Padres bloggin' since 2007

Closers

January 18th, 2013 by

Padres Season TicketsEver been stalked by a new friend from the Padres season ticket sales office? I’m not a season ticket customer/member, but I’ve spoken with a number of those who are about their experience. There are quite a few interesting stories which put season ticket representatives into two general categories. Some are helpful, respectful, and willing to work with customers to bend even the Padres’ own rules in order to help.

Oddly enough, the other group’s behavior seems the exact opposite. People talk of a barrage of phone calls, sometimes a few calls a week for multiple weeks at a time trying to sell tickets. Emails too. Here are a few fans’ reports, I’ve heard similar stories from others. It is important to consider our good bud selection bias could be in play, as people loudly report experiences most when they’re at one extreme or the other.

I’ve tried wrapping my brain around what kind of organizational structure could lead to this behavior, and it wasn’t until talking with someone who knows that it’s starting to make sense.

Season ticket salespeople are required to make 50 phone calls to perspective customers a day. And their managers check the phone logs. So no matter how many leads a rep may be following up on at any given time, they still have to call 50 people. It makes sense then that during slow times, those fans being courted by salespeople get more of the phone calls. Maybe a lot more, depending. And it makes sense that the messages get a little weird. What would you say if you had to call some dude for the 8th time in a couple weeks?

Update: Also getting reports from people who have received handwritten notes. I recommend carrier pigeons next.

Posted in gripes | 2 Comments »

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 »

Boycott the Blue: La Règle du Jeu (The Rules of the Game)

March 16th, 2011 by

It’s been brought to my attention that the rules of this boycott are a little ambiguous. Hopefully, this list will clear things up a bit.

Rule 1:

Don’t wear blue

Rule 2:

Don’t wear blue

And so on and so forth.

Seriously though, no blue Padres gear is allowed to be purchased under any circumstance and no blue clothing of any kind is allowed to be worn to any Padres-related function with one exception, that exception being the now-eliminated sand road jersey. Because the sand bowtie is another victim in Moorad’s vanillazation of the Padres, it is a brother in arms and can be worn. However, it cannot be worn with a blue hat or a blue undershirt. No blue means no blue, damnit!

I hope this was informative.

Boycott the Blue!

Posted in gripes | 4 Comments »

Boycott the Blue

February 1st, 2011 by

As you may have noticed from our recent mention at Big League Stew (and based on the number of visitors it sent us, you did), we’re not too fond of the new road jerseys here at The Sac Bunt. In fact, we’re not too fond of the whole look. Like 11 other teams in the league, the Padres wear a dark blue hat onto the field, only we do it with less history behind us than some others. We’ve tried before to catch the ear of management. We just want to let them know that us true Padre fans, the ones who have followed the team for more than two years, know that we are a team with an identity all our own, even if it has been hidden away for the past two decades.

Recently, a page has been floating around on facebook (not too unlike one we started last year), asking folks to sign a petition to get the team back in brown. It’s a noble cause, but one that I think has a slight problem: management knows we want brown. At last week’s town hall meeting, the topic was presented to Tom Garfinkle, who said:

Brown is out. If the Padres do return to an old look, it would likely be a take on the 1948-1949 PCL Padreslook popularized by the throwback uniforms they wore in 2005-2007. He did reveal, however, that they were more keen of the “red, white, and blue” color scheme if they were to tweak anything at all.

(Thanks to Bryant at Woe, Doctor! for getting that one)

Red, white and blue. The same color scheme used by eleven other teams in the league. I hate to say it but I don’t think management is going to get it. We could tell them switch back to brown till we’re blue in the face (and given their love of blue, they’d probably appreciate the act) but it won’t change anything. Which is why I propose the following:

Boycott the blue.

With the focus groups telling the team how much they like the look of dark blue between scarfs of pizza, it’s clear that management only cares about the opinion of one man: Benjamin Franklin. So let’s get him on our side.

You know those new road jerseys the team just unveiled? Don’t buy them. Or anything else combining “Padres,” “San Diego,” and dark blue together (and that goes for Chargers jerseys as well). When you go the stadium to root them on, leave your dark blue in the closet. Wear brown, or green, or even street clothes if you must (no blue jeans though). Let those whose opinion matter know how you feel. Let them know that this aggression will not stand. Let them know that the Friar was never meant to wear dark blue and as a Padres fan, neither were you.

Posted in dear jeff moorad, gripes | 17 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 »

On Black and managing Game 162

October 4th, 2010 by

Looking around the internet, it seems that everyone has an opinion on the moves Bud Black made, or didn’t make, during yesterday’s game. For my part, I have only one thing to say:

Chris Denorfia is not a center fielder. Stop playing him in centerfield.

