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A weblog covering the San Diego Padres.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Why Everyone Should Link To SportsByBrooks

First off... the girls. Visit and you'll figger it out.

Second, items like this (below) that aren't found anywhere else until Jim Rome reads them on his show.

Brooks has a great headline style, for example---

Daily Damage: 30 beers per day. Each.
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Free Michael Friedman!

Remember how I was propping Michael Friedman just a few days ago?

Well, someone listened. Congrats, Mike!

Beginner's luck, but I'm on a hot streak this week with Friedman's award and also a trade for centerfield depth after worries about Payton's hammy.

Then again, both circumstances made sense and I'm making a lot about nothing :o).

BTW---USC/UCLA is replaying right now on FoxSports, 7th inning and Ian Kennedy still in. If you want to see the great Jeff Clement hit a homerun, TUNE IN NOW. Next inning he goes yard. More like country mile.

Enjoy!
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Petco Padres Does Predictions

I'm behind the curve on this one, but at least I'll get this done before the unofficial opening day. Since I'm watching a Spring Training game on ESPN right now I feel it's safe to ignore the Yankee/DRay game yesterday/today.

Anyway, onto the predictions, I'm now accountable (snickers).

American League

East
Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees
Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles
Tampa Bay Devil Rays

Comment: Call me crazy but I could see Toronto and New York swapping spots for second. That's something to watch because I think the Orioles will probably take advantage of sleeping teams like the Yanks, which benefits Boston and Toronto.

Central
Minnesota Twins
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers

Comment: Goofy division this year. The Royals might float an all-lefty rotation, the ChiSox are talented but Colon's gone and Loaiza cannot repeat last year. Twinkies keep doing their thing, but they're kind of stale. The top four could completely flip-flop.

West
Oakland Athletics
Anaheim Angels
Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers

Comment: Oakland will run away with this thing. I'm not sold on Anaheim's pitchers, but Guerrero could be A.L. MVP. Without Ichiro and Edgar and Meche and Olerud and Boone, I'd be laughing at Seattle. They may not slide too much this year, but things are about to go downhill.

National League

East
Florida Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves
Montreal Expos
New York Mets

Comment: What a division. Minaye's proving himself a very adept GM, and he's got a club that can get on base by hook or crook. Without their two recent trades for much-needed arms I was ready to move Atlanta to fourth (shocking!). I haven't looked too closely at Philly, but I don't want to be a bandwaggoner and put them first. Besides, the Marlins won what, 90 games last year? Oh, and that thing, what's it called... the World Series? Yeah... Side note---there is some skepticism that the Mets' import SS can hit. Not good. Could be a ROY dud.

Central
Houston Astros
Chicago Cubs
St. Louis Cardinals
Cincinnati Reds
Pittsburgh Pirates
Milwaukee Brewers

Comment: Upset city, baby! My Cubbies are too good. With Prior gone for April, that shifts the rotation a bit. I'm not sold on Maddux yet. But I have a hunch Kerry might have a Cy Young season (he'll get those walks down at some point, right???). The Stros are just solid all the way through. And they might actually play Morgan Ensberg full time! The Cards have the league's best talent at some positions and the league's worst in others. Talk about manic. The Reds are consistently average throughout, but they get a slight nod over the Buccos with their depth, altho the Pirates' front of the rotation isn't bad by any means. Milwaukee needs help.

West
Padres
Giants
Diamondbacks
Dodgers
Rockies

Comment: I swear I'm not a homer. But with Schmidt coming off some minor surgery and now missing time, that hurts their rotation. I can't help but feel looking at that lineup that without Bonds it looks a lot like Pittsburgh's or the Cardinals sans Pujols and Rolen and Renteria. Ugly. Can Bonds, as he's continued to decline (from alltime great to great plus to great/still best in the game, mind you), keep putting up those wins, especially with the BALCO distraction? As I've noted earlier, I'm not ready to give up on the DBacks yet, I have faith in Johnson and their ability to squeeze one last good year out of Gonzo/Finley. The Rockies I can't figure out, so I've stopped trying and the Padres are the deepest team in the division, and have some OK pitchers to throw out there. Go get 'em boys.

