Friday, May 28, 2010

Center Field

This weekend series against the Nationals has got to be tough for Tony Gwynn Jr. Sure, the Padres are winning close games, but they are doing so despite his poor performance at the plate. In a logical move, the Padres called up a speedy outfielder named Luis Durango from Portland, hoping that he can play good defense, maintain speed in the lineup, and most importantly, hit better than TG’s .179 batting average. Sadly, if he hits .210 it will go down as a good move.

On Wednesday night, Durango threw down a nice bunt and beat out a sub par throw from Albert Pujols, displaying great speed, and allowing Dick Enberg to talk about “old school skills”. I saw this happen at my house and then went down to the Waterfront Bar and Grill to hang out with some friends to watch the end of the game. We sat around and said things like “the kid looks good” and “he looks 14”. The newness of Luis was a much-needed distraction from the disappointing effort put forward by the son of the most important Padre ever. The game ended in extra innings off of a Jerry Hairston Jr. homerun. It was a good time, people cheered and Wyatt Earp’s favorite local bar was electric.

It is clear now that Tony Gwynn Jr. should just go back down to Portland. It isn’t working and everyone knows it. He is a faster version of his uncle Chris and that is all he will ever be. I’m curious though how this all plays out. Does the front office run the decision to move him by his father? Every franchise in baseball seems to have a group of guys that “have to be taken care of” symbolically no matter who owns the team (Tommy Lasorda with the Dodgers, Yogi Berra with the Yankees, etc). If the Padres drop the axe sooner than Tony Sr. thinks is fair, will this forever destroy a 30-year relationship with the Gwynn family? I can totally see Tony Gwynn being a diabolical bad ass behind the scenes in the wake of such a move. The guy got the San Diego Chicken fired and after putting up an illustrious career battling constant criticism of his weight, he released his own fried food powder Batter Up. You don’t have to like everything about Tony Gwynn, but you have to respect his verve.

Hopefully, the Pads keep winning. If Tony Gwynn Jr. ends up in Portland and the team stays in first place, it is not a big deal. Let’s see what happens. The Nationals are in town; so let the endless Strasburg talk begin.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dallas' Running Diary Padres V. Cardinals 5/25

First off let me say I was excited about seeing this game for a couple reasons:

  1. I had a great group going with me: Fellow Kept Faith writers Josh Elwell and Sean O’Donnell, Matt Gorney and his Dad and a player to be named later.
  2. Josh Elwell’s countless comments about Will Venable fighting Albert Pujols.

Now, because I had a large group coming I ended up having to wait for the last guy, which meant I had to miss the beginning of the game. It was a bummer but worth it as I was waiting for Josh Kemble - San Diego music legend and current bigwig at Phil’s BBQ (the best BBQ for miles and miles)!

I sat down just in time to see the Petco Pets Bloopers! Wow, these pets are hilarious! And, apparently people will film anything.


  • Skip Schumaker grounds out. Not significant other than the fact he has my favorite name in Baseball.
  • Jon “Judy” Garland just gave up a hit to the opposing pitcher Adam Wainwright. I have no proof that Jon and Judy are related but they both did wear number 27.

Josh is daring me to ask the guy next to me if he’s Chase Headley’s brother. His basis for this dare, “How do you know it’s not him?”


  • Wainwright looks sharp.
  • Oh wait…Jerry Hairston Jr. hits a bomb to Left! As everyone stands up to celebrate I get a nice ass crack shot of the guy in front of me. Like a lot of ass crack.
  • Chris “El Dorkio” Denorfia strikes out.



  • Pujols up. He ropes one to Center. Kemble yells out, “He poo-holed that one!” Cheesy yes, but funny when yelled.
  • Colby Rasmus looks like a retarded Ralph Macchio.
  • Garland looks really shaky tonight. He’s still effective, but 60 pitches through 3 innings? Auntie Em!

Jeff Krapf on the field doing the Padres Little Star of the Game. As he intros the segment Mr. Gorney sits back and says, “Blah blah blah.” He’s been a Padres fan longer than I’ve been alive, so he can say whatever he wants and it’s never wrong.


  • Time to seriously talk about Tony Gwynn JUNIOR’s future. A .186 average is embarrassing. It’s worse than Oscar Salazar and we all know how I feel about him. (Scab! Not actually. But, really.)
  • Venable smacks one to right and Ryan Ludwick makes an amazing catch! While making the catch he also ran into the small right field jumbotron. So, while robbing Venable he also ran into his face. Is that what happens when someone ‘got served’?



  • David Freese (who we gave away in the Jim Edmonds deal) hits a broken bat single.
  • Yorvit throws out Freese trying to steal 2nd! Kemble yells, “Freese Tag!” Cheesy yes, but funny when yelled.

We didn’t win the tacos.


  • Okay, since the homerun Wainwright has gone back to cruising. He literally just made A-Gonz look like a junior varsity bench player.


Jeff Krapf is encouraging the fans to vote in every single Padre to the All-Star team. I bet everyone reading this $5 that we don’t get one starter on that team.


  • I just saw a woman wearing a bedazzled Padres jacket. Sometimes I hate what Alyssa Milano is doing to this sport.
  • KOOOOUUUUUZZZZZ! Chase Headley makes an amazing play at 3rd!


  • Yorvit smokes a single, then steals 2nd on a Hairston Jr. strike out.
  • Chris “Vincent D’Onofrio” Denorfia strikes out.
  • Tony Gywnn JUNIOR up. Sean yells, “AVENGE YOUR FATHER!” So, he walks.
  • Judy Garland strikes out. Sorry Yorvit, there’s no place like home and you don’t get to go there.



  • Headley makes another great play. Every time he makes a good play they should play “It’s Headley!” from Blazing Saddles over the PA system.

Jeff Krapf has started doing this Ric Flair kinda “Whooo!” thing at the end of all his segments. The last time he asked the crowd to do it with him. I don’t hate it, but I want to. God, do I want to…


  • Venable singles. Surprisingly this is the first time Josh mentions their fight last year. He really wants them to fight again and right now. So does everyone else.
  • They don’t.
  • The Bobblehead Davey Eckstein is up! Hittin’ .306 now - At-a-boy!
  • Venable to 2nd on Eckstein’s ground out.
  • A-Gonz just got the hat trick of strikeouts!


