Author: Dallas McLaughlin (page 1 of 2)

Which NFL Team Do I Root For Now? We Help!

Since the Chargers left San Diego, and ultimately left all of their fans feeling abandoned and lonely it only seems appropriate for you to leave the Chargers. But, which NFL team deserves you’re undying loyalty and fandom? Why should you root for that new team? Why should you avoid that new team at all costs? Well, you’re in luck cause I’ve done the research for you! Below I’ve presented all thirty-one teams as possible suitors for you – the fan! Pros, cons, and more! I started with the most recent Super Bowl teams, and then through the AFC and NFC. Enjoy!

(HOF = hall of fame)

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS:

Super Bowl wins: 5

Players in HOF: 7

The New England Patriots is the Walking Dead of NFL teams. Everyone loved them in the beginning of the Brady/Belichick era. Scrappy, young, talented team full of key players and no real superstars. Then they kept winning. They kept hanging around. You still really enjoy watching them play and marvel at how the nobodies became Hall of Famers, but now it’s just getting repetitive. If you weren’t in from the beginning it’s too late to catch up, and if you were in – you’re over it. Still a great franchise, probably the best in the league, and if you jump on the wagon, you’re in for a smooth ride for at least a few more years.

PROS: Championships and Giselle’s terrible air-fives.

CONS: #MAGA

ATLANTA FALCONS:

Super Bowl wins: 0

Players in HOF: 7

The Falcons seem to be everyone’s favorite team right now. In fact people I had no clue were Falcons fans came out of the dark this season, and started once again rooting for the South’s most beloved gridiron gods. To be fair, I don’t blame any Falcons fan for hiding their loyalty after the Michael Vick debacle of murdering dogs for sport. But, it seems the Falcons are back and might be for a few years to come. Perfect time to jump on board, unless you watched the Super Bowl and realized Matty Ice might be the new Jim Kelly.

PROS: One of the best owners in sports, get to watch Julio Jones.

CONS: Putting up with people calling it “Hotlanta”.

DENVER BRONCOS:

Super Bowl wins: 3

Players in HOF: 7

Rooting for Denver will probably feel strange for most ex-Chargers fans, but out of the old division rivals they’re kind of the easiest to align with. They’re a properly run organization, a lot of history and success, and they won a playoff game with Tim Tebow. God is on their side. You’re kind of in the same boat as you were before with a franchise in flux, but you get in on the ground floor before they become a powerhouse again – which they will.

PROS: You can finally admit you always liked John Elway, great excuse to wear orange.

CONS: Always feeling a little dead inside.

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS:

Super Bowl wins: 1

Players in HOF: 11

Kansas City might be a little harder than Denver to switch over to only because their fans are kind of assholes. I don’t know why either. It’s not like they’ve ever been some sought after franchise, or legendary powerhouse. Sure, they’ve been around forever, but currently the best thing going for them is that the Jaguars, Cardinals, and Titans exist. However, from time to time they do put together a winner and play in a beautiful stadium. Being a Chiefs fan isn’t the worst thing to be, and that’s the best thing you can say about them.

PROS: Rooting for a franchise that Joe Montana once played for.

CONS: Watching Andy Reid and Alex Smith talk about plays.

OAKLAND RAIDERS:

Super Bowl wins: 3

Players in HOF: 16

Out of all the AFC West rivals Oakland might be the hardest to get used to. Their fans are insufferable, you may die at any game the team plays in, Al Davis ruined West Coast football, and you’ve spent most of your life using the F-word when it comes to watching the Raiders on TV. However, they have a ton of franchise success, Dean Spanos took over Al Davis’ crown as “most hated owner in California football”, John Madden was their most successful coach and the silver and black is a kick-ass color combo. Plus, they have one of the better 30 for 30’s in the entire series. PLUS, they may soon be the San Diego Raiders – so problem solved! At first glance you’re gonna hate this idea, but think about it – what better way to tell Dean to f-off? Lastly, they’re a young and talented team, and have a great coach that loves the Raiders. Great time to buy a Carr jersey.

PROS: You get to wear spikes.

CONS: Murder.

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS:

Super Bowl wins: 0

Players in HOF: 0

I mean, sure. Why not?

PROS: You can literally be on the ground floor of a fanbase that’s been around for way too long to still have a ground floor.

CONS: Everything else.

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS:

Super Bowl wins: 2

Players in HOF: 12

Having just gone through a sports break up, you might want to steer clear of the Colts. Sure, Indianapolis didn’t steal the Colts from Baltimore, but you’re basically going from one terrible owner to another and for little to no upside. They have some history of success, and some of the greatest players who’ve ever played once donned a Colts jersey, but with no clear road to success ahead you might have a hard time convincing yourself to root for Frank Gore. However, they are one of the teams who trolled the Chargers on their LA logo, and that has to count for something.

PROS: Andrew Luck?

CONS: Drunk Irsay.

TENNESSEE TITANS:

Super Bowl wins: 0

Players in HOF: 8 (as Oilers)

When I think of the Titans, I think of that one scene in Castaway, and it might be one of the saddest scenes in modern cinema. This is a great metaphor for the Titans franchise. Again you’re dealing with a transplant team, and that may not be something you’re okay with.

PROS: Their helmet has a blue flame on it. That’s funny.

CONS: The worst logo in professional sports – and yes, I’m counting the Marlins.

HOUSTON TEXANS:

Super Bowl wins: 0

Players in HOF: 0

This could be a good landing spot for Chargers fans. Sure, they have no quarterback, and I’m afraid their coach might die of an aneurysm at any moment, but they are young, have JJ Watt, and might be good for a few more years. They aren’t the flashiest team, and I literally stopped twice to look at YouTube chemtrail videos while trying to write about them, but I mean…sure.

PROS: Young defense, plenty of potential.

CONS: Chemtrails are real.

CLEVELAND BROWNS:

Super Bowl wins: 0

Players in HOF: 13

My best friend has been a lifelong Browns fan, and I respect that. I really do. And, let’s be honest if you’re Chargers fan you may like being tortured, so the Browns might be perfect for you! I’ve never seen a worse run franchise, except for the Chargers. I’ve never seen less enthusiasm for a team, except for the Chargers. And, I’ve never heard more groans when talking about a team, except for when I talk about the Chargers! Feels like home!

PROS: I don’t care what you say, the Browns unis are sweet.

CONS: Pick one. You could even make something up.

CINCINATTI BENGALS:

Super Bowl wins: 0

Players in HOF: 3

Full disclosure I’m a Bengals fan. I grew up a Bengals and Chargers fan. Back in 2015 when Dean tried to move the Chargers I officially denounced all love for the Bolts and became a full-time Bengals devotee. It’s been a rough ride, and I’m never quite sure when a Bengal will kill an opposing player on the field, but I take comfort in being mentally prepared for it.

PROS: Andy Dalton.

CONS: Andy Dalton.

BALTIMORE RAVENS:

Super Bowl wins: 2

Players in HOF: 1

I really want to like the Ravens. I really do. Perhaps it’s all the murdering that Ray Lewis did, or the purple color scheme, or the whole Ray Rice punching women thing. I mean, it just feels wrong to root for them. However, Joe Flacco seems nice.

PROS: You get the one Harbaugh that’s tolerable.

CONS: You remember when Ray Lewis got away with murder, and then became an analyst and started telling current NFL players to get their act together and stop being stupid off the field?

PITTSBURGH STEELERS:

Super Bowl wins: 6

Players in HOF: 20

There’s a lot to love if you’re a Steelers fan. Historically one of the best franchises in professional sports history with the most championships in NFL history. Great running back, great wide receivers, Tomlin is fun to watch, and they always seem to be in the conversation. As Chargers fans we don’t know what that feels like – so now might be a great time to experience it. Plus, no one would ever call you a bandwagoner for all of a sudden liking Pittsburgh! That’s how consistently good they’ve always been! No one really hates Steelers fans, because Pittsburgh is basically one long Springsteen song, and they have the best looking throwbacks in all the NFL! Go for it. Say you love Mean Joe Green – because you do – I already believe you!

PROS: What’s not to like? (I mean of course there’s the whole Big Ben thing…)

CONS: The whole Big Ben thing…

NEW YORK JETS:

Super Bowl wins: 1

Players in HOF: 5

The Jets…they could be like…you know, if you put together all the times…J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! So…I mean…you’d get to yell that a lot?

PROS: You tell me.

CONS: 2009 and 2010 playoffs. Still hurts.

MIAMI DOLPHINS:

Super Bowl wins: 2

Players in HOF: 10

Is it weird that the Dolphins started their NFL lives as one of the most successful teams in the league? Remember that they’re the only undefeated team in NFL history? Like, despite the last 20 years the Dolphins have been a powerhouse in this league. Weird, right? But, hey! This might be a good place for you to land as a fan. You could pretend to have always known how great the Dolphins were in the 60’s and 70’s, and people would probably be fascinated. Don Schula used to ride through practices on a scooter! This is your team. Miami is like San Diego in a weird way, the color scheme isn’t terrible, and the franchises always seem to be just as relevant. Do it.

PROS: Don Schula rode a God damn scooter in practices!

