Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Legal Chicks Dig The Change Up

By Nick McCann

Watching the Padres’ season dissolve into nothing has begun to feel numb. Sure, we will probably have a huge May (like we do), people will show up to the park again, Jake Peavy will rip an abdomen muscle after a fist pump, the season will be lost, and then it will come out that Jerry Coleman has been dead for three years.

Same old…same old…

Five years from now we will not remember this season. We won’t be able to distinguish it in our memories from last year, or the next year. But if there is one thing we can rally around, it is rooting for Greg Maddux to increase his win total past Roger Clemens.

Maddux, after last night, is stuck at 349 wins, and Clemens, after ruining his rep in the off-season, is stuck at 354.

Clemens, Maddux, Pedro Martinez, and Randy Johnson are going to compared for the rest of our lives because they are the best pitchers from the Steroid Era. Maddux has an opportunity to improve his status in the next few years within the argument because Roger has become a walking miniseries, Pedro’s arm is about to go Dave Dravecky (still too soon? Sorry), and Randy Johnson, the only other relevant starter in the discussion, is going to be this generation’s Nolan Ryan, minus the win total.

The Rocket has had a bad week. It came out on Monday that he might have had sex with a 15-year-old girl when he was 28, and then carried on a relationship with her for ten years. Judging from my experience with dudes that have shared his hairstyle choices over the years, I believe he did it.

Apparently, Clemens met country semi-star Mindy McCready at a Karaoke Bar in the south before she could legally drive a car. Now, we don’t know exactly what happened, but we all know what happened:

Roger Clemens, Mindy McCready, and Mike Greenwell Hang Out at a Bar
By Nick McCann

(Mike Greenwell and Roger Clemens are sitting at a table in a bar in Texas talking to a waitress)

Hey, I’m gonna need to see some ID.

What? (He pulls out a card and hands it to her)

This is your NRA card.

Sorry miss. (He pulls out his ID)

Thanks. Two beers coming up right up (The Waitress turns around to see a young girl getting up to sing Karaoke) Go Min. That’s my sis.

Who gives a shit? (she walks away)

Mike Greenwell
Easy Roger. Remember what happened on the train?

Fuck that bitch.

The waitress?

I did.


I’m The Rocket; you better assume it!

Okay. (Mindy starts to sing a Patsy Cline song. Roger looks up and is floored by her youthful beauty. After her song, Mindy skips by Mike and Roger’s table. Roger grabs her and throws her on his lap.)

Do I know you?

I’m The Rocket and I am about to take off.

Oh okay.

Do you have your ticket?

Oh my God. (Mike puts his head down and thinks to himself) In 15 years I’m going to read about this. I should have played poker with Dwight Evans tonight.

I’ll go get my purse from behind the bar. (Mindy walks away)

That girl is a baby.

Where there is grass-

No Rodger…no…

The End
Greg Maddux seems like a good guy, and he looks like a guy that would probably stay away from fifteen year olds. Why can't the Padres at least rally around that?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Discount

By Nick McCann

“If a guy is, in essence, willing to stay here for less because he likes the place, we want to ensure for a significant portion of whatever contract he signs, that he's still going to be here,”

– Barry Axelrod, Jake Peavy's agent at the 2007 winter meetings.
Peavy’s contract before extension: Due $6.5 million in 2008 and $11 million in 2009.

Peavy’s 2007 extension: $50 million deal through the 2012 season with salary incentives and no trade provision included.

Jake Peavy's salary terms reflect his respect for the Padres’ pitching coaches, manager Bud Black and the club's training and conditioning staff, not to mention any pitcher's love of Petco Park, but there is definitely more to it.

San Diego is one of the best markets to be a professional athlete with a family. Peavy, a young father, has spent his entire professional career in San Diego, and has had many opportunities to see his other options after touring the country every summer since he was 22. Now in 2008, he is probably embarking on his best season ever, and it feels like it is being wasted. This has forced rumblings from most San Diego fans (and people who understand the game of baseball who are not blind) because they feel bad for him being on a team that can’t protect a lead or score runs. Sure, this feeling is with in a context outside of the obvious reality that he is a young millionaire who throws a piece of leather for a living, but more that he is a part of a group effort that is severely lopsided.

Hard working people felt for Jake Peavy on Sunday when he went up against arguably the only pitcher better than him in the division, Brandon Webb, and got beat because the offense didn’t show up (again).

Peavy’s passionate, yet frustrated, demeanor often lends itself to being admired by people (or everybody) who have had to deal with bad co-workers and have had to squash their true feelings. Peavy can’t say he hates playing with Brian Giles, even though he should.

This makes for great theater, but besides identifying with Peavy and his work experience, the bigger problem is that people feel for him because the Padres might have screwed him by selling him on what has widely been coined by people outside of the organization, “The San Diego Discount.” What does that really mean? Why do San Diegans use this term and accept it, even though it makes no sense? And more importantly, who is really getting screwed?

San Diego is an expensive city to live in, along with every other major city in California. Yet there are other markets in the country that have to compete with player prices on a national level that can offer a much lower cost of living. If a player for the Marlins made 5 million dollars (HA!), he would have to pay considerably lower taxes on his salary because Florida is a basically a free for all. Nobody ever refers to a new Marlin player taking a 700k deal as taking a discount because of the way the state is set up, but that is basically what happens if the Marlins are cheap in nature. The same thing goes on with players playing for franchises in Texas and other parts of the Mid West who have real money to spend.

Peavy took considerably less money to play in America’s finest city because there is something more attractive about this market than money.

San Diego is a family city, and in an industry that can punish you and your family for you missing a ground ball at the wrong moment when the stakes are the highest, a city like San Diego is forgiving to a fault. Example: if the Padres had made it to the World Series when Ryan Klesko played here, and he had let a ground ball go through his legs to lose it all, his children living in Poway would not get death threats (not that any child ever should). But Klesko would come home in the off-season and do a commercial for a local car dealership where he would say, “This financing is so crazy it is like we are letting the ball go right through our legs!” And it would work.

Jake Peavy took less money because he wanted an easier life off the field. Tony Gwynn and Trevor Hoffman did the same. Do you think Khalil Greene could hang in the big apple? What have we created?

On Saturday May 10th the Padres will play the Colorado Rockies at Petco Park in a game labeled Jake Peavy T-Shirt Night. A hard working construction worker will take his family of four to the game buying the Coca Cola Family and Friends ticket deal where he will get 4 Upper Reserved tickets, 4 hot dogs and 4 Cokes for only $55. In the beginning of the 6th inning, Peavy will strike out his 7th batter, after the Padres will have just left three runners on in the bottom of the fifth. The score will be 1-0 Rockies. Then the man will stand up, leave his family, go buy a 9$ Budweiser in a plastic bottle, and he will feel bad for Jake.

Life is better with Baseball on Channel 4.

