Sunday, October 09, 2005

A Bad Week

As long-term readers know, I'm a huge San Diego Padres fan. It's questionable why, of course. After all, in their 36 years of existence, the Padres have had only 12 seasons of finishing .500 or above. And they've only made the playoffs four times. The World Series twice. In the Series, they've won one game and lost eight. Good stuff.

This year was their fourth playoff appearance and they played a lot more like Madres than Padres, getting swept in three games by St. Louis. The outcome wasn't exactly unexpected. But what was unexpected was how little fight my team put up. It was stomach-turning. The Pads were outscored 21-11 in the three game series, but that statistic belies how close the series wasn't. For clarity's sake, understand that 19 of the 21 Cardinals runs were scored in the first 5 innings of the three games. Understand also that the Friars scored precisely ZERO runs before the 5th. Do the math. It was a bloodbath. Again, it's not surprising that arguably the best team in baseball won or won convincingly, but what stinks is how horribly Bruce Bochy managed the team and failed to put it in position to be competitive. Admittedly he was outmanned. But his management of the rotation was silly. His lineups were ill-advised. His conservatism was strategically weak. And more critically, his historic lack of commitment to fundamentals manifests itself in an inability to manufacture runs and in flabby defense. When it comes to playing in October, these aspects of the game cannot be overlooked.

So yeah, the Padres rolled over and it was painful to watch. But that's not the primary point of this post. The Padres' meltdown was only part of what was a difficult week for this sports fan. Though the week kicked off with the Chargers' throttling of the Patriots in Foxboro (breaking the Super Bowl champs' 21 game hom win-streak), the Padres' failures were followed in succession by other humiliations. Michigan was beaten by Minnesota for the first time since 1986. Texas finally mustered a challenge to OU in the Red River Classic, stomping on Oklahoma 45-12. San Diego State then dropped its game to UNLV 13-10 on two 52-yard field goals.

Fortunately the Chargers don't play until after a new week begins with a home date in San Diego against the Steelers on Monday Night Football. So here's hoping a powder-blue-clad LaDainian Tomlinson gets the week off to a good start. Go Bolts!

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