A girl who apparently is a bachelorette on a party just ran down and asked the Cardinal bullpen for a ball. The Bullpen coach, Marty Mason, said he’d give her one if she danced. She did. He threw her a ball. Now, that’s a good coach.


  • Garland gets out of another jam! That’s his 3rd today. We’ll call that one the Lion jam. The others could have been called the Scarecrow and the Tin Man.


  • Jerry Hairston hits a single up the middle as Kemble turns and says, “Now there’s a junior we can be proud of.”
  • Chris “Dora the Explorer” Denorfia singles.
  • Gywnn hates his Dad and pops up.



  • Sean asked me to write that Ruth Adams is in to pitch for the Padres. He also wants everyone to know that I more than likely have his copy of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 The Movie.
  • Mike “Ruth” Adams has a nice little 1-2-3 inning.
  • Sean now wants me to write that he was wrong - it was not Ruth Adams.


  • I’m now watching Luis Durango’s first at bat of the year. I wanted this and now I got it. He pops up. Oh well.
  • Denny Reyes is on the mound for the Cardinals. He is a big man. Like Beast from X-Men big. Well, more like Kelsey Grammar from X-Men rehearsals big.
  • A-Gonz strikes out. NUMBER FOUR! (I can almost smell Clay Buchholz in the locker room.)



  • It’s Trevo…Heath Time! That’s right ladies and gentlemen, world-class sprinter Heath Bell comes in to close this baby out.
  • He has the heart of the order. Pujols V. Bell. Pujols wins with a single.
  • Holliday up. Metallica plays. One down.
  • Now, as usual I’m standing up and not paying much attention to writing. I made some Yadier Molina joke, and Kemble keeps chanting “Beat LA”. The Cardinals bullpen looks like a bunch of lumberjacks and Heath Bell gets the save!


I can’t say I like the Hockey score, but it was a fast game and kept us on edge anytime someone got on base. The biggest thing I took away from this game is that we really need to look at our outfield situation. I do think Will Venable is good and if he can stay in the lead off spot he’ll flourish and so will the team. Blanks is MIA till someone says otherwise. Gywnn either needs to turn something on or get released. Sorry Tony Sr. he’s not you and every one in this town wants him to be. It’s no ones fault, but it has to be dealt with. I think we need to keep Durango up till the All-Star break and see what he does. He’s fast and proven in the short term he can hit big league pitching. You know, its days like this I miss Mike Darr.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

White Sox Fans

I'll also go ahead and assume this represents every White Sox fan.

My favorite part: One of the basebrawlers thought Griffey was a relevant enough South Sider to buy/wear his jersey.

Phillies Fans

This was the lead of an AP article this morning...

A 21-year-old New Jersey man has pleaded guilty to intentionally vomiting on a man and his 11-year-old daughter in the stands during a Philadelphia Phillies game.

I'm going to assume two things...

1) This represents every Phillies fan.

2) This guy's favorite player is Jayson Werth.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Lima Time No More

With no added humor or sarcasm I want to extend positive thoughts and well wishes to the Lima family. Not only did Jose Lima play with such intensity that most people found it comical, he was also heavily involved in helping the poor and needy of his native Dominican Republic. On a personal note I enjoyed watching him pitch every time. He was fun, upbeat or depressed. Every emotion that you had rooting for him he showed on the mound and then some. 37 years old is way too young for this to happen. It's a sad day for Baseball.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Signed Under A Bad Sign

I got this text from my friend Jimmy in Orange County last night:

"Do you think the signing of Duanel Jones and you guys getting hammered 15-8 by a last place team on the same day is a coincidence?"

I replied with:

"It's not Matt Bush. Thank Jesus it's not Matt Bush."

True Duanel Jones started his Padre career on the same day that Cesar Ramos most likely ended his but that doesn't mean it's an omen. Yes, he's a past doper and yes he's only 17 and okay sure the Giants wanted nothing to do with him minutes after signing him, but...

...At least it's not Matt Bush.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Pat Burrell

Oscar Salazar or Pat Burrell?

Based on these photos, I think I take Burrell:

(Note: This photo isn't of Oscar Salazar, but it pops up when you do a google image search for him)

Salazar's Is Almost Out Of Business.

I honestly don't get it. I am trying to wrap my brain around it but it just won't stretch that far. Can anyone, anywhere give me one reason why we have Oscar Salazar on our team? Since I could not understand it I had to do some research and see what this guy is all about. Maybe I just don't have all the facts and need to be enlightened. Here goes...

According to Salazar was signed by the A's as an amateur free agent in 1994. In case you missed it, the year was 1994! He then disappears till 2002 with the Tigers. This can only mean two things:
  1. He was a scab. How else do you explain the signing in 1994 and then the almost immediate departure? We have a '94 scab on our team. And no matter whose side you took in the strike, one thing is certain - it sucked. And now Salazar is a constant reminder for me that Tony Gwynn was robbed of .400.
  2. He is not good at baseball. True, he is more than likely better than me, but I'm not sure how much better. Since once again reaching the majors in 2002 he has played in 142 games with 281 AB's. Hell, A-Gonz already has 134 AB's this season! Salazar is currently riding the Mendoza Line and I honestly have no clue what his purpose is. It seems like we'd send down Blanks before him and that's crazy.
So, with his batting skills at a minimum that leaves us with an interview Bud Black gave on the Mighty XX* at the beginning of the season. He claimed Oscar was a good player to have because he played multiple positions very well. This is also not true, his worst fielding percentage is at 2B and SS (.800 at SS and .893 at 2B. which by infielder standards is average at best). He's almost perfect in the outfield, but do we really need another outfielder hitting .200? True 'Scoot' Hairston is out for another week or so, but why not bring up another young guy from Triple A? Bring up Mike Baxter (.294 in Portland) or Aaron Cunningham or best of all Luis Durango. Durango is hitting .307 in Portland right now with 16 stolen bases! Last year Durango played nine games with the Padres and hit .545 and he's only 24. Instead we have a 32-year old way below average outfielder starting in key games. Even if Salazar is out of options and demoting him means we lose him - SO BE IT. Let him drink SOBE's while living in his car outside of La Mesa's Downtown trolley stop.

