Over the past twelve months, we Padres fans have had to say many goodbyes. We watched as John Moores, through a bitter divorce, tore down the team he helped build. We watched as Sandy Alderson, the savior-to-be, departed before seeing things through. We watched as Jake Peavy and Trevor Hoffman, the two best Padres ever to do their respective jobs, left for the midwest. And just this weekend we watched Kevin Towers, a mainstay in San Diego for fifteen years, receive his walking papers.
Tomorrow, in all likelihood will be Brian Giles last day as a San Diego Padre, a milestone sure to be overshadowed by Towers’ removal. It was Towers who brought Giles home just over six years ago, a move made to build excitement moving into Petco Park. For the years before, Giles was one of the best hitters in all of baseball, showing a Bondsian combination of patience and power while in Pittsburgh. He came at a high price, with the Pirates receiving Jason Bay and Oliver Perez in return. But he hit the ground running, hitting four home runs in his short time at the end of the 2003 season in Qualcomm. With returning stars Nevin, Klesko, and Loretta, Giles gave the team a formidable lineup in the team’s new digs.
It would be fair to say that things didn’t turn out as planned. As everyone quickly found out, Petco didn’t play evenly between pitchers and hitters, and power become less and less a part of Giles’ game. While other players looked to the front office for answers, Giles responded by changing his approach, tailoring his swing for the park and drawing a league-leading 119 walks in 2005.
Giles’ stay in Petco Park was up and down, but he was always a reliable part of the lineup, there everyday and getting on-base. And on top of everything, played a solid right field. Though his arm was lacking, as evidenced by a wak throw from the outfield in Game 163, he showed tremendous range that made solid Padres pitching even more solid. And now he leaves, with nary a whimper, missing the second half of the season following a lackluster first half. Not to mention the gossip-filled offseason before.
Hopefully, he leaves with more than a few “Thank yous.”
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