San Diego Padres Update (1/20)

Hello baseball fans!

It’s official! Spring training is less than a month away and it’s becoming more and more clear which teams have the potential to compete. Before this off season it looked as if the Padres may be able to compete for a second wild card spot, however, now that the upcoming season can be seen with a touch more clarity, it looks like the dream of competing this year is slipping away. It’s not because GM A.J. Preller hasn’t done anything this off season (which he has, trading Craig Kimbrel for a huge haul of promising prospects, picking up a LHP in Drew Pomeranz at the cost of Yonder Alonso, dealing Gyorko to the Cardinals for Jon Jay, signing FA SS Alexei Ramirez, and just as recent as this morning filling the closer role with veteran CP Fernando Rodney) it’s more because of how much more the rest of the NL West has done. The D-Backs have seemed to have made the biggest splash thus far signing CY Young runner up Zach Grienke to a huge 6yr/$206.5 million deal, the Giants have brought in pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto along with OF Denard Span, and as for the Dodgers… they are the Dodgers and are sure to compete. The bottom line is that it appears the Padres won’t be big factors in the NL West but there’s always the hope that the Padres turn into that one team that come out of nowhere to shock everyone.

Although it does not appear the Padres will be bringing playoffs to Petco Park this year, it will still be a very exciting time with everything going on. ┬áThe biggest being the All-Star game which makes it’s return to San Diego for the first time in twenty-four years. On top of the mid summer classic, the Padres also have a brand new look which includes commemorative All-Star season home jerseys, a new blue and yellow hat, new navy camouflage jerseys, and, my personal favorite, the return of the brown jerseys which will be worn on every Friday home game. The excitement does not end there however, as this years draft looks to add quite a bit of talent to the Padres organization with the friars having six picks out of the top 100.

Regardless of how the Padres season goes, this is an exciting time in San Diego and with the youth of the players they have now its only going to get better from here. So to my local readers do me and our Padres a favor. Show up. Be loud. Cheer for this team like it’s the only pro team left in our city because it could become that any day now. This is an organization that is trying now and as a fan base we should too.

Thanks as always for reading and don’t forget to check back to see what else is making it’s way through the five point five hole!

MLB Expansion

Hello baseball fans!

If you’re reading this chances are you love, or at least like, Major League Baseball and you have every reason to. Whether it’s the atmosphere of a stadium, watching your team chase down that one playoff spot left, or even better watching one of today’s stars launch a tremendous bat flip in front of his home crowd, this game of baseball gives fans so many reasons to love and watch it day after day after day. But is there room to improve America’s past time? The answer is yes and it should be done as soon as possible.

I take you back to morning of November 18th of 1997 when I was just a chubby faced toddler getting ready to turn two years old but already with a baseball bat in my hand. Although not quite as cute something much more influential to the game of baseball was taking place just one state over in Arizona. The Arizona Diamondbacks and the then Tampa Bay Devil Rays were getting ready to undergo an expansion draft that would mold the teams early years and provide two very different outcomes for each team.

The “D-Backs” won the World Series in just their 4th season while it took Tampa Bay eleven seasons and a name change (cutting “Devil” from their name after the 2007 season) to make the postseason. Regardless of their immediate results it was an exciting time for MLB.

With the inability to share my experience on that November day I spoke with a friend of mine, Steve Mathews, who was not in diapers at the time and was instead an 18 year old fan of the game. When asked about how he felt during the previous expansion Mathews said that “To me the ’93 and ’97 expansions were exciting. [You had] More players to get a chance, new places to play at, divisions scrambled up, I enjoyed it.” Mathews then went on to say that he hasn’t really thought about another expansion yet but thinks it would be cool for the same reasons but adds that he’d “like to see some new unis” and “would like to see it by 2020.”

Major League Baseball is in it’s longest drought without expansion since it began expanding in the 1960s and if they are to expand by 2020 it will need to start the process soon by establishing an expansion committee similar to the one created before the 1998 expansion. The committee will need to look at potential markets, money in these markets, the willingness of the people living there to spend that money, and what allegiances to teams already exist in these areas. It is extensive research that unfortunately cannot be done over night and will most likely take quite a bit of time. Here are the cities I would like to see MLB expand to (or in one case go back to).

Portland, OR: According to Bloomberg Business, Portland was ranked as the 12th richest city in the United States in 2014 and out of the cities above them on that list only two of them do not currently have major league teams in or within an hour of them (Des Moines, IA and Charlotte, NC). This goes to show that Portland has money to spend and with it being a youthful city on the rise, MLB would give the people of the city a great way to spend their money. Now the argument can be made that the Mariners are too close to Portland and putting a team there would dip into their market but that argument is just as easily defeated when you look at the distance. It takes roughly three hours to travel from Portland to Seattle and, if you take the Dodgers for instance, if you leave dodger stadium and travel that same amount of time you run into not one but two other major league teams. Another reason that could help bring a team to Portland would be the cities craft beer scene, if used the way San Diego has used their craft beer scene, it would create even more room for growth in the industry along with giving fans the classic experience of enjoying a beer at a baseball game with friends. It’s yet to be seen if there would be enough fans in the area to support a team but its definitely worth MLB looking into it.

Montreal, QC: This move would be one that would be I believe a lot of Canadians would love. With the Blue Jays recent success now is a better time than any to give two teams in Canada another shot. Many ex-Expos fans who have ended up rooting for the Blue Jays for the sole purpose of rooting for a Canadian team need to return home. If the Nationals would be willing to sell the rights to the Expos back to the owner of Montreal’s potential team then it would bring back memories that parents and grandparents would be able to share with their children and grandchildren. In just two exhibition games last season 96,000+ tickets were sold which has caused MLB to schedule another exhibition series this upcoming season, which might be a hint that there could be a team calling Montreal home sooner than expected. Having two teams in Canada could also make for a very interesting interleague rivalry with the Blue Jays that would be sure to pack the stadium. Also on a smaller note who wouldn’t want to see an updated and modernized Expos jersey?

Feel free to leave me a comment or send me email at fivepointfivehole@yahoo.com. Let me know your thoughts and where you would like to see baseball expanded too. Thanks for stopping by and make sure you check back to see what else is making its way through the five point five hole!