The San Diego Padres have received their fair share of criticism for public relation stunts. Before the start of the 2014 season, the club elected to hire their newest public address announcer by way of an open tryout for fans. The event received plenty of attention, and the Padres dragged out the process as long as possible, as it extended well into the start of the regular season. Most notably, the Padres chose to draft former Heisman trophy winner and current Cleveland Browns’ quarterback Johnny Manziel with the 837th pick in the 2014 MLB first year player’s draft, who will almost certainly never set foot on a baseball field— besides the next time he throws out a ceremonial first pitch.
Obviously, with a record of 43-55, the Padres should perhaps shift their focus to the play on the field.
However, there are rare cases in which a roster move makes sense from a public relations standpoint, and not necessarily from a production standpoint — like that of Tony Gwynn Jr., who was designated for assignment by the Philadelphia Phillies Monday.
Gwynn Jr. hit just .163 in 67 games with the Phillies. Despite his lack of production on the field, the emotional boost he would bring to an aching fan base would be embraced by most.
Gwynn Jr., 31, played two seasons in San Diego and is a former San Diego State Aztec. His father,Tony Gwynn Sr. passed away just last month. The friar faithful continues to mourn the death of their fallen hero, while Gwynn Jr. mourns the death of his beloved father.
With each time Gwynn stepped in the batter’s box, Padres fans would have a chance to not only cheer for Gwynn Jr., but also in remembrance of their hero—Mr. Padre.