There you have it. Some surprises. And lots of guestimation. It's interesting that each division has that 1 "really bad" team. Sometimes it isn't that way, but this year that may happen. Last words, don't count out the Marlins.

Better yet, quick review, just for my own curiosity since I've already forgotten half of what I just typed

AL: Red Sox, Twins, Athletics
NL: Marlins, Astros, Padres
Wild Card: Angels, Cubs

World Series? Oh hell, give it to Billy! Athletics over Marlins in 5.
My heart says Cubs, so that's my "what I really meant was..." pick. Check back in October!
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Now for the Good Stuff

First, I'd like to quickly tear into one of my blogging colleagues. Lightheartedly, of course. Studes over at the Hardball Times (linked to the right) was writing about a Chicago Tribune story calling this the "Golden Era of Managing." While I disagree with the paper, Studes gets mad at the author using the Pythagorean Record, a fairly useful statistic for many of us in the baseball community.

It was used in a weird way, certainly, measuring if a manager could beat his predicted record, since a few wins above or below is mostly luck or chance. But at least it was used instead of some other outdated, old-school thinking.

When the folks (ahem, baseball bloggers) who are used to yelling at others for NOT using their statistics, or maybe just using outdated baseball thinking that we tend to scoff at, are STILL mad when something better is used, maybe we've gone too far. I applaud the Chicago Tribune for trying to get up to speed. But there's no reason to light into them for thinking (relative to their profession) outside the box for once. Especially when it's at our level. We should be saying welcome to the club.

This is the assertion that irked me:

If you want to exceed your Pythagorean record, just bring in your worst reliever during blowouts, and leave him in there so you can lose a couple of 20-4 games. That doesn't prove much to me.

Talk about a knee-jerk reaction. Nobody does that (bringing in worst reliever to make the game get even uglier), so I don't understand the premise. Maybe Studes was just having a bad day, shrug.

Now, for the fun part. Geoffrey over at Ducksnorts just mentioned PetcoPadres in his most recent post. Since then I've had a lot of extra traffic, so thanks Geoff! He still runs the best Padres blog, but I can tell he's been busy so there isn't as much posting lately, yesterday's epic long post aside.

I hope some of the new visitors will continue to stop by, always fun to have a readership!

Back to the busy world now...
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This and That, Apples and Oranges

Kevin Walker released. Says he might go to Detroit.

Pads also released catcher Tom Wilson and re-assigned Edgar Huerta.

The Kerry Robinson deal is final, and anything involving anyone else... isn't.

A note on the Robinson trade. It might be just a typical among GMs type deal. Robinson is basically the same player as Hunter, but faster and younger. Hunter is still a bit of a better hitter and actually spent more time in centerfield than Robinson. Call it a toss-up. But I'm very excited for the centerfield depth.

New training room digs for the Padres. Looks like the big thing is they got rid of a lot of hassle and outdated stuff.

The NC Times has a cool piece on the playing surface and grounds crew at Petco.

In a story repeated in newspapers everywhere, the Padres have banned apples and oranges at Petco. Just slice the fruit and put it in baggies and you're in the clear. People can bring in whole cases of sealed water and other home foods as well, which is nice.

Tim Sullivan calls Towers' comments about the Dodgers a "can of worms." I think they were so light as to not really be an issue. Overblown, but the Men in Blue have fired back. Dodger GM DePodesta is smartly staying back on this one.

Towers: "It's always been character," Towers said. "They just don't seem to play well as a team – because they've always had a lot of talent. When we played them, they didn't play well together.

"I've never been able to quite figure out what happens there. You think they might be good, but they always end up out of first place."


Adam Eaton has added a cut fastball/slider hybrid pitch.

