I went to the game last night. I'm going to vent a little bit.
I can't figure out why fans and players are so upset that there aren't enough fans in the ballpark. There were 27K in attendance which is a good crowd for a Tuesday night. I was actually a little disturbed that there were 27K of us in San Diego that have the same fetish of watching a team sh_t the bed.
It seems like ages since the Padres have played baseball worthy of the playoffs. Some players on the team think that they've already succeeded this season because they proved the critics wrong, that they've done enough to deserve sell out crowds, comfortable with the success of the first 3/4's of the season. Don't they realize that by choking at the end of the season that all they've done is proven the critics right? You know John Morosi is proudly thinking, "I knew the Padres would stumble and the Giants would over take them, I was just a month too early with my prediction."
Sitting in the seats last night it felt like I had traveled back in time to those teams from 2004-2009. They are incapable of scoring and they play lethargic uninspired baseball. Adrian Gonzalez played like Ryan Klesko, flying out or hitting soft grounders directly at a defensive player, while barely breaking out into a slow jog to first. Where is the hustle? I was disgusted when he dove for Miguel Tejada's wild throw and laid on the ground for a good 15 seconds. "GET UP YOU QUITTER!" Then when he misplayed a soft grounder at first I got up and left my seat, too frustrated to sit there any longer.
I don't question the team's desire to win but it really seems like they've let that hunger affect their play. Have you ever been so hungry that you've just become delirious? Making rash, poor decisions because you're distracted by your intense hunger? It's the only way I can explain Nick Hundley swinging wildly at balls out of the strike zone instead of working the count or Miguel Tejada forcing a throw when it would have been better just to eat it or Mat Latos trying to bare hand a bunt when he had plenty of time to field the ball with his glove. They really seem to be pressing, the pressure is too much for them.
I wandered to the other side of the park to a standing room area, hoping to get a different perspective. It was in the 7th the Padres put on two base runners and left them out there to die. The fans were not to blame, they were as loud as I've heard them all year and it wasn't because the scoreboard told them to cheer, they were into this game. This fan base is passionate. The passion last night was lacking on the field.
With the acquisition of Ryan Ludwick and Miguel Tejada; the injuries to Jerry Hairston Jr., Anthony Gwynn and Will Venable and the slumps of Everth Cabrera, Gwynn and Venable this team no longer seems "built for Petco Park". This might be why it feels like I'm watching a team from a few seasons ago. 619Sports.net was the first to question whether the Padres were slowing down due to acquisitions and injuries, thereby taking away what made them so successful in the first half. Bob Scanlan echoed these thoughts last night on the PostGame show saying that the Padres have become a team that depends on a big hit to score, instead of manufacturing runs. We've seen over the last 30 innings or so that sometimes you have to wait a long time for a big hit.
The entire game I kept one eye on the out of town scoreboard. The Diamondbacks were winning - the score is tied - the Giants are winning. As the Padres played worse and worse the Giants kept scoring. It is going to be ridiculously difficult for the Padres to win these last 5 games in a row, but that's exactly what they're going to have to do if they want to prove the critics wrong and prove that they deserve the rewards of playoff baseball.