i am too much of a purist in a sports world where purists apparently don’t exist.
i also am faced with whether i should eat my words or not.
Last year, i lambasted the Boston Red Sox’s exorbitant spending leading to another World Series championship. i escorciated Larry Lucchino, who as president of the Padres had beat up the Yankees for spending such money as the “evil empire” and then turning around when he moved on to Boston and creating another “evil empire.”
i took umbrage for that blasting of the Sox. My brother Joe, who is one heck of a lot smarter than me, and my sister-in-law Carla, who is as equally smart as her spouse, rightfully gave me crap for dousing cold water on their (and the Red Sox nation of fans) World Series Championship while they still were celebrating. They were correct. There was no need for me to blast the run away spending of baseball management at that time.
Now, i am faced with a dilemma. i am in a quandary, in fact several quandaries.
My San Diego Padres just signed super star (maybe) Manny Machado, who i don’t particularly like for his questionable sportsmanship, to a ten-year, $300 Million contract, setting a record for a professional baseball player’s contract. There is even speculation the Friars are still considering signing Bryce Harper, another super star also with some question about his sportsmanship, to an equally outrageously ginormous contract.
By forking out so many coins, the Padres have greatly improved their chances of winning according to all the talking heads and sports journalists who claim to be experts. i suspect such predictions are a bit premature as winning teams have great pitching staffs, and the Padres are far from proving they have that quality on the mound. The amount of payroll, although still well short of the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, Dodgers, Giants, etc. moves the Padres toward becoming yet another “evil empire.”
It is a financial world i do not comprehend, can’t fathom. Would anyone of these big spenders drop about a million in my pocket for being a fan? They wouldn’t miss it and i need it more than they do apparently. i would even try to help others with mine.
The Padres have built up a superb minor league system often being rated as the number one potential among MLB clubs. i liked that. i liked watching youngsters learn in the show. Only bad thing has been they didn’t win often.
That just changed. Oh, we’ve been through this before.
The Padres pulled off some extraordinary trades in the early nineties with a major spending and got to the World Series in 1998, losing to the original evil empire in a four-game sweep. Still, Maureen and i rejoiced at the community spirit and joy the Padres brought to us. The post-game reaction of the fans remains a wonderful experience in our minds.
After the season, the Padres had a fire sale to end all fire sales…well except for the dozen or so the Florida Marlins have conducted.
i love baseball as baseball. My buddy, Jim Hileman and i got Padre full season tickets after together we watched Orel Hershiser break the consecutive scoreless innings record in a game the Padres won 1-0 in fifteen innings. Turns out Jim and i were both huge Pittsburgh Pirate fans. Jim and Sharon would go to one game in a three-game series, Maureen and i would attend one, and then Jim and i would go to the third. That became tough later, so we went to half-season tickets. We were season ticket holders for 25 years. i loved to watch the game played at the highest level.
Then, the Padres played the city-assist-poor-owners game. After a lot of resistance from the Libertarians, creating a four-year delay and preventing Mr. Padre, Tony Gwynn, perhaps my favorite player ever, although Dick Hoak and Roberto Clemente could compete for first in my book, from playing in the new stadium. The Padres moved to Petco Park downtown.
Petco Park is a wonderful venue for baseball. i had half-season tickets there for a decade. But there were some things that bothered me. First, i knew we would never be able to afford seats similar to the ones we had at Jack Murphy Stadium (my favorite of at least four monikers for the Mission Valley stadium). It didn’t disturb me so much, rightfully so. We got great seats, just not as great as our previous ones in the old park. What bothered me is there were a whole lot of folks with season tickets in the old park who would not be able to afford the seat pricing in the new park. Now i’m close to being one of those folks. My season ticket buying dried up in 2014. To go to a game with two tickets, two hot dogs, two beers, a bottle of water, a bag of peanuts, and parking would cost me more than $100/game. Crazy.
So now, San Diego is ga-ga over the new situation. Money, money, money. i either have to quit watching or eat my words. The entire MLB is all about the money. Since i turned my wife into a big Padre fan and my younger daughter has been one all of her life: she went to her first Padre game when she was five months old, i’m pretty sure i’ll be watching, even going to some games. But wife and daughter are not an excuse. i am excited too. It will be interesting to watch how the Friars fare in the next several seasons.
So shut my mouth.
And after all, it’s not my money…oops, oh yes it is.