced to play for future seasons. “Pile up enough tomorrows and you’ll end up with a bunch of empty yesterdays,” said Robert Preston in The Music Man (1962).
In this era, a MLB team needs a payroll of at least $100-120 million to win it all. Ownership supplies the money, so obviously it is let in on plan, but it shouldn’t be allowed to meddle. If Preller eventually needs a boost in payroll to acquire a player who will put the Padres over the top (as the KC Royals did in 2015 by acquiring Johnny Cueto at the trade deadline), then ownership is obliged to step up. Mike Dee’s job from a baseball standpoint is simply to hire & fire the GM. As team president, his job should mostly focus on revenue acquisition from media, ticket sales, promotions, etc… A winning organization make his job easier.
Padres fans need to be patient, and die-hards understand this all-too-well. It’s a long off-season to go, but don’t have any winning expectations for the Padres until 2018, at the earliest. Obviously things will change as players get traded, new prospects develop, etc… All we can do as fans is understand the process, and speak our voices in forums such as these. Successes need to be understood objectively, and are also the best opportunity for fans to express their emotions. Organizational failures should be pointed out and discussed analytically and rationally, avoiding anger & hysterics– which don’t help. It also doesn’t help to list random, useless stats as an argument. All non-pitchers can be precisely measured using the triple slash stats, AVG/OBP/SLG. If it is a season comparison, provide plate appearances & player age; for careers, provide the number of seasons played and defensive position. Defense is now accurately determined, with advanced metrics replacing traditional errors, put-outs and assists. Pitchers are accurately valued using ERA, IP and K/BB ratios– season & career.
All this is a reasonable fan contract. The more Padres fans get on board with this program, the easier it is for GM A.J. Preller to do his job. The STL Cardinals are a great example of an organization that has everyone in sync, from ownership down to the bat boys/ball girls. Their organization & fans understand when to let an old star go (Albert Pujols), and who to retain (Matt Holliday). They develop their own position players and pitchers. That’s why they are consistently competitive, and win their share of World Series. If this is indeed the model Preller is trying to build, then it deserves fan support.
I don’t have an official vote, but I do have an official opinion.
My 2016 HoF Ballot— Newbies: Ken Griffey Jr. (Mariners), Trevor Hoffman (Padres) and Billy Wagner (Astros).
Holdovers: Tim Raines (Expos), Barry Bonds (Pirates), Roger Clemens (Red Sox), Mike Piazza (Dodgers), Jeff Bagwell (Astros), Edgar Martinez (Mariners) and Mike Mussina (Orioles).
Extra selection because it’s needed here: Curt Schilling (Phillies).
Alan Trammell, Jeff Kent, Gary Sheffield, and Larry Walker all deserve serious consideration.
Players now only get 10 years on the ballot, with grandfather exemptions for Lee Smith (14th) & Trammell (15th). Raines is in his 9th year.
How do guys like Randy Winn & David Eckstein even get on the ballot?
Full ballot at: http://www.baseball-reference.com/awards/hof_2016.shtml
The HoF selection process is totally FUBAR’d, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Hoffman & Wagner don’t get in this year.
Tim Raines (23 seasons) .294/.385/.425, w/ 808 SB, 146 CS
Pete Rose (24 seasons) .303/.375/.409, w/ 198 SB, 149 CS
As for Sosa, McGwire, etc., I’ve already discussed my thoughts on the steroid era & the HoF, and they haven’t changed.
It is extremely narrow-minded & unfair to blame only the players for the PED-era. Tony La Russa was part of the 2014 HoF class, and deservingly so; but everyone seems to ignore the fact that he was the manager of the Oakland A’s featuring Jose Canseco & Mark McGwire. Canseco is universally acknowledged as the player who brought steroids into MLB, and McGwire was his first protégé.  La Russa has a law degree and is very intelligent, so he certainly knew what was going on. Why no shame or HoF ban on La Russa?
Same goes for all the other managers, coaches & training staff, the GM’s, the owners & their commissioner. What about agents who encourage their clients to juice in order to produce better numbers, which translates into more $$$? Nothing tops the hypocrisy of the media & the ‘fans’ who today heap scorn at select star players, for making them dupes; all while ignoring their own failure to investigate and ask questions. All this aided & abetted MLB PED usage, so claiming ignorance rings false; as steroids had been rampant in Olympic competition & the NFL for decades, so it wasn’t anything new to sports.
