If the 104-win Giants are this year’s biggest surprise, MLB’s biggest disappointment of 2021 would have to be the Padres, who, despite a star-studded lineup led by MVP candidate Fernando Tatis Jr., will finish a distant third in the NL West, well off the Wild Card pace set by the playoff-bound Cardinals and Dodgers.
There’s plenty of blame to go around for the underachieving Friars—Lord knows Eric Hosmer hasn’t played up to expectations (his .400 slugging percentage is his lowest since 2018) while Yu Darvish’s second-half regression (6.16 ERA since the All-Star break) has done little to stop the bleeding. But maybe it’s time to point the finger at a group of entirely-too-confident librarians for poking the bear, taunting the Dodgers after sweeping them in the early days of summer.
The Padres, at that point in time, were 13 games above .500 and well on their way to a second consecutive postseason berth. But oh, how the mighty have fallen with San Diego, owners of MLB’s eighth-highest payroll, collapsing on itself like a dying star, sinking whatever faint playoff hopes they may have had by losing 10 of their last 11. With the Padres dead and buried, the L.A. Public Library took a well-deserved victory lap, clowning their San Diego counterparts for counting their chickens well before they hatched.
Say what you will about MLB, which has fallen well behind the NFL and NBA in America’s sports pecking order, but we can all agree baseball is better when rival libraries are throwing barbs on social media, one-upping each other with progressively petty tweets.