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Josh Byrnes the Diamondback in the form of lines on a screen

December 5th, 2011 by

Josh Byrnes Diamondbacks Pythagorean Record and Farm System Ranking

Lets take an objective, simplified look at new Padres GM Josh Byrnes‘ career as a general manager. Above is a graphical timeline showing the Diamondbacks’ farm system as ranked by Baseball America, and the Diamondback’s team Pythagorean Record Rank (as calculated by Baseball-Reference) compared to the rest of the major leagues.

The graph is meant to simply and concretely stand on its own, so I’ll leave the interpretation to you.

Just kidding, no I won’t. Here’s what I think: the Diamondbacks did not see nearly enough major league success in exchange for a farm system that tanked so badly, and I don’t see where Jeff Moorad‘s high level of confidence in Josh Byrnes comes from.

Meanwhile, Jed Hoyer brought the Padres’ farm from near the bottom to the top, and was allowed to leave along with draft guru Jason McLeod after Jeff Moorad refused to match the Chicago Cubs’ contract offer to Hoyer.

With a payroll as low as the Padres’, and after losing their top two (arguably three) talent evaluators this offseason, the new regime has an uphill battle. As we’ve all heard, a “system” of scouts and processes is in place now. How long does that system last once the head is chopped off? What evidence is there that Josh Byrnes knows how to build, or at least maintain such a system? I would argue that the evidence shows the opposite, as Josh Byrnes decimated his previous farm club. To be fair, I’ll be watching the young Diamondback players Byrnes assembled before leaving to see if that trend reversed.

For a more in depth analysis of Byrnes in Arizona, see Geoff Young’s excellent piece at Baseball Prospectus. He’s higher on Byrnes than I am, which is an excellent sign considering Geoff’s experience and the level of detail in his analysis. I hope there’s more to Josh Byrnes than the big picture results he has shown with the Diamondbacks.

Posted in statistics | 1 Comment »

Padres Jersey Redesign: A fireside chat with The Sacrifice Bunt

November 15th, 2011 by

Padres mariners jerseys

Ray: Yesterday, after months of rumors and speculation, the Padres unveiled their new uniforms for the 2012 season and while no drastic changes were made, Jeff Moorad and Tom Garfinkel did give the uniform collectors out there something to put on their Christmas list. The biggest change is the piping featured on all of the jerseys, which is meant to emulate the design of the PCL-era set. Other changes include the evening out of the road script (goodbye bow tie) and a new alternate jersey which features the interlocking SD on the chest.

The whole look is incredibly underwhelming, which seems to be what the Padres are going for under Moorad and Garfinkel, but before I go any further, what do you think, Mel?

Mel: Let me start off by saying I want to avoid simply giving opinions of what looks good and bad. Everyone has their own tastes, so those types of discussions tend to not be very productive.

Getting down to it, I disagree with this party line of “Padres fans are tired of seeing the jerseys changed all the time, so we only ‘tweaked’ them.” The new home jersey looks more like the 1999-2003 homes than the 2004-2011 homes, the road jerseys are the third set in as many years, the alternate has been completely replaced, and the piping is a very non-traditional Padre element. These are big changes as far as I’m concerned, and they don’t closely resemble anything I’ve seen a Padre team wear before. Moreover, the Padres have only worn the current navy blue and white color scheme for a year now after eliminating sand in 2011.

Ray: I think the big problem with these jerseys, if I can jump to the point, is that they tried to sum up the history of the franchise with this new set and drew heavily from a completely different one. The Padres have been around for more than forty years and it still seems like all we’ve heard is about the PCL days. Has any other in team in baseball forgone decades of major league history to go with what their minor league predecessor did? And because they’re pulling from seventy years of completely diverse history, we have this bizarre mismatch that left us with a Swinging Friar that looks bad. How does that even happen?

Mel: Most of what the team calls “taking inspiration from the PCL days” is a pretext. It’s an attempt to placate the fans who want a unique, San Diegan look, which of course means the color brown, and the brass hasn’t shown a willingness to go for that.

