Baseball is a microcosm for life. Except in one, very distinct, way. Life, your losses stay on your record. It's one long season. In baseball, everything is cyclical. Everything starts anew in the Spring. And I can't wait.
For now, the Padres 2012 season is over.
The Padres end with 76 wins. That's 2.5 more than Vegas predicted, and probably about 15 games more than anyone expected back when the team was 19-40. A 100 loss season seemed eminent.
Then something crazy happened.
On May 18th, the Padres outright released Orlando Hudson and moved Bartlett to the DL list of lost souls. They were 14-26.
I remember vividly where I was when it happened. As non-on the field moments go, this felt BIG. Not Adrian Gonzalez traded big (was sitting on my couch obsessively updating Twitter waiting for the news) or Mat Latos trade (Christmas shopping with my wife in Pasadena). But nevertheless, this felt important. I was leaving court, driving out of a parking garage and had just turned on Darren Smith when I heard. It was, at the time, the highlight of the 2012 Padres season.
They finished May on a 3-13 run after this. Things were not turning around immediately. But the team felt, I don't know, more fun to root for. Youth on the field. Making errors one can come to expect from youth. But also bringing with them excitement.
June was a modest improvement. 12-15. Not great, but a far cry better than the 17-35 in April and May.
They didn't play under .500 in a month (3 days in October not withstanding) again.
They went 33-21 in July and August before a .500 September and a 1-2 October.
"Bad early. Good late." - Bud Black
That pretty much sums up the Padres season.
I was as despondent as I have ever been as a Padres fan at the beginning of the year. I am as optimistic as I have ever been at the end of one.
There will be time this Winter to discuss the amazing season of Chase Headley, what the Padres need to fill in the pieces in 2013 and the health of a very young pitching staff.
For now though, let's enjoy a great second half of a season, a sale that may have revived baseball in San Diego, and dreams of what 2013 may hold.
As Yonder Alonso put it on Twitter tonight:
I'm very sad to end the season. Wish we had 1 more month to do work! Back at it soon!!! Great W tonight!! #2013 is our year! DALE!— Yonder Alonso (@YonderalonsoU) October 4, 2012
That one more month is coming...April 2013.