Now, I Know What You’re Thinking…
Now, I know what you’re thinking…
Opening Day was rough. Really rough. And, yes, you have every reason to feel disappointed with Monday afternoon’s season opener… but … *cue the clichés* … no team has ever gone 162-0 in the history of Major League Baseball. As I was reminded this afternoon by a fellow writer, no team has ever gone 0-162 on the season, either. Now that’s a silver lining… I suppose.
After losing 15-0 to the Dodgers on Monday, it stands to reason that you might say that the expectations for 2016 are nowhere near the expectations we had as Padres fans in 2015. There aren’t really any feel-good chills or chants following a video of Trevor Hoffman telling us to rise and band together — since supposedly “our time is now.” There is no fanfare or hoopla surrounding the intoxicating air of our “Rockstar GM,” AJ Preller. And outside of a couple offseason acquisitions (Jon Jay, Drew Pomeranz, Alexei Ramirez), there was no midnight signing that blew everyone’s minds.
Indeed, regardless of today’s game, the expectations weren’t anywhere near 2015 levels before first pitch on Monday. And, for all intents and purposes following that humiliating shutout, this year really does not appear to be the Padres year.
That being said, there really isn’t any logical reason to call it quits after Opening Day.
I’m not suggesting that this was a one-time deal and that the Padres will bounce back and bang out a 21-6 victory on Tuesday, kind of like they did in Spring Training. Thanks Houston!
Nor am I suggesting that prospects are phenomenally high. FanGraphs projects Derek Norris to be the top position player for the Padres in 2016, which isn’t bad, but it’s not particularly encouraging either. Additionally, prior to his signing with Detroit, FanGraphs projected Justin Upton as the organizations’ top offensive producer with 86 RBI for 2016 — he is obviously gone now. To that effect, Matt Kemp came in second with 78 RBI and Hunter Renfroe, down on the farm, was third with 66 RBI. Although RBI are but one factor to making a formidable offense, those numbers don’t scream “postseason bound.”
The bottom line is that it is really important to note that baseball is an extremely nuanced game in that it almost never has a “standard” sort of season. There are years where underdogs come out of nowhere and make a miraculous run to the playoffs, or years where would-be contenders find themselves in the cellar after being on top the season before. Baseball is such a head-scratching sport that it would be fallacious to throw in the towel for the Friars just because of one bad game.
One very, very bad game.
Plain and simple, this is baseball. Just because it doesn’t appear to be our year doesn’t mean that this isn’t in fact our year. Truth be told, one game does not a season make. And for as bad as today was, there are still a lot of things to look forward to this year. Things like Jabari Blash’s rookie season, Colin Rea’s first full year in the majors, new closer Fernando Rodney, the ever-possible (yet ever-avoided) chance at the Padres’ first no-hitter, and of course the 87th mid-summer classic to be held on July 12th at Petco Park.
Day one was bleak, but there are 161 games left for the Friars to establish what kind of year this is going to be. Being faithful and loyal to one’s team doesn’t mean blindly cheering on an organization that develops a less-than-stellar product on the field. Nor does it mean chastising and berating the team for every small hiccup or wrinkle in the plan.
No, being a good baseball fan means looking at the bigger picture and taking stock in everything that their team has in store. 2016 could very well be disastrous, or it could be fantastic. All we can do for now is watch our beloved Friars take the field on Tuesday and hope for a much better outcome than Monday.
There’s a lot of baseball left folks. Let’s play 161 more games, shall we?