Padres tristes


Perhaps the most tired cliche in baseball is that no matter how stacked a team’s roster may appear, or how enormous their payroll might be, all 30 teams have a chance to compete for the playoffs when the season starts. Opening Day represents a fresh 162-game slate in which teams can write their own way into the history books.

Of course, while several teams are loaded with All-Star contributors which give them better chances of winning, each team starts the season with identical 0-0 records, no matter how devoid of talent they may be. As the old saying goes, on Opening Day each team has an equal chance to bring home a World Series trophy.

This may not be the case for the San Diego Padres. One of several lovable losers in the sport, the Padres took all that early season excitement and optimism and promptly threw it into Mission Bay. ESPN was in town to broadcast the opening game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, one of those teams that has both an All-Star laden roster and a payroll that rivals the GDP of some small island nations.

By the time the sun had set on April 4, the Padres had already suffered their first shutout loss of the new year. This was understandable, as they were facing Dodgers’ pitcher Clayton Kershaw that day, who is one of the best lefthanded pitchers to ever walk the planet. But then the carnage continued, and the Padres chances of realistically making the playoffs seemingly evaporated with more than 99 percent of the season still to be played.

If the Padres do miraculously make the playoffs, they will do so after overcoming the worst start in Major League history. The Opening Day massacre saw the Padres lose 15-0, the most lopsided defeat ever to start a season. The ineptitude continued when the team failed to plate a runner in either of the next two games as well. They were the first team to be held scoreless over the first three games of a season. If you told the Padres before the season that they would break an MLB record in the season’s first month, they likely would have ran with that idea. Unfortunately, their running would stop before they reached home plate.