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Sports Columnist Jay Paris Discusses Padres New GM


Your San Diego Chargers now have a winning record. Joining us on Morning Edition is North County Times sports columnist Jay Paris.

ALAN RAY: Your San Diego Chargers now have a winning record. Joining us on Morning Edition is North County Times sports columnist Jay Paris. Jay, the San Diego Chargers have beaten the Oakland Raiders now 13 straight times. Is this really a rivalry anymore?

JAY PARIS: No, you need somebody else to win every once in a while to have one of those. It really is amazing considering how the streak started how close this series was and really back to the 1960's, since the origin of the AFL have been butting heads. So, if you're a Charger fan it's always good to beat the Raiders. It maybe wasn't the prettiest game, but it ain't fishing, baby. You ain't going to throw it back.

DWANE BROWN: So what is the Chargers schedule look like moving ahead? Do you think they can gain ground on Denver?

PARIS: They can, but their going to go up a weight class here. They've been making hay here against the Kansas City Chiefs and the Oakland Raiders, two of the dregs of the NFL. Now they go to New York to see their old buddy Eli Manning, then they have the Eagles here and then they got to go up to Denver to play the Broncos. So, they've kind of found that third rail a little bit and have gotten back on track here with these two wins, but they're going to have to play better and they are going to have to win on the road. Two things they still have to do with some consistency.

RAY: You know, into the third quarter, LT had about 70 yards, but he did two TDs.

PARIS: Yeah, he was dancing around and showing the LT of old around the goal line where he's made his legacy, his reputation. He hadn't had two touchdowns this season, there's still some stuff to work there. It's amazing when LT does score, or when he does contribute. I mean, he is so beloved by his teammates and really the fans that they kind of feed off that and every time he finds that end zone, you can just feel it in the stadium – how happy everybody is. While the numbers certainly weren't gaudy, any time you score twice in a game, you'll take it. And, LT is healthy, he's running again and run-blocking is getting a little better. So, good things look like it.

BROWN: Well, Jay, let's talk a little bit about baseball. The Padres have a new general manager, Jed Hoyer. What do you think will be his biggest challenges with the struggling franchise?

PARIS: Eating hot dogs instead of steaks. He comes from Boston and that is one big payroll. And he's over here at San Diego with the San Diego discount. He has to prove he can mold a team, buy the draft, and buy player development, which is a template for what they want to do. But, you know, when you are in Boston and you have payroll of $100 million, you can make a mistake and just kind of shrug it off and move on. You make a big mistake and your payroll is under $40 million, you're reaching for the Tums, it's serious stuff. He comes highly recommended by Theo Epstein, general manager back there. But, he's never run a department, never been a general manager, he's 35 years old, young guy. This is his first shot, so the Padres are rolling the dice to see if he's the right guy.

RAY: First move he makes is offering contracts to all the scouts and player development people, does that make sense?

PARIS: He did do that to a few of them, they did do a little shake up there, Grady Fuson, the head enchilada there was let go, and they are reassign Chief Gayton, another big scout there. So, he's going to make his mark, some of the lower-level guys are going to stay. That hierarchy is getting shook up like an old rug.

BROWN: On the college football page, San Diego State Aztecs on a winning streak, they've been kind of beneath the radar, so to speak. They took down the winless New Mexico Lobos on Saturday. Is this program, Jay, turning a corner, or just facing weak opponents?

PARIS: Well, I don't know about turning a corner, it's go the blinker on anyway. And that's a big step up for this bunch. Brady Hoke is slowly changing the culture over there, the culture of losing after ten years of not being anything, really. So, the opponent wasn't much, but they won two in a row and my gosh, there's even bowl talk in the air. So, they are heading in the right direction. Now that being said, number six TCU coming in here Saturday and it just has a dynamite defense, that's going to be tough. And now they are without Vincent Brown, their leading receiver for the rest of the year, it looks like. So, they're making progress over there and they got a huge challenge this Saturday against the Horn Frogs.

BROWN: Thanks, Jay.

PARIS: Alright, cheers.

BROWN: North County Times sports columnist Jay Paris.

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