Last night, i watched the San Diego Padres explode after seven innings to score eight runs in the eighth inning for an 11-4 win over the Los Angeles Angels. Watching four of the premier baseball players in the world (Machado, Tatis, Trout, Rendon) was exciting.
This year’s version of the Padres is exciting all of the time. They hit five grand slam home runs in six games. They run. They play great defense. Their offensive power is unlike any i’ve ever seen in San Diego, including the Caminiti, Finley, and Tony Gwynn years. Jurickson Profar, one of the lesser lights in the Friars’ starters, went two for three, a home run and two RBI’s last night.
Sure, that behemoth ninety miles north of here remains the creme de la creme of the National League and perhaps the Major Leagues. Impressive. Winners and whiners all wrapped up in one (can you tell i’m a bit prejudice?).
This Padre going on is fun.
But as i watched last night, i find myself with mixed emotions.
For a number of years i have railed against the Yankees (since the 1950’s when the Kansas City A’s owner made big bucks by sending his best players to the Yanks), and the Dodgers (who i grew up loving when they were in Brooklyn, rooting for them against my father’s beloved Yankees), and then the Red Sox (when the guy who labeled them “the Evil Empire,” Larry Lucchino, turned around and acted just like them), the Cubs (i liked them and the Red Sox when they were the lovable losers) because of the money being exchanged.
Well, $300 Million for one player for ten years (Manny Machado) ain’t chump change, not to mention all of the other crazy money the Padres have spent on players and player development. So my Padres are in the same league (not baseball league, but money league) with all the other villains. And i fully expect the ticket prices (when fans can go) to rise precipitously, and will not be surprised if beer goes up to $20. This means, of course, that i ain’t going.
And there is another aspect i reconsidered. At the end of July, the Padres dealt 29 players one way or the other to acquire supposedly (according to the experts, of which i ain’t one) better players. And that doesn’t count the ones who left before the pandemic season began. Now i’m missing some of my favorites who left, Austin Hedges, Hunter Renfroe, Manuel Margot, Josh Naylor, Cal Quantrill, and Ty France. All gone. i find myself rooting for players i only know by reputation.
And the rich get rich and the poor get poorer. Why do owners spend megabucks buying championships to make more megabucks and why do players need $30 Million a year? If they continue to screw their fans monetarily, why aren’t they helping the less fortunate in the country? And why do players and their agents think they need several hundred million to PLAY baseball? And if they are going to demand those salaries, why don’t they put in back into helping others. And i am not talking about all of those wonderful foundations many of them form.
So essentially, the fans (me included) are rooting and spending for what? Money. Their money against everyone else’s money. Crazy.
Sadly, my rant is not going to change things. Today, the Padres new pitching star will be going against the Los Angeles (really, Anaheim) Angels (location change to attract more fans, i.e. more money). i will be watching.
And i love the way the Padres, new and old are playing. Excitement, incredible talent, laughing, having fun, playing the game the way it should be played.
And i’ll be rooting for them to win it all.
i’m just not sure why?
Please bring back college baseball soon.