Here's the Ryan Freel for possibly Dennis Tankersley story from yesterday so it doesn't look like I was making things up.

The Padres' AAA minor-league club is in major trouble. Basically the PCL now owns the team after it couldn't pay rent. Ugly ugly ugly.


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Monday, March 29, 2004

Legit Trade

Brian L. Hunter for Kerry Robinson. Interesting. Of course, it's Jay Payton related. Wonder if he gets the memo he's gotta stay healthy? :o).

Back to your regularly scheduled program.
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Trades and Stuff

I'm insanely busy right now, but its a disservice not to say that the Padres have apparently swapped minor leaguers with the Phillies, sending pitcher Clay Condrey for some hitter.

Tom Krasovic says they'll also trade for the Reds' Ryan Freel, while the Reds are still perusing the Padres pitcher rolls, possibly taking Dennis Tankersley.

Maybe JD from Reds Daily will have some scoop! Oh, they're making such a lopsided trade so that there's outfield depth with Jay Payton so gimpy right now. Think Petco's vast outfield has Towers worried? Making lopsided trades sure is testament to it.

More later...
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Saturday, March 27, 2004

As I was saying, USC

So yeah, I went to this baseball game this afternoon. Nothing big, just a USC vs. UCLA baseball game. Rivalry time. It was also on TV, but I hurried to the stadium the moment I figured out it was a beautiful day and I should catch the game.

When I arrived, it was still scoreless, and USC freshman star Ian Kennedy was having fits and starts. Ian gave up 7 hits, mostly line singles, but he was taking all day out there. If there's one thing I really don't like about college baseball it's the game length. Pitchers especially are allowed to dilly-dally, which can get annoying when a single batter can be up for nearly ten minutes for no apparent reason.

Rant aside, Ian got out of a couple spots, and got stronger the later he got into the game. After a conference in the sixth, with two outs, I heard Coach Mike Gillespie yell to the bullpen "two more batters". Two batters later, after seven and a third innings, Ian was done. Either he has a pitch count or batter count or I don't know, but he was really hitting stride when pulled.

Luckily, with the game still close (USC was leading 1-0), Gilly brought in little-used Michael Friedman, who promptly retired five of the next six batters to notch his second save in as many days. Considering the junk coming out of the bullpen at times this year, I was shocked to find Michael's pitched just 10 innings so far. The three times I've seen him pitch this year he's been just short of amazing. He's got some fun movement on his pitches, he works quick, and doesn't get into walk counts.

Friedman's line so far:

O.00 ERA
1-0, 2 Saves
10APP
10.2 IP
2 H
1 BB
10 SO
.057 OPP BA

Granted, this is a very small sample size, but I was excited about him 3 outings ago before I ever looked up his numbers.

Now, back to the game. It was a very close game, with both pitchers scattering several hits, and surviving team errors. The Trojans got their first run in the sixth when master of singles Daniel Perales drove petcopadres superstar Joey Metropoulos home with, what else, a single.

In the eight inning, the Trojans closed the game out with a 4-run flurry jumpstarted by a Jeff Clement monster homerun over the scoreboard in right center. After some basehits and errors, the Trojans played smallball, sacrificing two runs home. And then added another run just for kicks.

It was a surprising end to what had been a pitcher's duel. UCLA simply did not have the ammo to play that way for more than seven innings. Usually it's the other way around, as USC has been bopped in the head in the first and ninth innings this year.

Kennedy is now 4-0 on the year.

I think this USC team is interesting for various reasons. Off the top of my head I've been surprised to see such a consistent roster from day to day. Six of the regular nine hitters have started every game this year. There would be seven if Jeff Clement hadn't gotten mono before the year.

Also, the team is fairly young, and the byproduct of what I think was a purge of sorts. I'm intrigued to see Baron Frost, a very good catcher, playing leftfield and third base this year. And freshman Daniel Perales starting from day one in centerfield. Blake Sharpe has given USC a solid bat at short, if you can ignore his 10 errors (typical USC shortstop). Did I mention Michael Moon is at second base? He used to be at third, and subbed at short from time to time.