CONS: Hurricanes. Real ones.

BUFFALO BILLS:

Super Bowl wins:

Players in HOF: 10

This might be another logical place for Chargers fans to land. Cool uniforms, diehard fans, no one will call you a bandwagoner for switching to the Bills because the Bills wagon broke down years ago! You get a great 30 for 30, and you can become a fan now when the team is years away from competing, so when they do win it all you’ll felt like you earned it.

PROS: Vincent Gallo’s unbelievably awkward film Buffalo ’66.

CONS: Any other Vincent Gallo film.

DALLAS COWBOYS:

Super Bowl wins: 5

Players in HOF: 16

If the Patriots had a predecessor it would be the Dallas Cowboys. “America’s Team” hasn’t really felt like that for quite some time. In fact, they got so popular almost everyone, even Troy Aikman, decided to hate them from about 1998 to 2015. However, with rookies like Dak Prescott and Zeke Elliot the Cowboys are starting to resemble the team my generation grew up idealizing. Sure Jerry Jones is a blowhard, and Jason Garrett looks like he’s always going to cry, but they’re young, they play like a team, and they’ve finally shed themselves of the Jessica Simpson curse. No one would blame you for adopting this squad, but tread softly, you might want to wait until after they fire Garrett then hire Jim Harbaugh then fire him, then hire Norv Turner.

PROS: Classic unis, get to claim Emmitt Smith, and already went through Ryan Leaf.

CONS: Garrett’s two-minute drills, whatever they get back for Romo, have to claim Greg Hardy.

NEW YORK GIANTS:

Super Bowl wins: 4

Players in HOF: 18

Eli. Pass.

PROS: Only team to stick it to the Patriots, Little Giants, ODB’s ridiculous catches.

CONS: Eli. Eli. Eli.

WASHINGTON REDSKINS:

Super Bowl wins: 3

Players in HOF: 17

If an ownership group ever felt like the Spanos’ it would be the Snyders. Like, just completely out of touch, consistently in over their heads, somehow losing money with the biggest sport in America, and can never seem to get out of their own way. Perhaps you need this in your life. Perhaps you’re like Brooks in Shawshank and you like being institutionalized. You need the hardships and the sadness. It’s become so much a part of you, that if you don’t have it you will die. If that’s the case – Brooks was here.

PROS: Um…give me a second…

CONS: The last thirty years.

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES:

Super Bowl wins: 0

Players in HOF: 9

You remember that Mark Wahlberg movie where he’s a bartender in Philly and they have open tryouts and he goes and gets signed and he plays for the Eagles and it’s based on a true story? Yea.

PROS: Cool throwbacks, they have great fans; Greg Kinnear was also in the movie with Mark Wahlberg.

CONS: They may never win a Super Bowl. Ever.

GREEN BAY PACKERS:

Super Bowl wins: 4

Players in HOF: 23

This franchise is a lot like the Steelers, in the sense that everyone kinda likes them, and that’s okay. They might have the best colors in the NFL, they have arguably the greatest quarterback of the last decade, and they always seem relevant. Plus, the city owns the team! I mean, how cool is that? No one would ever get mad at you for being a Packer fan, except Lions, Bears and Vikings fans, but other than that probably no one. You get to do Lambeau Leaps into your pool, and you get all the joys of Green Bay football without having to ever step foot in Green Bay! Win-win!

PROS: Discount double checks.

CONS: That feeling that deep down inside this isn’t who you want to be.

DETROIT LIONS:

Super Bowl wins: 0

Players in HOF: 15

I would argue the Detroit Lions are the most tortured franchise in NFL history. Has any team meant more to a league and done less with it? I mean one of the best players to ever play the game retired early because he didn’t want to play for the team anymore. Plus, rooting for the Lions sounds weird. Like, does anyone really root for the Lions or do they just hope that they don’t lose so much? Perfect example – my Uncle John grew up loving the Lions. To this day never wears anything but Lions gear. I’ve never heard him say one word about the Lions. Ever. In this case you’ve already been rooting for the Lions. You always have been. No reason to stop, or continue.

PROS: Great history, legendary players, Motown.

CONS: A lot of losing. Just so much losing.

MINNESOTA VIKINGS:

Super Bowl wins: 0

Players in HOF: 13

Liking the Minnesota Vikings is like being a big fan of the old TV show ‘Coach’. Not just because they both take place in Minnesota, and purple is part of both of their color schemes, but because they’re both easy to like and for no good reason. If you’re a Vikings fan, you probably live in or are from Minnesota. You probably drink a lot, and you’ve probably never had to think about it much. I’m not insulting their fans, or maybe I am, but I am saying that your team is comparable to a second-rate sitcom that was intended for people over 40. But, hey you got Sam Bradford!

PROS: Getting to claim Adrian Peterson, using Viking lore as analogies for your games, nothing but upside.

CONS: Sam Bradford, knowing down deep that you’ll never win a Super Bowl.

CHICAGO BEARS:

Super Bowl wins: 1

Players in HOF: 25

There’s something about being a Bears fan that feels right. They have this legendary history of being a hardnosed, back-breaking defensive powerhouse. Only problem is they haven’t been relevant for a long time and rooting for the Bears feels about as 80’s as Ronald Reagan drinking Clear Pepsi while singing “Like a Virgin”. But hey, every four seasons or so the Bears look like they have a shot. And, you could do worse in picking a team to root for forever (SEE: Vikings).

PROS: The Super Bowl Shuffle, getting to claim the Fridge, The SNL “Super Fans” sketch.

CONS: Matt Barkley is your current quarterback.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS:

Super Bowl wins: 1

Players in HOF: 4

Talk about amazing throwback uniforms, the Bucs might have the best of all time. That weird orange, white, and yellow combo makes for an ugly yet extremely appealing jersey. Tampa Bay has never had a ton of success as a franchise, but it’s been a long time since they’ve been considered a laughing-stock as well. They always seem to be one or two players away from putting it all together and as an ex-Chargers fan that might be as appealing to you as orange and yellow. Winston is an emerging QB, Doug Martin might be good…again, and they always seem to be in every game. Could be a nice time to be a Bucs fan.

PROS: The pirate ship that fires a canon every time they score.

CONS: You’re forced to take a position on Warren Sapp.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS:

Super Bowl wins: 1

Players in HOF: 4

This is a tough one for me. I’ve always enjoyed the Saints. I like the colors, the city, and I was a massive Drew Brees fan. However, I can’t find a reason to root for them. But, hey that’s just me. You dig beads and baby cakes and jazz and JFK conspiracy theories? Then Nola might be for you. They’re a pretty well run franchise with moderate success, and always seem to have one or two guys you really want to root for. With the emergence of the Falcons it might be a long time till they’re winners again, but you never know with the South.

PROS: Get to have Drew Brees back in your life, get to wear a fleur de lis and not get beat up.

CONS: Sean Payton, never having a good Running Back.

CAROLINA PANTHERS:

Super Bowl wins: 0

Players in HOF: 0

I feel like the Panthers are the Oklahoma City Thunder or Drake or Solange of the NFL. There is so much potential, and you continually see flashes of greatness, but will that greatness last an entire season, and the fact that they did have one good season you’re afraid that that greatness will never happen again. The issue here is that no one knows, and neither will you as a fan. Of all the teams in the league this one could give you the highest of highs and the lowest of lows every other week. For the rest of your life. If you decide to go down this road use extreme caution and buy lots of Tylenol.

PROS: Cam Newton is extremely fun to watch, Ron Rivera is a bad ass, a feeling that you’re hip.

CONS: The color scheme is terrible, Jake Delhomme works security, and Cam Newton might die on every play.

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS:

Super Bowl wins: 1

Players in HOF: 4

Fuck Pete Carroll. Richard Sherman is an asshole. Russell Wilson is so overrated you might as well call him Colin Kaepernick.

PROS: None.

CONS: All.

ARIZONA CARDINALS:

Super Bowl wins: 0

Players in HOF: 13

This is an interesting one. Although I have so much disdain for Bruce Arians it makes me never want to support the NFL, I actually enjoy the Cardinals. A team that can turn old quarterbacks good again and always has one or two receivers that are just plain awesome. They’ve been good long enough for you to think that it might stick, and they play in a stadium that you could drive to. As a Chargers fan I’d put this team in your top five.

PROS: Cool unis, you get to say “Football Cardinals”, can buy a Rod Tidwell jersey and mean it.

CONS: Bruce Arians, and the overwhelming confusion that comes with Cuba Gooding, Jr’s career.

LOS ANGELES RAMS:

Super Bowl wins: 1

Players in HOF: 18

You could root for the Rams out of spite. Like an anti-Chargers move, but ultimately any money you give them will somehow benefit the Spanos family. Also, Stan Kroenke is an asshole who just screwed over a great sports city because he wanted more money. Sound familiar? A little too much. I’d say pass on the Rams and let Spanos and Kroenke fight it out for most irrelevant franchise in LA.

PROS: I sincerely can’t think of one.

CONS: Jared Goff.

