Padres bloggin' since 2007

Matt Antonelli moving up, at least in one sense

February 24th, 2010 by

Photo by Dirk Hansen

Padre blogger and prospect Matt Antonelli has earned himself a promotion, at least in the blogging world for now. He’ll now be answering questions at Shawn Anderson’s The Hall of Very Good. I wish I had thought of asking Matt before Shawn did.

Antonelli’s interaction with fans and online media has developed into a special relationship. In less than a year, he’s set himself apart from the other names in the organization depth chart and become a player I feel connected to, and root for.

It’s not just simply having accounts on Twitter, Facebook , or writing a blog. It’s about firing that publicist, pulling back the curtain, posting funny videos or photos, and sharing actual stories about who you really are. Don’t hide behind a few cliches in an article from a beat reporter, they’ll only tell their story, not yours. Put your real self out there. Be genuine.

I hope more young players learn from Matt’s example. I doubt it would earn him a call-up on its own, but if David Eckstein still has a starting job then personality has got to count for something.

Posted in media, players, sacrificial links | 9 Comments »

Local Coverage

February 22nd, 2010 by

Photo by Dirk Hansen

Anyone who listens to sports talk radio in this town has experienced first hand the acrimonious relationship that the Padres have with some of its fans. Sometimes it seems like instead of the Padres organization, that my radio dial has slipped to a political talk station and the subject at hand is the Bush Administration. What fuels this is not just the Padres themselves, both on and off the field, but also a local news media who seems more than willing to play into that fan discontent. Instead of actually reporting on the team, some in the local media seem content to step into the role of “Hacksaw caller”.

Take for example John Howard, Channel 8’s weekend sports anchor who offered the following as his introduction to the “Padres coverage” of the day.

“When the Padres won the National League West in 2006, one of the promising performances was that of rookie second baseman Josh Barfield. The Padres rewarded Barfield and the fans for his fine season by sending him to Cleveland in exchange for Kevin Kouzmanoff

If this is how the local media reports on the team its no wonder that it seems that the average San Diegan takes a highly cynical view of the Padres. Aside from the actual content of the quote, which is based on a laughably inaccurate premise as it is, what is more important is to examine the attitude behind it. I don’t disagree that the Padres have given fans cause for frustration, but I take tremendous issue with both this quote itself and the attitude that comes with it.

First, lets examine the actual content. He’s talking about a trade that happened 3 years ago when the Padres traded a “fan favorite”, obviously because they hate the fans. I’m no Kouz fan, but lets be fair here, Kevin Kouzmanoff was ten times better and more valuable than Barfield over those 3 years. Instead of praising the Padres for what turned out to be a great deal; there’s no way you could have traded Barfield for Scott Hairston and prospect Aaron Cunningham this offseason, they use it as another chance to turn the knife in the backs of the Padres simply because it’s the “popular” thing to do in this town. What’s more important though is the attitude behind it, and its not just John Howard, but it permeates much of the local coverage of the Padres.

“The fans are frustrated, they have every right to vent their frustrations”, you might say. But is this level of frustration completely justified? If you look back over the past 10-15 years, among the losing seasons we’ve had winning seasons, playoffs, and not to mention a beautiful new ballpark opened. I realize that some fans will see the ballpark opening as a negative rather than a positive, but that’s a subject for its own column. The fact is that the Padres have had the normal ups and downs that nearly every sports franchise in America has experienced over the same time span. Certainly not perfect, but in no way does it justify the general attitude, the seething anger of the fans in this town.

The main cause for frustration should be the Moores’ divorce, which gut the payroll and caused a sale of the team that could be drawn out over as many as 5 years. This attitude I am talking about however has been in San Diego for years, well before the Moores’ divorce. It was there during back to back division championships, and even while the Padres won more games than those division championship teams.

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a new regime in town making major changes. You would never know though as the coverage of the team offered after the Barfield comment consisted of a 20 second clip of Nick Hundley talking about Yorvit Torrealba, and then on to some golf story or dolphins dressing up as people or something.

This doesn’t mean the coverage of the Padres ought to be always lengthy and glowing, constantly extolling the virtues of every move the Padres make or the every utterance from the mouths of Jed Hoyer. Just please be responsible and accurate. You want to talk about problems, about fan frustration? Talk about the team’s failed drafts, and about the lack of organization building that has gone on. Talk about and educate the fans about what it takes for a small to mid market team to be successful, there are plenty of good examples. And then examine and report on whether the front office is doing those things.