I'm still having trouble with Jon Brewster as a DH, as he isn't much of a hitter. I think Gilly keeps trying to have Billy Hart, the former Trojan backup QB, overtake Brewster, but he just hasn't been able to get the job done.

What I've enjoyed most lately is the growth of Cyle Hankerd. At one point the kid was striking out every other at bat, but he's been hitting everything in sight the last 4 games, and drawn walks to boot. His strikeout rate (18 in 48 ABs) is still very high, but it was worse, and he is a freshman.

Jeff Clement has two homers in the last two games, but his numbers are still way down (.259/.354/.494). If his last few games become a pattern, then he's back to form and there's nothing to discuss.

The pitching staff is another story. Aside from the fabulous Kennedy, things are still a work in progress. I'm actually a bit more high on Josh Rummonds and his 6.54 ERA than Bobby Paschal and his 4.23 ERA. He's (Rummonds) a bit of a victim of bad luck, as he's walked just 11 batters in his 31 IP, whereas Paschal's walked 16 in his 27 IP. Bobby actually had a good outing against Stanford recently, but then he started putting guys on base and his day was effectively over.

The real problem for USC is when it goes to the bullpen. Here are some of the ERAs, names hidden to protect identity:

27.00
12.00
11.81
9.00
7.43
6.95
6.48
5.74

Sigh...

The good thing is some guys have started to separate themselves from the pack. Namely Friedman, and Clayton Wentworth. Clayton's improved dramatically from his previous two seasons. He's walked just 13 in his 28 innings, and has managed to fan more than one batter an inning (30K/28.1 IP).

The jury's still out on Cole Ganser, who has a 3.38 ERA, who has walked an amazing 9 batters in his 10.2 IP, while allowing 6 hits. I don't know what's happened to Jon Williams, but he went from last year's steady reliever in a shaky pen (headed by born-again Wentworth) to shaky reliever (6.95 ERA).

Other notable stats and observations:

Baron Frosh has 14 doubles out of his 31 hits. Doubles machine!

Former whiff artist Michael Moon has 15 BB to his 10 K.

USC has a 12-13 record.

Lastly, Ian Kennedy's line:

1.88 ERA
4-0, 1 Save
43.0 IP
33 H
62 K/15 BB
7 2B
2 HR
.210 OPP BA
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Peter Gammons

Ever wonder why he's good? Elephants in Oakland has him nailed. They got Spring Training pix of him, but noticed this:



They had this simple but astute observation-

An odd sight was watching Gammons talking with bullpen catcher Brandon Buckley. They were having an engaging conversation. When you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Who else would have a ton of information readily available on a MLB team for an outside source? Bullpen catchers are a nice friend to have.

As usual, someone from the Oakland organization will soon be in trouble with his peers, but this time it's not management but a player. I LOVE the A's for it, though.

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Petco Comments

Will Carroll, or some stand-in, toured Petco recently. The comments:

As Will mentioned I did get a tour of Petco this past week. A couple of thoughts came to mind on the HOK designed park: the landscaping and “People’s Park” are fabulous, the Aztecy-ish office building (for lack of a better term) attached to the west end of the park are perfect fit to the surrounding environment. I have to say, though, of all things the hand rails throughout the park seemed not to fit; a late Home Depot addition? And there has to be a better way to incorporate the batters-eye. Aesthetically this one just sticks out like a sore thumb.

I also had MAJOR trouble describing the office building, calling it some Eshcer-esque meets pyramid thing. They used "Aztecy-ish." Why the hell can't anyone describe it? (Waves arms in air).

Agree on the batters eye also. The first time I saw it I was perturbed, but maybe it's just a first-look thing because I'm already kind of used to it. It's just this giant green box in the outfield, not incorporated into any seats or anything. It looks completely out of place.
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You've Been Thinkin', and I've Been Drinkin'

Like clockwork. Padres worried about Payton's hammy still (wagging my finger).

