To paraphrase a classic Tommy Lasorda line, the Padres couldn’t hit water if they fell out of boat. Still, they remained an eight-game winning streak away from playing their way into contention in the National League West by the All-Star break.
The highs and lows come with the territory for Jed Hoyer, the Padres executive vice president and general manager. Life away from the game though means quality time with wife Merrill, whom he married a year ago. They reside in La Jolla. And though they are still learning the San Diego landscape since Hoyer, a New Hampshire native, joined the Padres’ front office from the Red Sox, they are navigating it quite well.
First, let’s talk shop. How do you solve your club’s struggles offensively? We brought up [21-year-old first baseman] Anthony Rizzo in June and moved Brad Hawpe to right field. We are hopeful that those moves, coupled with the health of [Nick] Hundley, [Cameron] Maybin, and [Orlando] Hudson, will solve the problems we faced earlier this season. Hopefully, people will let him be Anthony Rizzo and won’t try to make him out to be Adrian Gonzalez.
What will be the key for the Padres to contend in the NL West? We have to be able to score more runs. Period. When every game is low scoring, it puts incredible pressure on the pitching and defense. We have to be able to score runs in bunches—especially in PETCO—to spread some games out and lessen that pressure.
Ever consider moving in the fences at PETCO? I would rather not comment. It is such a hot-button issue and it is something that we are studying currently.
What are some of the challenges you’ve had to overcome? We’ve been very underfunded from a scouting standpoint. We had the fewest scouts in baseball. Thankfully, our owners gave me the leeway to boost it. The other surprise has been dealing with the extreme environment of the ballpark. The magnitude of how everything is affected by the ballpark is bigger than I initially grasped, and something, to this day, I’m trying to get my head around.
Okay, enough about baseball. What do you do for fun? I like to play golf, though it’s hard to find time during the season. Reading—any non-sports non-fiction is great. I need the escape after reading sports all day. In general, Merrill and I try to spend as much time outside exercising and enjoying this climate. After years on the East Coast, we are making up for lost time.
Best baseball book you’ve read? Lords of the Realm, as far as helping me with my job. I found that book fascinating.
Since you’re new in town, what has been the best surprise about San Diego? People who live in San Diego love being here and cannot imagine leaving. I find that to be an incredibly intoxicating attitude. In other places I have lived, people always had a list of complaints about their city and talked about how the grass was greener elsewhere. In San Diego, people believe they have found the best place to live and aren’t shy about sharing that opinion.