I like Denorfia, relatively speaking. He’s a solid hitter who should make for a strong fourth outfielder for the 2011 team. But like I said, he’s not a center fielder. His sloppy route on Huff’s double yesterday was an appropriate end to a season in which Denorfia cost the team four and a half runs in only a quarter of the season’s worth of time in center.

Keep Baby in a corner, Bud. Please don’t make Hoyer go all Vinny Castilla on him.

Posted in gripes | 4 Comments »

[Insert tired John Fogerty reference here]

August 25th, 2010 by

In a year of unlikely successes, Chris Denorfia might be the unlikeliest. A career minor leaguer*, Denorfia made his way to San Diego in mid-May when Scott Hairston went down, I can only imagine the team advised him to go ahead and buy an apartment. Since then, he’s been the second best hitter on the team with a wRC+ of 134. He’s hit nine home runs in a little more than 200 at-bats, and he’s done it with a BABIP-LD% of 12.9**. Come October, Denorfia will be in the starting lineup and he’ll have earned his place.

I just wish the team would stop putting him in center.

While not quite the second coming of Brady Clark, Denorfia’s highlight reel is a little shorter than the average centerfielder. According to UZR, he’s been below average this year, posting a -3.1. Dewan’s +/- is harder on Norf, placing him at -5 DRS (defensive runs saved). But with Anthony Junior out the rest of the regular season, it looks like Denorfia has little to worry about with his job security.

There are other options, though NL Manager of the Year-to be Bud Black has shown little interest in them. Over the course of his Padres career, Hairston has made 98 starts in center and has a +5.3 UZR*** in center. But with his regular scheduled second half slump (.490 OPS), S dot has found his playing time severely limited. Then there’s Luis Durango and the recently reacquired Jody Gerut, but neither of them are good enough to muscle their way into the starting lineup. That leaves us with one obvious option.

Will Venable is no stranger to centerfield, having made 42 starts at the position since 2008. But I’m not going to bother drawing any conclusions from those 300+ innings. Really, there’s very little evidence to draw any conclusions about Venable’s defense, but in sixteen hundred total innings, he’s saved 13.7 runs out there. He’s been tasked with Petco’s right field and he’s come out on top. At least, so far.

One troubling trend I’ve noticed as this season has gone on is the slow phasing out of the youngsters from the lineup. Of the Baby Pads who started the off this year, only Chase Headley sees regular playing time. Venable is next but a couple of hundred at-bats behind. In 2011 and beyond, this team is going to needs these youngsters to pick up where Adrian and co. leave off. Finding out if Venable is capable of delivering 20 home runs out of center is a good start.

Denorfia’s a great story, and he’ll remain one in left field. Let’s see if Venable’s ready to play.

*Denorfia 208 major league at-bats coming into 2010, compared to 2630 of the minor league variety.
**This means that only a little luck has been on his side.
***In 921 innings.

Posted in gripes, players | 7 Comments »

Incidentally gang, beer fest is terrible.

April 30th, 2010 by

TerriblefestNormaly this type of ‘as it’s happening’ rant is reserved for Twitter, but my anger can’t be held at the moment by a teeny tiny keyboard.

After waiting in line and paying $14 as it was the cheapest ticket available, I came to learn beer fest mainly consists of the opportunity to wait 30 minutes to pay $6 for 14 oz of beer. Note, this only applies if one is lucky enough to ween one’s way to the front of the line without the keg tapping out.

Now Woe Doctor (is his name woe doctor?) and I are waiting onother 15 minutes to get in the HOF bar and grill. People are abandoning ship for Toronado.

Garfinkel just half-apologized to the crowd, to audible boos. I guess something like “we’ll do it better next year” counts as an apology.

Update: Added photo

Posted in gripes | 11 Comments »

Dear Bud Selig

April 27th, 2010 by

(As a Padres blog, it’s usually out of our jurisdiction to discuss the happenings of a Yankees/Angels game, so you’ll excuse me if this seems off-topic.)

During their game on Friday night, this happened:

(NOTE: While this isn’t a graphic video, it’s not entirely pleasing to watch)

I’m less interested in getting into a “Was it clean?” debate then I am with some of the comments after the game:

Joe Girardi, former catcher: “I’ve been run over a lot of times. Hard slides. It’s part of the trade. Your job as a catcher is to block the plate. You’ve got to keep the runner from scoring. Sometimes you get run over. I’ve gotten my nose broken, my shoulder separated. It’s all part of the game.”

Bobby Wilson, current catcher: “He was playing baseball. He was playing hard. There’s no hard feelings towards Tex. I know he wasn’t trying to hurt me. Just playing baseball. People can say whatever they want. Whether they think it was a clean play or they think it was a dirty play – that’s baseball. I know next time around, I’m telling you, I won’t back down. That’s part of the game.”