SAN FRANCISCO 49ers:

Super Bowl wins: 5

Players in HOF: 15

The last team on our list might actually be the best option for Chargers fans looking for a new team to love. You’re first reaction would be to hate them for the 1994 Super Bowl, which is considered by many to be one of the most lopsided victories in the history of the Super Bowl, but that would be silly. The 49ers were the best team in the league that year, and the Chargers lucked into that game by a yard. Plus, that was a long time ago. San Francisco is a different beast now. They’ve had plenty of down years, went through Harbaugh and then Chip Kelly. They had the whole National Anthem fiasco. I mean, this team has been through some shit. The best part for Chargers fans is that there is no light at the end of the tunnel for the 49ers, so they feel like an underdog. In fact saying you’re a 49ers fan these days sounds more like a joke than anything else. Perfect time to claim a team with amazing history, tons of success, but it all being so far in the past that no one cares anymore! It’s a win-win!

PROS: Getting to claim Montana, Steve Young, and Jerry Rice. Great color scheme and logo, playing in a division you might win every year no matter how good you are.

CONS: Other than not being any good for a couple of seasons I can’t think of one!

So, there you have it. All thirty-one NFL teams proposed as possible destinations for your fandom. Never forget that you’re in this situation because the NFL itself let you be, and that the league is built and fueled by greed and wealth with very little concern for the fan. If you’re okay with that then choose wisely, because you never know when the team you choose will one morning change their twitter handle, make a shitty logo, and leave you in the rear view mirror.

HAPPY PICKING!

Football’s Growing Problem is Football

Somewhere in the deep bravado of jock culture sits this need to be all that is “man”. The finest example of strength, dedication, and courage. If these terms and examples sound familiar, it’s because they were first used hundreds of years ago to highlight the efforts and success of our armed forces. The soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice were the ones bestowed with monikers and adjectives befitting the trials they would one day experience. As patriotic conflict became more foreign, and sport monetized and worshipped slowly but surely the terms “battle” and “war” found their way into the mouths of coaches hoping to inspire their players. Followed by “courage” and “sacrifice” and eventually even “soldier” were thrown about to motivate a win in whatever game it is they might be playing. It’s an irresponsible oversight, one that now seems so present it has all but replaced its original designation. Football is the prime example of this. The ultimate blunt force clash of oversized men designed to make themselves millionaires, and make millionaires billionaires. The new ultimate sacrifice.

Football is a game of self-proclaimed gladiators, and deals in a business of overhyped, overproduced, and overanalyzed drama that only exists in the mind of the delusional and the chicken wing-filled stomachs of fanatical club supporters. It’s the crème de la crème of accepted violence and exceptional athleticism, and if you don’t agree you are weak.

Football has a real problem, and that problem is it once again being exposed as a place for men (and only men) to be violent, and we must accept and celebrate this so sayeth those who reap the benefits. As a nation we choose every single season the game is played, whether we’d like to support this. Whether the unabashed violence, the highlight reel tackles, or the possible career-ending penalties are okay with us. We make the decision that the “controlled” chaos, the modern day coliseum games are acceptable. For decades, we’ve made it clearer than a Coors Light Silver Bullet Train that all of this is in fact acceptable if we don’t have to think about it too much, and that we are just fine with it…until we aren’t. It’s that five minutes of progressive humanity that makes me ponder – will there be professional football in twenty years? What happens when someone dies on the field? Why are football notables like Bruce Arians telling mother’s they’re ignorant for not wanting their children to play a game in which large men run into other large men with alarming force?

All three questions hinge on each other’s answer. And, all three questions prove that the NFL is working as hard as they can to set aside the glaring issues with a sport that was never intended to be anything other than a beer-drinker’s legal version of fight club with uniforms. Football has always been violent, it needed to be violent. It was played by either college kids who exuded so much testosterone they could kill an adult deer with their bare hands, or it was played by adult men who had nothing better to do and wanted to see if they could legally kill a person who was holding a ball. It’s no secret that Teddy Roosevelt, a human male bred from lions and reared on the open plains of the Wild West, wanted to ban football solely due to the amount of death and injuries the game had caused. Football imposed strict regulations, and the sport lived on, however many continue to ask if it should have and if the ghosts of the past failed to shed their ghoulish light on the future that might be.

The uncontrolled violence became somewhat controlled, better helmets and pads were introduced to soften impact, and players became more athletic to better prepare they’re bodies for the rigorous stress they’d be experiencing at an almost nonstop pace. Men become more men. They lock themselves in rooms, and grunt and sweat, and push their bodies to the limits so they can be the best at what they do. We expect them to be in shape, to be better than in shape, to be the best, the strongest, no matter what it takes, no matter the mental and physical toll, they must be prepared for “war” for “battle”. These men shrouded in pads that no longer serve a purpose, must be prepared to be “soldiers” in the ongoing fight for a ball and (sometimes fake) grass. There is no tomorrow. There is no second chance. If the good Lord decides your knee bone will be crushed today, or that all your ligaments burst apart, then so be it. It’s because the other man, who rammed helmet first into your knee, was more prepared, stronger, quicker, he was more man. Now, so must you be.

As spectators we cheer. We push for this. We want this. Take the ball into (sometimes fake) grass and dance. Do it. Dance, while I high-five people I like, and spill beer, and laugh, and sometimes cry. We have made the decision that this should continue as planned. Sure, that hit was illegal. Sure, that player did something horribly inappropriate, but they scored. I will pretend to care about that heinous act for the next few minutes with a tweet or a facebook post, but as soon as that player scores again my care will turn once again into high-fives; I’ll bury all semblance or reason down deep as to not look less of a man. Men watch this sport. Men play this sport. Women are allowed to follow it. And, follow it you must. Closely, and with every single ounce of pertinent information the National Football League tells you is pertinent. This is all the information you will need to let your children play. Dad will understand. Pain is a currency. Mom is ignorant. Pain is being alive, and if you don’t agree – you are stupid and weak. So sayeth the men who know. The men who stand on sidelines with clipboards and headphones, and large stomachs, who screech at players like dying animals that winning is all that matters. Clinging to an era long gone when they themselves were measured, when they themselves were victims of spit in face, grass in mouth, ice on swollen body parts. Now, years later knees ache, bellies jiggle, scowls perfected, and others are ignorant. “These parents didn’t go through anything”, the husky men think. They haven’t survived the “battle” the “war”. They never played a game.

The players are machines of athletics and strength. They’ve been trained from a young age to work hard. They’re minds molded that their coach is their leader, and that his words are those of Gods. When Gods not around though, we tend to play. As the animalistic nature takes over, the machine is let loose, and the few hours you get to be alive take over, no longer is God in your face. The Bible has been left in the locker room, and now the tree of good and evil will shake. We as the spectators clasp our hands and pray for good decisions, but know few will be made. Girlfriends will be punched, wives knocked cold, alcohol consumed behind the wheel of some of the finest machines ever made. Machines impaired, controlling machines needing guidance. Dads will understand. Steam must let off. Moms are ignorant. The game must be won, and if you don’t agree – you are weak and pathetic. You are not American. Football is American. It’s misconstrued violence reminds of us of our primal instincts. They make the off the field mistakes of the player more understandable and relatable when we don’t stop to think about it, because our primal instinct is our first, and our evolved intellect must have time to discern. When we utilize that time things become dark. They become upsetting, and we start to ask questions. We start to have open conversations with friends and family. We start seeing things we didn’t see before. Are we becoming weak? Are we becoming stupid? Are we not men? These questions are too much for our small brains to handle. Even if we wanted to, we could do nothing about it. It will take a death, we say, and that’ll never happen, right? It can’t. These men are trained “soldiers”. They’re prepared for “battle” for “war”. Bruce Arians and the NFL braintrust have readied their men for all situations on the field. I believe this. I must. Only consume what is on the field. Ignore the broken laws, the broken jaws, the DUI, CTE, and other acronyms we could never possibly grasp. The braintrust knows what’s best for their men, for us. We must follow them. If not, we’ll be ignorant. We’ll be women. We’ll be un-American.

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

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 

Kevin Durant to the Warriors is a Bad Move

There are a lot of reasons why Kevin Durant shouldn’t be making his way to Oakland. It’s not good for the game. It’s not good for Curry. It’s not good OKC and reminds Sonics fans of a life they might’ve had. It’s not good for Russ or Kerr or the Western or Eastern Conference. It’s definitely not good for Green. It’s a bad move all around.

And you may be asking yourself why I think this, and my answer is simple:

I’m a Celtics fan.

‘Big Game’ Over

Big Game James is gone, and that is totally fine. In fact it’s more than fine. The fans were over whatever it was that Shields brought to the table, and it certainly seemed like Shields couldn’t wait to get out of the mess at PETCO. However, it was the way it finally happened that didn’t make a ton of sense to most of us. Sure, Shields was making a lot of money, but he was rarely thee guy fans pointed to as “the problem”, and that in some weird way was “the problem”. Ron Fowler would disagree with this statement, as he clearly had enough of Shields pissing off managers, and not living up to the contract Fowler himself gave; if that is the reason Shields was finally moved we have a few things to figure out.

