Darren Smith, who hosts one of the most popular sports radio shows in San Diego, is usually good about skirting an issue. While he may occasionally get frustrated the Padres, he understands that the station he’s on is also the “home of the Padres” and carries the team’s local radio broadcast of the games. He also regularly has the team’s president, manager, general manager and assistant manager on his show. If he’s careful with his words, it’s because he knows where his bread is buttered.
On Thursday afternoon, amid a losing stretch where the Padres appear to be fielding a historically inept offense, Darren finally let loose.
He pointed at the anemic offense, and then rightfully laid the blame at the feet of GM Josh Byrnes and Manager Bud Black. Later in the show, when Padres President Mike Dee called in, Darren repeatedly asked whether he had confidence in his GM and manager, and didn’t get much of a straight answer. All Dee can say for sure is that he’s not ready to give up on the season, which makes sense considering he’d likely be fired if he said anything else.
The implication was obvious. Even those who benefit from the business of the Padres can only stay quiet for so long. The team hasn’t made the playoffs since 2006 and hasn’t won a playoff series since 1998. The fans, the media and the county in general are getting tired of believing the lie. More than a quarter of the way through the 2014 season, the team is in fourth place in the NL West without any real signs of life. Black could be looking for work sooner rather than later.
The Padres are a joke, and they have been for years. Maybe it’s the changes in ownership every few years, or the low payroll or the people working for the team who hang onto their jobs even after years of subpar performance. Whatever it is, there are some serious bad vibes coming out of PETCO Park. Smith’s source within the organization nailed it when he referred to the team’s current situation as “a powder keg.”
You’re reading the Sports Report, our weekly compilation of news and information for the San Diego sports fan.
A Couple of Sports Radio Luminaries
I don’t mean to develop a sports radio theme here, but I did want to give special attention to a couple of guys who do a great job of making the game about the game instead of about themselves.
• Ted Leitner, sometimes known as “Uncle Teddy”, was recognized by the U-T as “The voice of San Diego sports.”
He may not have always held that title, and he’ll likely never be universally loved the way Jerry Coleman was, but no one voice has symbolized San Diego sports more than Leinter’s over the last 35 years. We are very lucky to have him, because in addition to having a smooth and recognizable voice, he is entertaining and informative while calling games for the Padres and Aztecs.
• Kirk Willison caught up with Josh Lewin in Washington D.C., where he learned about Lewin’s rise through the ranks and his audition to become the play-by-play voice of the San Diego Chargers on the radio. Lewin’s contract ends after the current season, and the team would be hard-pressed to find someone that could bring the same level of excitement to the broadcast booth.
The Dreaded ‘Elbow Soreness’
More MLB pitchers are having Tommy John surgery this year than ever before. Now, it feels like there’s at least a 50 percent chance of a pitcher’s season being over as soon as the team mentions him having “elbow soreness.” So far, things seem to be OK for Padres pitchers Robbie Erlin and Andrew Cashner, both of whom are currently on the 15-day disabled list with the dreaded “elbow soreness.”
Meanwhile, Josh Byrnes and the rest of the Padres front office continues to hope that Carlos Quentin will one day be healthy enough to recreate his MVP-level 2008 season with the Chicago White Sox.
Stories You May Have Missed
• Former Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson is among 16 players who will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame this year. In his final two seasons at TCU, “LT” amassed 4,000-plus rushing yards and 42 rushing toughdowns before becoming the fifth overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft.
• Landon Donovan, who has been the face of the U.S.’s men’s soccer team since 1998 and is widely considered the best soccer player to ever come out of America, was left off Team USA’s roster for the 2014 World Cup. Age is cruel to us all, and especially in soccer, where 32 years makes you practically ancient.
• Dick Parsons, the former head of Time Warner, was named CEO of the Los Angeles Clippers by the NBA as it tries to force Donald Sterling to sell the team. The only real justification for why Parsons was picked was his background as a college basketball player, which may not be all it was cracked up to be.
• Video of the Week: The fact that other golfers are not as great as Jack Nicklaus, likely the greatest golfer that ever lived, is very annoying to Jack Nicklaus.
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