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Will There Be a Hole to Crawl In?

My name is Mack and I have taken over as the general manager of the San Diego Padres, residents of the second division of the National League West.

I take a look at my roster and conclude there are holes . . . many holes. OK, maybe not many holes, but big holes. Looking at this roster is like flying over the Grand Canyon.

Assuming that my first baseman is leaving to poison the acreage elsewhere, I have chasms at first base, shortstop and center field.

Now, my mandate is to shake things up without having to open my wallet and blow money on high-profile, high-priced free agents. You know, your hand can get awfully tired writing all those zeroes and commas on paychecks.

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What I have to do is move things around, make things happen. I have to get the fans thinking San Diego Padre baseball rather than Charger football or USIU basketball or Gull hockey or whatever the off-season distractions might be hereabouts.

I’ll make a trade.

This will be a doozy.

I’ll trade second baseman Robbie Alomar and left fielder Joe Carter to the Toronto Blue Jays for first baseman Fred McGriff and shortstop Tony Fernandez.

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Voila! (No, not Viola, voila! )

This one really works. That radio station with listeners from Nome to Rome is abuzz for days. You wouldn’t have thought anyone else was home around here but the San Diego Padres.

Let me now review what I have. I take Bip Roberts and move him from third base to second base, so he replaces Alomar. Perfect. Now I only have holes at third base, left field and center field.

Kansas City has this guy I’d like to have. His name is Danny Tartabull. I think it’s Danny Tartabull. I’d better check and make sure it isn’t Jose Tartabull. If it’s Danny, I’d play him in left field. I do have a hole there.

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OK, Kansas City wants Bip Roberts. No problem. I’ll trade Roberts to Kansas City for Danny Tartabull.

Wow!

This one takes ‘em by storm, too. The receptionist says the telephones have been ringing off the hook. Obviously, the fans around here are excited.

Hmmm, where are we now?

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I have Tartabull in left field and Fernandez at short and McGriff at first and I’ve given up Alomar, Carter and Roberts.

Do I have any holes left? Oh yes, second base, third base and center field.

Boy, I just love shopping like this. It reminds me of when I used to get to school late because I was trading bubble gum cards at the bike racks.

I think I’ll shake them up with another trade. It sure gets the Padres onto the front page.

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I know what I’ll do. I’ll get Kirby Puckett from the Minnesota Twins and we’ll put him out in center field. Piece of cake. I’ll send Tony Gwynn to Minnesota.

Boom!

Boom? It’s more like a sonic boom. Kaboom. This one is so big Channel 8 has to cut into Ted Leitner’s diatribe with a sports report.

I knew I could rebuild this club with trades. I knew it wouldn’t be necessary to waste the owners’ profits on free agents. I wonder if I’ll have to wait until 1991 to get my first Christmas bonus.

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Holes? Any left? Let’s see, second base, third base and right field.

I’d better take care of second base. How’s this one? I’m going to trade Benito Santiago to the Texas Rangers for Julio Franco.

Gasp!

You’re right. I never cease to amaze them with my wheeling and dealing. That one even gets a reaction from the White House. Seems the Prez had warned his son about dealing with me.

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A man’s work is never done, is it? I have to stay at it until I get this club rebuilt.

Wait a second while I move my marbles around. I need a catcher, third baseman and right fielder.

Before I forget, I better get a third baseman. Aha! Tim Wallach. I’ll get him from the Montreal Expos. Easy. I’ll send them Fred McGriff. He’s used to Canadian currency anyway.

Geez!

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Eat your heart out, Trader Jack. You never got this much reaction. Neither did Trader Lane or Trader Vic or Traitor Benedict. Look at all those fans out there on my front lawn.

What next? Don’t you think I should be about done? What could be left?

I have changed the face of this club without spending a nickel. And now my only holes are at catcher, first base and right field.

How many did I start with?

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I forget.

Pitching?

Did someone mention pitching?

Aw, you can always find pitching. All I have to do is punch the buttons on my red-hot telephone. Maybe I’ll trade Tony Fernandez to Oakland for Eric Show.

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That’ll cause another run on season tickets, won’t it?


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