Most of our baseball posts tend to be exercises in self-punishment. No other sport seems to cause us pain quite like baseball. Maybe it’s the long season; maybe it’s the long offseason; or maybe it’s the special pain of being fans of a small-market team that’s kind of like being bound to a chair wearing a gimp mask for six months while a woman in heels comes in and kicks us in the “area.” Following baseball in general is a life of contrast: patience and frustration. Most recently, we relived the 2003 Jason Bay trade our (and by ‘our,’ I mean Phillips and me) Padres made with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
This past year, however, we suffered through the breakout season of Oakland A’s DH/OF Jack Cust. He’s a former Padre who was traded during the 2007 season because Oakland was desperate for a bat and the Padres, for reasons only known to San Diego GM Kevin Towers, traded away a good offensive hitter despite being a mediocre to terrible offensive club. Then we, well I because I can’t seem to let any trade that causes us a short-term disadvantage go, updated Jack’s progress throughout the 2007 season. Here are Jack Cust updates one, two, three, four, and five. As the Padres whiffed and grounded-weakly-to-third-with-two-outs their way through the season, Cust broke out and hit 26 home runs and had 82 RBI. I think it’s fair to say I didn’t handle this well.
Then Christmas came early. Jack Cust was named in the Mitchell Report on Thursday as one of the players who have taken steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs. Apparently, Cust sought steroids when he was a member of the Orioles’ triple-A affiliate in 2003. All is suddenly well in McD’s world! Oh yeah, sure, Roger Clemens and Miguel Tejada were named in the report too, but who cares about that? Jack Cust is a cheater! That season he had in 2007 that tortured me from May until October is tainted! It doesn’t matter that he sought steroids four years ago or that he hasn’t tested positive under the new testing system. I can now say ‘Jack Cust’ without reflexively twitching. And it’s not a pretty twitch, it’s more of a kick-to-the-groin, bitter-beer face type of twitch. I’ve been liberated! Sadly, this also means there’s no chance of Jack Cust updates in 2008, but I’m sure the Padres will do something else to make me suffer.
Just for fun, here are all the former Padres listed in the Mitchell Report:
Gary Bennett, Kevin Brown, Jack Cust, Matt Herges, Ismael Valdez, Ron Villone, Gary Sheffield, Benito Santiago, Rondell White, Adam Riggs, Gary Matthews Jr., Wally Joyner, and Ken Caminiti.
I feel like we should have gotten more out of these guys than we did, given the level of cheating. Then again, there’s absolutely a reason the Padres let Kevin Brown and Ken Caminiti go after the 1998 season, maybe even Gary Sheffield too, though that could be me trying to get over the 1993-1994 Fire Sale. The point is, this is a cathartic winter for me as a Padres fan. I can head into the 2008 season with a much clearer head and take six months of .520 baseball with much more class than usual. Pitchers and catchers report in just two short months! Go Padres!