So instead, they try to replace history the fans want with a history not many fans know about or care for. “See guys, we’re giving you history!” Except it isn’t. My father was 19 years old when the Padres last played in the PCL. It’s not something people identify with. It’s almost insulting what they’re doing.

Then they threw in the Swinging Friar. That’s a nice gesture, but they need to do more.

Ray: It seems like the team focus grouped this uniform to death, but I wonder who exactly they spoke to. They claim that they interviewed season ticket holders but I know a handful of those poor suckers and I don’t know a single one that they talked to. I can’t help but feel like the team knew what they wanted and set out in search of the answers they wanted to hear. I’m surprised they’re not now calling the team the Toyota Terrace Padres of San Diego.

Mel: There were reports of focus groups two years ago.

I agree, the team did what they wanted with the jerseys then found ways to justify it to the fans, rather than the other way around. Then the ownership threw in the 70s Friar as a “secondary logo” in an attempt to placate them.

Getting back to the uniforms themselves, while I’d much prefer a modernized 1975 jersey, I would have been happy had they added something unique or distinctive to the look. They didn’t. While the 2011 version looked exactly like the Brewers, in 2012 the dominant blue color and piping simply mixes in a pinch of Mariners (see photo) then goes out to breakfast.

The unique bit is the dark blue alt, which wins the small battle that no team currently wears that exact jersey. Although the Nationals have come close while the Tigers have worn that design with blue and white swapped as their primary jersey for 80 years.

Ray: Besides the piping, which I’m not a fan of, there’s no cohesion between the three jerseys. They could very easily be from three different teams and that highlights what a half-assed job the Padres did. You mentioned the 70s Friar that they threw in to throw us a bone and it looks terrible. The monochrome look that the team has embraced gives everything a flat look and it’s so unnecessary. The 90s Friar looked like a cherub but at least some thought went into his design.

Mel: What changes would you suggest to make the three jerseys more cohesive?

Ray: A concept. The team has the shampoo logo on the home jersey, what looks like the logo for nu-metal band on the road, and the SD on the alt. Look at what Moorad and Garf did in Arizona. That look isn’t perfect but it’s one look.

Mel: I can’t see a way to put “San Diego” in the shampoo bottle font that would look good. In some ways I like the new San Diego wordmark, though it’s less unique, because it matches the SD on the primary logo and the alternate.

If they’re not bringing back the brown, I’d prefer they stick with the current concept then change to something all new. Just give us something distinguishing along with it.

Ray: Except it doesn’t really. If you look at the “S” in “San Diego,” you’ll notice that it’s angles are much sharper than the one on the hat and OH MY GOD RAY, STOP. That the cohesive aspects of this uniform can only be seen under intense scrutiny goes to show how poor this overall design is.

I don’t hate the shampoo logo but my suggestion is to slap the SD on the home jerseys. That way, the aspects that are kind of similar run across all three. I’m actually surprised that the Padres didn’t do that, given how hard the new front office has pushed the SD logo.

Mel: They didn’t put the SD on the side of the home jersey because they were going for a more traditional look, and I wouldn’t prefer that since it’s exactly what the Tigers do. That “traditional” remark segues nicely into that discussion. You made it clear earlier you weren’t a fan of the classic design, calling it “flat.”

I enjoy that simplicity to a degree, but the Padres aren’t a traditional team and shouldn’t try to be. On the other hand, I am a fan of finding something that works, is distinctive, then sticking with it. Perhaps a simple design offers a better chance of finding a jersey that can withstand trends and pass the test of time. That said, “This chance is the last change, we promise!” isn’t exactly believable.

Ray: I don’t think the team shares your interest in finding something distinctive. It’s almost too appropriate that the Padres brought out these new uniforms in the same offseason that the Marlins completely overhauled their look and the Blue Jays took a serious nod to their relatively immediate history. Those two teams have declared their individuality (in their own ways) while the Padres have blended in.

Mel: Agreed.

