The San Diego Padres are not a good baseball team and the franchise’s executive chairman knows it. During a radio interview with the Mighty 1090 on Wednesday, Ron Fowler called his team “miserable failures” and its performance “embarrassing.” The Padres were smoked 16-4 by the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday and just finished a 1-7 road trip.
Fowler’s comments were incredibly harsh, but rang true for many Padres fans. The team is currently 20-33 and sits in last place in the National League West, 12.5 games behind the first-place San Francisco Giants.
Fowler’s full statement follows:
"“It’s been embarrassing. I don’t know how else to put it. Our performance on the road trip, 1-7, was pathetic. “I’m a very competitive individual. I think I’ve won more than lost in my life. This baseball experience has been very frustrating, very embarrassing. “The performance by our team (Tuesday), I can understand how (former owner Ray) Kroc, would have grabbed the microphone. It’s that frustrating.”"
Fowler singled out James Shields for his awful performance on Tuesday. Shields, who signed a four-year, $75 million deal with San Diego in February 2015, was spanked for 10 runs in just 2.2 innings in Seattle.
Here are the rest of Fowler’s comments in full:
"“To have a starter like Shields perform as poorly as he did yesterday is an embarrassment to the team, an embarrassment to him. “It’s about as frustrating as it can get. In a normal environment, if you had performed as well as we have over the last three years, you’d probably be unemployed. But it’s baseball, with guaranteed contracts. We’ve got to get through it. “It’s on the player, but the organization has to accept responsibility for probably having the wrong players. We don’t have a team out there right now that is competing effectively. We’re doing everything we can going into the draft and looking at international signings to get some guys who can get us there. “But in terms of the manager and coaching staff, we’ve got as good a group or a better group than I’ve seen. They’re doing what they need to do. Part of it is on the players. But our job is to get the right players who can be motivated and determined at game time. Right now, we’re not doing it. That’s what frustrating for all of us.”"
To be fair to Shields, there is likely no one harder on him than himself. He is a consummate professional and is widely respected around baseball for his work-ethic and team-first mentality. That said, he hasn’t come close to living up to his contract.
Fowler went on to essentially absolve general manager A.J. Preller and rookie manager Andy Green. While Preller made some questionable moves at the major league level last season, Fowler is correct in praising the job the young GM has done in rebuilding the team’s farm system. San Diego will also have six of the top 85 picks in this year’s draft and the Padres are expected spend heavily on the international market in July.
Still, it’s not hard to see why Fowler is frustrated. The Padres put a lot of money into their major league roster over the past two years and aren’t seeing the expected return.
It may not have been politically correct for him to rip his team so publicly, but he’s just echoing the frustrations of most Padres fans.