Andrew Burer – TKF #63

This week the guys sit down with Andrew Burer from The Mighty 1090 and talk about his job covering all things San Diego Sports. They discuss the Padres youth movement and the Chargers’ inability to forward a cohesive positive message to the fans as the all important stadium vote approaches. Then Nick and Travis discuss the 1994 film Little Giants for the second installment of The Kept Faith Football Film Series #TKFFFS.

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Andy Keatts Returns! – TKF #62

This week Nick and Travis sit down with Voice of San Diego reporter Andy Keatts. They talk about Matt Kemp’s Player’s Tribune post, the Joey Bosa situation with the Chargers and kickoff The Kept Faith Football Film Series with Oliver Stone’s Any Given Sunday (1999).

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Scott Lewis & Loxie Shooks – TKF #61

This week Dallas and Travis chat with Coach Lew from the Voice of San Diego podcast about his recent interview with Ron Fowler and the impending Chargers/Padres feud. We also talk to Loxie Shooks of the Gulls about the upcoming season and what it’s like being the in-game announcer during the playoffs! We also talk Ichiro’s 3,000 hit and if A-Rod will make it into the Hall of Fame!

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Fowler’s Gambit

By Nicholas Burmeister AKA @PadresHaiku

Padres Chairman Ron Fowler’s rants recently have gotten some attention, but I don’t think they’re just the ramblings of an old man. I think they are premeditated messages to a large group of Padre fans. What Fowler is doing is giving fans permission to accept the exit of their stars and to embrace the oncoming rebuild. He’s making it okay to root against the stars fans rooted for a week ago. He is doing this by stroking the basest  level of fandom. Fowler is playing San Diego’s id.

Ron is basically saying,  “You’re either with us or you’re against us.” Which, in the broadest measure, is rooting for a team. Until recently sports have been a purely jingoistic endeavor. Fantasy sports is eschewing this  behavior to some extent, but you’re likely to root, root-root for the home team where you grew up.  Uncle Ron is saying to San Diego, “You’re not a Kemp fan or a Shields fan; you’re a padre fan,  act like one.”

He’s doing this, in part, to save his own skin. He knows the re-build was under way starting last year, but he doesn’t want fans to look at him the same way they looked at ownership (Tom Werner) during the last fire sale. He is very sensitive to how San Diegans see him as a sports entity. He doesn’t want to be Alex Spanos (no one does). Fowler is saying “we got rid of those guys because they’re clubhouse cancers not because we’re shedding salary or rebuilding. Even if we are rebuilding, those guys needed to leave. Don’t point your finger at me, point it at them. I’m doing right by you.”

There is a portion of the fan base that understands the business of baseball and how cashing in a blue chip player for two or three prospects is an effective strategy, especially in small markets. This group is growing, thankfully. If you’re reading this you are most likely in this group of people. I don’t think he’s worried about what that group of people thinks. He doesn’t have to, the team is awful now, yet we live in the golden age of Padres Podcasting, the silver age of Padres Twitter, and the bronze age of Padres Blogging.  He’s sort of counting on those fans to read the tea leaves and back the team during the rebuild.

By flying off the handle, he gives the appearance of passion, which Werner, Moores and Moorad never did.  That might inspire enough San Diegans to stick with the team through a season or three of losing even if he sorta knows it’s bullshit. He is stroking the fan’s lizard brain and it makes them feel good.

For example, let’s say the Shields trade happens, and nobody from ownership says anything, there are a bunch of fans that would turn their back on the club faster than a housewife turns on Ellen. Fans grumble things like:

“Why you tradin’ Big Game James for? I just bought that guy’s jersey.”

Or “Same ‘ol Padres ” 

Or “Me want stars!” 

But, if ownership gives fans another reason to trade him, as opposed to just dumping his salary in a normal baseball-business way, fans might go along with it and say:

 “Yeah! Screw that guy. He gave up a home run to Bartolo Colon for crying out loud.” 

Or “Shields stinks”

Or “Throwing guy with beard bad”

This is because down deep inside every sports fan is a blind desire to love their team and to hate all other teams. A tiny voice that will support their squad regardless of the circumstances. Sports fandom is as irrational as it gets. That’s what the id is. It’s irrational and animalistic and it’s what Fowler wants to inspire. He might be saying the right things.

As an aside I have zero doubt in my mind that Ron Fowler’s passion is genuine. Zero. I believe that he wants to win more than any owner since Joan Kroc and probably more than her. He wants to win more than Werner and Moores combined. He wants to win more than Russian athletes want to use steroids. He wants to win more than Dellavedova wants to dunk on Draymond Green during the Olympics. Which, sadly will not happen.

