Season will tell of off-season success

Well, it's been a month and the Padres are preparing for a new marketing strategy (stability and promotions) to convince the fans that the team is on the ‘right track'. Are you convinced yet out there in San Diego? From my view point, not much has changed and I'm not overly enthusiastic or optimistic about the prospect of the 2006 season.

Maybe the new strategy is to ‘rebuild' as I predicted would happen if the team didn't do well in the playoffs last year. It certainly feels like they are rebuilding but I think they'd be better off building around the key players rather than filling the holes with older players and…

As the Winter Olympics kicked off, word is that baseball and softball won't be in the 2012 London Summer Games. I wonder why? Could it be that the US women softball team is too strong? Could it be that there are only a few baseball teams that really have a chance? If that's the case, why not throw out curling (I actually like watching the obscure sports myself) from the Winter Games? I like sports where you don't need a lot of capital (aka money) to play and you can chill your beer at the same time. You can't go out and buy a curling team and it reminds me of the good old days where people participate in the sport for the fun of it. Aw, the good old days.

Since my last article, the Padres haven't done much except to get older and slower. That's not totally true. There are four rookie pitchers on the roster right now but that has its own question marks. Maybe it's about lively, young arms? Aw, the good old days of yesteryear are trying to make the 2006 Padres a contender.

The catching position and decisions made by the front office continues to boggle the mind. Piazza? The amount of money the Padres have spent on catching you could have made an attempt at keeping Olivio or Hernandez. Piazza won't be able to throw anybody out and if the pitchers can't keep people off the bases it's going to be a long season. Releasing Greene won't hurt the Pads since acquiring Piazza. According to reports too, the Pads have told Piazza he can catch as much as he wants. Huh? Can he produce more runs than he gives up with stolen bases? The one good thing is that with the pitching we have, the outfielders will get lots of chances and I think that's the strong point for this team; the outfield. Anything hit in the air will be caught and not much is going to make it through the gaps. The fence is being moved in a bit and that supposedly would have had a net, positive run effect based on the balls hit there last year.

Now what? Spring training is coming up and I hope some questions are answered. If the pitching and outfield can keep the Padres in the game, let's hope that the hitting comes around. I'm hopeful my old standbys come through and I hope Klesko has a breakout year free of injuries (of course, nagging injuries don't typically just go away).

Since I'm on a ranting rage, another one of my classic rants is the amount of money the East Coast teams spend on their teams vs. the West Coast teams. Something has to be done. Why is it that teams like Boston and N.Y. can get any player they want? How often have you heard a statement like "All the Yankees have to do now is go get player XYZ from team ABC"? It doesn't matter if team ABC wants to trade that player; it's assumed they're available. I'm tired of all the other teams in MLB being the development league for the East Coast teams specifically New York and Boston. Even during the season, when one of their players is having an off year or a player goes down with an injury, all of a sudden some star from another team shows up at their door-step.

How is that possible?

How is it that the Padres can't get a player they want while the Yankees can go pluck them out of another organization when ever they want them? I'll tell you how. Money! $200 million vs. $60 million in payroll. The one good thing is that we'll always have a team to hate. I've recently heard some sportscasters say that the Marlins policy change not to allow facial hair is bogus and that when they win the amount of Pennants and World Series as the Yankees, then it's ok. Well, just because you buy the World Series (or try, they haven't been overly successful in the recent history) doesn't make you a great team in my mind. I'll keep wishing for the good old days when Baseball was about the game and not solely about the money. In the meantime, we'll have to see if Wells or Clements can find their way back home. If Boston can pull another East Coast team "look what I got" move, look for Wells to be back. I'll just have to question what the Padres give up.

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