Of course this is just my opinion, but I don't see the point of starting someone who is actually not good (and wasn't last year) as opposed to someone who has the potential to be our future starting centerfielder. I thought Kevin Towers was gone? I thought the days of trying Desi Relaford, Kerry Robinson and Joe Randa were over? Can we try not to squeeze by with the bottom of the barrel just once? Let the kids play Jed - not the scabs.

*And why the hell did the Mighty 1090 change to the Mighty XX? It's dumb and it's hard to say.

UPDATE: Oscar Salazar was not a scab in 1994. But this blog isn't fact based, so whatever...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dance it out

Last night, despite a tense Padres/Giants game that included comebacks by both teams and extra innings, I couldn't help being distracted by this:

Up top there - if you can't tell on the helpless iPhone photo - are three entire sections of empty seats. Not a soul breathed in Sections 328, 326 or 324. The Padres' attendance problems are no secret, and this year they can't blame it on a losing record. Based on no research whatsoever, I'm blaming it on the gradual watering down of Petco Park.

Never a hotbed of culture and history to begin with, Petco has now lost Trevor Time, Frankin' Friar and one of my personal favorites, Dancing Grounds Crew Guy. Every game I've been to this season, people have remarked that the guy who used to run out with the grounds crew, drop his rake and start dockey kicking isn't there anymore.

Look Moorad, there's a recession on and I've got a nice TV at home. If all I want is baseball, I'll sit on my couch and save the $40 (at least) that a ticket, parking and concessions are going to cost me at a game. Give me some incentive. Believe or not, a Dancing Grounds Crew Guy is just about all it takes. I'm easy like that.

Look at these guys. They need their groove back:

Lame, lame, lame.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I didn't have time to work up a big post this week and my defense of Sean's accusations is forthcoming. In the meantime, I present the following... Our commenter who likes to use clever names reminded me about Aki Otsuka yesterday and it made me remember my favorite commercial of all time:

God, he gives a wonderful performance doesn't he? I'm sure they showed the Rangers this video when convincing them to trade Adrian and CY for Aki and Adam Eaton.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Dallas' Running Diary Padres V. Dodgers 5/16

For today’s game I tried to get to Kept Faith contributor Josh Elwell’s house in time for the 1:05pm start, but I was delayed by the North Park Arts Festival. I’m glad North Park is finally having this festival because I’ve always known that there are a lot of people that need to walk around and look at bead necklaces. Anyway, the festival made me ten minutes late and I walked in on Josh watching San Jose playing Chicago in the NHL playoffs as a joke (I wish he’d been serious). Most people don’t care about the NHL or their playoffs. I do. Quick check of the Celtics/Magic game, and the Celtics are up by 15 so we turn to Channel 4:


  • Garret Anderson up. Dick Enberg just announced that Anderson has gotten off to a slow start this season - SURPRISE! He’s also having a slow career (Editor’s Note: Sometimes Dallas expresses wild opinions, we felt it necessary to acknowledge that GA hit close to .300 for his entire career, made three all-star teams and once finished second in MVP voting)(Dallas' Note: Sometimes I find new editors).
  • Kemp is on first due to a walk by today’s starter Wade LeBlanc.
  • Garret Anderson just stepped out for time and it was not awarded. Good. Let’s keep these games moving guys! Players are ruining the sport that pays their bills.
  • Anderson lines to Eckstein who throws to first to catch Kemp. Double play.

Quick check of the Celtics game. Rondo looks great, Garnett looks bad and I think the Magic forgot the game was today.


  • Yorvit, the only Padre hitting lately, gets a single.
  • Chad Billingsley is on the mound. I’ve probably talked crap about him before, and I will again. He sounds like trust fund kid. Like the kid who unironically wore V-neck sweaters in high school and who you wished would get into a car accident, but the truth was you were jealous and actually wanted his BMW. Anyway, I hope a BMW runs into him right now.
  • Venable walks. Yorvit to 2nd.
  • Blanks up… he strikes out? Weird.
  • Loney robs Gwynn of his 20’s and the inning is over.



  • Enberg just told us to come to the next home stand, as “the pitching match-ups are delicious.” To which Grant replied, “Delicious?” With Enberg finalizing, “Yeah, take a couple bites and come to two games.” It’s working out.
  • First Larry Bowa sighting. It’s good to see him working his way back to the middle.
  • LeBlanc pitches out of a little trouble.

Heineken commercials are terrible. They’re like wannabe Bud commercials. Oh, and Heineken itself is terrible. I’ll tell you what goes good with a Heineken - a sleeveless T, a bottle of roofies and wearing sunglasses inside.


  • Channel 4 shows a chubby kid eating cotton candy in the stands. Grant and Enberg do their best not to make fun of him. Grant is itching, Enberg finally tells the director (I assume) to “let the kid enjoy his cotton candy.” Matty V. would have fired off three jokes in that time. Maybe it’s not working out.
  • The Bobblehead (David Eckstein) gets hit by a pitch. Atta-boy!
  • It wasn’t worth the bruise, as no one is able to advance him.



  • They keep showing Latos in the dugout with ridiculous sunglasses on. I don’t think he’s wearing them as a joke either. It’s bumming me out.
  • They just showed Dave Roberts in the press box. Apparently he’s battling cancer and has been going through chemo. How did I not know this? That sucks. Dave Roberts is easily one of the nicest guys in baseball. I honestly wish him all the best.
  • LeBlanc is rolling as he sits down the side.

Ray Allen is really good. Josh reminds me that “He got game.”


  • I’m just gonna put this out there and say that today the strike zone has no bottom. It’s getting a little ridiculous. Sad and ridiculous.
  • Venable got a hit! (We rewound it to make sure).
  • Blanks ruins it.



