By David Oates
I’ve been a die-hard Padres fan for more than 20 years, through good times and lean years. For me, 2017 will go down as one of their best years.
Seriously, one of the best ever.
Before the emails come asking me if I’ve taken California’s recent recreational marijuana laws to heart, hear me out. In all the years before this one, the baseball club promised that good times were coming, either this year or next. With few exceptions, the team regularly failed to set proper expectations and meet them. October usually left me feeling dejected, disappointed and wondering if this team could ever contend again.
Not this year. With new owners in place and a couple of seasons under their belt, I think they’ve got the hang of the business end of this sport. The year started with no promise of success. In fact, safe money predicted the Padres would not only finish last but. Owners as Navy SEALS would say. They talked up the fact that fans would witness moments of brilliance in the promise of the young talent that would at times showcase their talent, but also frustrate you at the mistakes any new Major League player makes when coming up to “The Show.”
So as fans, we expected little but 100 percent effort by an unproven squad who could show us that they cared and would not phone it in at any point. I went to three games this year, seeing two wins and one ginormous loss. At every moment, I enjoyed the spectacle on the field. Padres Manager Andy Green kept the team motivated and hard at work. They never gave up on themselves at any point. In turn, I saw precisely what the team promised; a dedicated squad of players who put in an honest day’s work.
San Diego can be a sporting town that will break your heart. That had more to do with those in charge communicating the impossible: competing teams that would overcome incredible odds. Not so this year by the Padres. Instead, they exercised the never-fail strategy of. In all the years associated with the “Friar Faithful,” I have never been more excited to call myself a Padres fan.
Organizations can learn from this. If you’re rebuilding for the future, make sure you communicate realistic expectations that you know are “bankable.” Be sure to back it up with genuine, verifiable facts that showcase a promise of better days and be brutally honest about the achievements and setbacks along the way. People love the underdog and will back you up 1,000 percent if given full access to the rebuilding process. If you do otherwise, you may find the wind at your back a bit lacking.
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