Friday, April 25, 2008


By Nick McCann

Chris Young was on the sour end of a pitchers' duel last night, giving up a solo homer as one of just two hits he allowed in seven innings. He struck out 10 batters in his losing effort, while his teammates couldn't score when they had the opportunities in the fourth and seventh innings.


Padre recaps are becoming like those boring jazz standards that you hear every time you go to your grandma’s house where she makes you cookies, tells you stories about your dead grandpa as if he is still alive, and then passes out because she just drank her weight in Tom Collins that she tried to hide in her 1989 AMPM sport bottle every time she went to the kitchen.


The Padres don’t have hitting and they don’t have a bullpen. That is it. It doesn’t matter that it is April and that there is a long season ahead. With the starting pitching hurling at a playoff level, this season is becoming more and more like a classic case of wasted premium talent. The bottom line is that the Padres at 9-14 are not showing any signs of being a complete team, or even a team that has something to look forward to if things don’t work out this season.

The game last night was hard to watch because the Padres were going up against a team that genuinely looked like they were having more fun. The Giants are a team that just got out of a bad relationship with a bad person. Barry Bonds is not hanging over them, and telling them what to do, and what to wear, so now they are out at the club and they getting over the relationship by fucking other people (or having their no offense catcher do things he isn’t supposed to do at 1:30am on a weeknight). When they win, it doesn’t matter, and when they lose, it doesn’t hurt.

San Francisco probably won’t be a serious contender for a few years, but they do seem to have a bright future with a lot of young talent developing, and you can see it in the way they carry themselves. The Diamondbacks and The Rockies look and feel the same way. The Rockies put it together last year and the D-Backs look like they are headed down the same road.

The Padres have young talent in the field and in the starting pitching, but if the bullpen doesn’t come together soon, they are going to be battling it out for fourth place, where unfortunately, true San Diego fans feel the most comfortable. Trevor excels in these situations and maybe that is the most fitting way for him to go off into the sunset: 28 saves in a season that is over by labor day.

Does anybody know when the Chicken is coming? I need to laugh…again.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Charger Draft Fix

By Nick McCann

Greg Maddux was only two outs away from securing his 350th victory when Trevor Hoffman threw a 1-2 changeup that Benji “The New Padre Version of a Barry Bonds” Molina crushed into the left-field bleachers with one out in the top of the ninth inning, tying the game at 1.

Then those of us who weren’t watching the NBA playoffs, blinked our eyes, and realized it was the 13th inning, and the Giants had just pushed across two runs in the top of the inning off Glendon Rusch (0-2), the Padres' sixth pitcher of the night. An RBI bloop single from Fred Lewis and Aaron Rowand's third knock, an RBI single, made up the winning runs.

What happened after has become normal. The Padres are who they are: a team that can’t hit, and a team that should not think they are better than any team in their division.

With the Padres at 9-12, fans need to look to something that is completely stripped of disappointment. This weekend’s NFL Draft, and the Chargers hope of improving their already talented roster, are exactly what we need. No matter what the experts say about your team’s draft “performance”, they can all be proved wrong in the fall. This is the beauty of the Draft. This is why interest grows every year. This is why it is an escape. This is why the coverage before the draft is addicting and why the lack of coverage shortly after the draft is hard to replace.

I will look like this Monday morning:

from Afterglow (2005) directed by Melissa Yu

Luckily the Chargers have one of the best GM’s in all of sports. Resident grease ball, AJ Smith, understands the way the modern NFL’s finances work and he isn’t afraid to draft his way out of problems. The Chargers rarely sign free agents, but it isn’t because Smith doesn’t want to get the stars; it is just because he would rather draft a good players and sign them for cheap salaries, let them play in the system for a few years, and then sign the ones that are the most valuable.

Regardless of what the Chargers draft on Saturday and Sunday, AJ has earned the right to expect the Charger fans to believe he is making a good move. At this point, we have no right to question his lack of participation in free agency. All we have to do is wait for him to make his picks and then be happy for our future, even if it doesn’t work out later.

While dealing with the Padres lack of success, being given the escape of knowing the Chargers have a real shot to get better, if only for a weekend, will completely hit the spot.

Give me a hit Mel Kiper. I’m sick, give me the good shit.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Value Of My Time

By Joe Chandler

The Padres have been playing terribly lately and because I live in Los Angeles, where there is no television feed, I haven’t been subjected to a single inning of it. Watching the season from afar has been a great relief to me. There is a certain peace that comes with waking up in the morning seeing that the Padres lost by ten and moving on with my day. As it begins to shape up like a bad year for the team (the “no money” approach wasn’t going to work forever) I revel in the freedom of not having to actually suffer through the games. Here is a list of what I’ve done over the past few days that is not watching the Padres race towards fourth place:

- Watched an inning of a Dodgers game in order to check in on a fantasy player
- Went 3-0 in my fantasy baseball league.
- Put in an extra hour at work.
- Cleaned my bathroom.
- Got really drunk.
- Got kind of drunk.
- Felt guilty about my drinking.
- Felt guilty about things I did while drinking.
- Realized that weird things happen when you drink and stopped worrying about it.
- Drank, but not that hard.
- Then sort of lost track and ended up drunk again.
- Nothing.
- Killed a guy…by drinking.

All this comes while still following the team. They’re still my guys and I still silently pump a fist when I look at in the morning, but if I lived in San Diego I would’ve stayed up for every inning of the 22 inning game. Instead I sat at home and read a book about economics. It may not sound better, but trust me, it is.

How about them Padres, huh?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

One Monkey don't Stop The Show

By Scott O'Malley

"The world has become a pussy-whipped, Brady Bunch version of itself, run by a bunch of robed sissies." - Simon Phoenix

To my profound disappointment, the NFL Draft has taken one more giant tumble towards domestication. The big, bad NFL…whipped. Once an unloved, red-headed stepchild, the draft has been groomed, showered, and shaved along its (downward?) slope towards respectability and prestige. The writing has been on the wall for the better part of a decade, but with this year’s starting time of twelve noon, the momentum of change has reached critical mass.

The NFL has seen fit to trim the festivities by three hours, finally caving to gripes concerning the draft’s day-long running time. The conceit behind this, I suppose, is that faithful viewers had been perennially suckered into losing one precious Saturday every April. Rubbish. The draft has never made any pretense of expediency, and why should it? Between the months of February and September, no day in the NFL calendar year is more important. That said, if eleven hours of Chris Berman is too much to endure, there’s no shame in spending the day elsewhere.

The draft is not for everybody, to be sure. But for special kinds of masochists, it’s just right. Some of us remember the draft when it was it was a much shoddier spectacle, with plumes of cigar smoke hanging heavy over Formica podiums and corduroy blazers. In that respect, there’s a sense or protectiveness. I have no beef with those who find the draft boring, but I can’t imagine that they’ll find the seven-hour version any more palatable. Much like the incessant whining regarding the length of Major League Baseball games, change can only accommodate those don’t already watch, and alienate those who do. And further, when did it become so necessary for sporting events to end in a timely fashion? Sports are leisurely diversions, better enjoyed with hours at your disposal rather than minutes. While other mediums of entertainment cater to the ADD-afflicted, the governing bodies of sport would be wise not to follow suit.

