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Padres Should Keep Slant on Good News--If They Can Find Any

Another game, another loss. That’s the way things have been going for the Padres. Another loss and yet another loss.

Everyone has solutions, even though it would seem that there are none.

Fire the manager.

Fire the club president.

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Fire the general manager.

Trade all the players.

Release all the players.

Or apply for admission to the Pacific Coast League.

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No one has come up with the ultimate answer to this depressing dilemma.

Not until this week, anyway, when Edwin Meese came up with that imaginative answer to his problems.

Let’s call it The Meese Method.

Fire the messenger. That’s right. Clean out the publicity department. That’s essentially what Edwin Meese did when he was offended by what he read in the newspapers, saw on television and heard on the radio.

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The Padres might hire someone we’ll call Stonewall Nixon.

Stonewall would be confronted by a rather formidable task. There is much about this team that it would rather not expose in the media, and it would be Stonewall’s job to persuade the media to redirect its focus in some areas and omit other distasteful information altogether.

He should start with the standings. They represent a daily reminder of how things are going, and the Padres have settled to the bottom like the bitter grounds in a coffee cup. Surely, Stonewall can find a way for newspapers, at least in this neighborhood, to simply delete San Diego from the standings.

“How are the Padres doing?” fans might ask.

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But there would be no answer. They could lose in a vacuum.

Statistics might also be deleted, at least the batting statistics. The pitching really has not been too bad, but statistics are ugly reminders that the Padres are last in the National League in batting average, runs, total bases, doubles, runs batted in, walks, slugging percentage and on-base percentage. Wipe ‘em out, and who would know? Who would know that the Padres scored three runs or fewer in 29 of their first 39 games?

Now, surely, there must be some way for Stonewall to influence the manner in which this team is covered.

Discourage analysis of the trade that sent the San Francisco Giants a pennant and brought the Padres a glass-jawed third baseman.

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Restrain analysis of the trade that sent a club-wielding young slugger to the New York Mets and brought players who might someday develop into the player the club-wielding young slugger already was.

Debunk suggestions that the Padres really could have used Tim Raines. (And point out that the Padres plunged boldly into the marketplace and picked up Dickie Thon.)

There must be some way to get the media to stop trying to assess blame or look for scapegoats.

There must be some way to get the media to praise the quiet competence of club president Chub Feeney and stop suggesting that the organization has been paralyzed in the hands of a semi-retired leader.

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There must be some way to get the media to note Manager Larry Bowa’s continuing and uncharacteristic calm and stop warning that he is about as close to blowing as an ash tray filled with nitroglycerin.

Thursday afternoon’s 9-4 loss to the New York Mets provided some perfect examples of what persuasive wooing of the media might accomplish. Indeed, Stonewall would insist, it wasn’t really a loss for the Padres. It was a win for New York.

Meese, of course, would demand that his publicity staff encourage much more positive coverage of so unsightly an event.

Something like . . .

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SAN DIEGO--On another sunny afternoon at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium, a crowd of 20,797 enjoyed itself watching Ed Whitson pitch five shutout innings, Keith Moreland and Marvell Wynne hit home runs and Dickie Thon hit two doubles.

More good times are ahead this weekend, when the Philadelphia Phillies come to town for three games.

See? No mention of winning or losing. No mention that Whitson was knocked out in the sixth inning. No mention that the Padres left six runners in scoring position while the game was still close, and this against a pitcher nauseated with the flu. No mention that the middle relief pitchers blew the game completely out of reach. No mention that the Mets swept a four-game series.

The Meese Method would call attention to Wynne’s four home runs in only 47 at-bats, and not the fact that Moreland’s home run was only his second in 119 at-bats.

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Stonewall would push the fact that relief pitchers Mark Davis and Lance McCullers came out of Thursday’s game with dazzling 1.63 and 2.86 earned-run averages. No need to point out that they are collectively 1-6 in terms of wins and losses because, of course, the Padres would no longer keep won-lost records. Andy Hawkins, at 4-3, might be an exception.

All of this is reminiscent of the early Don Coryell shows, which never showed the opposition’s scoring plays. As far as anyone who followed the Chargers strictly through the highlight show knew, they were unbeaten and unscored upon.

That’s the kind of coverage mandated by The Meese Method.


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