Thu. Sep 12th, 2019

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… Because we all have opinions.

Does the Media Hold The San Diego Padres Accountable?

An article by Forbes Senior Contributor Barry Bloom listed eight MLB managers on the hot seat. His inclusion of Padres manager Andy Green appeared to open past wounds in his old home after Bloom alleged Green has lost the clubhouse in San Diego.

“Overall, I think he’s done a good job with a young group.”  Padres General Manager A.J. Preller said to XTRA 1360’s Marty Caswell, before Caswell doubled down, asking Preller if Green is “the guy” going forward.  “The guys in that clubhouse, the guys in the building believe in him,” Preller insisted, the latest affirmation of Andy Green from his boss in a summer that has seen the Padres go from a popular dark horse postseason pick to another season spent developing, evaluating, and planning for the future.  

It’s not unusual to see a GM go to bat for his manager, but what is unusual is the ferocity with which the Padres, their employees, and the local media have circled the wagons in defense of a paragraph from a sportswriter.  The article they have referenced, an August 3rd piece for Forbes, listed eight managers who are on the hot seat.  In the paragraph referring to Andy Green, the disappointing results are pointed out, but what has stood out the most in San Diego is one sentence:  “According to sources close to the team, he’s lost the clubhouse.”

​The article, of course, was written by Forbes’ Barry Bloom.  Bloom, for those outside of San Diego or recent adherents to all things Padres, was the beat writer for what was then the San Diego Tribune in the 1980s and 1990s.  Bloom is not fondly remembered by all, as a 1986 San Diego Reader article by Stephen Meyer paints a picture of conflict between a ballclub and a sportswriter who puts story above all else.

What followed was an unusual amount of focus from the Padres and local media. “A story about a manager ‘having lost the clubhouse’ being based on ONE source is unfathomable, ”the Padres’ current Union-Tribune beat writer, Kevin Aceewrote, attacking the  veracity of the Bloom article.  “There are multiple players who don’t necessarily care for Andy Green’s managerial style.  That doesn’t mean he’s lost the clubhouse.”

While commonly admitting the season has been a disappointment, and Green is not beloved, none will go so far as to agree with Bloom, and many chose instead to attack his journalistic integrity and his character instead.  If the paragraph on Green, and the single sentence alleging he lost the clubhouse were not true, why the unified front from the club to attack it?  In choosing to take the time to address it so heavily, the club has given the story life.  A story which saw its origins last year birthed in scandal, when a video posted to social media accidentally caught Wil Myers criticizing Green.

After all, all the platitudes and sunny statements on the future can’t hide the fact that 2019 has been a disappointment for the Friars.  An offseason that had the club land the big fish they’ve been sorely needing in Manny Machado gave rise to postseason hopes for the Padres, reinforced by the meteoric rise of rookie phenom Fernando Tatis, Jr.  But as of today, the Padres sit at 59-67, a full eight and a half games out of the postseason.  The Padres still have the youngest roster in baseball, but the time will come when the “hot talent lava” will need to become a cohesive big league roster.

Preller has done solid work acquiring the young talent, so he will likely have ample time to see the experiment through further, but for Green, his job should be more in question than it is.  As Bloom noted, Green is 85 games under .500 in his managerial career, and the expectations are simply different now.  Machado has lived up to his contract so far and is regarded as a leader in the clubhouse, despite what many will tell you, and Tatis, Jr., promises to form an infield tandem with the veteran slugger for years to come.  There are things to be optimistic about.

But with this optimism comes accountability.  Padres fans are loyal, as evidenced by league-average attendance despite poor results.  They are passionate, with a well-known legion of fans on Twitter.   The franchise must see to their lip service and continue progress towards a sustainable, competitive organization.   Summers will need to stop being long, frustrating stretches of games used for development.  The day must come when summers carry with them pennant races, for the sake of a city and fanbase many times scorned.  If the players believe in Andy Green, so be it.  If not, as the sources of a member of the BBWAA says, it must be addressed.  San Diego’s sports fans deserve a winner, and they deserve a media unafraid of holding the Padres accountable.

“Paraphrasing Tony Gwynn about any dumb move the Padres made during his era: ‘They are the Pads!’, “ Barry Bloom said to TBLDaily.com when reached for comment.  “I don’t take anything they say seriously.  Green (and Preller, for that matter) will eventually fall by their own weight.”

The Padres sit at an important crossroads in their history.  They have young talent which will define the franchise.  They promise to soon emerge from a rebuild and seize the sports landscape of a city still stinging from the actions of Dean Spanos.  It’s time for the Padres to put their money where their mouth is.  As they head into this future they assure everyone is so bright, they must change the meaning of “They are the Pads”.

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