  • Who is Nick Green?


  • Channel 4 shows a commercial for Sam the Cooking Guy, or as I like to call him Alton Brown Lite.
  • Billingsley looks sharp. Padres batters do not.
  • Oh hey! Nick Green plays 2nd for the Dodgers. I already have a nickname for him: “Triple-A.”
  • LeBlanc gets a hit! Show ‘em how it’s done, Waaaaaaaaade!
  • The strike zone also has no ceiling today. I’m pretty sure the pitchers could throw a pitch anywhere and get a strike. Get ready to duck Pad Squad.
  • Terrible call at 1st. They call Cabrera out to end the inning.



  • Ah, Billingsley, I hope your parents lose their jobs.
  • Carroll is moved over to 2nd on the sac bunt.
  • Russell “Montreal” Martin singles in Carroll. No-hitter gone. I didn’t want to say anything, but LeBlanc looked really good and it seemed possible. The Padres still have yet to ever get one. I hope I’m alive for it.
  • Mark Grant starts talking about stirrups. Things are looking bad.


  • The Bobblehead smacks a single up the middle! Atta-boy! God, I love Davey.
  • A-Gonz grounds into a double play. Shit.


Here is a line I hate to see: Dodgers - one run on one hit. Padres - zero runs on four hits. Ugh.

Why do the people in King Stahlman commercials all look like they hang out at Typhoon Saloon?


Josh and I chat with Josh’s neighbor and amazingly talented performer Jon Lorenz. I haven’t seen him in awhile and we had to talk about my interaction with the guys from Mystery Science Theatre 3000 and Rifftrax. Basically, I met them and it was awesome and Jon and I needed to have that moment.


  • Luke Gregerson is in to pitch. He has really scared me the last couple weeks. I don’t know why, but I can’t trust him right now. I think he would understand.
  • He gets through the inning but I was nervous the whole time. Does it make sense? No. But does it? Yes.


  • Eckstein flies out against the beast known as Broxton. He is a gigantic man. Seriously, Jonathan Broxton could eat you in 30 minutes or less. I’d love to see Heath Bell and Broxton at Hometown Buffet. Apocalypse Now.
  • A-Gonz is up.
  • I’m not gonna lie, Loney has robbed A-Gonz twice this game. Loney and A-Gonz may be the two best defensive first baseman in baseball.
  • Last chance Chase Headley. Last chance my heart. Pop out.


We got spoiled. Let’s face it: we are little kids whose parents just got their Christmas bonus and we didn’t see January coming. Although, as Padres fans, we totally should have. We just have that undying hope that one day (like in the late 90’s) we will dominate and play outrageously fun baseball. The Kept Faith as a whole has tried to stay grounded by constantly reminding ourselves that this squad is playing beyond expectations. On paper we should rename our team to the San Diego Heath Bells of Adrian Gonzalez. By no means do I think we suck. Even if we lose steam I still believe this team will be fun to watch for the entire season. But, if you actually take a look at the Padres’ batters we only have one guy hitting over .300 and that’s our backup (supposedly) catcher Yorvit Torrealba. Next in line is ‘The Bobblehead’ David Eckstein at .280 and after that you don’t want to know.
Looking back on this sweep by the Doyers I’ve come to grips with three things:
  1. Bud Black is not a good “big game” manager. He has proven this since the day he got here. He’s not a bad manager, just not one who can make the right moves when everything is on the line. Of course this wasn’t game three of the playoffs, but it was our first chance to stick it to our rivals and prove our dominance over the whole division. We couldn’t pull it off, and Black’s decision to start a 32 year-old journeyman infielder named Oscar Salazar in right field on Saturday night other than ANYBODY else proves he isn’t built for it.
  2. We shouldn’t trade A-Gonz. Wait till next season. Bring in one other bat (I like Josh’s idea of Andruw Jones) for this season and watch his numbers skyrocket again, then trade him next year when his contract will be up. It’s the right decision.
  3. I stopped attending Padres/Dodgers games long ago. Why? Dodger fans (like Cub fans) are oblivious to the real world. Just because your team has a lot of history doesn’t mean you’re always in first place. In fact since the 1994 strike you’ve only won the division five times. 80% of Dodger fans are not aware of this and believe that since they spent $120 on a Gagne jersey they’ve been to the World Series every year since 1947. If you try having a conversation with the average Dodger fan the conversation will inevitably go like this: They’ll ask you to identify the last time the Padres were in first place. When you reply with, “Right now.” They’ll yell, “When was the last time the Padres were in first place, man?!” You’ll again say, “Today. Right now. The day you are alive in at this second.” They will then stretch the part of their jersey that reads ‘Doyers’ and yell, “Not anymore! We swept your stupid Asses - haha! GO DOYERS!!!” As they walk away (beer in hand and children in tow) you’ll quietly say to your friends, “We’re still a half game up. Ahhhhh, what’s the use? Let’s get a burrito.”

Let’s get a burrito Padre fans. Let’s all go get a first place burrito.

Morning Brawl

Dallas should be posting his diary soon, but in the meantime enjoy this:


Old school Padres. This video proves that baseball attendance has changed significantly. The people who sit behind the dugout these days would never (NEVER) throw beer on the field, they've spent way too much money to do that.

Update: Link provided by Bill Simmon's Twitter Feed

Friday, May 14, 2010

Just Say No to Dye

The Padres only run in their win last Thursday came through a sac fly from Latos. So Sullivan’s “Anemic hitting has Padres seeking one more big bat” headline in the UT Friday morning wasn’t exactly hard-hitting investigative journalism. But true nonetheless.

His primary focus was on acquiring Jermaine Dye, with a quote from Dye’s agent that “San Diego was one of the places Jermaine was excited about playing,” referring to their high hopes for a contract in the off-season... which they're still looking for.

My take: No thank you. Dye looked miserable the last half of ‘09 in Chicago and I have 36 reasons why we should stay away. (He's 36.)