You get the idea.

If you’ve watched enough MLB Network, or any channel that gives a platform for old time baseball guys to wax nostalgic, you’ve probably heard the story of Pete Rose and Ray Fosse at the 1970 All-Star Game. It goes that in the 12th inning of the exhibition game, Charlie Hustle ran over Fosse as he blocked the plate, as old time catchers tended to do, to score the winning run. The story usually ends with a eulogy for Fosse’s career, which was never the same after the hit.

Luckily, for those involved, the part about Rose ending Fosse’s career with that hit isn’t actually true, but when you win a gunfight with Lee Marvin, facts aren’t necessarily necessary. The legend is enough, and the legend tends to glorify a hard-nosed style of baseball that scrambles brains, as the newly concussed Bobby Wilson can attest to.

My question is: Why is this type of play still legal? A concussion is a traumatic brain injury and while it’s possible for non-catchers to get concussions (just ask Corey Koskie or Edgar Gonzalez), it’s more of an inherent part of the game for them than getting run over like a tackling dummy. At no other bag would it be allowed or accepted or excused for one player to run over another simply because he was in the way, but catchers are an exception because, why? The pads they wear? Are they really built to protect from the impact of being bulldozed by a 220 pound man?

I know baseball is a game that idolizes its past, but that doesn’t mean we have to continue living in it. With everything we know about head injuries, what’s the point of keeping plays like this legal?

Posted in gripes | No Comments »

Nick Canepa now a parody of himself

April 13th, 2010 by

That’s the only way I can read Canepa’s newest piece without honest to goodness, not a trace of snark, feeling sorry for the guy. Then he called me a geek.

Baseball has lost some of its charm

When we were kids, baseball players played baseball, so that’s what we did…

Regardless of the outrage you’re haplessly manufacturing, baseball is still played. It’s not like a game of quidditch broke out on the field. There is a pitcher and batter, the batter hits a pitched ball with a bat. Fathers watch with daughters. Kids play in the park. I managed to drink a beer yesterday without dropping my calculator. None of the stuff you hate takes away from the things you claim to like. Even this response to your argument is cliche by now.

The Grand New Game — if that’s what you want to call it (I prefer the old one) — is being overanalyzed into embalmment. Baseball history always has been driven by stats, which is why the steroid era has smacked it in the mouth and it’s still bleeding. But we never knew what an OPS or UZR or any of these other geek formulas were. And, if we didn’t know, the real ballplayers didn’t know. They didn’t need to. They just went out and played.

Go into Padres manager Bud Black’s office and you’ll find him sitting at his desk, laptop open. Used to be, when you went to see a skipper after a game, his fly might be open — or he might be naked. How I long to see Dick Williams in there, two legs propped up, stripped down to his sanitaries and a few other things, sipping Chivas Regal out of an 18-ounce beer cup, speaking in a tongue salted by a lengthy stay in baseball’s inn.

Man, how I miss that.

Yikes. You did see the primer printed in your very own newspaper on UZR? I don’t think I need to point out the name calling implications toward your own readers.

Joe Banks, eighty-two years young, has come to this pond every day for the past seventeen years, to feed the ducks. But last month, Joe made a discovery. The ducks…were gone. Some say the ducks went to Canada. Others say, Toronto. And some people think, that Joe used to sit down there, near those ducks. But it could be, that there’s just no room in this modern world, for an old man…and his ducks.

Oops, that quote isn’t from your article.

Sorry Nick. This piece is 10 years late. It is cliche by now. You are cliche. These sappy, emotionally manipulative, empty space where content is supposed to be pieces are what strangled your beloved newspapers. Strangled past tense. You don’t deserve to earn a living writing about baseball. Readers have already voted with their feet.

It’s your own fault. It’s not numbers, players, “society”, or any other imagined entity you think is to blame because people don’t listen to you anymore. Silly words of yours on a computer screen in a pitiful attempt to convince yourself and your readers you are not at fault will not change that.

It has been laundered by too many statistics, too many Ph.Ds, and too much money has nearly washed it clean of characters.

“The players are bigger, stronger, faster than we were,” Coleman says. “You can’t knock today’s players. I don’t think they play the same game we did. They don’t use their brains the way we did, but they’re better players than we were.

Honestly, I don’t even know what this article is supposed to be about. UZR is ruining little league? There are too many “Ph.Ds” in the game, but Jerry Coleman is complaining that “They don’t use their brains the way we did”? Stats were fine and dandy until OPS came around, but that was the breaking point? Did you read this? Do you ever read your stuff?

You don’t like baseball anymore? Then stop writing about the subject and quit embarrassing yourself with this shit. I’m sure you can still find Dick Williams’ open fly around somewhere. Have at it.

Posted in gripes, media | 16 Comments »

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