Back in 2011 I traded for James Shields down the stretch in fantasy Baseball. He was still slinging for Tampa trying to get out from under the shadow of Bret Saberhagen, and was in the midst of his best season in the majors. His arm did in fact get me into the playoffs however; I did not make it out of the first round. (A not so interesting side note: A week after I made that trade, I dropped Bryce Harper for Francisco Liriano.)

The next year, I couldn’t keep Shields and our relationship ended, until 2015, when he became a Padre. It was a strange signing for everyone involved. Most Padres fans weren’t even that excited about it, they were just more surprised. Shields should’ve gone to the Cubs, but didn’t. He should have gone to the Dodgers, but they passed on his price tag. He should have stayed in Kansas City, but they didn’t really have interest. It seemed like everyone knew what we also knew, but didn’t want to admit – Shields’ best days were behind him, and as we quickly learned Shields is also unable to admit that.

From his very first start with the Padres, things didn’t seem right. Something was off. Perhaps it was just his age catching up to him, or maybe he didn’t have the same desire to pitch in San Diego, or its very possible that he just hated pitching for Bud Black and Darren Balsley. Whatever the problem actually was, Shields definitely wanted to own it without owning it at all. And, that kind of sums up the twilight of Big Game’s career: He wants to be the guy, but he just isn’t.

“The guy” the media focused on, and went to for comments, and he seemed to want that really badly from day one. He seems like a nice guy, a good guy, and genuinely wants the best for every team he’s on, but James Shields wanted to be the face of a franchise for the first time, and picked the exact wrong time to try. In Tampa Shields was overshadowed by guys like Longoria, and Price, the on-going struggles of Melvin Upton, and of course Joe Maddon (Which, is a situation he’d once again avoid by never settling with the Cubs.). He then moved to Kansas City, where it looked like he’d be the headline, but Sal Perez, Ventura, Moustakas, and Cain quickly made him “one of the guys”, and he never stood out. Finally, he was heading to little ‘ol San Diego where he could be thee number one guy for a fledging franchise. He’d be looked at as a savior, the leader, and of course the guy who liked to ‘mix it up’ in the clubhouse. Then two things happened:

1) His contract. He should’ve signed for less. And, I say this purely for his future. He knew once he signed that deal, he had to live up to it. However, his career was at a point where he needed to prove he still “had it”, instead of what he did do, which was pretending he never lost it. And, don’t get me wrong I think James Shields is a very good pitcher, and for a long stretch a great pitcher, but at 33 you’re going to start to see some declining features and that is okay. I’m fine with that, I’m just not fine with paying him a lot of money to pretend to be an ace, and that’s what he did, and everyone but Shields seem to understand this.

2) The 2015 season. Not only was 2015 more disappointing than normal because for the first time in a long time we had a team, that on paper, was a contender. Not World Series champions, but contenders. But, once again Shields couldn’t be “the guy”, he was surrounded by Kemp, Upton, Kimbrel, and even Myers. What he appeared to desperately want, was once again unattainable.

Shields tried to make waves by calling out Bud Black, and was the catalyst for that firing, but new skipper Andy Green laid down the law fairly quickly by naming Ross the ace of the 2016 staff. This time it was Shields who was being called out. He finally got to be “thee guy”, but for all the wrong reasons.

Now, he’s a member of the White Sox, and it’s a great move. Not just for the Padres, who rid themselves of a 34-year old “innings guy” that is just that and only that, but they also get some spare change to go after some young talent. However, it’s also exactly what Shields needs. He’s going to a team that has an ace, plus a lefty who could be the ace on a few other teams (Padres included) and a young stud pitcher who isn’t going anywhere. Shields is put into a rotation that really doesn’t need him, and will look to him for a serviceable 6-7 innings a start and that’s it. If they get more – then that’s a plus! He can’t be “the guy”, and he can’t be “the headline”, and he has to know this going in. He is now a pitcher in his mid-30’s and he can finally begin to come to grips with that.

The final piece of this weird personnel puzzle is Ron Fowler. Fowler pulled a stunt San Diego hasn’t seen since Kroc got on the PA and apologized to fans for how bad his team was. Fowler did something that is an everyday occurrence in sports markets like Boston or Chicago, but not here. We actually need big names (bigger than James) to come to San Diego. We need players to want to come play for Fowler, and Dee, and whoever else. We as fans can’t really afford to let the owner go nuts and call out players, because after a short while, no players will want to play for them. I’m sure Fowler is beyond frustrated, but at the end of the day he said yes to all of this. He gave his million-dollar stamp of approval. He hired the miserable failures. And, it doesn’t matter who he’s referencing as a failure because he hired the guy who hired the other guys, who then hired more people. He is the catalyst for how his franchise will continue to operate, and right now he’s acting like an asshole. But, it’s his team, and he can do whatever he wants. The crazy thing is, I agree with him! He’s right. He just can’t expect to attract top tier talent, while being an asshole.

This organization is being run so poorly that I don’t blame Big Game James for taking shots, calling out his bosses, or Matt Kemp for recently reacting the way he has. It’s making a lot of fans throw their hands in the air, and legitimately not care. The team keeps saying “building” instead of “re-building”, which is basically saying you’re “washing” dishes instead of “cleaning” dishes. When things like this happen it makes a lot people wonder if anyone over there at Friar HQ knows what they’re doing. They seem more interested in creating craft beer nights than scoring runs. Creating social media memes than winning games, and giving fans free fedoras than a relevant product. And, again they can do whatever they want, it’s their team, but once the downtown stadium is built and the Chargers season starts, it’s the Padres that will have to once again compete for fans. So, give away as many fedoras and Dick Enberg themed flash drives as you want, but soon there might not be any fans left to give them to.

For more sports ‘knowledge’ and other ‘stuff’ follow @dallas_mc

Who Would You Wanna Punch?

In honor of the first game of the 2015 World Series, we here at the Kept Faith have asked our contributors one of the most important questions in sports history: What Major Leaguer would you most like to punch?

There’s really no criteria to go off of, just that they have to be a current Major Leaguer, and there needs to be a reason for them to be punched. So, without any further ado – swing away!

mccann_480_tlhu0axj_uk0gze37
I really want to punch Brian McCann. Sure, he shares my last name, but I hate him. More importantly, I hate modern players who over do the whole old school baseball rules thing. During his last few seasons as an Atlanta Brave he emerged as the self appointed keeper of all things pure about baseball by starting fights over every little thing. Bat flipping isn’t a big deal and he needs to calm down about it. He is a good player and he looks like a bald Ryan Dunn from Jackass. Whatever, try to become a true Yankee and shut up. I’d like to punch the idea of Brian McCann and all baseball players who aspire to wear “playing the right way” on their sleeve as some kind of stupid pose.
 
 
Nicholas Burmeister AKA @padreshaiku
angel_pagan_15
 
Based on looks alone, I’d punch Angel Pagan. The guy looks like your ex-girlfriend’s rebound. He looks like the guy at work that won’t shut up about capoeira. He looks like a guy that microwaves fish at work. I bet he wants Donald Trump to be president. Given the chance he’d raise the price on AIDS medicine to $750 a pill. He thinks the Green Album is the best Weezer album. He thinks Yorvit Torrealba belongs in the Padres canon. He’d kill Cecil the lion. He looks like he owns a “No Fat Chicks” tee shirt.

ST. LOUIS, MO - MAY 7: John Lackey #41 of the St. Louis Cardinals reacts after striking out Anthony Rizzo #44 of the Chicago Cubs to end the sixth inning at Busch Stadium on May 7, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)

I’d punch every Cardinal. Fine, just one? John Lackey. It’s hard for me to hate a team more than the Dodgers and Giants, but the Cardinals are up there. Lackey’s the face of that. He also has the face of someone who’d let a divorce go public while his wife was battling cancer. He also has the heart of that person, too. I don’t want to know the real details / his side either. I just want to punch him. And then run away.
Q:
Fernando+Rodney+emwZ_0RyIWZm
I’d punch Fernando Rodney. His stupid crooked hat and his stupid arrow shooting. And the fact that looking at any advance statistics prove that he has NEVER had even ONE good season–even in his good years he was lucky. And his stupid last name. Stupid.
Adrian Gonzalez Los Angeles Dodgers Photo WLoupqwPM54l
As a native San Diegan I want to punch Adrian Gonzalez in the mouth, hard. San Diego has nothing in the sports world to hang it’s hat on. San Diego loved Tony Gwynn because he stayed and believed in the city even though he knew it meant he might never have a ring. Adrian had the opportunity, as a native San Diego to have a very special story about being the hometown boy and bringing a ring to the city that needs it the most. Instead he let greed get in the way. I wan to punch him hard.

EDS NOTE: LEWD GESTURE - Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Jonathan Papelbon gestures to the crowd after giving up four runs to the Miami Marlins during the ninth inning of a baseball game Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014, in Philadelphia. Papelbon was ejected from the game. The Marlines won 5-4. (AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)

My runner up is Kris Bryant. He’s not only a (very promising) Cub, but he’s A-Rod/Prom King/Douche Bag/ 80’s Bully level Handsome. Side note: Schwarber and Rizzo sound like an 80’s bully’s goons.