We should all as fans welcome negative reporting about the team, as long as it is accurate and comes from a background of knowledge. This kind of reporting would improve the baseball atmosphere in this town and push the Padres as an organization in the right direction. On the other hand, inaccurate hit-pieces, the perpetuation of myths and misdirected fan anger based on false premises merely engenders a poor understanding of everything having to do with the Padres and baseball. In that case it actually becomes destructive and ultimately hurts the fans of the Padres. There are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about this team for the future, but are they being reported on?

If the atmosphere in San Diego for baseball is going to improve its going to take more than winning seasons, we’ve actually had those and they didn’t help. In addition to winning, it would be nice if the local stations that get the most viewership had reporters that actually cared about the game, who displayed the kind of knowledge of a fan who goes to 25 games and not 4 or 5 games a year. And the Padres need more coverage than they devote to the Charger Girls, let alone the Chargers. I know the Chargers won all of those Super Bowls, but there’s no reason for Nick Canepa to act as if the friar ate his prised collie. Did the dancing groundskeeper steal Darren Smith’s girlfriend?

In reality, the Chargers’ struggles over the years have been much like the Padres, not coming through in the big games, and yet its only the Chargers who get a pass. It has everything to do with a knowledge and desire to cover the home team accurately and fairly. We have great coverage of the Chargers, accurate and fair, backed by a knowledge of the team and the NFL. But Padres fans are being done a disservice by the local coverage of the Padres, where a team that draws an average of about 2 million fans a year is an afterthought in the local media who seems more intent on promoting fan anger than actually doing any reporting.

This is a guest post written by Padre Homer. He, Ray, and Melvin are friends and have been talking Padres baseball for a long time.

Posted in media | 3 Comments »

Don’t blame Cox for the Padres’ poor decisions

January 26th, 2010 by

The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups. -Henry Hazlitt

FCC ruling may let more Cox rivals carry Padres” reads a Union-Tribune headline, sitting atop a story that the Federal Communications Commission will change a rule about what deals Cable companies are allowed to make with content providers. The clause allowed companies to negotiate exclusive deals with content providers, and would render the Padres’ own exclusive TV deal with Cox Communications illegal.

The fact most relevant, is that the Padres voluntarily signed the deal with Cox, and likely received compensation in exchange for exclusivity. Instead, reporter Mike Freeman frames the topic as a matter of the FCC saving the day from evil corporations, referring to the clause in question as a “loophole” when in reality the parties acted within the stated intentions of the legislation.

After one to takes a broader, long term look at such an intervention, the consequences become apparent. In the long term, this may hurt fans more than help them. Such disruption in the affairs of content creators and service providers is a strong incentive to avoid creating content that people enjoy and to stop investing in infrastructure so they may have access to it.

Freeman does not print a direct quote in response from a Cox executive, though one appears near the bottom of a previous piece on the topic. Cox’s response clearly reveals the major hitch in the FCC arguments:

“AT&T has the iPhone and doesn’t allow other wireless providers to offer it to their customers, and DirecTV has exclusive rights to NFL Sunday Ticket,” Ceanna Guerra, a spokeswoman for Cox in San Diego, said in an e-mail response to questions. “We lawfully negotiated and paid for the rights to distribute Padres content when no one else wanted to make the investment, and now because of the success of our vision, AT&T wants the law changed so that it can benefit from our investment.”

A more personal perspective

Imagine if Cox offered The Sacrifice Bunt a large sum of money in exchange for exclusive distribution rights of the blog. Then the FCC informs us we aren’t allowed to make such a deal.

Ray and I work hard, invest our own time, money, and hard work, all of which is done at our own risk, to develop and grow The Sac Bunt’s content and reader base. We should the right to do with it what we wish, no matter how dumb of a deal I’m likely to sign if given the opportunity. The same applies to The Padres, Cox, and anyone else who risks their own resources to provide goods and services to others, in exchange for a voluntary fee.

Cox’s exclusivity is likely to change when the contract is up come 2012.

In July, Padres President Tom Garfinkel told The San Diego Union-Tribune that the exclusivity of the Padres’ deal with Cox may be on the table when the contract comes up for renewal.

“Our goal is to make our broadcasts available to as many fans as possible in the future,” Garfinkel said.

