Which brings us to the meat and potatoes of the matter. Supposedly the White Sox were griping about the Shields trade too. Pardon my French but wtf? Our owner had just called Shields “an embarrassment” a week before the trade. I was telling anybody who would listen that Shields had lost AT LEAST 1.5 miles per hour off his fastball since last year, and he’d lost up to a mile off his fastball the previous year as well. Do the White Sox use radar guns or have anyone who knows how to read them?
Prior to the trade with the Marlins there had been open speculation in San Diego about how the Padres wanted to lessen the load on Colin Rea, openly and publicly worried about his arm. They’d already sent him to the minors for 15 days, not because he wasn’t pitching well, but just to give him a rest. Does anybody do any research for themselves anymore or do they just expect to be nanny-fed by some centralized computer spitting out information which they take on blind faith? I thought blind faith was dead. I thought I was the only one who had any blind faith left. I thought it was only Padre fans who in their many, many, many dark hours can rely on one slogan and one slogan only: keep the faith.
I guess not. I guess all these basically multi-billionaire organizations have no fricking clue beyond what’s put right under their nose, beyond what their pathetic little group think tells them. No wonder between Bernie and Donald and the Libertarians and the Greens there’s a political revolution going on in this country. If Hollywood Washington Man doesn’t get his way he’s going to cry to the Commish about it, and then continue to cry when the most punitive action against a GM ever taken is levied and they’re still not happy.
None of us actually know what happened. Not Tim “I drink wine out of a gallon wine glass and blame trolls for words that come out of my mouth but never take ownership of them myself” Flannery, not any of the so-called baseball scribes who couldn’t place San Diego on the map if the Winter Meetings and the All-Star game hadn’t been there, not you and not me. One day we may find out, one day we may not. To me Preller is not a rock star, never has been. He’s just not cut out for it. To me – and I’ve written this before – Preller is a gunslinger for the good guys, the Padres, with a steady hand but an itchy finger, on the lookout for injustices against the brown and gold while looking for an edge, knowing the impossible odds we face yet clear-eyed, sober and brave as he attempts to protect us and take us to the Promised Land.
As I write this now the last word on the subject comes from Andy Green. Green hasn’t just impressed me since the first day he set foot here, so far as I can tell he’s impressed everyone: with his forthrightness, his straightforwardness, his tactical acumen, his personable demeanor. Good Lord, Green gives motivational speeches to church groups in the offseason – he’s got as solid of a reputation as a first year 38-year-old manager in major league baseball can have. Here’s what he said:
“Every mistake that’s been made was well-intentioned. Mistakes have been made. We’ve owned them. I think at the end of the day, I know that I work with people of integrity, regardless of how many people want to throw stones at a glass house right now.”
He said as far as he and Preller knew, Pomeranz was fully healthy at the time of the trade (he’s made all his starts since the trade). Green went on to say:
“There was never a point in time I was in a meeting where anything was talked about being concealed. I would have such a moral objection to that. I recognize where the story is in the media right now. It’s a very difficult thing for me to digest, on a personal level, because I’m right in the middle of it and I care about the people whose integrity is being questioned.”
He said the training staff had its “wires crossed” but in no way was it malicious.
Should I believe Tim “I’m hurt I wasn’t offered an interview for the manager’s job and wasn’t even there anyway” Flannery? Should I believe Buster “donde esta San Diego” Olney? Or should I believe a true mensch who has led this tattered team all year, never wavering in his commitment to excellence, patient beyond measure, all the while not lowering the bar or his intensity for a moment. I’ll take the man who inspires church groups in the off season, no matter what you think of church, groups, Kentucky or the Great Padre in the Sky.
Maybe one day Preller will be proven to be a serial crosser of the line. Maybe one day he will have to go. So far I haven’t seen the evidence, nor has Major League Baseball. Even if Preller one day has to go, the Taco Train is bigger than any one individual, than any single man or woman. The Taco Train carries the Nation of the Padres. It carries all of us. Yet another train track has been ripped up and torn apart and the train has once again come grinding to a halt while repairs are being made. But repaired they will be.
Meanwhile, little Padres are appearing like incubating chicks in Arizona Instructionals where the tribe has expanded to heretofore unseen levels. The future remains bright, brighter than it’s ever been. I refuse to be cowtowed and I hope you do to. I believe in Preller but if my faith is misplaced, one day he will go too. The Taco Train, however, will not be stopped. Glory awaits us and the process along the way will lead to transcendence in a way it can only be experienced here in San Diego. We’ve been chosen for this, don’t lose faith now. This is where the tough (continue to) get going. We only have each other to rely on, nobody else will give us any quarter.
So finally, let me say this. Remember, we ARE the Taco Train We don’t screech like banshees of Tom’s or Roseanne’s ilk, we sing beautiful anthems to the Great Padre in the Sky.