• Game Day alerts

Et tu, Tom Garfinkel, et tu? All of this talk about bringing in the fences at Petco Park. And so many are nodding in agreement. I'm left wondering exactly which Padres club I've been following for all of these years. What in the hell am I missing here?

I think about taking the trolley home here in San Diego. I love the trolley system, it embodies this wonderful city, it drives me everywhere I want to go. And so, I'm thinking about the time I was on the platform and not paying good enough attention. And then I get on the wrong trolley.

Hey, it's my fault. I was excited, the Padres won, I just climbed on like everyone else. And I was talking to someone on the cell phone, happy and elated. And I got off of the trolley at Lemon Grove. I don't live in Lemon Grove. I live in Mexico. Wrong trolley. No offense what-so-ever to the fine people that live near the Lemon Grove trolley station, but for me, that might have well been the moon.

This is what happens.

And so, here we go with bringing in the fences at Petco again. Right. Give up your only advantage. For the good of the game. Or whatever. It makes no sense. When you have an advantage, you bank on that. You don't give that up to the opposition.

Here's some news that everyone has already figured out: The Padres have no offense. They have a great group of guys, and none of them seems to be able to hit a baseball consistently. They try, they work their asses off, I see it, everyone paying attention sees it, but good luck finding some power hitter in that line-up.

Hey, Tom, you going to dump pitching for hitting? You shouldn't. Yes, the Padres aren't so swell this season so far. So what? We all knew this would be a transition year. Hey, man, we're patient. You want to put butts in the seats in the meanwhile? Forget the talk about bringing the fences in, just give more stuff away. Burn some disco records. Dollar beer night. Just keep the lamp lit. You have some good meat down in the farm.

Let me tell you why you don't want to bring the fences in. Edinson Volquez. Cory Luebke. Anthony Bass. Joe Wieland. Tom, you've invested a ton of cash in these guys. Why throw them under the bus now? Man, Luebke isn't going to have a chance in hell at that no-hitter if you bring right field in, he has one in him otherwise. You really want to move the fences in? Seriously?

Okay then, let's look at your offense. You got Yonder Alonso. Seen him hit? Sweet swing, that guy is nails. Gap hitter. Yeah, I saw the look he gave the other night when he blasted a shot to center field and it died against the fence. He was standing on second base shaking his head. My advice? Hey, Yonder, get over it. You got a double, my man.

Tom, you don't need to bring the fences in. You need to pat Yonder on the butt, that double was stellar.

Oh, and forget that crap about some old man stuck on tradition. I love to see pitchers hit, you throw and then you get thrown at, but I know what's good for baseball. The designated hitter packs the stands. I'm all for that. Inter-league play, bring it on. I get that. But the fences? Really?

Charlie Finley got it right. He knew what baseball needed. And he did it, and he never brought in the walls. He never had to. His Athletics hit the ball. And they played in a big giant stadium.

I'm on an island here, Tom. Rookie baseball reporter guy begging you to reconsider your position. Look, Byrnes just signed two guys long-term, Hundley and Maybin. Both hit the gaps, right? Isn't that how you draft and sign? Why screw with how you draft and sign?

You now have Gyorko playing second base in the minors, so do you have mad designs on Headley? The middle infield isn't so hot, and you have little in the minors ready to step up, are there power hitters down there I'm not aware of?

Mr. Garfinkel, leave those walls alone. You have an advantage, keep it. You want more people in the stands? Sign some hitters. Sign some guys that hit the gaps. Give me something good to write about. And don't throw your pitchers to the wolves for ten feet that probably wont matter after 8 PM anyway.

Lemon Grove is nice, but that's not where I belong. And the Padres don't belong in a smaller park. Leave the fences alone. You have an amazing advantage. You roll with that. You pin your chances on your pitching and you hire guns that hit the gaps.

You listening, Tom Garfinkel? Don't tear down those walls.

  • Game Day alerts


Dave Rice April 30, 2012 @ 6:50 p.m.

Bravo. I sometimes think I'm one of the few left that can appreciate a 2-1 pitchers' duel, and apparently from the growing chant of the mob you might be too, David. Then again I grew up at the Murph with my dad griping about how easy hitters had it since they installed the chain link fence in front of the outfield wall at the old park...

One thing is undeniable - pitching has carried this club for years, be they good years or bad. And power hitters cost money - more money than I can see the Padres spending in the foreseeable future. It wouldn't take a stellar offense to make the club respectable, just a somewhat passable one.