Supporters say the FCC’s actions are necessary to create competition:

AT&T and satellite TV providers have long complained that cable companies are using the loophole to gain a competitive edge. They say local sports such as Padres games are “must have” content for many potential subscribers. By blocking access, Cox has hamstrung its competitors.

Should it be a surprise that those making the case for it such an action are the ones who stand to gain the most? AT&T’s operations in San Diego demonstrate the competition does exist, and will likely have every opportunity to challenge Cox’s exclusivity through the same type of negotiation that occurred when the original deal was signed.

The “need” to intervene

Thanks to our country’s (mostly) market economy, there is no need for government intervention based on the “best interest of the fan”. Why? Because fans are the Padres customers. It’s in the best interest of the Padres to keep the best interest of the fan in mind. If the Padres alienate the fans, the Padres’ lose even more. And since those fans only exist because of the work, investment, and risk of the Padres, it is the Padres who have earned the right to market the team how they choose.

Who knows, perhaps the money the team receives in exchange for exclusive TV rights contributes largely to player payroll. At that point, the decision of what is or is not in the fans’ best interest becomes quite blurry.

Posted in media | 12 Comments »

Padres trade Kevin Kouzmanoff (plus important TSB news!)

January 15th, 2010 by

Today, the Padres traded Kouz for Sean Gallagher, Craig Italiano, Ryan Webb, and Aaron Cunningham. Sort of.

The more accurate way of saying it is that the Padres traded Kevin Kouzmanoff to the Oakland A’s for Aaron Cunningham and Scott Hairston, the same Scott Hairston they traded last July for the three aforementioned pitchers.

The initial reaction here is positive. While the squashing of the earlier rumor that Gio Gonzalez would be involved deflated things a bit, this is still a good return for a trade from a position of strength. Headley can now move to third, and AJ will (likely) see a lot of playing time with Hairston as his platoon partner in center.

While Kouzmanoff was not the favorite player of The Sacrifice Bunt, it’s still a bit sad to see him go. He may not be a world-beater, but he’s a solid 2.7 win player who could really be something if he could just learn to take a walk every now and then. Good luck, Kouz, and speak fondly of us.

UPDATE: Eric Sogard is on his way to Oakland as well.

But hold on, we’re not done with you yet!

We were waiting for the right time to tell you, and I’d say that this is it, about the brand new Sacrifice Bunt Facebook page! As you may have noticed, our style of in-depth, hard-hitting, and beautifully written baseball analysis doesn’t lend itself so well to breaking news, so we’re branching out. On our Facebook page, you’ll be able to stay up on all of the Padres breaking news with us. Think of it as The Sacrifice Bunt To-Go: you can just wait in the parking lot, and we’ll bring the Padres news to you!

Be a fan. We’d really appreciate it.

Posted in hot stove, media | 2 Comments »

More uninvited marketing opinions and a wallpaper

January 12th, 2010 by

All this complaining talking about marketing and creatives got me thinking: how would I promote the team?

First of all, the Padres marketing department is in a tough position. They’ve lost two franchise players over the course of about a year, and will likely lose Adrian Gonzalez via a trade or when his contract expires in November of 2012. Most of their other well known players have been hit by injuries (Chris Young), or are trade candidates (Kevin Kouzmanoff, Heath Bell, [please!]).

Clearly it’s time for a youth movement. But we’ve known that, considering it began halfway through the 2009 season.

Who should the team expect to step forward, not just on the field, but in the eyes of the fans as the face of the franchise?

Some might expect Tony Gwynn to take reigns as team diplomat. Unfortunately, Gwynn has but two things going for him in that regard: his last name, and his 2009 season. Every year from 2004-2008 Gwynn has demonstrated he will never be a starter on a championship team. I hope those in charge have a good think before Franoeuring him into a role for which he isn’t ready.

That leaves three players, each with a chance of becoming stars in Petco Park over the long haul. Though they have yet to prove themselves, Everth Cabrera, Mat Latos, and Kyle Blanks all have bright futures in San Diego, and should be introduced to the public as the future of the Padres.

To do a job for which I’m not being paid, nor was I ever invited to do, I would like to help this effort. As such, I set my creative juices in motion, and present this Cablanktos wallpaper for your viewing pleasure.

Mat Latos, Kyle Blanks, Everth Cabrera
[1280 x 1024]
[1280 x 800]
[1024 x 768]
Creative Commons License

Huge thanks goes out to SD Dirk, who publishes his gorgeous photos on Flickr and licenses them for others to use in their own projects. My work is published under a similar license. Here are his Cabrera, Blanks, and Latos shots.

