Yesterday, Padres GM A.J. Preller was suspended for 30 days by Major League Baseball for bein’ a total jack wagon. (Translation: an underhanded, diabolical, deceitful, double-dealin’, duplicitous, deceiving, cheatin’, lyin’, two-faced weasel.) Technically, it was for keepin’ 2 sets of medical records on his players to intentionally deceive trade partners. But ask any GM on the short end of a trade with Preller and he’ll tell ya the guy is a friggin’ jack wagon, dirt bag, phlegm wad, ass hat or some other term fit for someone tryin’ to slip ’em damaged goods.
Not to be left outta the race for the Pants On Fire award, the Padres brass, consisting of Ron Fowler, Peter Seidler and Mike Dee said in a joint statement. “To be clear, we believe that there was no intent on the part of A.J. Preller or other members of our baseball operations staff to mislead other clubs.” Yeah, right. Dry that one out and you can fertilize both the infield AND the outfield grass at Petco. Twice. If there wasn’t any intent to deceive, why the two sets of medical records? Riddle me that, Batman. As ESPN’s Buster Olney noted in his piece yesterday, Padres athletic trainers were supposedly instructed to maintain two separate medical files on their players: one for the Padres and another for “industry consumption.” I have a little trouble gettin’ my head around baseball as an industry instead of a game, but either way, somethin’ stinks at Petco Park, and it ain’t cuz it’s the 7th inning on free chili dog night.
Am I surprised? Not in the slightest. Baseball, for whatever reason, can’t seem to get past its desire to cheat. Not everybody, obviously, but there’s always a few Barry Bonds types lurking in the shadows. What’s unusual in this instance is that Preller doesn’t wear a uniform … which makes him more like Marge Schott than A-Rod in the “gettin’ suspended for bein’ a D-bag” department. This ain’t the first time Preller’s conniving ass has been hauled into the commissioner’s wood shed, either. He’d barely set foot in San Diego in 2014 when the team was reprimanded cuz he broke baseball’s rules governing workouts. And before that, when he was still with the Rangers, he chalked up his first suspension for violatin’ international signing rules.
As far as the National Anthem snafu in San Diego goes, I’m thinkin’ everybody oughta step back for a moment, un-wad their panties, take a deep breath, count to 10 and get a friggin’ grip on reality before the entire sky (and the rainbow that’s in it) falls to pieces. Seems like one got away from them, rather than a decision on the part of the Padres organization to throw a little chin music at the Gay Men’s Chorus. I mean, seriously, is that something they’d do on purpose?
And how about the reaction by Buster Olney, demanding that MLB “investigate what happened with the National Anthem in SD and, if necessary, come down with full weight of discipline.” Geeze … how ’bout calling out the National Guard, Buster? Maybe a Senate hearing is in order. Perhaps a couple of years in Gitmo for the Padres’ front office. Nobody was kidnapped, held at gunpoint, or had their head chopped off. A little perspective would be nice.
Seein’ as how this happened at a ballgame, I personally think it shoulda been handled the way all bad calls are handled in baseball; The head Chorus guy shoulda got in the face of whoever was runnin’ the show on the field and given him his best Earl Weaver imitation. I mean right in his face — screamin’ and kicking dirt, and yelling at the top of his lungs (which gotta be like Lou Piniella lungs cuz the guy’s in a chorus, after all) and spittin’ on the guy until he got tossed. Woulda made for a much better show, and I’m pretty sure everybody that has anything to do with baseball would be on the side of the Chorus … but in a realistic way, instead of acting like Donald friggin’ Trump.
Tonight’s game against the Friars was like a trip down memory lane, only this lane was more like a dark alley smack dab in the middle of Fallujah. I don’t know why, but the bull pen decided it would be a hoot to reenact one of its performances from 2012. Now, I would try to do the duck thing and just let this roll off my back, but I’ve been a Cubs fan way too long for that. I remember trading Maddux, I remember Bartman pretending to play left field, I remember getting broomed in the first round of the playoffs after winning 97 in the regular season. So nothin’ is rolling off my weary, old, hairy back, my friend.
You have to take this stuff seriously. Especially if you’re Maddon. In fact, I’d like to see him channel a little Lee Elia … and like right friggin’ now. I mean, Joe had an awesome first season, right? Better than anyone, including management, expected. So I’m not sure he’s 100% dialed in on the historical voo doo that swirls around the club like the winds in Wrigley. If Joe doesn’t bring a little Old Testament, wrath-of-God kinda whoopass down on the bull pen for that performance tonight, and just laughs it off, that’ll just invite complacency. You get enough of that and pretty soon there’ll be no joy in Mudville, pal.