Look at the smiling faces and shimmering lights, and it's clear this is the most wonderful time of the year.

Unless you're a Padres fan.

While the Dodgers spend zillions and the Angels follow suit, Southern California's other major-league team spins its wheels.

What, you didn't get word that Willie Blair was hired as the bullpen coach? And Brett McCabe is the new strength and conditioning mentor?

OK, so it's not a December to remember if bleeding brown, yellow, blue, white – whatever hue is among the Padres' numerous jerseys.

If you're a Padres fan, and yes, I get your e-mails, December is colored black, like a lump of coal.