Who are you? What really defines you and helps you succeed? There can be any number of answers trying to define a person, a group, or even a baseball team. However, the only true answer lies in the identity. For those without an identity, success is impossible.
I struggled with my own identity for quite some time. I’ve known for a long time now that I wanted to write, but finding the correct form of the written word was trouble. I dove into fiction writing, dabled in non-fiction, tried screenplays, and the result was terrible. It took some time for me to mesh my passion (baseball) with my desire to write. And when I did, I found my identity – just not right away. Even once you’re on the brink of discovering that identity, there are still hiccups and speed bumps to overcome. I still had to find the style of baseball writing. I think I’ve done that, and I think I’ve discovered my identity – which in turn should help me be successful. This is true of the San Diego Padres as well.
The team has gone through its moments of momentum. They’ve found success off and on. And that will happen as you work towards your true identity. However, the Padres seem poised now to finally discover their style, their true self, and may soon be able to define their actual identity.
Along the way, we’ve seen the team try many different styles. They’ve attempted the power-hitter route with players like Brian Giles, Ryan Klesko, Phil Nevin, Adrian Gonzalez, and to a lesser extent Ryan Ludwick. They tried to steal bases. They tried to sign free agents. They worked with a solid pitching staff. But nothing has allowed them to sustain their success.
As the 2012 season nears, it would seem the Padres are closer than ever to discovering that true identity. Gone – for the most part – are the attempts at power. They’ve discovered it may not be a true key to their success. Gone are the one-sided approaches. In their place is team that looks to be more balanced, and on the way are prospects that should continue to keep the team balanced. Speed, defense, the ability to hit to all fields, and the ability to get on base may be the plan, but constantly replenishing and keeping that plan in place is the focus.
The identity of the Padres is heading toward, and needs to be, that of a factory. They need to develop and build quality, young talent. But they also must be ready to replace that talent. If the factory stops producing, the team has no chance at success.