It would be easy to point the finger at the Four-Letter Network, or to imply some kind of insidious plan atop the NFL, but no. The draft is merely another entity experiencing the growing pains of homogenization. Remember the friend you had in college? He jumped out of windows, broke bottles on his head, picked fights with the wrong people. He was out of control, unkempt and disreputable - then suddenly - married, sober…and boring. Sooner or later, a kind, na├»ve, or enterprising soul will throw a clean sheet over the bums.

I love the draft too much to allow the loss of three hours to diminish my pleasure. It won’t stop the fire alarm from waking me up at eight in the evening, with a Red Baron pizza blazing in the oven as I lay passed out on the floor. At worst, it will only force me to alter routine – hot wings for lunch rather than breakfast I suppose. For now, this first time at least, I will make do. I’ll savor the shopworn analyses from Mel Kiper, the apoplectic reactions of Jet fans, the constant elements that no manner of repackaging or reformatting can change. As the gloss and hype get bigger each year, I’ll embrace those elements that keep the draft grounded – keep it from getting too presentable, too sexy, too watchable. I’ll even indulge Berman’s relentless bombast because, hey, as long as he’s sitting at that desk, Ryan Seacrest isn’t.

Friday, April 18, 2008

22 Innings

By Nick McCann

Last night’s game started off great because Jake Peavy pitched like he was going through the same situation that Mel Gibson’s character was dealing with in Ransom. Every time he screamed after throwing a pitch that was close, I imagined that he was saying, “GIVE ME BACK MY SON!!!” After Peavy’s masterful eighth inning, the game became a blur. I had to record The Office, and the lineups on both teams didn’t give a fuck.

When a game becomes about bullpens trying to save themselves, and the announcers finally have to tell the same story about the minor league team on the east coast that went 33 innings in 1981, becoming the longest game in history, it leaves the fans a choice: do I go to sleep, or do I watch something that could be history?

Going to bed early before a marathon game is over comes with a certain degree of guilt. I’ve always wanted to be one of those people who are incapable of giving up on a game before it has ended, but I am not. This doesn’t mean that I don’t love the Padres; it just means that I like surprises. In the 16th inning, I decided to go to sleep, thinking that I would wake up, check, and get my own closure over coffee and Danish (I never eat that).

Falling asleep was easy. Then, the next thing I knew, I woke with my head nestled in my folded arms. I looked up, and then I realized that I was in the Padres’ dugout at Petco Park leaning on the railing watching the 17th inning of the game that I had just given up on. I looked around, and all my favorite Padres were there congratulating me on my performance, and apologizing for not helping me get the victory. This was strange, so I walked over to the mirror above the Gatorade bucket. I was shocked at the sight of my face. I was Jake Peavy. I was the best player on my favorite team. I could fuck any woman in the stadium if I wanted to.

This first thing I did was sit down next to Khalil Greene. He leaned over and said, “Time is a piece of wax falling on a termite, who is choking on a…on a…damn it! I just want to be normal!” That made me uncomfortable so I walked over to my manager, Bud Black, who was playing marbles with hitting coach, Wally Joyner.

Bud looked up at me from his game as if he was going to cry, and said, “Jakey Wakey, can I still call you that? Cool! I’m really sorry about tonight. We need more hitting…I know.” Then Joyner interrupted, “What the hell is that supposed to mean? Bud, I thought we were buds. YAHTZEE!”

I didn’t want any part of that so I turned back to the game. Time wasn’t making sense to me. Players were running in and out of the dugout in slow motion all the time. It felt like the game that I had pitched was a dream with in my own dream. I wasn’t angry that my performance was wasted, I was just thinking about Phoenix, and what I would do there this weekend. Sure, I would go, but all of my friends who had failed me would have to play though it. Maybe my best friend Astro Roy Oswalt would have the same days off and we could text each other about deer hunting, country music, and the bad rap chewing tobacco has gotten.

Then I heard the crack of the bat and looked up at the scoreboard. I saw that it was the 22nd inning and the Rockies had just scored a run to make it 2-1. When the guys came back to the dugout, I noticed Tadahito Iguchi starring at me walking slowly off the field. His eyes were black and he was beginning to laugh at me. He then walked right up to me, recited a Japanese proverb that I didn't understand, pulled out a knife, and stabbed him self with it. He slowly fell to the ground and then I ran up to he help him. He just kept laughing and laughing and spitting up blood. When I kneeled down next to his body, he looked right through me, and said, “Wake up.”

My alarm clock went off this morning at 7:30am. I got up, checked, and realized that the game had gone 22 innings and that we had lost. My first thought was that we should have just tanked the game to preserve ourselves for the upcoming weekend showdown with the D-Backs. Oh well, a boy can dream.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The 80/20 Rule

Yesterday was a rough day for me on many levels. My Mom’s intestines almost blew up while she was teaching her 3rd grade class to the point where she had to be rushed to the hospital (don’t worry, she is fine now), my car’s check engine light came on again, and the Padres got beat badly by the Rockies 10-2.

Staying at my parents’ house while my Mom was in a hospital bed with tubes in her face a few miles away was an unsettling experience because I couldn’t really do anything to make the day any better for her or myself. My Dad had passed out while I had just tried to introduce him to The Wire (the greatest TV show ever made), and the Padres had just blown a chance to make a simple one run comeback by giving up seven runs in the 9th inning. Have you seen the Cleveland Indians this year? I want what they have. In fact, their bullpen is what everyone wants: young, Latin, and deeper than the deepest trench in the Pacific Ocean.

Do you ever have those moments where you feel like the best thing you can do when you are having a bad day is to just ride it out and choose an activity that you think is equal to the bad things that have already happened? That kind of decision is about taking control of your own downward spiral, and sometimes it is very necessary. If there is a God, and he or she cares about us in these times, than he or she must have consciously said at some point, “When people need to have control of their own awful circumstances, let there be Tyler Perry!”

Trust me, if you are a white person, and you ever think it would be cool to sit down and watch a Tyler Perry movie; make sure you have your parents’ liquor cabinet ready.

Tyler Perry knows exactly what he is doing, and even though he seems to make questionable dramatic choices as a filmmaker, he does manage to let the truth peak its head through. The reason why Entertainment Weekly named him the 7th smartest person in Hollywood, is because he doesn’t care about anybody other than his focused audience. I found this out last night, but it was amazing.

God bless Bacardi, digital cable, and Rhythm Nation!

Perry’s latest presentation, Why Did I Get Married?, is about four struggling upper class middle aged African American married couples who decide to go to a huge cabin in Colorado to try to fix their problems. There is a couple that deals with working to hard in their careers to see each other (Tyler Perry and Sharon Leal, who looks exactly like a black Christina Ricci); a couple that is dealing with the death of a child (Janet Jackson and Malik Yoba, the black cop from New York Undercover); a couple that is dealing with alcoholism and infidelity (Tasha Smith and Micheal Jai White, or Spawn); and last, a couple that consists of an over weight woman and a husband who talks shit to her face about it (Jill Scott and Richard T. Jones).

