Giving thanks

Although the San Diego Padres missed the playoffs in 2004, there is still plenty to be thankful for. Starting with the new ballpark downtown that was an immediate success to the prospects of the future that may ensure the Padres stay in contention for many years.

Thank you Rey Ordonez.

It was your ineptness which allowed the Padres to start Khalil Greene throughout the year. Greene showed he was ready for the show and surpassed expectations by playing solid defense and shoring up the middle of the field. His bat was a plus from the eight hole and he came up with countless big hits from a spot that is usually warmed by a non-factor. He was our Rookie of the Year.

Thank you New York.

Without the Yankees diminutive offer to San Diego native David Wells he may not have ever come home. Wells threw strikes and kept the Padres in virtually every game he pitched. His presence off the field, considered a distraction at time, was model. He made 31 starts and had a WHIP of 1.13 – a stat that speaks volumes of his success and ability to win 12 games. He had six games where he allowed two runs or less and did not figure into the decision.

Thank you ace.

Wells was considered the ace of the staff but it was Jake Peavy who came into his own. In 27 starts, Peavy only had four games where he allowed more than two earned runs. It led to the ERA crown with a 2.26 ERA. Peavy, in just his third year and only 23, won 15 games and has the look of a future Cy Young award winner. His homers allowed dropped from 33 to 13 and he was just as effective on the road as he was at home.

Thank you Petco.

A new ballpark downtown meant the Padres could open up the purse string a little more. They brought in Brian Giles at the end of last season and added Wells to the rotation. And fans came out to support the team – three million plus – to see the new stadium and a return to prominence for the franchise. The stadium wasn't quite the hitter's park the batters hoped for but it was a success none the less.

Thank you farm system.

The Padres have a farm system that can be a pipeline for prospects well into the future. Portland, Mobile and Fort Wayne each made the postseason in their respective leagues and Portland sent countless bodies up to the big club for spot appearances. That will likely continue as the team stays young with prospects instead of aged veterans looking for a second chance. Then there is the cream of the crop who has not tasted the Majors but will likely be in San Diego soon enough.

Thank you future.

Increased revenue has allowed the Padres to expand their payroll – while many think it is by the slimmest of margins and wonder when they will truly open up the books for the marquee name, it has allowed the Padres to make several moves they would otherwise be unable to make. The hope is it gives the team flexibility to open up their wallets when they need that extra push down the stretch to put them in the playoffs this year and long into the future.

Thank you America.

Blessed are we that we can enjoy the simple perks of society such as baseball. It wouldn't be possible without the men and women who fight for our freedom everyday. We thank you most of all and keep you close to our hearts.

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