We both prefer some version of brown, aside from that happening, we have different ideas about the direction the team should go. Neither of us are in love with the redesign.

Posted in gripes | 6 Comments »

Mo money fewer problems

August 23rd, 2011 by

San Diego Padres Draft Payroll If you listened intently during Ted Leitner’s introduction of Padre owner Jeff Moorad at Trevor Hoffman’s wonderful number retirement ceremony on Sunday, you may have heard awkward cheering from one fan in the second row of the upper deck. That fan was me. Leitner’s remark that Moorad had been busy last week signing almost every top draft pick had me clapping and screaming.

And the reason it was awkward? I can’t answer that; Leitner was referring to the most promising day for Padres organization over the last couple years. I expected more cheers.

I’ll now direct your attention to figure A (those liney things next to this text). On the rightermost section of the graph, which shows the Padres spending budget compared to the rest of baseball year by year, you’ll notice the 2010 payroll and draft numbers wayyyy down at the bottom. The payroll ranking for the preceding and following years also displays on the southern end. (note, I couldn’t find draft data for 2005 and prior, or 2007)

Meanwhile, the Padres record this season is awful. The driver behind the (in my opinion, overrated but good) 2010 ballclub is no longer with the team. Also note the absolutely embarrassing draft budget in 2010 and 2008, though the latter was under a different ownership. Many of the team’s best prospects including Casey Kelly, Simon Castro, Donavan Tate, Drew Cumberland, to name a few, took steps backward in 2011. This organization needs talent, badly.

This was the environment fans saw while watching  the draft and subsequent signing window. A bad team. A step back from the farm. A low payroll. A traded star. And while the team’s explanation behind not signing 2010 top draft choice Karsten Whitson seemed plausible, we fans have no way of knowing for sure. We’ve followed organization known for publicly and historically skimping on the draft, such skepticism is warranted. Even if Whiton accepted the team’s reported offering, the 2010 draft budget likely only match the mid-point of  spending across the majors.

These days, even the big spenders are catching up with the times. Draft spending is up across baseball, and teams are valuing prospects more than ever before. So yes, spending does not guarantee anything. But it helps. Just like navigating city streets in a car without breaks can be done, so can winning with a low budget. But it has never been easy, and isn’t getting any easier.

So for me, the new players in the Padres organization are important and great to see. But even better is the confirmation that Padres intend to follow their stated plan of adding talent through the draft. Because even at record costs, it’s worth it. The team is showing that the Karsten Whitson fiasco likely was an exception to the rule. But you have to pay for talent at some point, and the draft is a pretty good place to get it. With a payroll this low, they can’t afford otherwise.

graph sources:

http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/draft/2011/08/teams-spend-236-million-on-11-draft/

http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/draft/2010/08/bonus-expenditures-2008-10/

http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Daily/Issues/2007/02/Issue-101/The-Back-Of-The-Book/Signing-Bonus-Expenditures-For-MLB-Draft-Picks.aspx

Posted in draft | 1 Comment »

June 25th, Bring Back the Brown!

June 23rd, 2011 by

Bring Back the Brown June 25thHere’s a heads up about another great Bring Back the Brown event, this Saturday, June 25th. Pregame party is at the Lincoln Room before a 5:35 start against the Braves.

While truth hasn’t flowed from this blog as swiftly as in years past, there have been some great events I’ve recently had the pleasure of attending, and I want to encourage everyone to come hang out. Talking Padres with the community in person, especially if there’s beer somehow involved, makes for a fantastic and fun experience. I can’t make it this weekend, and I apologize profusely. Nonetheless, it will be rad, so if you haven’t come out yet, put on some brown and join the blogging community for a good time.

Posted in misc | 2 Comments »

Orlando Hudson butt slap from every angle

May 3rd, 2011 by

What, did you expect anything else?

Posted in media | Comments Off

The Tao of Boo

April 29th, 2011 by

Booing is an act of frustration from fans who have a great deal of interest and emotion invested in a situation yet are powerless to do anything else.

Lets talk about the given reasons given for the boo?