The last couple is the most important to the story and their introduction during the opening credits is first glimpse of Perry’s disregard for reality. In the beginning of the movie, right before their plane takes off to Colorado, Jill Scott, her husband, and her husband’s hot female friend, sit down to take their seats. After a few moments a flight attendant comes up to Scott and tells her she has to buy two seats to be able to fly with their airlines. Her husband and his hot friend begin to laugh at her, and then suggest that she rent a car to drive to the cabin. She ends up doing it, and crying all the way, all while never thinking that something might up with her husband and a woman that looks like Angela Bassett in her prime.

The whole movie weaves extreme stories like that until a climactic dinner scene where it is exposed that Micheal Jai White got an STD from a mistress, Tyler Perry’s wife had her tubes tied with out his knowledge, Janet Jackson blames herself for her son’s death, and Jill Scott finds out that her husband has been cheating on her with the hot girl at the table who she had strangely been defending the whole time when the other girls got suspicious. Then Jill Scott breaks a huge bottle of wine over her husband’s head to end of the first act.

Yeah, it was a little bit better than the game last night.

The one “message” of the movie that really stuck with me was when The Black Cop from New York Undercover counsels Spawn on "The 80/20 Rule." When the fellas are sitting out back away from their “crazy” wives before the dinner scene fight, it comes out that Spawn has been cheating on his alcoholic wife (the actor playing the wife never really plays it drunk; she just yells more when she pounds wine). He basically says that in life, we only get 80% of what we really need, so when something at 20% comes around looking all fine and shit, it looks better than it really is because we think it will fill a hole that never should be filled.

Why did I get married to the idea that Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married would be a good idea? And more importantly, why do intentionally bad ideas that feel like good ideas on bad days, sometimes feel like good ideas, on the day after?

The Padres are 8-7 in the first fifteen games of the season, and this weekend they will go up against the best team in the division. They are at critical juncture right now because it feels like they need more than what they have. As fans, after seeing the Diamondbacks, and their extraordinary young talent, we will wish we have better players, and we will start to look around the league and be jealous (I will probably be a leader in this area).

The problem is that in baseball, mid season trades rarely work. If you see a player that is having a good year, there are many things that go into it. Right now, if we attained David Ortiz from the Red Sox, he would not do as well in our lineup because he would have Kevin Kouzmanoff batting after him instead of Manny Ramirez. Also, he would have to be a real baseball player and field an actual baseball. Nobody wants to trade within their division, so most deals require players to play in radically unfamiliar situations against competition they haven't gotten used to.

My first impression of Tyler Perry’s work was that it was ridiculous and focused on an audience that wasn’t me. After all, every white person in the movie comes on for one line and says something completely racist. But The 80/20 Rule is true in all aspects of life, and if Perry wants to do a remake of Major League, to show the truth about the Indians coming from The Willie Mays Hayes prospective, I will be there opening night.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Matty Might Leave and I'm Not Crying Wolf

By Nick McCann

Sports video games have to be real. They market themselves every year as being more real than the last. This year, the baseball video game that is approved by MLB and the Players Union, The Show 08, decided to put this ad forward as their statement of where the game is currently standing:


The Padres 163rd game of last season left every one with a bad taste in their mouth to the point that questions about Trevor Hoffman’s stability have dominated most Padre fan conversations. Hoffman’s sub par start this season has made things worse, and last night, going into the season opener against the Rockies, the end of last season was what was on everyone’s minds. Was Hoffman going to pitch? Was Hoffman going to get shelled? Was Hoffman going to strike back in the best way possible when you lose a big game at the end of a season and get to face your opponents the next year when the stakes are lower?

None of these questions were answered.

It is interesting to see the way fans relate to new players on their team. After last night, Padre fans will officially consider Randy Wolf to be a solid guy. He was brought to San Diego to be the fourth, or possibly third, starter in the rotation and so far he has been everything he was supposed to be. Last night he almost pitched a no hitter, and people will probably remember this all season. Already having had a few quality starts, this is the first game where he stood out. The game was never really in question after the Pads six run fifth, but after the sixth inning, the fans in the stadium, and the fans at home-with the help of the broadcast team-eventually started to take notice of what was happening.

Watching a no hitter is a beautiful thing, and it is hard not to root for the individual pitcher until he either gets it done or blows it, because he is giving you a chance to watch a piece significant history. Unfortunately, Wolf gave up a single in the seventh and it was over. However, Wolf got the win, Hoffman didn’t ruin anything, and the Channel 4 Production team, headed by Mark Grant and Matt Vasgersian, were successful at building the situation up with out blatantly mentioning it. They didn’t want to jinx a possible new Padre star, because they are great at what they do.

Without a doubt, the most valuable players the Padres have are Matt Vasgersian and Mark Grant. Sure, they aren’t players on the field, but they do play a huge role in making the overall product the Padres offer completely watchable when they are together. In fact, the element they form when they are together is arguably better than any of our players are at anything they do.

Grant will be employed until he chokes to death on a rib at the Valley View Casino Buffet, but Vasgersian will probably leave. This is a huge problem that seems to be brewing with Padre Fans. Vasgersian is nationally considered to be a rising star in American Broadcasting and he knows it. When the off-season comes around and he has a chance to leave, Padre fans should care more about keeping him then signing anybody. He is worth it, and the Padres should understand this. Instead of signing a has-been (like they do), they should put real money up for this guy because he makes everything they do (including Grant)-good and bad-completely entertaining.

Watch the video at the top again and ask yourself what feels more real: watching a digital Trevor Hoffman give up a homerun based on perception of what he really is, or listening to Matt Vasgersian’s voice sell something that isn’t the best baseball team in San Diego.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

This Infield For This Year

By Nick McCAnn

I think I am starting to fall in love with the Padres infield, but only because I know it won’t, and can’t, last. Adrian Gonzalez, Khalil Greene, Kevin Kouzmanoff, and Tadahito Iguchi are all at similar parts of their career, but they are all at different sub-stages within that career: Adrian is the most consistent, Kouz doesn’t know he is good yet, Khalil doesn’t know what being good means, and Tadahito doesn’t know where he fits in the long term plans of the club.

Tadahito is a decent hitter, and a decent fielder, but he doesn’t possess a talent at his age that teams lock up for years. He is 33, and young for the MLB game, but the rest of the Padres infield are “real Padres”. Even though San Diego usually doesn’t put much time into perceiving players in that way, the feeling is there and it has a lot to do with Padre Nation’s unhealthy affection Mark Loretta.