 

Follow Nicholas Burmeister on Twitter as @PadresHaiku

 

Jono Zalay – TKF #60

This week the guys chat with Jono Zalay, a stand up comedian and San Diego sports fanatic. They take a hard look at the moves the Padres made before the MLB Trade Deadline and discuss everything that’s happening with the Chargers as camp starts up.

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Jason Klein (Brandiose) – TKF #59

This week the guys talk to Jason Klein from Brandiose, a local company that has become a leader in the sports branding industry. They talk about minor league baseball, working with the Padres, and developing the polarizing mascot Chuck The Condor with the LA Clippers.

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The Padres Suck?

Listen.

Can you hear that?

It’s the sound of hundreds, if not thousands of Padres fans telling each other just how much the Friars suck this year. “They’re terrible!” “They can’t play defense!” “They’re a bunch of old has-beens!” “They’re all young nobodies!” “I can’t stand to watch this team strand another baserunner!” These frustrated fans aren’t wrong. They really aren’t, but at the same time…they are?

You see, the Padres are in fact not a  good team this year. They show flashes of greatness, and then show long stretches of the team everyone assumed they were getting in 2016. Except me. I maintained this offseason that the Padres would finish in second place. Somehow, I still believe it. Call me a believer, and then make fun of me for a long long time. However, the Padres are playing relatively well, and have even managed to sweep the NL West leading Giants, and take two of three from the Nationals. They aren’t as “shitty” as some people would like them to be, and they are nowhere near great. They’re just in the middle. The gray area. They call it ‘hovering around .500′ for a reason – it sounds boring and inconclusive.

But, to say they just suck is wrong. Because, the Padres is an entire organization, and I’m finding a hard time deciphering which part of that organization sucks.

THE PLAYERS:

The Padres on the field squad have actually put up some of the most explosive offensive numbers in Major League Baseball throughout June and July. Guys like Wil Myers and Matt Kemp started to hit like we always want them to, a dude named Schimpf is playing at a level no one was expecting, and even ol’ Mumford and Sons, Derek Norris, decided to wake up – if only for a few brief beautiful moments. Add in to that mix Solarte’s oft overlooked and solid play (never overlooked by me, cause I am always right), some timely pitching, and Melvin Upton’s tradeable stats you actually have a team that’s kind of fun to watch! Fancy that. Seriously, flipping fancy it. As a lifelong Padres fan I’ve sat through teams that have had a similar record and expectations and have not been fun to watch (i.e. 1986-1992, 1999-2003), and it’s been pretty exhausting. Statistically, over the long run this team is at best a .500, maybe third place finisher if everything breaks right. That is not good. However, that does not suck. You know who sucks? The Rays, The Reds, The Diamondbacks, and the Braves. And, you may say, “Well, Dallas the Braves are actually rebuilding, and they have been honest with their fans about that, so really it doesn’t suck, and I have a sandwich in my hand and I’m eating it and blah blah blah…” and that actually brings us to the next category –

THE FARM SYSTEM:

Remember last offseason when we gave away a bunch of young prospects and players for guys like Kemp, the Upton’s and Kimbrel? Remember when everyone lost their minds, and no one could fathom how we’d recover before Jesus came back to smite Petco or at least rescue us from season three of True Detective? We gave up Wisler! We gave up Turner! We gave up…Jace Peterson! Yes, we did. And, perhaps it’d be nice to have those guys back, but personally players like Margot, Guerra, and Asuaje make me a little more excited. Especially since Turner is starting to profile more as a speedster and defender, and maybe that’s it. Add to this list the deals made for Paddock and more recently Anderson Espinoza, and I’m starting to like this farm system a lot. Next in line is the influx of international talent, and draft picks Preller has been able to sign, and well…let’s just say I don’t miss Jace Peterson. Whether the front office will admit it or not, like the Braves we are rebuilding, and AJ Preller is charge (for the most part) of that rebuild. Since AJ had a hand in the prized Rangers farm system, I’m gonna give him a longer rope than normal. Looking at the young talent we have, I’m gonna say we don’t suck. Minus the James Shields deal, and I’ll get to that.

THE COACHING STAFF:

I like Andy Green. You kind of have to. He’s a young manager without a ton of experience, having the same amount of success with this team that Bud Black and Pat Murphy had with last years “All-Star Squad”. Players seem to like him, and he’s a happy guy who also likes to show some emotion. Can’t really be upset with that, and based on record alone he doesn’t suck…at all. In fact, he might be a good manager someday. McGwire is harmless, if not probably a lot of fun to have around, and Zinter is obviously having a positive impact. The only question mark on this whole crew is Balsley, which is weird for fans to hear. Last season and this season pitchers aren’t seeming to respond, or maybe he’s lost his influence. Either way, something is going on, and while that alone doesn’t suck, it is a bummer.