Posted in media | 9 Comments »

Your 2010 Padres: When baseball gets too fun

January 10th, 2010 by

San Diego based design agency iHook Creative recently announced and published a possible Padres marketing materials for the 2010 season. The team will feature the slogan “SD Stands for San Diego,” “We Take the Words ‘Play Ball’ Seriously,” among others. Big thanks go out to sdpads1 for breaking the news.

Melvin Update: As sdpads1 is kind enough to point out, it’s not 100% clear this will be chosen as the campaign. It seems strange to publish this in a portfolio if not, but we haven’t had confirmation from the club either way.

Melvin Update 2: Thanks again to sdpads1, iHook responded and this is not the 2010 campaign. Again, I know these creatives are tough work, and the jokes here are just good natured fun. The design itself is appealing, and thanks for responding.

These goofball sayings are often easy to make fun of, through no fault of the agency responsible. I’m proud to say that hasn’t stopped me from making jokes before and likely won’t stop me now either.

In case anyone had forgotten what it means to play baseball seriously during the previous non-ballplaying-seriously years, here’s your answer:

That the Padres are a team of low payroll players looking to make and impact and sustain a career in the Major Leagues. This means they’re running the base path, stealing bases, diving for fly balls or better put… PLAYING BASEBALL.

The iHook portfolio goes on to mention the “SD” logo as the official “primary logo,” to go along with its declaration of being the “official brand” if that makes any difference whatsoever. I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned this yet, but of all the ideas that don’t involve bringing back the brown, this is one of the best. The “SD” logo is clean, simple, traditional (sort of), and iconic. The plate logo isn’t terrible, but kind of sucks. Good work.

Also, keep the sand jerseys. Just want to throw this in here.

New circular logo, usage unknown

The other big news is a new logo that compliments the “SD” design. There are two marks–actually–both circular in shape. One features a sand colored ring, the other with a white ring on the outside. The text “Padres Baseball – A San Diego Tradition” surrounds the “SD” and is set on top of that ring. No mention on what the use case for these logos will be, but again I like the focus on clean design.

Petco’s giant billboards on the outside of the seating bowl will apparently display the marketing campaign, along with advertising signs around the city. Without any franchise players the team can market long term, this approach makes a lot more sense than the current exaltation of little kids.

Speaking of franchise players, or lack thereof, if you didn’t check out the giant photo at the top of the brand portfolio page, do it now. Lolwut?

Bonus link: Sdpads1 rivals Myron Logan for most Padres blogs started

His new one is called RJ’s Fro. Go check it out.

Posted in media | 11 Comments »

MLBN on the Padres

December 1st, 2009 by

Just as they did earlier this year, the MLB Network is going team-by-team, breaking down what each club has and needs. Today, they talked about the Padres.

After giving a rundown of the 09 team, they listed off what they see as the team’s “Shopping List”:

  • protection for Gonzalez
  • innings eater
  • leadoff guy

But despite this list, and the idea of protecting him, the focus of the discussion was Adrian and what should be done with him.

On the panel was Joe Magrane, Harold Reynolds, and Ken Rosenthal. Magrane spoke first, stating that Petco is a park that needs nice defense and young pitching, and that Adrian could go a long way to filling those needs. Rosenthal went next, countering, saying that Adrian is signed to an affordable contract and that he wonders what message the team would be sending to the fans if they move him.

Reynolds spoke third, and he said that Rosenthal gave a strong sell. But he also notes that Adrian is an incredibly valuable chip, and that the Padres are in a win-win situation (of sorts).

Rosenthal then claimed Adrian was our Joe Mauer, noting that he’s a homegrown San Diegan, as well as a Mexican-American. Reynolds refuted, stating that the team can not (or will not) sign Adrian to a long-term deal.

Greg Amsinger, acting as moderator for the discussion, ended things by asking the panel if they thought Adrian would be a Padre on Opening Day. Magrane and Reynolds said no, Rosenthal said yes.

And that’s what two former players and a reporter think about the San Diego Padres.

Posted in media | 2 Comments »

Matt Antonelli’s blog I wish I had known about earlier

November 23rd, 2009 by

Antonelli’s Blog

Why didn’t someone alert me? I demand answers!

The Padres prospect second baseman, and former first round selection (17th overall) in 2006 has been sharing stories and thoughts with all of the Internet except me.