But, an upgrade in the outfield does seem like the most reasonable place to add some offense. Scott Hairston and Thin Gwynn seem to do best when they get the occasional (as in every other) day off. And as Dicky Enberg just pointed out during today's game, Blanks and Venable are on a combined current tear of 1 for 40.

This is the part where I tell you who we should trade for.

Player X: A 33-year-old former superstar who tanked for a few years and is back this year on a $500,000 contract with 9 HR’s, 6 SB’s and a .948 OPS through 98 AB’s… for a team most likely going nowhere and on the rumor mill as potential sellers.

After checking out Player X's career split stats, he’s also put up the best offensive numbers in his career while playing at Petco Park. Granted in 72 AB’s, but 9 HR’s and 1.159 OPS is still hard to ignore at a ballpark that’s not supposed to allow hitters to do that.

Okay, it’s Andruw Jones and I know it’d be easy to laugh at the idea. But he’s on a dirtcheap contract and the last two paragraphs show that he might not be as crazy of a fit as it seems. Putting him in the 3-hole in front of Adrian Gonzalez would certainly give him some good pitches to see. And if the White Sox are still floating at the bottom of the Al Central in July, then why not put together a package of prospects to lure Andruw away from Kenny Williams?

It may sound insane, but Andruw Jones might be the “one big bat” for the Padres’ “anemic hitting”. And if he comes to San Diego and continues his resurgence, it'd be a nice middle finger to Los Angeles and the $36 million they blew on him.

Oh, and while my girlfriend was in Santa Barbara this weekend, she was at a bar and asked a guy in a Dodgers jersey who was winning last night's game. He said he had no idea. She said he was a shitty fan if he doesn't keep track of his team (her attitude was likely aided by a few beers). Then he got mad and told her to get away from him. She's awesome.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Et tu, Chandler?

This is hard for me to write. I don't know how to say this, but i fear that among us is a traitor. I know what you are saying...

"Sean. You are a Giants fan, YOU are a traitor."

To that I say this, YES, I am a Giants fan. I grew up in the Bay Area, and I cut my teeth on baseball watching games at Candlestick Park. Will Clark was my Tony Gwynn, and I have no regrets about this. BUT, the Padres still remain a close second in my heart. I've spent the last 20 years of my life in San Diego, and have kept the faith with the best of them. And the reason they let me write for TKF, the one unifying thing that brings us together, is that above all else I HATE THE STINKING DODGERS. When I was a child, i prayed to the lord to protect me from Satan, burglars, and Tommy Lasorda. Oh, and The Night Stalker, who was also from LA and kind of looks like James Loney if he had long hair.

That is why it pains me to show you this. Three weeks ago, while visiting one of my closest friends and fellow The Kept Faith writer Joe Chandler's house, I saw this:

Now upon first view, the thing that may upset you the most is the Mariners #1 fan magnet. To be honest, this doesn't bother me at all. Everyone who read Joe's post this week will know that he is not the Mariners #1 fan (although he does love that crrrrazzzy Ichiro!). But if he did love the Mariners, I would have no problem with that. I feel like all fans of an NL team are also allowed to have another AL team that they follow and root for. I love the A's. But i would still root for the Giants in a Bay Bridge series. I did in 1989, even when God tried to destroy both teams (AND MOM AND DAD TOO, IT WORKED) with an earthquake. We now know he was really trying to destroy Canseco. Hey God, nice shot.

The Dodger schedule, you say, is up there just because Joe lives in LA. Maaaaayyyybeeee. But if that was true, how can you explain THIS:

Jonathan Broxton Bobblehead Night. CIRCLED. Wow Joe, WOW. I have to tell you, faithful reader, that last year when I went to my first game at Dodger Stadium (after bathing in holy water and stuffing garlic in my underpants), I arrived to find out that it was Tommy Lasorda plaque night. I instantly started checking my pockets for silver bullets. Upon passing through the turnstile, i promptly turned down my free plaque with a silent wave of the hand. With Mecca-like reverence, I looked north and then south, believing wholeheartedly that somewhere Steve Garvey went for a brown shirt instead of a blue shirt, and that somewhere else at a fancy restaurant Steve Sax's credit card was declined.

Joe, I hope that you have a good explanation for this. I know you drafted Broxton in our Fantasy Baseball league (waaaaay too early, by the way). I hope you recognize that simply putting up a Dodger schedule on your fridge is inviting the devil into your home. It's not just a means to see when a team you love is playing in the town you reside in, it's also the gateway drug to becoming a total a-hole.

LA invades SD tomorrow for the first time this season, and it's a big deal. I'm installing new locks on all of our doors and sharpening the knives. And while at this point in the season with the Padres pulling ahead of my Giants and the Dodgers scraping the bottom of the crap barre,l I technically should be rooting for LA. But i tell you this: Root for the Dodgers? Not in a million years. Never. Ever. Beat LA, San Diego. Beat 'em good.

These Padres

My God he's handsome. Look at that hat cocked at a jaunty angle. That's the type of face that'll shut out the Giants to complete a sweep. Man crushes in full effect over here.


This weekend they are coming:

This Saturday I will be going to Petco Park for the BEAT LA T-shirt give away. I am excited about this because it will be a chance to be around these people (see above) with the upper hand. We have a better record and it is awesome.

My seat is in right field. Andre Ethier is flirting with the triple crown. I am turning 30. Have I looked up Andre the Giant's Wikipedia? Of course. Have I even looked up the solvent Ether? It is my job.

Help me out. I need material.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Life's Better with Baseball

Blame Dallas and Joe for getting me all reflective on why I love baseball when I was writing this last night…

My earliest memories of the Padres came in 1998. Gwynn. Caminiti. Finley. Gomez. Ashby. Hoffman. I was 14 and I had fun watching a team with a legitimate chance at the Series go on to win the pennant and come within 108 outs of that ring. 108 outs! We put up a real good fight ‘gainst those Yanks!

But it wasn’t the Padres that really got me interested in baseball. In fact, from '99-'04, my only Padres memory is being excited about a game I was at in which Deion Sanders played for the Reds and got a hit. I liked Prime Time. So, for a long time, Deion Sanders on the Reds was my lasting Padres memory.