THE GM:

He’s not Kevin Towers, and that doesn’t suck.

THE EXECUTIVES:

Here is the only part of this organization that might…perhaps…not totally, but maybe…suck. A lot of times we forget that Fowler and Co. are a relatively new ownership group in sports. They have a certain bravado to them that reminds you of all the reasons you hate rich people. They are utterly confident in their decision making, and thats final. They do have the right to be, as it is their team, and they can do and say what they want. So, really they don’t suck, they are just kinda…sucky. But, let’s look at this crew: Fowler is the “voice”, and fought for that privilege. I’ll give him credit in that he’s a better voice than any Spanos young or old. He obviously has a short temper and expects results although he isn’t completely sure on how to get them. Neither is Seidler, and that’s when things get troublesome. More on that in a second. Fowler was the catalyst for the Shields deal, which is unfortunate, because man…let’s just assume Shields was able to pull together an okay June, we could’ve gotten so much more for him. Instead we got a player you already forgot about, and Fernando Tatis’ kid. You remember Fernando Tatis, right? He’s that player whose baseball card you keep for nostalgic reasons although you never rooted for him, you just liked his name, and you miss that time in your life. Of course the Shields deal was more of a salary and personality dump than anything else, and when Shields left the team under the careful watch of Sevendust, we all immediately got it.

Sure, Fowler is riding the line of active owner, and frustrated owner, but at least he’s active and I like that. Seidler, the future voice, is a little different. He’s the real “owner” and he knows it. He only pokes his head out when something weird happens. He’s the Michael Corleone of this family (Yes, that makes Fowler “Sonny”, and Dee a mix of “Fredo” and “Tom Hagen”) and that’s a good guy to have around. When he talks you feel like something is actually being addressed, but you never totally trust him. That brings us to Mike Dee, who had a sizable campaign launched a couple of months ago to have him fired. He’s not well-liked by a lot of fans, but very well-liked by ownership, and that means he will be here until someday he betrays Seidler in nightclub in Cuba, and then goes fishing on a boat by himself. Here’s the issue, Dee has made the team more profitable, maybe not by much, but he has, and that’s all that matters to most owners. He’s made an inferior product a tourist destination, which is impressive. It’s like if Disneyland got rid of Space Mountain and Frontierland and Pirates of the Caribbean, and people still kept coming anyway. The team has had more odd scandals than most this season, and has about a .500 record dealing with them, which is fine. Food at the ballpark is awesome, which is great, and the scoreboard is the size of La Mesa now. The experience is just that – an experience. Not necessarily a Baseball experience, but an experience nonetheless. The part of this executive team that does suck is when they all try to get involved in player decisions. Dee says he doesn’t get involved, but we all know that’s not true, and ultimately who cares. However, when you hire AJ Preller, you let him do his thing. Trust him. It’s pretty obvious they haven’t. There was a theory going around that they hired Preller at the last second because he abandoned his strengths and sold them on building a winner immediately, which any ownership group obviously wants to hear. AJ just didn’t have any experience doing that, and made moves that were fun, but questionable. My addition to this theory is that AJ tried to build a winner, while secretly revamping a not-so-great farm system, which was his plan all along. I like this theory, so I’m buying into it. If the executive crew can find a way to stay out of things for another season or two then this team might have a chance. The issue is most of us know that isn’t possible, and yes that does indeed kind of suck.

For more expert sports stuff, and things you probably won’t care about, follow me on Twitter @dallas_mc 

Carlos Rico – TKF #58

This week Dallas and Nick sit down with Carlos Rico from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. They talk about the All Star Week, the Drew Pomeranz trade with Boston, and the upcoming issues surrounding the Chargers’ push for a stadium. Then Nick and Carlos discuss the post Kobe Bryant Lakers.

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ALL STAR WEEK – TKF #57

The big event came and went. On this episode Nick, Dallas, Padres Haiku, Nick’s Dad, and Liz McCann all share their All Star experiences. From a baseball discussion series hosted by Steve Garvey at Sycuan, to Fanfest, to watching Wil Myers come up short at the Home Run Derby, it was all a blast watching San Diego showcase itself on the national stage. Even though the National League lost in the big game, it was a week none of us will forget.

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Geoff Young – TKF Pod #56

This week Nick sits down with Geoff Young from Baseball Prospectus and crookedscoreboard.com. They talk about the international signing period, the future of the farm system, and the overall experience of being a patient Padres fan. Then they talk about Richard Linklater’s latest film Everybody Wants Some!! Nick’s wife, and Red Sox fan, Liz also stops by to discuss their shared hatred of the Yankees.​

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