Saturday, May 5, 2012

Payback?

To the same degree that San Diegans are blessed with winter sunshine, sea breezes year-round and summers blissfully short on mosquitoes and humidity, they are obligated to suffer if they care about the Padres, Chargers and San Diego State's football team. (As for Aztecs basketball teams, until recent years they were ignored by all but a few hundred loyalists).

I've never believed in the San Diego cosmic rule of reciprocity. But the year 2012 is giving me pause. It's starting to feel like a Biblical plague, and the year's not half done.

 Junior Seau is dead by suicide.

For obvious reasons, I'll not lump any other recent events with the Seau tragedy.

Let's just note that it's already been a trying year for Padres fans, even with more than 130 games to go.

Tony Gwynn is recovering from cancer and nerve-graft surgery that lasted 14 hours. Two of San Diego's would-be stars who each commanded a top-end draft pick, Ryan Leaf and Matt Bush, were arrested on felony charges, Bush getting handcuffed on the same day that his former agent, Jeff Moorad, stepped down as Padres CEO amid concerns about motive and financing. The Padres never made a pretense of joining the National League West race. Never won a series in April, for that matter. A 20-year deal between the Padres and Fox Sports San Diego was trumpeted by the media, but MLB still hasn't approved the agreement, and many fans still can't watch the games. It now appears the Padres' best or second-best starting pitcher, Cory Luebke, may need Tommy John surgery. Closer Huston Street, a potential trade piece off to a great start, left Friday's game with shoulder trouble. The franchise's best advanced pitching prospect, Casey Kelly, hasn't appeared in a game since returning to San Diego for an MRI exam on his elbow. Fans still await the Padres debut of Carlos Quentin, a San Diego son and the team's marquee addition of the offseason. After signing a $25-million contract in March, Cameron Maybin is batting .202. Within a farm system ranked No. 1 by ESPN.com and Baseball Prospectus, several acclaimed prospects were off to poor starts.

Compared to '12, the year '13 may loom as a good-luck number for Padres fans.

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