Brian Lawrence is still getting roughed up, but he's singing a happy tune through all of it. Apparently he didn't walk anyone yesterday. In a way that's good, since I think hits tend to be a bit of a luck thing, I'll let two hits drop before I accept a walk, as a fan.

Yikes! You know this Jason Szuminski thing is being played out when the Voice of America has a story on him. For those out of the loop, Jason is likely to make the Padres this year. Nothing unique, except he's an MIT grad with an Aerospace Engineering degree. And the Voice of America is a very respected media outlet. Wow.



Better yet, here's the Jim Caple story. This tells me the Padres PR machine is already in October form in March. Must be the new ballpark effect.

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San Diego Boy Eric Chavez And Ryan Klesko

Rob Neyer has an interesting column on the Mt. Carmel alum turned wealthy but worthy third baseman. It talks about his inability to hit lefties, and if that will ever change. Neat write-up, and there's a reference to Ryan Klesko's sudden ability to hit lefties after a decade of not hitting them.

He postulates that might be luck, but I think Ryan's just been diligent and figured things out. Either way I hope Eric works things out, he's a great kid and would have signed with USC had the pros not been so influential. That's ok though because the Trojans got 3 good years out of his teammate Eric Munson.

Keeping With The USC Theme

USC blanked UCLA 5-0 today, I ended up going to the game, arriving in the top of the 4th inning. I'll have a report later hopefully, but Ian Kennedy was pretty good, and Jeff Clement smashed a homerun to open the game up.
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Watch the TV NOW

USC vs. UCLA baseball on FoxSportsNet out West here, on TV, right now.

USC's Ian Kennedy (mentioned here before) is pitching.

I might go and see it in person.
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Friday, March 26, 2004

Curbing Enthusiasm

As much as I am enamored with the acquisition of Jay Payton, Padre fans have reason to worry.

Right now, he's battling a right hamstring injury late into Spring Training. It's the same hammy that has been the one roadblock in his career, putting him on the shelf periodically throughout his career. There is no doubt that he is a legit hitter, which has me very excited. He is also a pretty good athlete, someone who when healthy should be an adequate fielder in center for the Padres.

The problem is that 1)the Padres have little centerfield depth and 2)he's playing in Petco, and a lot of other large NL West outfields (ahem, Colorado).

On point number one, the lone centerfield options are Terrance Long (scary) and moving Giles in from right.

To make matters worse, and transitioning to point number two, is that right field at Petco could be a major hazard. There are juts and angles and corners and all kinds of madness there. So, if Payton gets a game break or gets injured, and Giles moves over, that leaves a likely combination of Ryan Klesko, Long, and Brian Buchanan in right.

Given the fact that Jay will be working alongside one questionable fielder in Klesko and an ok one who has his hands full with a goofy rightfield in Giles, Jay will likely be asked to patrol as large of a range as any fielder in baseball.

This, of course, is a problem. Jay's hammy is already acting up a bit, and the running necessary to patrol that Petco outfield could be too much for his legs.

The papers and beat writers have alluded to some of this issue, but perhaps have only touched on it lightly. So I'll be the first to say I'm officially very worried.

Losing Jay not only makes the outfield situation very shaky, it also takes his solid bat out of the lineup. The Padres don't want that.

Hopefully some minor league outfielders can develop or Towers can trade for someone a bit more of an upgrade over Long. Or maybe things work out just fine and Jay has a fine season, helping the Padres contend for a top two finish in the NL West. Heck, he played in Colorado's outfield for most of last year. We shall see.

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Thursday, March 25, 2004

Busy, But I HAVE To Update

First off, it looks like a TON of visitors have come by in the last day, linked from an article at this online magazine called the Black Table. Will Leitch, a former Sporting News writer, did this amazingly comprehensive (hello, 9295 words?! Yikes!) preview of all the Major League teams. Not only that...