The point is: all the hits, home runs, strikeouts, wins & championships have been celebrated, and count forever in MLB history. The feats of the PED-players indelibly leave their mark in the record books and there is no expunging them. Sports fans need to absorb the valuable lessons of this tainted epoch, which include: the limits of chemical science, ethics, and the all-powerful corrupting influence of money. If baseball fans can get to this, then they may actually (one day) get a HoF which represents its best players.
Last remark on Pete Rose: He’s paid his dues, make him eligible & he’s in. No use honoring dead heroes. Old-guard MLB elite stiffed a deserving & long-suffering Ron Santo (Cubs) as he was dying of diabetes, and it was despicable. Pete Rose (Reds) is getting old…
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This is alternative rock. All tracks are FCC clean. Best alt-radio tracks include: #1 Spirit of the Road, #3 Ridiculous, #5 Anna Rex, and #11 Money Bug.
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President, Infinitelink Records LLC
Constitutional requirements to be eligible for the U.S. presidency:
1.) Be a native-born U.S. citizen, or born abroad to at least one parent who was a U.S. citizen at the time of birth.
2.) Be at least 35 years of age.
3.) Have lived in the U.S. for at least 14 years.
Starting just from this criteria, there are plenty of everyday people who are better write-in candidates than any of this flotsam pictured below :
John F. Kennedy (D) won a narrow victory over incumbent VP Richard Nixon (R) in 1960, becoming the youngest person to be elected president. He was 43 years old when he was inaugurated.
JFK was assassinated in November 1963, most-likely by a CIA/ deep-state cabal that used Lee Harvey Oswald as a patsy. 
This right-wing coup directly preceded the escalation of U.S. dirty wars in Southeast Asia, along with increased FBI surveillance and police activity against its citizens at home.
Albert Thomas (D) was a congressman in Texas for 29 years, credited with bringing the Johnson Space Center to Houston.
Thomas is infamously pictured below, winking to LBJ after his Air Force One inauguration, with a grieving Jacqueline Kennedy in the foreground; lending proof to a vast military-intelligence conspiracy in the JFK assassination:
Significant political shifts by the ruling class are always to the right. Political reaction is triggered by popular reformist surges which are always perceived as a threat to ruling stability; and therefore must be beheaded, stifled, and beaten back with a vengeance.
A more-recent example of reaction in political history was in 1992, when the Democratic party was able to ride a wave of youthful discontent from 12 years of Reagan/Bush as Bill Clinton (D) handily defeated incumbent George H.W. Bush to win the Oval Office. This was followed by a Republican counter-attack in 1994, led by Southern Baptist congressman Newt Gingrich (R-Ga):
Bill Clinton was endlessly witch-hunted during both terms by hard-line Republicans, and the 42nd U.S. president was ultimately impeached by the House of Representatives on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice on December 19, 1998– for lying under oath about an extramarital affair. This first-ever impeachment of a U.S president is best understood historically as a blatant attempt by political conservatives to overturn the results of the 1992 & 1996 elections.
The theft of the 2000 U.S. presidential election was the culmination of a ruling class coup against the American people, as votes for Democratic party nominee Al Gore in Florida were ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court to remain uncounted. Many votes were unable to be counted or miscounted due to electronic voting machine errors, discrimination at the polling stations, and intentionally confusing ballots; the most infamous being the butterfly ballots from Palm Beach County, Florida– shown below:
An army of lawyers, party hacks and goon squads were quickly organized by the Republican party machinery to descend on Tallahassee, FL in order to tip the outcome to Bush:
On December 7-8, the Florida Supreme court listened to arguments from both sides and finally ruled for an immediate recount:
The U.S. Supreme Court then immediately stepped in, halting the tabulation of uncounted ballots, freezing Katherine Harris’ certification of a 537-vote margin in favor of George W. Bush.
On December 12, the U.S. Supreme court ruled in Bush v Gore that votes could no longer be counted due to a fictional constitutional technicality, thus handing Florida’s 20 electoral votes and the U.S. presidency to Bush/Cheney.
