It's easy to depict the Padres as cheapskates, and more fodder came this week when Adrian Gonzalez and Heath Bell tried to take three flights to the All-Star Game, then, after two travel snafus, ended up driving to St. Louis, bleary-eyed.
Both players were dragging even a few days later.
As an aside, I believe the Padres are making a mistake in not resting Gonzalez, who has played in every game and also tends to play winter ball. He is passionate about staying in the lineup, which is hugely to his credit. But he looks overly tired to me. Did so for parts of the last two summers as well. It's up to the club to protect a player when his fatigue is detracting from his performance.
Back to the travel fiasco. Don't blame this misadventure on the Padres' cutting corners financially.
Gonzalez and Bell each were offered first-class airline tickets by Major League Baseball, with one stop along the way, said Brian Prilaman, the Padres' travel secretary. They instead chose another flight plan that was 50 minutes faster, but entailed riding on three airlines and connecting through Las Vegas and Indianapolis.
Many All-Stars choose to rent a private jet. Brian Giles lined up two options on a jet for Gonzalez and Bell, from San Francisco following Sunday's game. "That would have cost $45,000," Bell told me today.
It's easy for me to say it, but I think the $45,000 would've been well-spent. Each player would've paid about $22,000, not a big sum relative to their salaries. Further, MLB would've reimbursed them about $1,5000-$3,000, the price of two first-class tickets.
Gonzalez and Bell deserved to go to the All-Star game in comfort. Whether the Padres should've paid the $45,000 for a private jet, I'll let you decide.