According to Padres beat writer Corey Brock, head groundskeeper Luke Yoder has resigned from his post with the Padres.
Brady Phelps of LobShots originally brought this to everyone's attention on Twitter this morning.
I had also hoped we were reading that wrong, but Brock soon confirmed that Yoder is indeed moving on from the Padres, and reportedly on his own terms.
Of course, knowing this front office and the way they've handled some personnel in their reign, many were/are skeptical that Yoder actually chose to resign. Others were just astounded that the FO let him go and didn't work some Preller-type magic to keep him on the team no matter what.
Coming soon to Petco Park: Green Thumb Game presented by Scotts and John Deere, winner becomes groundskeeper presented by Ortho.— VM David (@VocalMinoritySD) April 25, 2015
@Padres Did you morons really let Luke Yoder go??— Corey Stewart (@CoreyAStewart) April 25, 2015
Very bummed to hear about @luke_yoder. I’m guessing new regime didn’t value his services enough with ridiculous "special events" schedule.— SingingFriar (@singingfriar) April 25, 2015
I have reason to believe Luke Yoder left because ownership wouldn’t pay him enough for agitational stress/work. If so, that’s a damn shame.— SingingFriar (@singingfriar) April 25, 2015
Color me VERY skeptical. He decided to resign 2-3 weeks into season and no announcement or anything? https://t.co/v4BDRZPfKu— Jay Posner (@sdutPosner) April 25, 2015
One last thing on @luke_yoder ... Padres have game just 4 days after 5/24 Stones concert. Did he express concerns about getting field ready?— Jay Posner (@sdutPosner) April 25, 2015
It's even more disconcerting if you've read the recent Sports Illustrated article highlighting Yoder's work with the Padres and specifically his bullpen garden.
And Yoder isn't alone in the NL West garden game. The Giants picked up plenty of press in 2013 for their dedicated garden space in the outfield, and the Rockies have a garden on the Coors Field grounds. But Yoder was doing it first, and he’s not stuck in a rut. This year, a couple of the Padres' Hispanic pitchers requested plants with which he wasn’t familiar. But they brought seeds to give him a start.
Yoder is up to the gardening task, looking for whatever ups the heat in the Padres’ bullpen.
Obviously we don't know what happened exactly, why he left, and whether or not there was anything that could've been done to keep him here. We may never know. But no matter what the situation, the Padres are worse off without Luke Yoder. That's just a universal truth. Yoder was renowned around the league for his work. The words "best in the business" were used on several occasions, and not at all in an exaggeratory manner. Yoder really was, and is, the best in the business.
Not only did he make the field at Petco Park the best in the league; he nurtured and grew a beautiful bullpen garden, he taught us more than we probably ever thought we'd know about grass & dirt, and he gave us a lot of smiles with his puppy pictures.
Yoder will definitely be missed out at the ballpark. I know I'll miss seeing his magic touch on the field at Petco Park, and hearing all about the progress in his bullpen garden. I have no doubts he'll find success in whatever ventures he pursues, and I just hope he knows how much Padres fans appreciated him here in San Diego.