The Democratic party registered a mild protest, then vacated any defense of democratic rights, including the right to vote in Al Gore’s concession speech:
Electronic voting should be monitored by all participants, and video evidence of voting machine irregularities is a valuable document in defense of democratic rights. Watch this video below from 2012, as a voter tries to check Barack Obama (D), but the machine insists on registering a vote for Mitt Romney (R).
Manipulation of ballot counting now appears to be the norm in presidential politics. The 2004 Edison-Mitofsky national exits polls predicted very different results than the official presidential election results. Bush won the official results by 2.5%, while exit polls predicted a Kerry victory nationally by 3% – a whopping 5.5% difference.
State exit polls predicted a Kerry victory in four states that Bush won – Ohio, Iowa, New Mexico, and Nevada – and a virtually even race in Florida, which Bush officially won by 5%.
The difference between the exit polls and the official results were statistically significant (outside the margin of error) in Ohio and Florida. In Ohio, Kerry lost officially by 2.5%, while winning the exit poll by 4.2%– a difference of 6.7%. Winning either Ohio or Florida would have meant an electoral victory for John Kerry. 
This is how political election spending has evolved since 1990:
Since 2010, Super PAC money rules the campaigns . The graph below shows the popular reaction to the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Supreme Court decision; allowing unlimited individual, corporate, and union contributions into election campaigns:
A Gallup poll conducted Oct. 3-6, 2013, revealed 60% of Americans say the Democrat/Republican parties do such a poor job of representing the American people, that a third major party is needed. Only 26% believed the two major parties adequately represent Americans. 
Over the decades, state lawmakers from both major parties have developed stringent ballot access requirements to discourage third-party candidates and voter participation in the electoral process. The three largest minor U.S. political parties as of April 2015 are listed below. In reality, they are all just funnels & safety valves for either the Democrats or Republicans:
Libertarian Party: Founded in 1971: conservative (Republican) policy positions including lowering corporate taxes, allowing people to “opt-out” of Social Security, abolishing welfare, etc…
Green Party: Founded sometime in the 1980-90’s, through a series of fits & spasms; this Democratic party off-shoot promotes identity politics– feminism, LGBT rights, and anti-racism; along with greenwashed-for-capitalism versions of environmentalism, non-violence and social justice.
Constitution Party: Republican branch, established in 1991 and originally called the U.S. Taxpayers’ party; they believe the United States is a Christian nation and its moral compass should be the Bible.
The extreme right-wing Tea Party movement emerged in the wake of Ron Paul’s failed 2008 presidential campaign to win the Republican nomination, which eventually went to John McCain. (R-Ariz). Ron Paul is a two-time Republican presidential candidate, and the presidential nominee of the Libertarian Party in the 1988. Paul has been characterized as a kook by his colleagues, as well as the “intellectual godfather” of the Tea Party movement. 
Sarah Palin (R-Alaska) remains the Tea Party’s iconic figure:
Donald Trump is whom she most identifies with politically:
According to Richard Winger— editor of Ballot Access News and an expert in the field — there are probably fewer than half a dozen minor parties that will qualify for the presidential ballot in more than five states. “It will be Democrats; Republicans; Libertarian; Green; Constitution; Party for Socialism and Liberation; Justice and Socialist Workers Party; and no others, probably. The Socialist Party has a remote chance of also getting on as many as 5 states.” 
Anyone planning on going to the polls on November 8, 2016, should know that due to the Electoral College, voting for president only matters in “swing” states:
The red & blue states are already decided, and/or have too few electoral votes to be of significant value. Once the primaries are over, virtually all the campaigning will be concentrated in the swing states, shown in beige above.
The truth is, none of the above-mentioned political parties represent the vast majority of Americans who work for a living, and are mostly struggling to make ends meet. Voting for (or lending any other form of support to) this sick farce only perpetuates the problem, which is the capitalist system itself. All these parties and their candidates represent & defend capitalism (with its program of war & austerity) to the bitter end.
Abstention from this demented charade, or writing-in your own candidate, are the only voting options that makes sense for the working masses. In the end, the workers of the U.S. (and the world) will have to form their own independent political party, finally giving a voice to their interests, as well as the greater needs of human society. This political program will have to be socialist & revolutionary in nature, in order to be successful.