It took a player who I couldn't care less for to really suck me into the game.

On February 15th, 2004, A-Rod was traded to the Yankees and I read an article in USA Today that morning detailing everything that led up to it. More facts came out later when it was revealed that Boston had been ready to trade Manny for A-Rod and Nomar for Magglio. It was the spectacle of the effort behind attempting to move this massive contract that got me. But it didn’t happen for Boston and the Yankees traded Alfonso Soriano for the juicer…

…and the Red Sox won their first World Series in 86 years (with some juicers of their own).

That was the first season I really started to follow baseball. I had an instant craving for everything Hot Stove related. I loved how easy it was for teams to make trades (well, easy for New York) and the A-Rod-Boston-New York drama personified that. Maybe it’s the reason why I still secretly root for the Red Sox. And seeing Carlos Beltran dominate and play fun baseball for the Astros after getting traded from the Royals is definitely why I still have a soft-spot for the Minute Maid gang. The build-up and mechanics of a star player getting traded were fascinating.

And baseball's love affair with no salary cap made free agency a whole other season in itself. The first time I experienced baseball disappointment (besides losing the '98 Series) was Beltran signing with the Mets. I guess that was the fall I became a daily visitor to because I remember the buildup of Astros or Mets, Mets or Astros pretty vividly.

All of this led me to the Padres, oh doctor, the Padres. The Red Sox and Astros hooked me, but I still knew who my team was. Every night in ‘04 I’d check the box scores on Yahoo Sports. I watched as Phil Nevin, a baby-faced Peavy and a Mickey Rourke-faced Giles led the Padres into their new downtown stadium. Yep, I have my memories of The Murph, but I didn’t really become “a fan” until Petco. I was new. I didn’t know we should have signed Vlad at the time; I was excited about an All-Star named Brian Giles. I was a doe-eyed fan who just loved having a great ballpark and some interesting players.

Six years later, I’m still invested in the Padres, even if I haven’t been rewarded for it. In my first year as a season ticket holder, I’m even more excited about the strong start of the current squad. Things will change, of course, as they get better (hopefully) or worse (likely). Tim Stauffer is out for 6 weeks because he didn’t take good care of his appendix. And there’s a good chance we’re watching Adrian Gonzalez’ last year in a short-lived Padres career. But things are coming together and no appendix bursting or hometown player leaving will change that. Yes, that’s right, even if we trade Adrian Gonzalez, I still believe this is a Padres team forming into something great. And I’m glad this guy…

… and Carlos Beltran… and the Padres made me care about it all six years ago.

There it is, 2004: Alex Rodriguez to the Yankees. Carlos Beltran to the Astros. The Padres to Petco. And me to baseball fandom. Yeah, it was a big year for MLB.

Oh, and I’m pretty sure last night was the biggest win of the season, even if it wasn’t the prettiest.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Thing I'm Thankful For

During the off season it was all you could do to avoid people talking excitedly about the Seattle Mariners. They traded for Cliff Lee and Milton Bradley, they signed Chone Figgins and “The Kid” (not quite “The Kid” anymore) was back for one last farewell tour. That, coupled with the fact that Ichiro was still Ichiro1, led a lot of people to believe that the Mariners had a strong chance to wrestle control of the AL West away from Anaheim (or rather Los Angeles of Anaheim in California).

The other thing people couldn’t stop talking about this off season was how bad the San Diego Padres were going to be. Every article and television show that I encountered made sure to make a joke about the Padres having zero chance of finishing above fifth place. They were assured of being beat up on by the mighty Dodgers and the... purple Rockies. Adrian was guaranteed to be a member of the Red Sox by July and Tony Gwynn would continue to remind us that he is not his Father.

But here we sit. It’s the beginning of May and the Padres are 19-12 and the Mariners are 12-19. Two teams with opposite expectations at the beginning of the season with opposite outcomes. I was thinking about this disparity today and it occurred to me... Thank God I’m not a Mariners fan.

Since 1999 Padres fans have known to keep their expectations low. Even when we made the playoffs in the early 2000s it was on the back of an incredibly weak division, a division that let a team with a win total in the low 80’s into the post-season play. So now, when things are going well we can be pleasantly surprised and really get on board. But those poor Mariners fans, who since 2003 have been in that same boat, have to deal with shattered expectations and things not working out. If forced to pick between us and them, I choose us, even if they get Ichiro in the deal.

I guess my point is, and I’ve probably said this already, one of the things I love about baseball, and the Padres especially is that the stakes are so low. I find the Chargers tough to follow because the expectations are high and there are so few games, but the Padres play 162 times a year (165 if they make the playoffs) and for most of those games the outcome doesn’t really matter, it’s about the experience. For the last few years Mariners fans have had that too (ever since Bret Boone had to stop taking steroids). But this year they were given expectations and they began to believe and belief is the fist step on the road to misery.

We’re never going to be the Yankees. The pattern is established; we get sold on a rookie in the minors (Burroughs, Barfield, Greene) then that rookie arrives and either performs or doesn’t, but management is already turning our attention to the next guy in line. They do this until it works out and a team gels. Right now gel is forming and it’s awesome to watch and it’s even better because it’s not supposed to happen. Literally every time the Padres make the playoffs it’s a Cinderella story. And that’s kind of cool, because it means management has embraced their small market status. Unfortunately for those poor grunge rockers2 in Seattle, their management can’t get comfortable with the idea. So every so often they go out and spend money and acquire players and make people outside of the Pacific Northwest think that there is a chance in hell they can compete (they can’t). And those poor people have to live with the consequences. They should be just like us, a great city to live in, with a great ballpark and one or two players that are totally lovable, but secure in the knowledge that it’s going to take a miracle to win. That’s the beauty of small market baseball.

Sonics Forever.

1Read yesterday’s post about how Dallas feels about Jamie Moyer, that’s the way I feel about Ichiro times one thousand plus infinity (Ichiro is my favorite baseball player ever, I once wrote a three page essay about it).

