This one just came hot off the wire and it’s a doozy. My family, long-time San Diego Padres fans and franchise supporters through thick and thin, may not renew our season tickets for next season. I don’t know if I can adequately explain how much of an indictment that is of how awful things have gotten in Friar-ville.
Let me just say this: we’ve been through a fire sale and the dismantling of the ’98 World Series team, and we never quit on them. Never. The first thing I ever voted for after turning 18 was Proposition C, to approve the building of a new downtown ballpark in San Diego. When PetCo Park opened, I flew home from Bloomington, Indiana in the middle of Midterms just to be there for the first game. We’ve had season tickets (with a group of friends) since that gorgeous park opened in 2004.
In the span of one season, our beloved Padres have gone from nearly winning three straight N.L. West titles, to a 99-loss team that is looking to trade its best player. Word out of Padres’ camp is that 2007 Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy will be dealt somewhere before Thanksgiving. Atlanta is his most likely destination, and the returning package would be OK, but nothing amazing. The Braves have refused to include their top pitching prospect (Tommy Hanson) which is ridiculous in my opinion. How can you expect to take one of the top five hurlers in the game and not give up your best young pitcher in return?
But whatever, it’s probably going to happen and there’s nothing we can do about it. Throw in the fact that Trevor Hoffman – the face of the franchise and a first-ballot Hall of Famer – may not even want to return, despite being offered a deal. Then there are the swirling rumors of owner John Moores’ divorce and how that could change the status of the club. Moores turned the franchise around after purchasing it, and now he may not be able to retain a controlling interest in the team because he needs to liquidate many of his assets due to his impending divorce. So the payroll will be lower in 2009 – maybe as much as $30 million less than the $74 million of 2008.
With all that in mind, the Phillips family can’t sign up to support a sinking ship. That would be like buying stock in the White Star Line on April 15, 1912. We’ll retain our memorabilia, watch the games and follow our team, but how can we shell out the kind of dough for premium seats if we’re going to watch our favorite team embarrass us every night? I’d rather watch Russell Brand host the 2008 VMAs on a loop 162 times than sit through another season of that bullshit.