So far as the NL adopting the DH...ugh. I've got no problem with inter-league play (other than that I could deal with less of the Mariners), but having pitchers hit brings so much more strategy to the table, and it's complimentary to the kind of small ball San Diego should be playing in a big yard.


briankoke May 1, 2012 @ 10:40 a.m.

I think most people respect a pitchers duel when it's between two good pitchers. The most entertaining games in baseball for me are when two of the best in the league match up against each other. What I hate is two scrubs in a pitchers duel that don't belong in a major league rotation because of the suppressive nature of Petco Park. That's not entertaining to me. Petco dilutes the quality of baseball and produces artificially low scoring games. I want the quality on the field to dictate runs, not the park. If you prefer low scoring games, I can respect that as long as you realize why they are low. I dispise this brand of baseball and feel i'm in the majority.


David Dodd April 30, 2012 @ 10:18 p.m.

You and me, Dave. The thing we have in common is also with Jed Hoyer's philosophy, not a bad guy to share some smarts with. Jed believed that you take whatever advantage you can of your home park, especially as a small market team. I know he will serve the Cubs well, he did lots for the Padres before he was invited to leave town. We're in good company.


briankoke May 1, 2012 @ 10:35 a.m.

The problem is, you speak of an advantage that does not exist. All the evidence points to a disadvantage, but people keep claiming this mythical advantage. You supply a lot of opinion without providing any basis for it. Show me the advantage. Here is the evidence that suggest a disadvantage:



David Dodd May 2, 2012 @ 1:16 a.m.

Brian, you're using metrics as though the Padres somehow compare offensively to all of the other clubs. They don't. Lowest payroll in MLB. The only true power hitter on this year's roster is Carlos Quentin, and he has yet to even play a game for the Padres. I understand your points, but if you really want to do it right then you would need to break down the Padres at every position and compare the position players to each other.

On the other hand, Padres pitching has an advantage, not just at home but carrying THEIR confidence on the road. True hitters can hit, period. And the Padres have a bunch of guys who are gaps hitters. Headley, Denorfia, Alonso, Venable, those guys are built to hit down the lines and in the alleys. Same with a lot of their prospects. Gyorko, Spangenberg, Liriano, and so on. Those guys are not power hitters, and Quentin aside, not a single Padres player projects to hit 20 home runs no matter what you do with the fences.

When pitchers keep the ball down in the zone, only the very best and strongest opposing hitter is going to be able to take a ball deep in that park to right and center field. If you're a small market team and your payroll is going to be less that $100 million per year, then you have to decide if you're going to have a team full of crappy pitchers or crappy hitters. The Padres will never have both good hitters and good pitchers unless some filthy-rich billionaire decides to buy the club and burn his money.

Otherwise, it's a horrible business decision to have a $150 million dollar payroll in San Diego, it'll lose a lot of money.

Look, you quote a guy like Jason Bartlett, he's not even batting .200 this season. That has nothing to do with the dimensions of Petco. Guys like Bartlett and Hudson aren't hitting because they are place-markers. Other players are simply pressing, guys like Maybin and Guzman, it isn't because the fences aren't brought in. They're flailing away at pitches in every park.

Mine is not going to be the popular opinion. I don't mind that. But I also think that a guy like Jed Hoyer is far more brilliant than either of us, and he also did not like the idea of bringing in the fences. Not at Petco. Because in a small market, it's easier and more economical to field a team that fits your field.

And you're going to have to tell me why guys like Heath Bell and Mat Latos are struggling this season playing elsewhere when they were nails playing for the Padres, I mean what more of a basis do you need? And have you watched Edinson Volquez pitch this season? I highly recommend interviewing some Padres pitchers, especially those that have come over here from other organizations. I bet that would at least get you to consider the argument from another angle, even if you are still convinced (as are most of the media that cover the Padres) that bringing in the fences is a good idea that might somehow fix the Padres.


briankoke May 2, 2012 @ 9:05 a.m.

My metrics aren't just from this year. In fact, this year is NOT even included. These metrics cover the previous 8 year history of Petco. Over that period, the Padres have had several good teams including good offensive teams. My metrics also include the oppositions numbers in Petco. The fact is, Petco doesn't affect our hitters and pitchers equally. Our hitters suffer more than our pitchers are aided. I don't know for sure why that is but I suspect it is the psychological affect on our hitters. I never suggested that this will fix the Padres. In fact, I specifically said that they need to increase the talent on the field first and foremost. These are two seperate issues. You said a lot without saying much. Where is the proof of this advantage?


Sign in to comment

Win a $25 Gift Card to
The Broken Yolk Cafe

Join our newsletter list

Each newsletter subscription means another chance to win!