In this off-season, it was widely agreed with in the San Diego Media that Mark Loretta should be a Padre again. After the Marcus Giles debacle, we were told that Mark Loretta would be the perfect veteran solidifier to a young and talented infield that was right on the cusp of maturation. This was because Mark Loretta arguably had his best years as a pro with the Padres, and he gave really nice San Diego professional athlete interviews. This didn’t happen, but it will eventually. Mark Loretta is lurking in the shadows and Tadahito plays like he knows it. And even if he could express that concern to his fans, he will never get the chance, because he doesn’t speak good English, and that sadly is a problem for most local media in this town. (That’s another blog all together).

The situation has me thinking a lot about The Red Hot Chili Peppers and their lineup for their overly trashed album, One Hot Minute. John Frusciante had left the band after Blood Sugar Sex Magik to go to Europe and shoot heroin into his eye balls. The band then replaced him with ex-Janis Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro to record the important follow up to the group’s most successful album. The recording took forever, the songs were not as good, or as popular, as the ones on Sex Magik, and the band never made another album with the same group. The split was very clean and both parties just chalked it up to the situation never feeling like it had the right chemistry. However, looking back at the Chili Peppers’ career, you could easily make the argument that the two singles from One Hot Minute (Aeroplane and My Friends), are better than anything the band has done since. Dave Navarro didn’t feel right, but neither has John Frusciante since his sobered up, yoga-inspired return.

In the next few years, when Iguchi has made his way to another team, and the Padres sign Loretta to a modest “let’s end a swell guy’s career in San Diego” contract, we will be a better team than we are now, even though it feels right to have Mark Loretta back?

If you hear The Red Hot Chili Peppers now in interviews they can never stop talking about how great it is to be in a band together. They often brag about how the lineup is perfect and they love working in the studio at a disciplined and steady pace. This was made evident by their last album, Stadium Arcadium’s length. But it sucks in the same way that Mark Loretta sucks in interviews on Mighty 1090am.

Tadahito feels wrong, but he won’t when he leaves.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Deep In The Heart Of Dodger Country: Oh Doctor!

By Joe Chandler

Author’s Note: If this entry seems a little scattered or distracted it’s because the Stanley Cup playoffs started Wednesday night. I don’t care that you don’t care, because I care, more than you’ll ever understand. If you happen to be curious about why I love the game, watch Alexander Ovechkin play over the coming weeks. Crosby may be better, but Ovechkin will always be more entertaining. Just know that hockey is my true love and the fact that I can’t write about the Gulls anymore breaks my heart.*

This weekend I’ll be in attendance for one of the Padres three games at Dodger Stadium. I won’t be attending all three because a) I’m too old for three games in a row (we used to do this, it was called Padres weekend, I was 24), b) Dodger stadium sucks and c) I can watch the games with Vin Scully instead of Dodgers fans.

Don’t get me wrong, I adore Jerry Coleman. When I was a kid I would eagerly await a great defensive play so I could see that star dangling out of the press box. I’ve enjoyed his malapropisms and mispronunciations to no end. But Vin Scully is the reason I live in Los Angeles. Jerry makes you feel like you’re watching the game with your Grandpa (I suspect that if you heard Jerry calling a game when he was 30 you’d get the same feeling). Vin turns the game into a novel. If you’ve never read his call of the final inning of a Sandy Koufax perfect game please read it here:

If you’re not feeling like reading the whole thing, I’ll take you through some of the greater moments.

Vin setting the scene.
“Koufax lifted his cap, ran his fingers through his black hair, then pulled the cap back down, fussing at the bill. Krug must feel it too as he backs out, heaves a sigh, took off his helmet, put it back on and steps back up to the plate.”

A moment of reverence for the gravity of the situation.
“There's 29,000 people in the ballpark and a million butterflies.”

After a called ball.
A lot of people in the ballpark now are starting to see the pitches with their hearts.”

A moment of reflection, making us feel that the game is so much bigger than us.
“Koufax with a new ball, takes a hitch at his belt and walks behind the mound. I would think that the mound at Dodger Stadium right now is the loneliest place in the world.”

And often what he doesn’t say is what makes him a genius.
“It is 9:46 p.m. Two and 2 to Harvey Kuenn, one strike away. Sandy into his windup, here's the pitch. Swung on and missed, a perfect game!”

At this point Vin Scully did not speak for 38 seconds. All the home listener could hear was the cheering of the crowd. Every announcer on the face of this planet would say something here. Bob Costas would wax poetic, Al Michaels would scream about miracles and John Madden would say “bam, he got hit by a freight train, bam,” but Vin Scully let the crowd tell the story. Vin chose silence over words which is something that I wish happened more often. In reality this whole piece is just a long set up to a mediocre joke, I thought it would be fun to imagine what Jerry Coleman would’ve said if he’d called Koufax’s perfect game. This will probably not become a regular feature:

Jerry setting the scene:
”Hey Gang, hope you didn’t go anywhere because Sandy Koufax is pitching a perfect game, can you believe that?”

A moment of reverence for the gravity of the situation:
“There are 29,000 here and most of them are still here, man oh man. This is exciting.”

After a called ball.
“Man oh man, gang”

A moment of reflection to make us feel the game is bigger than us.
“You know when I was playing for the Yankees a guy pitched a perfect game.”

And often what Jerry does say is what makes him a genius.
“He swings and misses, a perfect game! Oh Doctor! You can hang a star on that baby!”

That being said, I’d love to hear Jerry Coleman call a perfect game. Important sports moments are made better by sharing them with a close friend or grandpa. However, Jerry will never get that opportunity because he is only calling the 4th through 7th innings these days. Nothing about the Padres makes me more miserable as a fan than hearing Ted Leitner saying “my Padres” in his squeaky voice. I don’t want to imagine what it would sound like if Leitner were calling a perfect game and if he were actually doing it, I think I’d turn the radio off.**

When Vin finally started speaking again, this is what he said:

“On the scoreboard in right field it is 9:46 p.m. in the City of the Angels, Los Angeles, California. And a crowd of 29,139 just sitting in to see the only pitcher in baseball history to hurl four no-hit, no-run games. He has done it four straight years, and now he caps it: On his fourth no-hitter he made it a perfect game. And Sandy Koufax, whose name will always remind you of strikeouts, did it with a flurry. He struck out the last six consecutive batters. So when he wrote his name in capital letters in the record books, that "K" stands out even more than the O-U-F-A-X.”

Can you blame me for living in LA?

*The use of the word “anymore” implies that I’ve written about the Gulls in the past. I have not.

**Ted Leitner hates hockey. Some people think this creates my bias against him. Fuck those people.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Ask An AL East Fan

By Nick McCann

Last night the Padres suffered their second straight devastating loss to the San Francisco Giants. After the game, the contributors at The Kept Faith got together at clubhouse by the old the mill to kick cans, skip rocks across the lake, and talk about how jealous we are of people who are lucky enough to be fans of the good teams in the AL East. We talk about this all the time. In fact, we specifically fantasize about being Yankees and Red Sox fans, making ourselves believe that we would be able to do it better. And then we start to cry.