The real one I’d punch is Papelbon. All time dumb white fuck head. I would bet he’s never been nice to a person with less money than him. I hope Harper knocks his teeth out at Jayson Werth’s birthday.
Honorable Mention: Schilling because he’s a failure and wants to jerk it to Ayn Rand or whatever.

VIERA, FL - FEBRUARY 23:  Jayson Werth #28 of the Washington Nationals poses for a portrait at Space Coast Stadium during photo day on February 23, 2014 in Viera, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Jayson Werth. Not only cause his name is spelled like that, but by itself that’s a good enough reason. I remember when Werth was a Dodger, and saw him play at the Murph. He hit a homerun, and literally ran the bases with his arms wide-open just shaking his head like no one had ever hit a god damn homerun before. From that moment on, it was over. He grew his beard, and started looking like every Puddle of Mudd fan from Santee. I hate looking at him, I hate watching him swing a bat, and I hate that he is sometimes good. One year, I drafted him in fantasy baseball and sat him on my bench the whole year, just so no one else could beat me with him.

A Series: Padres v. Cardinals

During this weekend’s series I reached out to Sam Wiles, a comedian and writer living in Los Angeles. He also happens to be a big Cardinals fan, and the ‘head writer’ of a long forgotten FOX Sports pilot called ‘Off Base’. He currently performs all over Los Angeles, and hosts a weekly show called ‘Rod Stewart Live‘. 

Dear Sam Wiles,

I’m confused. I’m so very confused. How on Earth do the Cardinals do this every damn season? Mark Reynolds? A 62-year old Yadier Molina, and a pitching staff of question marks and filler. For years people just thought it was the magic of LaRussa that could somehow put together a squad of average talent and make them contenders, but it’s obviously not. Matheny is just as good. Explain it to me, Sam. DO IT!

Another thing that doesn’t make sense – my dislike for the Cardinals. They have a great fan base, two of the greatest players of all time – Ozzie Smith and Stan Musial (Also Dizzy Dean). They make great Baseball decisions, and have superior management and ownership. F*ck them! See, why is it that I want to say that? Why do they feel like the San Antonio Spurs of Baseball? Do you even remember when the Cardinals were bad? Like, can you honestly pinpoint a season in your lifetime when you thought the Cardinals might not go to the playoffs? Also, you’re not from Missouri, so why do you even care? Lastly, they have the best stirrup socks in all of Major League Baseball…so there’s that.

In His Love,

Dallas.

The Padres beat the Cardinals 9-3.

Dear Dallas,

Poor, downtrodden, Matt Kemp watching Dallas,

How do the Cardinals do it every season? More pressingly, how this season, with virtually no offense, down two beefy forearmed guys named Matt (kind of our thing as of late), and yet are arguably the best team in baseball? How are they having a historic pitching season sans their ace? How a team that should be psychologically devastated after the death of OT still keeps it together? Especially after receiving minimal production from his replacement (Heyward)? Not to mention a rash of medium injuries, reliance on rookies, and a suddenly competitive division? How do they do it?

It’s God’s team. The Lord Jesus Christ has forsaken all of baseball, even the San Diego franchise whose mascot is the Father, and has lifted his red birds on high.

Seriously I have no idea. That’s my best guess. That God is a craggy old man who sits at his old Toshiba and watches the Cardinals and yells at his wife from the den.

“God, honey, can you take out the trash or stop this hurricane?”

“Dammit Gladys, this new kid Grichuk is up to bat and I’m not missing it for some damn hurricane!”

Otherwise there’s no explanation and I think that’s at the core of why everyone hates the Cardinals and Cardinal’s fans. Good things keep happening and I couldn’t tell you why. What do you say when you keep getting lucky? What do you say when you win the lottery? What if you won the lottery kind of a lot? You didn’t really do anything to deserve it; it’s essentially random. But you don’t feel bad. You feel good. And you’ll probably be obnoxious on twitter.

-Sam Wiles,

St Louis resident 1987-1995

The Padres beat the Cardinals 8-0.

St. Louis Sam,

First off, I had no idea you were ever a St. Louis resident. I’ll have to chastise our research department, which is really just an old man sleeping in the corner who happens to be sitting in front of a broken iBook and a rotary phone that’s off the hook. Well, good for you! I bet Busch stadium is a delight! A F*#KING DELIGHT! More importantly, this Grichuk kid is good. I picked him up in fantasy and he’s been nothing but solid. I hate it.

You know what? I totally forgot about Heyward, and maybe that’s the magic of the Cards. Someone underperforming? Heyward? Oh yea, but what about this Carlos Martinez! He’s a beaut! The greatest trick that Matheny ever played was lulling us to sleep with Kolten Wong.

I know you’re at the game today and the Padres have already won the series, but I can only imagine the stadium is still a sea of red. What’s it like being a Cardinals fan? Seriously. A team that has had a great run, but is also historically racist.

Barring some kind of complete breakdown, the Cards will either win the division or wind up with a wild card spot, but does it mean anything to you anymore? Are you as jaded as Braves fans were in 2003? Who are you most excited about watching on this team, and are you scared about the surging Cubs, and the fact they have a young team of studs who will contend for the next decade?

Please, never feel bad about me watching Matt Kemp. Not only has he been fantastic the second half, he gave me the opportunity to not watch Carlos Quentin/Will Venable/Seth Smith/Alexi Amarista stumble around and have career years hitting .250.

Dallas.

619/858. 1984-Present.

The Cardinals beat the Padres 10-3.

Hey Dallas,

Sorry to get back to you late,

We went straight from the game back to LA. I had a bar show at 8 and GOOD GOD COULD YOU IMAGINE IF I MISSED IT?

The game was great and the crowd was full of Redbirds. Anytime the Cards show a little offensive pop I breath a little easier and after a series of true garbage I got to see some good stuff live. That Piscotty kid hit 2 homers in consecutive at bats and Jason Heyward almost hit for the cycle. Side note on Heyward, Alexis [Sam’s lady friend] was like “who is that guy? He looks too athletic for baseball.” AND SHE WAS RIGHT. Also, Piscotty is breathing down Grichuk’s neck for title of “exciting rookie who sounds like a play’s by his on rules detective.”

This fall on TNT, one hardboiled cop takes to the streets of St. Louis and no one tells him what to do. Dennis Franz is “Grichuk.” Followed by Piscotty and Isles.

I genuinely don’t think I’d feel terrible if they were the wild card and I wouldn’t be that devastated if they didn’t make the playoffs this year. I wouldn’t be happy but it wouldn’t ruin baseball for me. We have a good young nucleus and good vets so the window is kind of always open. That’s the real luxury. It’s not like KC, my definitive 2nd favorite team, where the mood is like “hurry the f*ck up and win a title because this shit does not last!”

However, if the Cards do advance deep in the playoffs, it would be a good year to win it. The Birds and the city of St. Louis have had a dogshit 12 months or so, and it would be a nice, if temporary salve. Also I have this fantasy of Carlos Martinez pitching a complete game to win the WS and then pointing to Oscar’s ghost in the sky and saying, “this is for you,” in broken English. I would cry like a baby.

And lastly, I’m psyched for the Cubs to be good. If they were good, it would really be a rivalry. The “rivalry” is so empty when one team blows. After I lived in St. Louis as a kid I moved to Iowa, where everyone is arbitrarily a Cubs fan. (I think because it’s such an inoffensive position to take. It fits the mood of the state, which is essentially, “Excuse me sir? You’ve parked on my foot but by all means don’t move your car if it’s a hassle.”) So naturally I built up all of this Cubs resentment over time, but when I was old enough to actually watch a lot of baseball it was like wait, these guys suck! Why are they our rivals?! They blow! So, now I kind of root for them in a weird way. I need someplace for that hate to go. Right now it’s all directed at the Dodgers and that feels empty too.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The show should be called Piscotty & Grichuk starring Timothy Olyphant as Piscotty, and the aforementioned Dennis Franz is still attached to play Grichuk.)

GO PADS!

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

Dear Padres, Don’t Do A Thing!

At this point the Padres have to ask themselves: what are we doing? What sort of team would we like to be moving forward? Justin Upton answered that question pretty loudly right after the break, when he made it very clear he’d like to stay in San Diego. Sure, it could’ve been just a smart PR move, but he also could have been completely serious. Earlier in the season when the Padres started to struggle James Shields famously put up a sign in the locker room that read, “If you don’t like it, play better.” In fact James Shields chose San Diego over the Cubs in large part because of the moves AJ Preller had made. He felt like he was signing on to a team that could win this season. That could contend immediately, and for the next few seasons as well. Will Myers was also excited to be coming to San Diego, and Matt Kemp went from being a controversial all-star in a huge baseball market, to a bonafide superstar in a city begging for one. We had players; unlike any we’d seen since 1998, on our team and ready win.