(Note: The pictures are linked to the best weblog about each team. As much as some might believe weblogs are the exclusive property of New York media rejects, the best use of the medium is by baseball fans, many of whom are professional writers by day and baseball nerds by night. You are much better served by reading the best fan blogs than you are by reading your local beat reporter's coverage. So dig in.)

Guess who he linked to?

I'm incredibly honored. Yeah I know there aren't many Padres blogs out there, but Ducksnorts is a tremendous Padres resource. And I haven't even really gotten to doing much about the Padres yet. Hell, I'm just a month old here (note: I've got plenty planned for throughout the season, please stick along for the ride).

Anyway, thanks Will for the link. I'll be sending an email soon. I've just been really busy, and am longing to do some actual interesting work here other than the hit and run cut and paste and quick commentary jobs so far.

Almost forgot, here is the link to Will's story. PLEASE read, its interesting.

My favorite part:

Besides, they have both Wells and Rod Beck, so if matters fall too far, they can always feed them a diminutive middle infielder.

Classic.
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Wednesday, March 24, 2004

One More

USC vs. LSU...



USC!

Matt Leinart was halfway presentable. The LSU guy looks like an ogre. I remember a plane ride where I sat with a former Tulane player who was well into his 50s, had a cup of coffee with the Chicago Bears, said LSU players are to this day swamp kids. Scary.

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Making Friends The World 'Round

Brian from Cubs Now! (linked under: Friends) runs a really cool Cubs site. Be sure and visit it and get your read on. I gotta say Bloggers on the whole are pretty darn cool. Especially when they're Cub fans.

I know Bill Simmons thinks it is impossible/against all sports fan rules to cheer for more than one team in any given sport, but I think thats horse doo doo. Go Cubs, go Padres. Go Bears, Go (this hurts right now) Chargers. Go USC, go Notre Dame.

I probably pist off half the readership on that one, but I had to let it be known that the Cubs are cool in my book, a fact that will be abundantly clear as we get further along and I start waxing poetic about Wood and Prior and Wrigley when I'm not ogling at Petco and Peavy.

Late addition: Way to go Rob Ramsey. Former Padre, cancer survivor.

G'nite!
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Sitting In A Kansas Bar With Bill James

How cool. See link.

TAE: More American kids now play soccer than baseball. And on a Sunday afternoon in the middle of June you can, as I found last summer, go looking for baseball on TV and find everything but, from NFL Europe to women's golf. What, if anything, can be done to halt baseball's slide in popularity?



JAMES: I advocate a Constitutional amendment against playing soccer.


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Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Literature

-Kevin Towers, sludge merchant. I'm sure he'd take that Woody Williams for Ray Lankford trade back if he could.

Oakland Athletics GM Billy Beane said Towers is "creative and imaginative" and that "he's such a good guy," every GM hears him out.

"If you've ever talked to Kevin, he can be pretty convincing," said Jocketty.


-Jay Payton's hammy should be O-K for Opening Day. Hooray!

-X Nady sent down to Portland, asked to learn centerfield. Think Padres' brass is worried about Payton? Overused word of the day: versatility.

-Jeff Cirillo's still trying to snap out of his 2-years-and-running hitting funk. Call it the toe-tap dance. I hold high hopes for him, because if he gets it back he won't have regressed much from his very solid hitting from 3 years ago. The guy can hit, I'm just praying he works it out, because his bat off the bench could be special.

-The Mercury News does a Padres preview.

Hernandez, the A's catcher for the past four seasons, ventures that a breakthrough is imminent.

"They have the same mentality as those boys in Oakland,'' he said. "They are aggressive. They're always thinking they're going to beat you. That's a good way to do it. They're not afraid of anybody.''


-The San Francisco Chronicle notes Petco Park is the only MLB stadium connected to a hotel. The Omni hotel is running baseball packages for those interested.