2The second worst thing about living in Seattle is that people make grunge rock references. For God sakes that was 20 years ago, let’s let it go America.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Craft and Class

Here we sit, at the beginning of May, in first place and performing well beyond any expectations. As Uncle Teddy says, and I agree, “this is a fun team to root for.” This has been my favorite Padres season since 2006 and I don’t see that changing. Sure, no one in the country knows anything about this squad, but we’re Padres fans, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Thinking about the Padres issue with obscurity this past week forced me to think about another one of baseball’s hidden gems: Jamie Moyer.

This past week Jamie Moyer became the oldest pitcher to ever throw a shutout. I’ve always been a big fan of Moyer and I’ve even drafted him for my fantasy team a few times. Over the past few years he has become widely recognized as the “Jack LaLanne of baseball,” but before that he accomplished a lot without much acknowledgement. Moyer started his first game for the Cubs in 1986 and between 1997 and 2008 was (statistically) one of the most dominating pitchers in baseball.

While currently being the oldest active player in baseball, he became the winningest pitcher in Mariners history and the oldest Phillie to ever get a hit. He's won the Roberto Clemente, Lou Gehrig and Branch Rickey Awards. In 2007 when Moyer pitched against Randy Johnson, they were the oldest lefty pitchers to oppose each other in MLB history. Moyer also won a world championship with the Phillies two seasons ago, and during that run became the oldest southpaw to ever start a playoff game. And while accomplishing all of that he quietly accumulated 262 wins. Pretty amazing considering that he was told to retire at least three times: In 1993 by the Baltimore GM, in 1995 by the media and in 1996 by his wife. At every turn he kept plugging away, believing in his ability and adjusting every aspect of his game to achieve success. At age forty he won twenty games. At forty-one he won twenty-one games all with an average fastball speed of 81 mph. Craft.

The thing I love about a guy like Jamie Moyer is that he understands what being able to play baseball for a living should be all about: gratitude and fun. And through his off-the-field work, charity organizations, and general joy while on the mound it certainly seems to me he cares. As fans we spend outrageous amounts of money to support our favorite teams and players. We also spend countless hours debating their futures and loving them to no end. I can honestly say, having met a handful of pro baseball players (I know, I’m cool), that the majority of these guys couldn’t care less about what you think. Most of them feel entitled. They think they deserve the Hall of Fame, the start, the adoration and of course the money - cause if they don’t get it then they won’t play (Yep, I still haven’t let go of 1994 completely). But not Jamie Moyer, he does nothing but work hard and constantly adjust his approach so that he can continue to have the greatest gig of all time. Fans love Moyer and he loves them back. More importantly, when I think of a player like Moyer or others, like “Super” Joe McEwing, David Eckstein, Dave Cone, Eric Davis, Sean Casey, Mark Grace, David Ortiz or Tony Gwynn - I know that they love baseball just as much as I do. And as a fan, that’s all that really matters. I paid $35 to see you play with a ball, you better have a friggin’ smile on your face when you play with it.

Unfortunately, guys like Jamie Moyer live in obscurity. Sure, a lot of baseball fans have heard of him. People who live in the cities he’s played in definitely know him. However, he doesn’t throw 95mph or strike out eight guys a game so few remember him. But, I’ll tell you who never forgets about Moyer: Major League batters. When Moyer finally does decide to retire, which I hope is never, he will have numbers that are “on the cusp” of the Hall of Fame. To Moyer’s discredit he is not a flashy Hall of Fame pick, but in my mind he is a Hall of Fame player to the highest degree.

So next time you get upset that your favorite player was caught with steroids (Jeter is next) or some NFL player shot/stabbed/ran over/blow torched some guy or their wife - remember Jamie Moyer. He is what it’s all about. I only wish ESPN made a bigger deal out of guys like Moyer and their accomplishments rather than Tiger and his failures. In 2003 a reporter in Seattle asked Jamie Moyer what the secret to his longevity was and he replied with, “A short memory.” When asked if he had regrets he replied with, “I wish I was good the whole time.” When asked the question about his will to succeed by Craig Sager after the 2008 World Series Moyer smiled and replied, “It’s just a game.” Class.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thanks For April

Last night I went to bed after the 10th inning because I felt secure with my team’s ability to pull it out. I was able to do this because I was confident that the Pads would keep the train moving. Sadly, it didn’t happen. The Rockies won in the 12th off a home run by Ian Stewart while I was sound asleep. Whatever, we are still battling for first place on the day after Cinco De Mayo. Overall, the first month of the 2010 season has been refreshing and exciting. Thanks guys! Thanks for allowing me to be be able to go to bed early and not worry about you. I don't expect it to last, but thanks.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Dallas' Running Diary Padres V. Brewers 4/30

This past Friday night Josh Elwell convinced me that we should arrive early to Petco for the first ever Padres Beerfest! There would be dozens of tents and local breweries and a special appearance from the cast of the film Beerfest! For some reason that last detail was the kicker for me. I have no clue why though. Was I going to hang out with them? No. Would I buy them a beer just so I could say I did? No. Would I even actually see them? Not likely. However, I still went. There are not enough words to describe how much of a mess this beerfest was. I can only tell you that Josh and I entered the “fest” at 5:20pm, bought two overpriced beers at once and left the “fest” at 5:35pm to go watch batting practice.

After seeing Randy Wolf try and dive to make a catch while shagging BP we went to the Padres Team Store. I can’t tell you how expensive everything in that store is. It’s almost embarrassing. However, I did find an all orange Padres beanie for $15! I’m pretty sure I am the only Padres fan who would (and did) purchase that item, and am convinced the Padres made it just for me. Thank you Jeff Moorad.

We find our seats and meet (presumably) our season seat neighbors. Section 120 just above Field Level. Not bad.


- Clayton Richard is on the mound for Padres. This is the first time I’ve gotten to see Richard pitch this season. He’s 1-0 with a 0.82 ERA. Not bad.

- Richard strikes out Rickie Weeks, Josh says, “That’s the beginning of a perfect game. I’m calling it now.” Cursed.

- I’m slowly figuring out that our seat neighbors are exactly like us if all we cared about was baseball and Frank TV.


