Rooting for the Hometown Team
Pictured: John Bryne, former GM of the San Diego Padres
Update: At the time of this article being written, Josh Byrnes was the San Diego Padres GM. Josh is currently the Vice President of Baseball Operations for the LA Dodgers.
As the baseball season opens with great fan-fare and new additions to the roster, is the promotion of Josh Byrnes as the Padres’ general manager that has sparked much interest and media buzz; waiting anxiously in anticipation to see what the new front man will bring. Lauded by team Vice Chairman Jeff Moorad as a terrific leader, Byrnes brings a confidence and boldness to the role along with an 18-year career in Major League Baseball that spans the Cleveland Indians, the Boston Red Rox, the Colorado Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks. In directing the overall management of drafting, development, and the team roster, Byrnes is in fact the ninth GM in franchise history. Byrnes took the time to share with FINE Magazine his vision for the future of the San Diego Padres and their upcoming season, as well as his personal thoughts on being in San Diego.
Q: Mr. Byrnes, please tell FINE Magazine and our readers what you feel will be your main goals for the San Diego Padres baseball organization; both short-term and long-term, in guiding and leading them into a championship position?
Josh Byrnes: We have worked very hard to build a young talent base. Most baseball publications have ranked our farm system number one in baseball or near the top. Now that we have that foundation, we need to have some patience to let the players mature. As we grow into a more competitive team, we will try to add the right pieces so that we truly become a championship-caliber organization.
Q: What do you feel will be some of the challenges and obstacles that the San Diego Padres will have to overcome in order to achieve the results of these goals?
Byrnes: Patience is one challenge. Any team trying to win with a lower payroll must have a deep group of young players on the roster. With youth comes uncertainty. We need to monitor the progress of all of our young players and determine when they can contribute to a winning team.
Q: With all your knowledge and experience you have attained in the world of professional baseball, being involved in various organizations, how do you see your task as being different in managing the San Diego Padres now that you are more seasoned and further advanced in your career, in where you possess a culmination of understanding and know-how to administer a team?
Byrnes: Many lessons from my time in Cleveland (1994-1999) still apply. We will need to grow with this core of players. I will need to determine when to be patient and when to be aggressive. I would like to think that my experience will help me make those determinations. We have a great staff here that provides valuable input on any decisions that are made.
“I have found the fans in San Diego to be very knowledgeable, very fair and very passionate. In general, the fans want to see a plan,” notes Padres former GM Josh Byrnes. “They want to see a team that plays with passion. Most important, they want a championship. Our goals are the exact same.”
Q: What message would you like to convey to the local fans of the Padres about what to look forward to with the new management and the direction of our team?
Byrnes: Every team wants young talent in their organization. We have that. It has been proven that a farm system this strong almost always leads to success at the Major League level. We are very optimistic about our future, and we are very hungry to start our winning ways as soon as possible.
Q: How do you view the fans as well as the people of San Diego in comparison to the other cities you have been in?
Byrnes: I have found the fans in San Diego to be very knowledgeable, very fair and very passionate. In general, the fans want to see a plan. They want to see a team that plays with passion. Most important, they want a championship. Our goals are the exact same.
Q: When you have some downtime from baseball, what are some of your favorite past-times and local hotspots that you enjoy around San Diego?
Byrnes: With a young family, I have enjoyed the typical San Diego spots (the beach, Sea World, etc.). San Diego is my wife’s hometown, so she certainly knows her way around better than I do.
Q: Lastly, on a personal note, you are originally from the Washington, D.C. area and moved around quite a bit with the different baseball organizations; can you please tell our readers what you love the most about being on the west coast in San Diego and what do you miss most about being on the east coast?
Byrnes: For the most part, the east coast has a longer history than the west coast. As an example, the Red Sox have a fan base that spans several generations. When we won the World Series in 2004, I heard of many people going to grave sites to tell deceased relatives that the 86-year drought was finally over. There is a real sense of history and a real sense of community in San Diego. Everybody loves living [here] in San Diego, but there is also a sense of community pride. Obviously, sports teams are part of that community pride. We definitely feel a responsibility to put the best possible team on the field.