As fans we misunderstood that being excited about a team didn’t mean the team was going to actually be good. Just because all involved wanted to win, guarantees could never be made to support that. In fact when teams spend a lot of money and put together a bunch of free agents, and talent, it doesn’t usually work. The reason it often falls apart is because of something called ‘chemistry’. Just because the talent plays well, the talent won’t necessarily play well together. One guy could be a diva. One guy could bring the entire clubhouse up or down. One guy could only be out for himself. Who knows? We don’t, and neither does anyone else involved until it happens. Since May people started to see the decline in the Padres on field play, and started to bring up that fateful word ‘chemistry’ as a reason. They started saying the team wasn’t coming together. They hadn’t found their rhythm. No true leader had emerged in the clubhouse, and no one seemed that fired up one-way or another. These comments and observations marked the beginning of the end for Bud Black. As a manager he was very even-keeled, a calming presence that rarely ruffled feathers and excelled in towing the company line. This isn’t necessarily a good or bad thing. It only appears to be a bad thing when, in the case of the month of May, no true leader had yet taken control. These things get blamed on the manager first. It did, and Black was gone. The worst part was that the team that hadn’t yet “come together” actually started playing better before they fired Black, and appeared to be on the upswing.

Enter Pat Murphy. Different style, different manager, different expectations. Put slight pressure on the reset button, but don’t totally push it down yet. Of course things seemed to get worse immediately under Murphy, because once again this ‘chemistry’ thing was thrown out of whack. It takes time to learn what your manager expects of you, and what you expect of him. It takes a couple months to find out how those relationships co-exist. However, sometimes the answers to these questions can get jumpstarted.

Enter Rany and the Grantland article. The Padres suddenly had a ‘catalyst’. A boost to lift their collective depression, and give them a common enemy. It’s basically the plot of Major League, and Major League is a great freaking movie. The team now had a singular reason to play better, as a team, so they could prove a “stat-head” and the yet-to-turn-a-profit website he contributes to wrong. They came out of the gates swinging, and the loud cries of “SECOND HALF KEMP!” filled the warm San Diego air. We’ve gone 5-3 since the break, and not only has Kemp’s power come alive, the starting pitching has returned to form, and our role players have, well…played their roles. Except for two games against the Giants, this team has been as fun to watch as they were in April. Now, its trade deadline time and the Padres are forced to decide if they’re buyers or sellers. Forced to ask themselves what kind of team they’d like to be going forward. The improbability of a playoff run at this point would make them candidates to sell, but Ron Fowler has said as recently as yesterday that that decision has yet to be made.

I for one am glad. I’m glad that they’re still seeing what they have and how this team reacts to the second half, how they’ve come together so far or fallen apart. Media people and guys who think BABIP is the key code to a happy life are begging for the Padres to be sellers. “The plan didn’t work!” “AJ ruined the team, now fix it!” “Just rebuild!” Well, they’re all wrong. You see, the bad numbers, the slumps, and the apparent apathy coupled with frustration are all indicators of one thing – lack of chemistry. This Padres squad was put together, and given a month to figure out who was gonna play where, who was gonna hit where, and who was gonna lead this team into contention. Well, it doesn’t totally work like that. Any “dynasty” in sports these days starts with a core of talented players. That core needs to grow together for at least one season, and while they’re growing management can assess the situation. They can see who in the core doesn’t care about being in the core. They can see what players need to be around the core, to help the core shine and come together. They find the holes, and the issues, and hiccups. Then, once the assessment is done they make their moves. In Baseball, half a season is not enough time to figure out finalities for an entire organization. It’s barely enough time for me to figure out if I should keep Ryan Braun on my fantasy team or trade him for Tanaka. Baseball is the grand ‘ol game because it allows us time to take it all in, and that’s why it hurts so much when what you’re taking in is losses.

I can understand why people think we should trade Justin Upton to fill an actual hole on our team, which is obviously shortstop. I can see why people would want to trade Kimbrel or Benoit, but I don’t understand why you’d trade them both. And, I definitely don’t understand why you’d want to trade James Shields. He’s a great pitcher who isn’t that expensive. Let’s just assume for a second we can keep our core together and make a playoff run next season – Shields is the exact pitcher we’d go out and try to acquire at the deadline! Of course I can understand wanting to move him for a shortstop or another infielder, but it’s not a move we NEED to make. And, if it’s not a move we NEED to make, then why would we make it?

So, what would you have the team do, Dallas? Well, I’m glad you asked. I’d have them do nothing. Last winter things were different. No one in San Diego cared much about the Padres and the decade long rebuilding plan was churning out questionable results. The new ownership group saw an opportunity to claim the spotlight from a floundering Chargers organization, and brought in a whiz GM to help. They made a splash, grabbed headlines, and gave the city a reason to go watch the Padres again. Now, it’s different. Making moves to just make moves or help replenish the farm system isn’t the mandate anymore. The new mandate is to win, and winning takes time. Assessment is a process, but for the first time in a long time we now know that we have an ownership group willing to spend money to help in that process. And, that is enormous. So, why not see what this team could do the rest of the season with a healthy Will Myers, and a fiery Pat Murphy? What do we have to lose? Sure, some of these guys value might not be what it is now, but with David Price and Cespedes, and Cole Hamels being touted around, their value might have already reached plan C levels. So, don’t do a thing. Let them play together, hang out together, take their lumps together, and try to build up that silly word, which means so much – chemistry. As fans, let’s just enjoy what might be a really exciting second half. Statistically we don’t have a shot, but what happens if the Giants start losing, or all the Dodgers die in a clown car accident? I mean, anything can happen, and I for one am still hopeful that we’ll have a good core of players here for a few more seasons. To use a quote from a formidable Baseball mind, “Sometimes the hardest thing to do in sports is nothing.” Well, let’s take the hard road, guys. We’ve never won anything anyway, so why start now?

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

What Grantland Got Wrong

Yesterday on Grantland.com, Rany Jazayerli outlined how AJ Preller basically destroyed the Padres franchise in a matter of days. He pinpointed the trades that were made this past offseason, and how basically every single one of them hurt the Padres not only this season, but for the unforeseeable future.

He’s not wrong.

However, he wasn’t right either.

You see, I could go through and point out how his article was wrong about this or that. How it’s filled with a lot ‘what ifs’ and the actual stats we can see are at best based on a small sample size. I’ve pointed out before that suggesting Cameron Maybin or Jace Peterson would have done as well for the Padres as they’re doing this season for the Braves is foolish. Never mind the fact that Peterson not only had Gyorko in front of him, he had Spangenberg in front of him as well. Our staff didn’t like Grandal. As Molly Knight pointed out on our last podcast, she feels that that kick in the ass made the difference you’re now seeing. Seth Smith was a slightly better Will Venable, and you would take Shields over Hahn any day of the week. However, I will agree with Rany that we did give up a lot of ‘what ifs’ for our own massive ‘what if’.

So far it hasn’t worked. It might not. We may be stuck with Melvin Upton for a long time, and that is actually depressing.

There is one thing that Rany’s article didn’t touch on, however. It’s the ‘X Factor’ as they say. The thing you can’t really put into a stat machine. It’s not a player or a prospect or even a team – it’s the fans.

San Diego is not a good sports city. It’s not, and this Chargers stadium fiasco should be confirming that for you. Don’t get me wrong, when our teams are doing well we come out in droves to support. We wave the flags, and buy the gear and go all-in. When they aren’t doing well (or even doing moderately well) games are blacked out on TV, our stadiums are filled with the opposing teams fans, and a lot of people probably still think Tony Gwynn is playing right field. We are a tourist city. A beautiful, vibrant, colorful city filled with theme parks, amazing beaches, and incredible resorts. Sports have always come in second and often times in third for a lot of residents. Compare that to Pittsburgh or Kansas City, or Chicago, where professional sports are a life-blood. A multi-generational cultural event open 365 days a year. In Boston they know who’s playing right field, in Green Bay they know who the Left Tackle is. In San Diego that passion is only displayed by a few. Even those of us who care a lot about sports will lose interest from time to time given the monotony of our mediocrity. It’s sad, depressing, and the only thing that can make it worse is when we believe.

So, last December when AJ Preller went on a rampage and swept up a flurry of exciting Baseball players, all-stars, and got rid of those who had underperformed, the city came alive. We once again opened our eyes, and were given a beautiful and intriguing distraction from the Chargers. For the first time in four seasons we had players that you might actually want to buy a ticket to see. We had players other people had heard of. We had players who had won some things. We had players. Our city had been forced to root for a 37-year old Mike Piazza or a roided up Phil Nevin for years. We were told Mike Cameron could help, and that Sean Burroughs was the next great Padres hitter. We had been sold shit since 1998, and people had tuned out. Even the hardcore Padres fans started making documentaries about how awful our team, owners, and management had become. We finally got a break from that. The team was spending the money it had promised to spend since building Petco in 2004 (when Mark Loretta was on the Opening Day ticket). We finally had a reason to pay attention to Spring Training, a reason to once again talk to your Dad about what your hometown team was doing. These are things that can’t be quantified with stats or wins/losses or ‘what ifs’, and anomaly seasons.