- Dave Bush on the mound for the Brewers. Josh gives him 4 innings. I give him 5.

- Tony Gwynn JUNIOR draws a leadoff walk.

- The Bobblehead is up! At-a-boy!

- Gwynn steals, Eckstein moves him to 3rd.

- Josh just said the words “Ryan Klesko” and immediately A-Gonz grounds into a double play. The curse of the Surf Dog lives.


In between innings they show a picture of Bob Uecker on the Jumbotron and wish him a quick recovery. From what? He’s still alive? Are they trying to raise him from the dead?


- A guy in the stands makes a diving catch for a Prince Fielder foul. Best play so far.

- I spot someone with an Eric Owens “Dirty Shirt.” My heart swells. He should have retired a Padre.

- Perfect game is over as Fielder walks. No-hitter still intact.

- Was anybody else aware that Gregg Zaun is still playing? Or that he spells his name with two g’s at the end?

- No-hitter over as Zaungg singles.

- Alcides Escobar looks like he is 12. I hate getting old. He also bats like he’s 12. Strike out.

First Jeff Krapf sighting. He picks a kid who can’t read to introduce Will Venable over the PA. Come on Krapf! Test these kids!


- Ladies and Gentlemen… left fielder… Matt Stairs!

- He walks. It matters not. Hundley and Hairston Jr. out



- The guy who sells the Hot Chocolate at Petco wears a backpack full of it and pours it like a keg. He looks like the Kay-Bee Toys version of the Rocketeer.

- Jody Gerut up for the Brewers. I liked him when he was a Padre. I like him more as a Brewer.

- Hairston Jr. makes two errors (scored as hits - bull) and now Weeks is on 3rd and Braun on 1st. Two outs, Fielder up.

- Hundley makes a bad ass play and saves the inning.

Jeff Krapf does the Jack in the Box game. A huge piece of me hopes he says “Deuce” again. He doesn’t. It’s okay he’s proven himself.


- Tony Gwynn JUNIOR proving his worth hits a single. Only 2,750 more till you matter.

- Eckstein (working the count) hits a double. At-a-boy!

- They walk A-Gonz to get to Headley. Will history repeat itself once again? Nope. Headley flies out, Gywnn tags up and scores but Eckstein gets tagged out trying to reach third (okay, he’s not superman, it’s fine if he gets tagged out every once in a while).


FOOD BREAK!!! Josh and I go on a quest for garlic fries, which proves to take way too long, and we don’t find any. What? Bummed. Josh gets the Kept Faith Combo #1 and I get regular fries and a ½ pound RJ Slugger. A huge freaking hot dog that is (surprisingly) delicious. On our search we run into one of the guys from Good Neighbor, a very funny sketch comedy group. Do yourself a favor and watch their videos. Our food break takes way longer than expected…


- Dave Bush still in the game. We were wrong.

- The Padres show a little life. I feel nothing but the curdling noise of the RJ Slugger trying to claw its way out of my body.



- Gregerson in for Richard. I disagree with this decision, as Richard looked great. Seven strikeouts!

- I’m proven right as Dave Bush gets a hit.

- Someone started tossing a beach ball around. People start booing. This is not my beautiful house, this is not my beautiful wife.

- Hairston Jr. makes a great play to throw out Bush at 2nd.

- Weeks steals 2nd.

- The usher finally gets the beach ball and pops it. People now boo the usher. Make up your minds! Pro-beach ball or anti-beach ball, you can’t have it both ways!


- Ok, after the 7th inning stretch it’s official - The RJ Slugger was a bad idea.

- Hairston Jr. leads off with a double.

- Hundley sacrifice bunt, Hairston Jr. to 3rd.

- “Scoot” Hairston up. Come on, man, give your older brother a ride home! Scooter homers! Josh and I yell, “Brothers!” repeatedly until Scoot reaches home where his brother is waiting. They give a double high five. We give an “Ahhhhh.” Brothers.


They show a montage on the jumbotron of “Pet Bloopers.” More disturbing than what people have filmed these pets doing are the homes these pets are living in.


- Mike Adams in to pitch. I’m not totally okay with this. If you read my last diary you know he kind of imploded on the mound.

- He does not look sharp. Throwing a lot of pitches. He pulls it together, but it takes him almost 30 pitches to get out of the inning. We need him to rest a bit.

Jeff Krapf is doing “Guess the Attendance” with a lady who is not good at this. She guesses 23,669. Not on overpriced beerfest night, lady! He gives her another chance to get it right and she does - 29,636. Jeff gives her a $25 gift certificate to Coco’s. So I guess she loses (I guess we all lose).


- They finally take Bush out. Villanueva in.

- I’m surprised at how many Brewers fans are in attendance. I like Brewers fans. Like Padres fans, they get it. And by “it” I mean 3rd place finishes and a future of maybes.

- Headley reaches first on a foul tip 3rd strike. Steals 2nd. Josh notes, “Headley’s on pace for 60 steals this year!”

- The 85-year old Oscar Salazar in to pinch-hit.

- The Wave starts to go around and Salazar doesn’t. Strike three.

- A drunk guy yells at the Wave, “C’mon! It’s not football! Stop it!”



- Bell in to close it out. He sprints in from the bullpen. The crowd seems to be giving him a bit more love than usual. Trying to shove in Trevor’s face maybe?

- Bell strikes out the first batter. Metal riffs everywhere!

- Gregg Zaungg singles. Zaungg looks like Robert Patrick. Or a rapist. Or Canadian.

- Bell finishes it off with a strikeout and pop out!


Amidst the post-game celebration of high fives and “Bro-Hymn” what looks like a shirtless 12-year old boy runs on to the field. My section goes wild. It is, in fact, a shirtless 12-year old boy half streaking. Security guards are on the move, are they gonna? Yes, indeed they do tackle the boy. Way to go security. Class all the way. As the boy is being escorted off the field fans are giving him a warm round of applause. He gives a subtle wave to the fans. At-a-boy! The future friar faithful look just fine.

My home record now stands at 3-0.

Let’s keep this train moving Pads!