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.


red said...

Don't you mean "so let the endless Strasburg talk continue"? MLB Network covers this guy like he's the second coming.

Anonymous said...

enjoyed the post but was mildly disappointed it was not about John Fogerty's "Center field".

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