We felt real emotion. And, that is something Rany left out of his article. Not because he doesn’t care. It’s very apparent he does care about what the Padres have done and will do. It’s refreshing to have someone of his stature and Baseball prowess take notice of our little team at the edge of America. This is coverage we would have never had if Maybin was playing in center or Joe Ross was on the mound. We would have been left out of every conversation on ESPN, Grantland, FOX, or any blog found outside county lines. We would have been briefly mentioned as a team that can contend in 2017, and then the Baseball heads would go back to dissecting Bryce Harper’s hair, or Kris Bryant’s love life.

When these trades happened back in August, no one thought this was the answer. Real baseball fans knew we weren’t going to the World Series, but what we did get was something much better – a reason to watch. Maybe stat-heads like Rany will watch any game just to see someone take a fourteen-pitch walk. But, in San Diego the continued promise of a contender built on a young and thriving farm system got real old after the first ten years. And, that’s the last thing Rany got wrong:

AJ Preller didn’t ruin this team; bad ownership and odd GM deals since 1999 ruined this team. Old Kevin Towers couldn’t trade for anything but minor league talent because the owners wouldn’t pay for top tier players. So, we built this great farm system in the hopes that that talent would one day pay off, or WHENEVER the team decided to start spending money we could trade those young players for established Major Leaguers. Then came the John Moores divorce, which really dismantled the team by opening the door for the strange ride that was Jed Hoyer and Josh Byrnes. I maintain those guys had an agenda from the start, and it’s definitely panned out for them and Anthony Rizzo. Talk about collusion. These moves, these shallow pocket decisions, and fleecing of prospects for personal gain, and professional profit have been killing the Padres and their fans for decades. Literally decades. You’d think that covering the Royals, Rany would know all about this. In fact I continue to compare what the Padres did this season to what the Royals did in 2013: Make a confusing splash, get it half wrong, fix it, and contend.

But, where’s the fun in writing about or covering a team with Will Venable starting in Right? There is none. Which is why major sports networks and outlets have ignored the San Diego Padres since 1998. And, it’s fine. It only hurts when they come out of the woodwork to crap all over the team when they actually try. Has AJ made mistakes? You better believe it. Will he learn from this? We can all hope. Is the team completely screwed for years to come? No. We still have a nice crop of talent in our minor league system. Will we move Upton and Kimbrel and Kennedy? Maybe. It’ll be interesting to see what we get in return, and that’s just it – I’m interested. Fans and national Baseball writers are interested in the San Diego Padres. AJ didn’t ruin anything, he merely tried and so far his try has failed. Which for a city that’s never won a major championship the trying actually means an awful lot.

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

Padres V. Reds: A Series of Learning

During last weekend’s Pads/Reds series I reached out to my old friend Lance Arthur Smith. Lance is a die-hard Padres fan who, along with me, shares some fan loyalty with the “great” state of Ohio. However, we end up learning a lot of things about each other we didn’t know…and that no one really cares about the Reds. Lance is also the author of a great book entitled ‘Princess Geek: Dad and Daughter Braving the New Geek Chic Together‘, click on the title to get your copy. It’s a funny and important read for any Dad in this era. On to the series:

DALLAS MCLAUGHLIN Friday June 5th 9:30am PST

Dearest Lance,

It’s been a long time since we’ve broken bread, but now we can do so via the internet. Amazing times we live in. My editor thought it would be fun for us to have a back and forth about the Padres/Reds series that starts tomorrow night in Cincinnati. His reasoning is that we both have Ohio roots, and we both live in San Diego. Also, we both root for the Bengals. In his mind this means you should root for the Reds as well, but do you? Does your Cincy love spread that far? Do you even care about the Reds? And how do you feel about communism? And, have we ever actually talked about our Ohio roots? I know this seems like a lot of questions right off the bat, but sometimes I feel like for as much as we know each other, we know nothing about each other.

For Sparky,

Dallas.

LANCE ARTHUR SMITH Friday June 5th 1:15pm PST

My darling Dallas,

I should clarify a few points. I was born and raised in Albuquerque, NM and was a diehard Dukes fan. The Dukes were the AAA farm club for the Dodgers until they changed their name to the Isotopes; New Mexico loves to appropriate pop culture (Isotopes from THE SIMPSONS, the city of T or C from the old game show TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, and celebrating anywhere BREAKING BAD filmed). I remember how cool Mike Piazza was to us kids who hounded him for autographs, and we thrilled to performances by the San Diego Chicken. My dad shared custody of me with my mom, who lived in Las Vegas with my stepdad. Our AAA club in Vegas was the Stars, the farm club for the Padres. I still have my Minor League cards of all the Alomars, who used to sign for any kid with a good story and somewhere at my mom’s house is a signed SCORE Andy Benes card. I also had two sets of aunts who lived in SD, and Tony Gwynn was always in my top five favorite players. Along with Chris Sabo, whose flat top I emulated at various times throughout my life.

I’ve been to Cincinnati one time in my life. It was a layover. I had drinks at the bar and bought a Bengals beer coozie, so I could say I owned a piece of Bengals paraphernalia from Cincy. Most folks in NM are either Broncos fans or Cowboys fans. My older brother has been a fan of the Bengals franchise since Paul Brown started it. My older sister is a Jets fan because she loved Joe Namath’s tight pants. At four years old, I thought tigers were cooler than airplanes. I’ve been a Bengals fan ever since. Oh sure, I like the Chargers and actively root for them, but the Bengals have my heart.

Why is all this important? Because I don’t give a fig about the Reds (except for Sabo and his goggles). Sparky was one of Dad’s favorite coaches, but that was when he was the Tigers’ skipper all those years. Dad followed the Tigers since the Hank Greenberg days. My baseball team, all day, every day, is the Padres. I’ve only lived in San Diego since 2005, but I love it and I love them.

My first Padres game in person was Game 1 of the NLDS in 2006 against the Cardinals. The Cards, specifically Pujols, ripped Peavy a new one in that game. It was still fun and my future mother-in-law bought Colleen and me matching shirts. I took Scottie several times before she was a year old back when we lived downtown. I’ve sat in a premium box and eaten like a king when I was doing a musical workshop for the owner’s son (Bud Black’s first year, if I recall correctly). And I’ve listened to the Boys on the radio since visiting my Aunts as a kid. I currently enjoy a Sirius subscription and I tune in any chance I get. I don’t have MLBTV or Cox or whatever the hell you have to own to watch it.

You know what I’m most looking forward to in this series? How awful the Reds are right now. They are downright offensive. I take joy in that, hoping the Padres can keep this massive two-game winning streak going. It’s good to have Yonder back. Kemp, of course, worries me.

I feel that communism was given a bad rap, but that like Lukas Haas states in MARS ATTACKS, perhaps we could all live in teepees because it’s better in a lot of ways. Now you know me, and knowing is half the battle. I don’t know what the other half is.

Yours in Friar faithfulness,

Lance

The Pads beat the Reds 6-2

DALLAS MCLAUGHLIN June 6th 1:08pm PST

Oh Lance,

See, I told my editor this was a bad idea. I never knew you weren’t from Ohio. It’s cool, Ohio is pretty lame. I mean if you like a lot of nothing mixed with spotty cell reception and often times blatant racism, then Ohio is your spot. I grew up in San Diego, but my father lives in Ohio, and so I spent about fifteen summers there rooting for the Reds the whole time. Chris Sabo was my God. Well, Sabo and the Nasty Boys (Norm Charlton, Rob Dibble, and Tom Browning), and my heart was full every time Paul O’Neill hit one out. In fact, when O’Neill went to the Yankees, I became a Yankees fan. I didn’t want to, but I grew up idolizing him so much, it felt like I had to! He also wore goggles. But, Sabo took the cake. He was a scrappy guy who looked like an extra from Major Dad. The trophy in my fantasy baseball league is named “The Chris Sabo CommerativeCup”. I spelled ‘Commemorative’ wrong on the engraving sheet and no one noticed for three years.

Anyway, I also love the Bengals. I met Boomer one time, and it changed everything. Nicest guy I’ve ever met with huge hands. I dig the Chargers, but I don’t want to waste one more second talking about that mess. You think Dalton ever gets the Bengals over the hump? Remember when you almost traded me Giovanni Bernard for David Wilson in fantasy football? Good times.

The Reds are the strangest franchise to me. They’re the first professional franchise in Baseball history and because of this fact they always played the first game of every season. That honor changed back in 2003, but it was a cool little piece of history no one seems to care about. The Reds are also at the center of arguably Baseball’s biggest scandal, and Baseball’s most uncomfortable racist tirade. They have such a deep and rich history in the game, but get little respect from media or Major League brass. I’d guess most people had no idea the Reds started professional Baseball, and probably think they were expansion team from the 60’s. Why do you think this is?

The Reds are playing terrible this year, and I have no idea when the Reds will be relevant again. They got no-hit by the Cardinals a few seasons ago in the playoffs, and it’s been downhill ever since. Votto is a beast, but not enough to carry the squad, Phillips is old, and Cueto can’t seem to stay healthy or consistent. The pieces are always almost there, but they never come together. Reminds me a lot of the Padres. When these two teams play each other, I feel like they are on the same level at all times. When one team is playing well, so is the other, when one is at .500, so is the other, and when one is terrible, so are the Padres. It’s weird, but oddly factual going back to the late 1980’s. Hell, they both got new stadiums around the same time too!

