Merry Christmas Padres fans

I'm not a Grinch. Really I'm not. In fact I truly believe and love the holiday season. It's a time for being thankful and cheerful and a time to share with others who are less fortunate.

Speaking of giving, the Yankees and the Red Sox are sure in a giving mood. In fact, most of Major League Baseball is in a giving mood. Have you noticed the huge salaries that are being given out to a lot of mediocre players? I'm not envious (ok, yes I am; I work at a normal job, at a very large computer company and I can't even get a raise) but I have to step back and look at what's going on. It must be the season but I personally think the game is being ruined (yes ruined) by a few of the major league teams; those mentioned above are the primary culprits. There's no parity and the playing field is not equal. Those two teams will dole out more money in 1 or 2 players contracts that most teams annual budgets! They'll pay the ‘luxury tax' and not even blink. They'll continue to spend, spend, spend and dominate the air waves.

It's time to revamp the way Major League Baseball is run. I like the NFL because your team can be out of it one year and be back the next. Every year I have to listen to Boston this, the Yankess, that. I get tired of it, really I do. Then, when the TV schedules come out they put those two teams on an extraordinary amount. Get with the program; be cheerful, thoughtful, giving and share a bit. Share the wealth and let some of the other teams have a chance. Of course with both of those teams last year, all they bought themselves was a large payroll.

On the other side of the equation is the players themselves. I don't deny in this ‘it's only business world' that they should get paid what people are willing to pay but the problem lies in the fact that a few teams are dictating what the market is and in many cases the rest of the league picks up the scrapes. These teams escalate the prices which makes it even more difficult for teams to compete for big name players. Let's step back for a minute and see what they are making in terms of salaries and benefits. $50 M for 6 years plus a masseuse, a translator, 16 trips back to Japan, etc. This is a baseball player not the next coming of Santa!

While there is some redeeming value in the National Pastime, this isn't doing much in terms of solving world hunger, curing cancer or feeding people who can't afford to eat. What if Steinbrenner gave half of what he spends on players to feed every homeless person in the country. I don't know what Steinbrenner's philanthropy is outside of baseball and I'm sure he does a lot but think of the scope and magnitude of this scenario. It's a game. I might argue that teachers, police, fire people deserve to make more money and I bet if your house was burning down you wouldn't call Dice-K. Come on MLB, step and do something that equalizes the game and gets it back into the real world. Maybe the ‘love of the game' is partially gone now since it's such a big business. Players play the sport they love but they also play for the big payoff and why not? Owners are willing to pay it because there is no cap and no equality. Don't hand a team like the Padres a big check from the luxury tax paid by the Yankees because the Padres won't typically spend it. Make it an equal playing field up front and then we can all celebrate the season.

Have you noticed, too, that over the last few years, the more we treat sports players like ‘gods' the more incidents that crop up? Fights, spitting and a "me-me-me attitude"? Now it's transgressed to College and even into high-school sports. I'm a big fan of sports but at some point we need to ‘reset' our attitudes and how change our worship of this bad spiral in attitude.

Comments like ‘He was in my face so I spit on him' and ‘they were embarrassing us in front of our own crowd', etc. are inexcusable. If you're making millions of dollars a year, you'll win some and lose some. Play the game with some compassion but also with some respect and especially during this holiday season. It's always a few "bad eggs" that ruin it for the fans and I honestly believe that most people have a good heart. Just in the last few days there have been a lot of incidents and both the NFL and NBA need to make a very big statement. If the main players in these incidents aren't fined and suspended for substantial periods, it will continue to escalate and make its way into other sports. There has been a lot of justification for these events but there isn't any justification at all. Of course, these are the faces of their individual sports and I suspect that the fines and suspensions will be fairly minor in comparison to the millions they are making in salaries and endorsements.

Now, looking at the Padres recent holiday cheer they've given us.

Cheers :
Maddux is a good one and he'll bring in a few wins for sure.
Piazza : Not a cheer to see him gone, he did the Padres well but I'm not sure he'll be missed.
Brocail : A slight gamble but worth the risk if he stays healthy.
Kouzmanoff : I'll give him a Cheer but the Padres have tried a lot of players at 3rd base over the last year and to think an AAA player can fill in might be a stretch. Giving up Barfield stings so he better be the real deal.
Cruz Jr. : Could be a bargain for the Padres this year and he plays any position in the outfield.
Marcus Giles: If/when we can get him I'll feel better about the trade of Barfield. The Padres believe they will introduce him on Wednesday..

Not quite in the Holiday Mood:
Roberts: He'll be missed and come back to bite us given he's moved to San Francisco. We still don't have a lead-off hitter.
Barfield: He'll also be missed unless we can get a proven 2nd baseman. Giles fits the bill.
Draft Picks: A lot has been said about the Padres collecting draft picks. I personally will wait to see but given history this isn't a good story.
Black : I'm sure he'll be a good manager but he's unproven and the Padres had a proven manager.

Overall, I like the changes and the bottom line is that you have to trade players to get players. I just am not a fan of giving up young players who have proven themselves.

Be kind to each other during the holidays and enjoy the season. Let's hope we can watch the sports of our choice without any more negative incidents. I hope that Santa will spend a little extra time around your home this year and helps spread the holiday cheer!

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