Enough of this nonsense! It is time to ask an actual real life AL East Team fan what it is like to have everything.

This morning I stopped a female in her mid-twenties wearing a Boston Red Sox cap while she was littering, and asked her if she would do an interview to help those of us in Padre Nation to understand where she was coming from. She replied, “San Diego, is that the city where the Patriots had that scrimmage before the Super Bowl?”

She would have to do.

Nick McCann: So, I’ll just ask the obvious, how does it feel to win it all?

The AL Lady: It’s really weird for me to be fielding questions on winning a championship. A lot of people don’t know this, but the Red Sox actually went 86 years between World Series wins. If I had to sum it up with one phrase, I’d say “heaven on a stick.” If that doesn’t make sense, well, you’ve obviously never seen your team win it all.

NM: Do you think there is a lack of coverage on the Red Sox in the National Media?

ALL: No. I think the last time I watched Sportscenter they had a 10 minute segment on Curt Schilling’s rehab, 5 minutes on how Daisuke Matsuzaka is going to feel about American baseball now that he’s seeing the parks for the second time around, and they ended the show with a 3 minute demonstration on “Manny being Manny.” That sounds about right. I mean, what if Manny wasn’t quite Manny one day? That would mean that I might not quite be me. Wait, have you heard anything? Do you have Sportscenter updates on your phone?

NM: Why would I need that? I’m a Padre fan.

ALL: I don’t know what that means. Seriously, I think there’s probably just the right amount of coverage of the Sox. You don’t want them to go overboard and have people get sick of us. You know who could use more coverage though? Tom Brady. Can you believe he’s dating Giselle? God, some girls get everything.

NM: Speaking of having everything… Do you think it is fair that the Yankees and Red Sox have significantly more money to spend on players than the other teams in the league? For instance, did you know that if the Marlins played the Yankees today, A-Rod would be making seven million dollars more than the entire Florida roster combined? How does that imbalance make you feel?

ALL: YANKEES SUCK! YANKEES SUCK! A-ROD IS AN A-HOLE! A-ROD WEARS A PURSE! THE SEXUAL TENSION BETWEEN A-ROD AND DEREK JETE…. Wait, I’m sorry what was the question? Oh right, the money thing. You know, I think I can best explain it by paraphrasing Scrooge MacDuck in “Mickey’s Christmas Carol.” See, in that film, these two guys come in collecting for the poor, and Uncle Scrooge explains that if he gives them money, then there won’t be any poor people any more. Then those two guys would be out of a job, and become poor themselves, and then the cycle will start all over again. Scrooge didn’t want to be responsible for perpetuating the cycle of poverty. That’s kind of how I feel about small market teams. You’re probably about to point out the irony that I’m defending my team’s budget using the logic of the greediest duck in literature, but remember, in the end, Scrooge changes his ways and becomes good, sort of like the luxury tax. What I’m trying to say is, you’re wrong. And what do you want anyway, some pinko-commie salary cap like the NFL?

NM: Well if you are the best market for baseball and you believe it is a free market system, should the Padres be able to move to Boston and get in on the action? Should the Royals be able to open up shop in the Bronx if that is a great place to make money in the business of baseball?

ALL: The Padres and the who? Oh right, right, the Royals – that blue team from the middle. The one with the guy. Sure you guys have the right to move the team. Not sure why anyone would want to move to the Bronx though. It smells lately … of failure!!! But why would you want your team to move at all? Wouldn’t that kind of defeat the purpose of your blog? Which would in turn defeat your purpose in life? Like, existentially speaking? Man, I really wish you had Sportscenter on your phone so we could check and see if Manny’s still being Manny.

NM: Hold on, let me just check the ESPN Update Chip I had installed in my brain (Blink Blink) Manny is still Manny, and Peter Gammons still wants to blow him.

ALL: Wants to? HAHAHAHAHA. That’s really funny. Like when pitchers try to hit.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Night of The Living Dead

By Scott O' Malley

Since no sport lends itself to down-home colloquialisms like the game of baseball, you might say the 2008 San Francisco Giants are eating soup with a fork. Their expectedly punchless lineup has lived up to billing thus far, so heading into this afternoon’s duel between Matt Cain and Greg Maddux, I was tempted to dust-off the 2007 boilerplate: Cain battles valiantly, but suffers another hard-luck loss as Maddux once again handcuffs his feeble adversaries. Not so however, as Cain surrendered five early runs, and at least for one day, appeared insistent not to reprise his role as Team Martyr. Surely there’s no joy in another loss, but sometimes it’s important to lose differently.

It can be a tricky thing to endure losing without tolerating it, without succumbing to apathy. As the son of a Padre fan, I know this. I sat next to my dad for several years, many of them lean as the Padres were concerned, smugly wondering how he had the fortitude to stomach 162 games of futility. As a foil of sorts, it was maddening that he never lost interest. He knew as well as I did that it was only a matter of time before Sean Bergman or Brian Tollberg took a match to the gas-can, but it never stopped him from tuning in.

I could only conclude that he wanted to be there when it turned around. Sure, there seemed to be a perpetual vote of zero confidence, but the patience was admirable. During my time in post-college limbo, I hoped my parents could employ a similar measure of patience with myself. "You know, maybe Scott didn't get that one big job, but at least the gangrene's healed, the charges were dropped, and he's over his 'smearing' stage.” It never came to that thankfully, and it wasn’t long before our respective teams had switched places.

.500 ball for the Giants is a pipe dream this year. The Padres may have cornered the market on advanced mediocrity, but it’s a mediocrity I’m deeply envious of. I don’t want for the Giants what I saw for so many years in San Diego – a daily struggle to ward off apathy. When the Giants hired Bruce Bochy last season, what Padre fan didn’t feel like the cat that swallowed the canary? A nice man, to be sure, but apathy personified.

Harry Edwards once likened the culture of losing to an epidemic of somnambulism. Losing becomes a force of habit, and soon you feel the life running from the bottom of your shoes as you wait for the disease to run its course. One week into the 2008 campaign, the Giants may be on the precipice of contracting that sickness. My dad is too decent to gloat about this, as the mutual perspective of losing has made our rivalry more civil. Nonetheless, I want this probable sweep by the Padres to be something I should fear. I want it to hurt me deeply and ruin at least one day this week. Only Cubs fans think losing is cute. Though I’m loath to give the Padres credit for anything, they’ve taught me that some things are worth waiting for. Even mediocrity.

Friday, April 4, 2008

The First Series With The Blue Bloods

by Nick McCann

Trevor Hoffman is 2 for 3 in save opportunities so far in 2008. If Baseball is the game of failure, then that means he is the most recognizable figure on a team that exemplifies that notion perfectly, and he is doing better than okay. Besides, we all know that he will end up with 35-40 saves and he blow the entire season on national television again. We are Padre fans, and by now we should all know that the universe is easy to understand, and that it can be a dick.