As a true fan of both teams I’ve been pretty frustrated for a long time. It’s like always rooting for 3rd place. In fact I’m betting they each win one game this series and somehow end the 3rd game in a tie. How high were your expectations this season with the Padres, and do you have a second Baseball team that you root for? Also, where do you stand on Pete Rose?

With Goggles Wrapped Tight,

Dallas.

LANCE ARTHUR SMITH June 6th 4:22pm PST

Big D,

Where in Ohio? I want to do a mileage test, and find out why you like the Bengals more than the Browns. Did you see Draft Day? Kevin Costner is the worst GM in history. His ass would’ve been fired before he even gave away the #1 pick. But let’s get back to baseball.

I’m not nearly as up to date on the Reds as you are. I said I don’t give a fig about the Reds, but please understand that I don’t dislike them. I love sports. Some fans I despise, but on the whole I don’t blame the teams. I agree with you about how important the Reds franchise is to Major League Baseball. Why do I think most people have a skewed view of the franchise? Exactly what you said. Media and MLB brass. Which is a shame, especially in light of the controversy (ies). I always think commissioners have a duty to be head-on when dealing with problems. That’s why I love our fantasy football league. Bring the issue to light, address it, don’t downplay it, but acknowledge that while black and white exist, gray is just as prominent. That’s why I despise Goodell but again, let’s get back to baseball.

I’ve listened to both games in this series, and have watched the minimal highlights I’m allowed by this “internet”. I love that Phillips is considered old, despite the fact that he’s a good four years younger than I am. He’s a stud, and his play in these two games has proven that (as has his upcoming bobblehead). There are indeed similarities between the Reds and the Padres, though this year, finally, the Padres have me believing I can sit at Petco and watch them in a quality postseason appearance. This is a miracle considering where they were last year. Coming into this year, I allowed my expectations to be insanely high. Wildcard? At least.

The Pads have won the series and are looking for a sweep. It’s so damn good to have Yonder back, obviously for his offense but for his defense too. Kemp is FINALLY doing what we needed. His defense has been ridiculous, and today’s homer/hitting display has him hitting with a modicum of power. And our Boys are above .500, which shocks the hell out of me.

Our bullpen, which has finally remembered what it did since Trevor’s days, still worries me. I’m unsure of SS, though when I badmouthed Amarista to my sister-in-law the other day, he hit two crucial ribbys. I badmouthed Kemp last week, and he nailed in the game-winning ribbys. It follows that I should badmouth the Padres as a whole, but as a Padres fan this is incongruous and no way for me to live my fandom life.

The Padres are my one and only. I admit to owning a Giants hat and rooting for them during the Will Clark era, though I’ve since learned that he’s a douche. A college classmate posted a picture of me on social media wearing a Florida Marlins shirt which I honestly don’t remember wearing/buying. I drank a lot of beer in college. Divisionally, I dig the Diamondbacks but I don’t actively root for them. When my pal and I headed out to Spring Training this year, we stayed at his mother-in-law’s house. She was a wonderful host. She also works for the Diamondbacks, so I feel I owe at least minimal allegiance to her team as long as it doesn’t interfere with my Padres.

Thank you, thank you for not giving me Wilson for Bernard. I was in four fantasy football leagues and I like some consistency among my teams, hence the David Wilson bid. You and I are champions. Never forget that.

Despaigne is good as a reliever, but he’s not a starter. The problem is, I don’t know who to put up there instead. I still think we’ll sweep.

Cheers, Lance

The Pads beat the Reds 9-7

DALLAS MCLAUGHLIN June 7th 1:32pm PST

Lance,

My family lives in a small town fairly close to Columbus, so they are right in the middle. My Dad has his choice and went with Cincinnati teams. I think he always loved Johnny Bench, and that was that. I didn’t see Draft Day, but I can’t imagine Costner was worse than the actual Browns GM. And, only since you brought it up – Goodell is the worst. You know when idiots claim Obama is a muslim and is actively trying to destroy America? I feel that way about Goodell. It seems he’s actively trying to end the NFL. Idiot. I’m also surprised you’re that happy with our commissioner(s) in our fantasy league. I feel like they’re pretty lazy, and it might be time for a vote.

I think people consider Phillips old because in Baseball years 33 is up there, especially for a second baseman who’s seen a dip in numbers and rise in injuries the last few seasons. Regardless, I’d take him in a heartbeat if the Padres could swing it. Yonder coming back is a huge plus, and when Myers gets back I think the team will once again play like they were in the first month. Those two guys are sparkplugs. Yonder’s season so far has made me pretty happy in general. I felt bad for him last season. He got a lot of crap, and played poorly. I maintain it was because he felt like he had to carry the team. Now, that he has hitters around him he can go back to doing what he does best – hitting for doubles.

The best thing so far about this series is that Bud Black is keeping the same lineup. Well, almost. But, one through six are consistent and that matters. I’m sure if we lose Sunday it’ll be back to shaking things up again. However, you should be playing to win a series not sweep. A consistent lineup will lose 30% of the time. A jumbled lineup will also lose 30% of the time, but has the chance to lose a lot more. That’s my feeling anyway. Baseball breeds repetitiveness, and I think a lot of these established guys need that to succeed.

The bullpen is finally coming together, and I think that has a lot to do with team chemistry. I feel like the month of May hit this squad hard, and it made a lot of them mad. That anger can either motivate or do nothing, and I feel like it motivated everyone. Apparently James Shields posted a sign in the locker room that read, “If you don’t like losing, then play better.” I like James Shields. As far as SS goes, it’s a toss up. In my MLB the Show franchise I play Spang at SS, and I actually feel like that could work in real life. He’s a natural 3B, and has a lot of playing time at 2B. Why not try it? I mean hell, they’re trotting out Middlebrooks at short!

Do you think we should trade for a SS? A lot of people do. I think it’s misguided. We need to get through June and see where we are. In fact, my expectations we’re a lot like yours – wildcard shot. I think next year will be the year we put some more pieces together and win the division. This isn’t our team for the next few years. Hedges or Norris will be moved, so will Gyorko or Solarte. We’ll probably trade a reliever or starter. It’s all for the greater good…I hope. However, Norris is my favorite Padre since Eckstein, and I don’t want him to go anywhere.

Nice job on skirting the Pete Rose question…we’ll talk about that some other time.

As I finish this the Reds blanked the Padres 4-0 to avoid the sweep. Odds on the lineup looking totally different for the Braves game tomorrow night? I’ll say Kemp and Norris are rested at least.

Also they just announced Melvin “BJ” Upton will join the team for the next series. Thoughts? Do we need him? Will he contribute? I think he could…and if he does…

Trust me Lance, knowing that I’m a fantasy champion gives me nothing but joy. I flaunt my victories, and curse my losses, but I’ll always have something that the other guys didn’t. Always.

Champions,

Dallas.

The Reds avoided the sweep and beat the Pads 4-0.

LANCE ARTHUR SMITH June 7th 5:10pm PST

Dallas,

Scandalous words about our current commissioner(s). Goodell is worse than any Browns GM ever could be. Tagliabue was the tits. Remember when he moved the Superbowl from Arizona because they refused to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a holiday? Good guy.

I would love for the Padres to get Phillips, but I’m fine with our current lineup. Your suggestion to put Spangy at SS is intriguing. I thought Solarte could do it, and he can as a stopgap, but we need an upgrade there. I don’t think we should trade for a SS. Who are we going to get, and at what cost? I thought Spangy at 2nd was the best option, but I don’t honestly know. Where are you on the Gyorko experiment? Other than that, Wil Myers is a beast. Venable has performed admirably, and some of his catches were highlight reel material. I know, because highlights are all I see after I listen to Uncle Teddy and Scan. Upton Funk, Kemp the Faith, and Oscar Myers will kill it out there.

I think you’re dead on about consistency. We all know how much Buddy likes to roll the dice, and I don’t know anyone in San Diego who loves that. If we can hold on to Shields, we’ll be in a pretty sweet position next year. Cashner will explode next year. I feel it in my old bones. We can’t lose Norris- I feel as you do about him. I cried man tears when he blasted that grand slam.

Melvin “don’t call me BJ” Upton? Man, I think that’s a bust. I hope I’m wrong, but my gut says bust. I’m upset and also happy that we’re at .500. This is a good place for this team to live for a bit. Chemistry is a funny thing, and in this day of players coming and going, it’s tricky to find a combination that clicks. After this series, I have to believe Bud will tinker less and hit on the winning combination (I think he’s close, honestly).

My opinions on Pete Rose are quite strong. Better for another time, I think.

I’m looking forward to the Pads/Braves series. I love when players face their former clubs, and Upton and Kimbrel should be fun to watch.

I love that you have a Station fantasy football championship. I love that I have three of them. I look forward to our clandestine side meetings where we talk trade and drafting strategy, but nothing really happens.

Please give my love to your family. Maybe one day we’ll Sublime Ale House it. I would like that very much.

Keep slugging,

Lance

Follow Lance on twitter here

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

You can buy either of us dinner and beer at Sublime Ale House anytime. 

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