“The player is paid handsomely and isn’t performing.”

Sure. Does the player need to be informed of his poor performance? Probably not. Will booing encourage better performance? The boo will most likely create resentment between a player and his supposed supporters. All of a sudden, playing on the road becomes more friendly than playing at home. This won’t help the situation.

“It’s the effort being booed. Play harder to earn my respect.”

I see. Poor on field performance means there’s poor effort. What if the player were to throw his helmet around? Punch a locker? Can I assume the boos will stop?

Suppose we give the booer a bat and helmet and put him on the field. Surely his performance will be poor. Easily mitigated by returning the boo favor. Problem solved!

“We must send a message! We fans will not tolerate poor play!”

By booing the player? But why is the player on the field in the first place? What player would you prefer given the relative price of players and money available to retain their services? Who decides how much money is available for those services? If you feel the money available to retain players’ services is unsatisfactory, does buying a ticket and booing a player send the right message?

The discussion about the Tao of Boo, unfortunately, doesn’t go anywhere. People boo so they feel better. They boo to demonstrate to others that their team’s poor play doesn’t reflect on their own self worth. They boo to create a sense of control. They boo out of frustration. It’s understandable, but doesn’t accomplish much.

Or, by all means, wear brown to the ballpark. That will totally motivate Brad Hawpe.

Posted in controversy, players | 5 Comments »

The one where I wish you a Happy Opening Day — and other fun stuff

March 31st, 2011 by

5&adime Bring Back the Brown PadresHappy Opening Day!

The new look Padres are here, stealing our hearts with their well balanced lineup and bothering me with their boring jerseys.

I’ve got some IRL blog related action to report, starting with a special event brought to us by the cool chaps at RJ’s Fro…

Padres Blogs Unite!

This Sunday, April 3rd, a bunch of Padres blogs, The Madres, Jane Mitchell, The Lake Elsinore Storm, Randy Jones himself, and others will be uniting for fun and charity at the Randy Jones BBQ in Mission Valley. The game starts at 11:15am. What’s that, want food and drink specials? You bet your food and drink specials will be all over this piece.

And the best part? I have a prior commitment, so I won’t be in attendance. If I knew of a way to accept gifts of food and drink via Twitter, that would be encouraged. Instead, be sure to join us for the first ever…

Crowd in Brown

We’ll be partying it up April 9th at the Bring Back the Brown pregame party! Come hang out at 5&A Dime downtown from 1-4pm for a live DJ, BBQ, and craft brew provided by Left Coast Brewing Co. A bunch of bloggers including myself will be there doing whatever it is we do when not blogging, plus the brains behind the Bring Back the Brown campaign from Product Etcetera™.

After the party we’ll mob over to the game in our stylish brown. No blue allowed!

Posted in media | 2 Comments »

Your 2011 San Diego Brewers!

January 26th, 2011 by

It finally happened. The long rumored gray away jerseys have replaced the sand. I’ve been writing this post in my head like a breakup speech all winter long. This is enough to wake me up from my writer’s coma. Suffice it to say I’m pretty pissed off, the new jerseys are not unique and they’re not San Diego.

This isn’t about uniform aesthetics, that is, what I think looks good or what someone else thinks looks good. There is no right or wrong with design. Someone isn’t going to like every design out there.

No, this about the boringification of the team. It’s about the lowest common denominator. It’s about removing every ounce of risk and fun from the jersey until the focus group just says “meh” and moves on. Or goes to breakfast. Motel art.

They just look so run of the mill. Don’t believe me?

Padres jerseys Brewers Jerseys - Spot the difference

While we’re at it, look here and here for differences too.

It is interesting that when the Moorad group took over, one obvious goal was improving the Padres brand. They hired Laura Broderick, a Senior Vice President for Brand Development to do so full time. She’s done a good job too, the brand is more consistent today than I ever remember. One of the most important aspects of any brand is being unique and distinguishable. Yet the Padres are one of 16* teams in the league that use blue as their primary color, and one of 6 teams to use shades of navy blue and white exclusively. Hardly distinguishing. This isn’t the first time an organization with Jeff Moorad and Tom Garfinkel in powerful positions pulled this same shit, exhibit a and b here and here.