Today is Friday, you probably have a job, and you definitely have shit to do. The Dodgers are coming to town tonight and they are bringing Dodger Nation with them; it is time to look in the mirror, come to grips with who you are, and hold your ground because this will be happening on the 5 South this afternoon:

The hardest thing for Padre fans to deal with when The Dodgers play at Petco Park is that they bring a nation of drunk idiots (see above), and transplants that live here now who enjoy exercising the bad ass image that they attained when they had The LA Raiders to root for. These people hold on to a pain caused by something that left them behind for Oakland. That would hurt anybody. They don’t know how to deal with their abandonment issues, so they act out to get attention.

It is easy to claim that people from LA need attention, but when it comes to their baseball team, they are by far the most unified fanbase in the division. The dynamics of the National League West are easy to understand. The Dodgers and the Giants hate each other more than any of the other teams, and more than any of the other teams hate each other. The prize is the NL West Title, but the Dodgers and Giants want each other to fail if they can’t have it.

The fact that I described the dynamics of the division from the Dodger perspective even though I am a Padre fan is very telling of where we fit in. In a lot of ways, the Padres position in the division is a lot like Screech’s position was in the dynamic between Slater, Zack, and Kelly on Saved By The Bell. Kelly was the prize, and Zack and Slater competed against each other to get her. Zack ultimately won Kelly, and Slater had to settle for the wild card, Jesse Spano (see the pill popping episode). Lisa Turtle, played by the stunning Lark Voorhies, was right up there with Tiffany Amber Theissen as far as pure beauty (watch Son and Law and Def Jam’s How to Be A Player on the same night), but within the context of the show, winning her was like winning the All-Star Game (something Zack managed to win only once. The episode where Lisa and Zack liked eachother seemed like it mattered within that episode, but it didn't matter enough to change the clearly defined reality of the show. Since it's introduction, The All-Star Game dictating the home field advantage in the World Series also hasn't mattered). Sure, Screech never won the All-Star Game, but he did win semi-foxy supernerd Violet, played by creator Aaron Spelling's daughter, Tori Spelling. This Screech victory was equivalent to the Royals getting two All-Stars in The All-Star Game in 2003. Screech never tried for Kelly, but that was because he was never perceived (clearly also by himself) to be a threat to the two other dominant male characters in the show. We all know that Screech wanted to get with Kelly, but we knew he never had a shot.

Although the Padres have managed to win the division, we have been forced to assume our Screech position because the rivalry between the Giants and Dodgers has more history. If Screech had some how managed to date Kelly, Slater would have been fine with Jesse, and Zack would have rebounded with Tori, and then gone off to be the male Madonna pop star that he was always supposed to be. Essentially, we are Screech whether we like it or not, and even when we win the division, most LA fans often seem congratulatory and civil. This is because if we win that means the Giants have not. They do this because they know it hurts us. They know this hurts us because they know us better than we know ourselves.

Aren’t sports analogies to Saved By The Bell fresh and new? Wait until we get to the trade deadline and I hit the The Wonder Years hard.

Aaron Spelling created another teenage show starring his daughter called Beverly Hills 90210. The protagonist on that show, Brandon Walsh, an all-American kid from Minnesota, moves to LA and is forced to adapt and function in a self-absorbed environment that he seems almost cartoonishly foreign to. The show was designed to show people how unique LA was while following Brandon and his family of outsiders’ journey down the rabbit hole. Later in the series, after the Walsh family had assimilated into the LA lifestyle, Valerie, a family friend played by Tiffany Amber Theissen, came to live with them and trouble ensued. Much like the Padres, Brandon was always the nice guy who everyone liked, but even he got the prize once and a while:

Wait, wasn’t Valerie from Minnesota like Brandon? Does that mean that the prize is always is in our grasp no matter what LA is or has to say about it? Aaron Spelling is surely laughing at us from beyond the grave. After all, only a Dodger fan would create two hit series for their daughter to star in about the city he called home.

Watch the first video again, and remember we play the Dodgers in LA in less than two weeks.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Deep In The Heart Of Dodger Country

By Joe Chandler

Author’s Note: Last night Trevor Hoffman retired the first two batters he faced and then surrendered the lead to the Houston Astros. The following piece was written yesterday before that game was played. I want it to be known that what happened last night changes nothing about how I feel.

The Case for Trevor Hoffman

I moved to Los Angeles five years ago to pursue my dreams in the entertainment business. Although I’ve made headway in that pursuit, what I’m doing now is nothing like what I originally envisioned for myself. The ideal was laid aside in order to provide a stable and satisfying life. Dreams have been set aside for practicality. I think this is what most of us do in life. We make a series of compromises that protect our sanity. “World peace would be great, but I’ll settle for a really good burrito.” This approach to life could be misread as pathetic, but I believe it’s the path to true happiness, which is why, when I checked the Padres score last night, I nearly had a heart attack. Because of a slow internet connection, my computer told me that the Padres had a 2-1 lead in the ninth inning with Heath Bell on the mound for the save.

Most San Diego fans have been calling for Trevor Hoffman to step aside and allow a more capable arm to close out their games for some time now. Analytically I understand this desire and I can admit that not living in San Diego provides me with insulation to the daily grind of life as a Padres fan. However, as a Los Angeles resident I feel the need to have some connection to my hometown. There is very little familiar to me here; the Mexican food is surprisingly awful and the local television announcer is astonishingly talented. This makes me a man who is very far from home. The one way I’ve found to stay connected is through my (our) baseball team.

If Trevor Hoffman steps aside I’ll be set adrift. Sure maybe Heath Bell will slam the door shut in a big game, but he’ll also be slamming the door on the last remnant of the Padres that existed while I was still a San Diego resident. And what will his presence ultimately provide? The Padres may get better, yes. Winning the NL West and getting swept out of the playoffs by a superior baseball team could be the honor of any of the 5 teams in our division, but that doesn’t give San Diego any ammunition in the war for my soul. The greatest closer to ever play the game does give my city that ammunition.

It turns out Hoffman got the save last night, as he’s done many times before. My panic was unwarranted, but it made me confront the fact that a new day was approaching. When Bell or some other arm takes over for Trevor a new era will be upon us. I can guarantee that era won’t last as the long as the one that we’re enjoying right now. Be careful what you wish for, smoke ‘em while you got ‘em and see the forest for the trees, etc, etc. The Padres are never going to win the World Series as soon as we all set that dream aside we’ll be a lot closer to happiness. We must find the joy in what we have.

I should be living in San Diego, eating at El Zarape and calling for Heath Bell in the ninth, but my compromise is living in Los Angeles, eating Zankou Chicken and bragging about Trevor Hoffman. Don’t upset my delicate balance.

2 and Oh, Are Jake And Roy Friends?

by Nick McCann

Going into the second night of any season, it is natural to only be able to talk about the first game. Jake Peavy destroyed the Astros almost by himself and left his best friend in baseball, Roy Oswalt, with a sour taste in his mouth to start off the year. Most of the San Diego media spent Tuesday before the game talking about Jake and Roy being friends. Apparently Jake Peavy has done nothing to hide the fact that when the Astros come to town, Roy Oswalt stays with him and his wife.

