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.
The guy has GOT to share a bloodline with Hillary Clinton.
Instead of playin’ by the rules, he’s fixed on seein’ how many he can break. And anyone thinkin’ this is no big deal is dead friggin’ wrong. The Sox — both White and Red — as well as Miami, all had dealings with the Padres under Preller’s black ops medical management, and in at least two instances ended up with injured players. We’re talkin’ deals where millions of dollars are at stake, not to mention the integrity of the game. (As if there’s any whiff of that floatin’ around in San Diego.)
And that’s what I can’t quite figure about Manfred’s decision. A 30 day suspension without pay? BFD. That’s like makin’ Preller stand in the corner until the bell rings. There’s virtually nothin’ goin’ on this time of year that requires his attention. Plus … I don’t know what the guy makes, but in today’s “show me the money” world of professional sports, I know it’s a number that comes with 6 zeros after it. Yeah, losin’ a month of it is a lot of money; like 5 or 10 times what I make in a year. But unless the guy has multiple ex-wives or a gambling problem, he’ll hardly feel it. Will a lesson be learned? I think not. His track record speaks for itself.
What’s really great about all of this is that the Padres are playin’ .425 ball and are 20 games back in their division. Hope it was worth it, Preller. Sure doesn’t look like it from my barcalounger.
PS. Now … I gotta get back to celebratin’ the Cubs clinching the Division. I know it was official yesterday, when St Louis lost (the next best way to do it other than beatin’ St Louis ourselves) but today’s walk-off was the icing, baby. #LetsGo
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.
Of course, I could be wrong. But I’m not.
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.
And I don’t think this is an alarmist position. Yeah, the Cubs are just the 4th team to win at least 25 of their first 31 games in the last 70 seasons. No question that’s awesome. And those other 3 teams … they all won the World Series. I’m sure Vegas likes those kinds of statistics. But Wrigley is not Vegas, bat racks, cuz as our bull pen proved tonight, what happens in Wrigley definitely does not stay in Wrigley. Warren served up a moon shot that NASA woulda been proud of. And, what made it worse was the colossal turd Grimm laid on the mound beforehand, makin’ the dinger all that much worse. That’s text book Chicago Cubs bull pen crap which, thankfully, we haven’t seen much of this season. I don’t think Maddon oughta allow a single moment of that go by without using all of the kings english, and at a pretty high decibel level. Don’t get me wrong … we’re damn good this year, and I think it’s gonna continue. My problem is that in spite of that — in spite of the amazing start and our carpet-bombing offense and our cannon-armed pitching staff — a measly 20% of the season is in the rear view mirror, pallie. A lot can happen on the road to the post season. Even during the post season. Hell, ask the 2004 Yankees.
Did we win tonight? Yeah. Was it fun to watch? Until the 8th when the pen decided to remind me what it’s like to pass a kidney stone. I’ve already done that twice. Enough already.