People have been yelling for a return to brown for years. It will never happen, at least as a complete brand overhaul to what the team wore in the 70s and early 80s, or something similar. But I did hold out hope we would see at least some homage to it, which one might interpret the new brown camo jersey and hat as such.

The idea behind Bringing Back the Brown is to have something of our own as fans of the San Diego Padres. We don’t want to be the Dodgers or the Brewers. We need something that’s us. Sand away jerseys were something us. Powder blue and navy blue could have been us, but the Rays beat us to it. We don’t want to be them, either.

I hold out hope, but it’s fading fast. What’s funny is I’m more upset about this than I was about trading Adrian Gonzalez, Jake Peavy, or any single on the field decision the team has made the last few years.

This is my Matt Bush. Come 2015, if there is still nothing about the look that screams “PADRES!”, I’ll be complaining.

Posted in controversy, gripes | 20 Comments »

Transplant fighting Padres shirt

November 29th, 2010 by

San Diego Padres Shirt Your City So Great

Bothered more by  Cubs fans than a Padres loss? Does that transplanted retired lawyer and Cardinals fan from Columbia, Missouri need to be put in his place? What about that tough guy Red Sox fan on vacation from the craphole they call the entire East Coast?

I’m tired of visitors at Petco who are so damn proud of their home city they don’t want to be there anymore. Lets take back Petco Park for Padres fans. This shirt makes it easy, and it’s available now for $11.90 at the Sacrifice Bunt shop. For you hipsters there’s an American Apparel version as well.

As with everything else, we don’t make any commission on these, the price is as affordable as we can get. Use the coupon code “GIFTS2010″ for free shipping on orders over $30, so now’s your chance to pick up an I <3 Headley shirt as well.

Posted in misc, the funny | 1 Comment »

Weirdly timed Oktoberfest wrapup

October 8th, 2010 by

San Diego Padres OktoberfestAfter ripping a pretty harsh one into the Padres previous foray of craft beer festival events (Terriblefest), I feel I owe it to fans and the team to report my findings from the other fest of the season: Oktober. Fest.

For the un-initiated, Oktoberfest was the second pre-game local beer tasting event hosted by the Padres this year. I’ll give Tom Garfinkel first crack at telling the story:

“We had an overwhelming turnout at Beerfest and we want to build on that success, as well as improve the operational flow of the event,” said Padres President and COO Tom Garfinkel. “We listened to fan feedback and we are making some changes for Oktoberfest, in order to speed up the service and ensure folks have a great experience.”

My version of Beerfest goes a little different style:

“I arrived an hour before it was supposed to end expecting to hang out with friends and sip on a little something something. Instead, there was no beer to be had anywhere in the stadium [very slight exaggeration], I was met with lots of frowny faces, and Tommy G apologizing to the crowd.”

However you want to phrase it, Oktoberfest was more than building on the “success” of Beerfest, it was an attempt to make things right. The Padres were nice enough to allow me to buy another ticket to that event, so I paid my fare and was greeted with a well organized, great tasting, not knowing how loud I’m talking evening at the ballyards.

The beer dispensaries were spread evenly all across the park at the park lawn, while $5 cups of beer were prepaid at separate booths. Apparently people in San Diego really do love their beer, though everyone had unfettered access to their favorite, or new favorite brewery.

The beerlight of the event was a visit to the Lost Abbey booth. I’m by no means a beer snob so I won’t bother trying to describe the taste, but I will describe the 9% ABV quoted to me and what can only be explained as an almost syrupy texture. That cup of ale forever changed my life.

Afterward, some baseball was played, the Padres won a great game, Star Wars backpacks were worn, and the Padres missed the playoffs. I think that covers everything. Oh yeah, there my crying about missing the playoffs.

Cheers!

Posted in petco park | 2 Comments »

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