Both athletes are extremely tough competitors on the field, but there seems to be a serious concern about fraternization overload among modern athletes. Jake Peavy and Roy Oswalt are arguably the best players on their major league teams, they are millionaires, and they are in their 20s. They are probably having a good time being who they are and they are probably sharing life experiences that most of us will never be able to imagine.

Well I can.

Jake Peavy and Roy Oswalt Bury a Dead Hooker
By Nick McCann (look for the musical beginning production at Mesa College 2008 Fall Semester)

(Roy and Jake are digging a ditch somewhere in Poway late at night)

Roy- Hey man, I think she is still breathing.

Jake- We can’t have that. Can you imagine the Outside The Lines on ESPN?

Roy- Shit.

Jake- It is the beginning of the season, buck up, and just pour the dirt on her so we can go!

Roy- Okay- Oh shit! I just dropped my blackberry in the mud. (Jake grabs Roy’s shoulder)

Jake- I’ll buy you another one, man. After all, you are my best friend.

Roy- Well…best friend in Baseball.

Jake- I thought I was your best friend…in life.

Roy- In real life?

Jake- What is that?

Roy- It is something we will never talk about again.

Jake- Roy, should we tell someone that this hooker died on us?

Roy- No, we are playing a game against each other tomorrow.

Jake- Oh, right. We can’t forget about the fans.

The End

Because the Astros will be in town for a few days, we must assume that Roy stayed at Jake’s after the Opening Night game. I’m sure they had a good time, but I wonder if they are such good friends that they have a super secret special hiding place at Petco Park when they both don’t have to pitch. If this happened during the Chris Young victory last night, it is hard to imagine what they would talk about.

Well I can try.

Jake Peavy and Roy Oswalt’s Super Secret Special Spot
By Nick McCann (interpretive ballet currently in production at Mesa College)

(Jake and Roy are sitting in a dark corner in empty hallway somewhere in Petco Park. They are both eating sunflower seeds and watching a TV screen. The 8th inning has just ended)

Roy- Man, can we watch The Scorpion King again tonight?

Jake- Hell yeah! I think that goes with out saying. It’s our movie.

Roy- The Rock is so fucking hard.

Jake- Yeah. The thing is we can’t have any more popcorn fights. My wife said if we pull that crap again, no more sleepovers.

Roy- Okay. So, this Heath Bell guy can really deal. Do you think he will take Trevor Hoffman’s spot?

Jake- Don’t ask me that here.

Roy- Why not?

Jake- These walls have ears and you don’t say bad things about Trevor.

Roy- That is crazy.

Jake- Yeah, it is crazy Roy. I bet you think Mike Darr really died in a car accident.

Roy- Hey, I feel you. When I was a rookie I made a joke about Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell pulled a knife on me.

Jake- I heard Craig Biggio walks on water over there.

Roy- I’ve seen it.

Jake- Hey Roy. I can’t stop thinking about that dead hooker. I see her everywhere.

Roy- It’s always hard the first time. There will be others.

Jake- Right. It’s just that last night in the third inning when I heard the announcer say, “Now batting Lance Berkman,” I looked over and I saw her face. She was wearing the uniform and adjusting her batting gloves.

Roy- It didn’t seem to rattle your performance.

Jake- Yeah, it’s not like I blew the game like Trevor- (Before Jake can finish his sentence, he feels an explosion go off in his heart. He looks up and sees smoke coming out of Roy Oswalt’s mouth and fire in his eyes.)

Roy- Man, I really really really love Hell’s Bells! (Jake looks at the TV screen and watches Trevor Hoffman walk to the mound.)

The End

Trevor Hoffman’s first save of the season will always be special.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Here We Go Again

by Nick McCann

After the first two weekends of The Men’s Basketball NCAA Tournament, I have managed to do extremely well in my various bracket pools to the point that I feel guilty. The reason for my guilt is that I chose all four number one seated teams and they have all reached The Final Four. This is great for my immediate financial future, but I genuinely feel the emotion of guilt because I chose teams that were expected to succeed. I feel this way because of something I love.

When you really love something it dramatically affects your worldview. I’m in love with the San Diego Padres and I feel guilty about associating myself with winning. Not that I would feel guilty if The Padres won (that would mean the last book in the bible would have turned out to be more than a Kirk Cameron vehicle), but usually when I fill out my brackets I make sure that I never pick all of the number one seated teams in the Final Four positions because (A) it never works out that way and (B) because I want underdogs to win. Is this because I’ve spent 27 years loving something that has never been expected to win it all?

Being a fan of The San Diego Padres is like being a fan of Dennis Quaid. Dennis Quaid is completely watchable in almost everything he does and he was with Meg Ryan. While he has the chops to carry a movie that can be the best movie of the year, he also doesn’t upset anybody if he gives a bad performance. You never hear anybody complain about Dennis Quaid mailing it in and you never hear somebody say after watching the Oscars, “Man, next year is going to be Quaid’s year.” If it were possible for you to be a hardcore Dennis Quaid fan, you would have to except that you would probably never get to go out to a bar after the Oscars, puff out chest, and start shit with a bunch of Russell Crowe fans saying things like, “Your boy should have played another crazy mathematician,” and “That was for Proof Of Life, BITCH!”

Russell Crowe stole Meg Ryan from Dennis Quaid while they were starring in Proof Of Life, a forgettable kidnapping movie with an Elliott Smith laden soundtrack. Russell was at the peak of his celebrity and he managed to end a seemingly successful Hollywood marriage, by taking her out of the country (speculation)and giving her a new life; just like when the Toronto Blue Jays stole Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter from the Padres in the late 80s.

Meg Ryan will always be important to native San Diegan guys under thirty because she was married to Goose in Top Gun. She sat at the Kansas City Grill and yelled out to him to take her to bed or lose her forever. She is our sun. When she cried to Maverick over losing Goose with her feathered bangs and appropriately exposed shoulders, she was hot enough to melt all of the blubber on all of the Orcas at Sea World into enough oil to light the Gaslamp for a four game series against The Dodgers.

However, The Padres are not as innocent as they seem. They consciously keep the team at a certain payroll level with mid level talent that can keep them competitive all year, but not competitive enough to really compete in the post season. It always feels like that if the organization can field a team that matters for its 80 home dates, then they have done there job because they will pack enough seats to at least break even. The playoffs and the World Series are icing on the cake for a business that’s main concern is the overall worth of the franchise.

Every year we are persuaded to care even though we know it is just going to be another year of the same. In the movie Innerspace there is a scene that reflects what the Padres (played by Dennis Quaid) do to their fans:

Last night, The Padres, with help from their best player, Jake Peavy, pitching seven shutout innings, beat the Houston Astros 4-0 in their season opener. This is exactly what was ideally supposed to happen. Things will not get any better, even if our faith is kept.