Stay Classy, San Diego: Padres Bounce Hoffman After 15+ Years

Eric GomezAnalyst INovember 14, 2008

It's not an everyday occurrence when you find yourself saying goodbye to someone who holds an all-time record for something in baseball—our national past time, the most traditional and revered of our sports,  as much a part of America as the Statue of Liberty or Mount Rushmore.

This week, while San Diego fans still cope with the idea of losing Cy Young winner Jake Peavy, they must also deal with the reality of Trevor Hoffman leaving town.

With 552 saves—550 of which were recorded wearing a Padres uniform—more than 1,000 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.78, Hoffman has been the face of San Diego baseball for much of his career.

Aside from Tony Gwynn, no one has arguably done more for the franchise than Hoffman.

And while fans bemoan the loss and hold on to great memories of Trevor, pouring feedback onto radio stations, newspapers, and the Internet that can be surmised to a city-wide "Thank You," the Padres coldly remind us that baseball isn't just a game.

This is a business.

A few years down the road, when No. 51 has finally hung up his cleats and anxiously awaits the call from Cooperstown, there should be no doubt in anyone's mind that the Padres will toast Trevor, and allow him to tip his cap to thousands of adoring fans once more.

But today?

Today the news trickles quietly out through the news outlets, a footnote in one the many daily editions of SportsCenter. A headline here or there.

All of it indicating that while the Padres offered Hoffman a contract, they were not fully intending to keep him around—evidenced by their pulling of an offer sheet from the negotiation table.

Reeling after a 99-loss season, only two years removed from an NL West crown and one year removed from needing a 163rd game to determine postseason eligibility, mired in the uncertainty of a failing economy and the owner's very public divorce—the Padres made their message clear when they let Hoffman move on.

This is a business.

Looking to rebuild with cheap, young talent—the Padres have been in the midst of a fire sale of sorts since the middle of June.

Surely someone in the Padres' front office could have foreseen that Hoffman would not be coming back.

Why not give the fans a chance to properly say goodbye?

Despite some voices in the recent past that have called for both San Diego and Hoffman to move on—myself included—this is not the way to go about it.

The Padres' treatment of Hoffman, a living legend, is downright tactless and borderline insulting. For a man that has given the franchise everything he had, this is not the way to go.

Warping generations, context, and fiction itself—I will appropriate a Ron Burgundy quote by saying:

You stay classy, Trevor.

The San Diego Padres sure haven't.