It’s neat that Matt does the writing thing at Blogspot rather than MLB.com, similar to the format of Paul DePodesta’s work. Those MLB blogs are a cool way to interact with fans, but they feel like MLB’s PR division has sifted out any fun or interesting details.

Take Matt’s thought on the crowd environment at games:

I wished the atmosphere at a baseball game could somehow resemble that of basketball game. It would add an element to the game that is only really present in post season play. I’d love to try and take a page out of Garnett’s book, the way he slams his head into the pad underneath the basket a few seconds before tip off, or skips to the side of the court and yells at the fans to get them to stand up and get excited. I think If I tried something like that before the first pitch of our games someone would call the police and then a shrink.

If Matt tried a stunt like that at PETCO, the first response I would expect is a polite tap on Antonelli’s shoulder and request to “keep the noise level down. Also, no standing!”

The other response might be loud cheers right away that die down by the time the pitch is delivered.

This place is a goldmine of awesome, home movies and photos. Here’s video of Antonelli, Headley, someone I think is Drew Macias, and Callix “gangsta cowboy” Crabbe clowning around a Tuscon rodeo in full cowboy getup.

Antonelli: Someone back there just asked me if I was in the rodeo

Camera Guy: That’s just ‘caus you’re so damn good baby, so are so [fucking] money and you don’t even know it

Antonelli: Oh, I do know it

Also, bribing little kids.

Posted in media | 1 Comment »

Rob Neyer, A’s Nation, Beyond the Box Score on Hairston

July 6th, 2009 by

Neyer:

Ken Rosenthal says the A’s aren’t going to flip Hairston. I’m not so sure. They could trade him soon, when his value’s at its highest. Or they could trade him a year from now, when he’s got a .298 on-base percentage and suddenly their young outfielders are looking pretty good by comparison. But I don’t see Hairston in the lineup when the A’s get back into the playoffs.

I agree. Again, did the Padres get the best value for him? We’ll find out in a few weeks.

Blez from A’s Nation:

I wouldn’t be surprised at all if that PTBNL is Sean Gallagher.  And if it is, then I still think it’s a good trade.  Gallagher had a lot of potential, but the A’s are chock full of young arms with a lot of potential.  They need to get a right-handed stick that is under salary control for a while who can provide good defense.  This finally plugs that hole and the A’s clearly didn’t have a lot of faith in Gallagher.  We’ll see though.  It also wouldn’t surprise me to see it be someone like Henry Rodriguez.  But we’ll just have to wait to find out.

Blez also makes a lot of sense to me. The Padres have outfielders, the A’s have pitchers. Bing bang boom.

Jack Moore:

Italiano, with his strikeout and walk numbers both high, appears to be on a track to be a relief pitcher.  Webb, based on his minor league track record, appears to be a back-end of the rotation starter.  While these can be valuable pieces, it seems unlikely to me that they can equal the kind of production that Hairston is likely to put up in his next two cost-controlled years.

619 Sports has an interview with Grady Fuson on Webb and Italiano. Not much new info. Webb is 6’6”, and came into his own after a move to the bullpen this year.

Italiano is a hard thrower, though raw, with a “rough delivery” out of high school, and still “something that’s been a work in progress.” “He’s been cleaned up,” but they’ll use him more out of the bullpen.

6/8 Update: Baseball America too. Why the hell not?

Matt Forman:

A’s GM Billy Beane has to be pleased with this deal. In exchange for two (probably three) second-tier minor league arms, Oakland acquired a solid everyday player, albeit an arbitration-eligible one, who is set to earn $1.25 million this season.

Posted in hot stove, media | Comments Off

Nerdgasm UPDATE

April 21st, 2009 by

In February, we reported on the upcoming movie adaptation of Moneyball, directed by Steven Soderbergh, written by Steve Zaillian, and starring Brad Pitt as Billy Beane. At the time, I said:

I hope DePodesta … mentions something about this on his blog. Hopefully he can give us a casting scoop on who’s going to play him.

Now we have our answer: Demetri Martin, of Important Things with Demetri Martin and Ang Lee’s upcoming Taking Woodstock, will be playing our favorite special assistant for baseball operations.

David Justice and Scott Hatteberg will also be in the movie, playing David Justice and Scott Hatteberg, respectively.

It’s a real film, Jack.

Posted in media, misc | 1 Comment »

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