Padres fans, keep the faith. Jeff Moorad is.
The San Diego Padres new owner and chief executive officer paid a visit to the Del Mar Rotary on July 30, encouraging fans that they are committed to winning and while change might not happen overnight, the Padres organization is going to rally.
"Sports teams ebb and flow, they cycle up and cycle down," Moorad said.
While the Padres sit in the cellar of the National League West, Moorad said it's important to remember this is a team that won the division in 2005 and 2006 and narrowly missed out in 2007 after that notoriously dusty home plate slide by the Rockies' Matt Holliday.
"Our memory gets clouded by 2008," Moorad said. "But we have nowhere to go but up."
Rotary Clubs are very special, Moorad said, noting his father is a Rotarian in his hometown of Modesto.
"I don't think there's anything like Rotary," Moorad said.
Just as Rotaries give back to their communities, Moorad said sports franchises have that same responsibility. He said he hopes to continue former Padres owner John Mores' legacy of supporting San Diego.
Rotarians wore their Padres gear for the visit, and Ed Siegel led the club in a peppy version of "The National Anthem" followed by "Take Me Out to The Ballgame," when nearly everyone replaced "the Padres" with "the home team" in the lyrics as the team they root, root, root for.
Rotarian Larry Cook even brought his special Padres cap, the one he wore when Tony Gwynn was inducted into the Hall of Fame last year and again at Yankee Stadium in 1998, the Pads' last trip to The World Series.
Moorad, who worked as a player agent before becoming an executive with the Arizona Diamondbacks, told Rotary Padres fans that they can trust the organization to make disciplined business decisions as they move forward.
He said his decisions for the team are based more on player development than the free agency market, aiming to build a core group of younger players they can build around and ultimately, win consistently.
Moorad said that he gets excited by players like outfielder Kyle Blanks - who blasted a 480-foot homer last week - and pitcher Mat Latos - who's so new Moorad is still figuring out how to pronounce his name.
Latos is so terrific a prospect that Moorad said his former client Washington Nationals slugger Adam Dunn called him the best pitcher he's faced in five years.
"He's the kind of young player that gives us real hope," Moorad said.