-Mum's the word on Rod Beck.

-Don Freeman of the UT waxes un-poetic about Jack Murphy. Choppy writing, but interesting and worth the read.



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I Lied

It's Peter Gammons' fault.

The notable things:

He says the Padres should hit, and Payton's gimpy hammy is a concern in that wide-open center field.

As noted by Jerry Coleman several times on the radio, Akinori Otsuka is pronounced OATSka.

There's a sidebar about the class exhibited by Trojan Aaron Boone afer he injured his knee playing basketball. Good kid.

There's a mention of Bobby Crosby and Jeremy Reed as Long Beach State teammmates. They played with Abe Alvarez and Jered Weaver. Now that's a baseball factory. I saw Jeremy play in a College World Series regional, he's an athletic outfielder and really has some pop in his bat. I also saw Abe pitch against USC last year, one hell of a tough pitcher.

Gammons claims a reliable baseball source compares Michael Aubrey favorably to Todd Helton. interesting, but I'm definitely high on Aubrey, he was an amazing talent with Tulane, great bat. Definitely keep an eye on him.

Lastly, this on former Padre executive Larry Lucchino:

"Larry Lucchino is one of the most influential figures of the last 15 years," says one baseball official. "He changed the business with Camden Yards. Look what he did for the Padres. And now he's got George Steinbrenner's payroll up $50 million." Problem is, the Red Sox can't play there.

G'nite!
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Monday, March 22, 2004

Ball And Chain

Looks like I'll be a little busy the next 2-3 days, please stick with me though. In the meantime, I'd love it if you could email me or post a message in the comments thing below if you like the site, or don't like it, or if you have things you want to read about, etc. That would be really cool. I'll try to have my thoughts up on my expectations for the Padres this season relatively soon, also.

In the meantime, visit all the amazing links to the right, they're all sites I visit as regularly as possible, it's a near-addiction, really.

Thanks.
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Sunday, March 21, 2004

GOOD RIDDANCE

Veterans Stadium has finally been blasted to bits. Good. That Godforsaken hellhole of a stadium put an end to Chicago Bears' wideout Wendell Davis in the most cruel of ways. On a simple deep pass route in 1993 his legs buckled on the crappy turf there and he blew out both knees.

Disgraceful overall management of that place and fan behavior. Think about it, what kind of a stadium has both a terrible field and a built-in summary court/jail? Then again that reflects more on the Illadelphia sports fans than the stadium.

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Saturday, March 20, 2004

Journalist's Dream

Stumbled across a blog called Ball Talk just now, and the most recent post was about Dusty Bakers' penchant for providing good quotes. The author took it a step farther and added some amazing Cubs quotes. Take a look here at the March 18 entry.

The normally snarly Eric Karros left one that gave me chills:

-"I would have loved to go back [to the Cubs]. Last year was the most enjoyable experience of my career, and that's not taking anything away from anywhere else. It's just that whole thing about Wrigley and Chicago baseball and being able to walk to the park from where I was staying. I mean, the last month of the season, it was like a playoff game every day. There's no way I can do justice trying to describe it. I would have gone back in a heartbeat. Money wouldn't have mattered."
Eric Karros (L.A. Times - 3/14/04)
.

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Can't Stop Posting

There's this incredibly long discussion at Baseball Prospectus with some of the heavy hitters and some snipers about Aaron Gleeman, centering around his prospect lists. The contention is he borrows a lot of material and plagiarizes it. There's little to no criticism of his other work, though. This looks like nitpicking but the plagiarism charge is correct, but its not like Aaron's seen the pitches of some minor-leaguer playing in New York or Alaska. It's basically assumed by readers he got certain specifics from elsewhere (Sickels, etc). He should probably just credit certain resources and then there wouldn't be such a hullaballoo (is that the correct spelling?).

A USC note... Former USC baseball verballs Ian Stewart and Sergio Santos are both listed on some top prospects list from Julien's Baseball Blog. The Trojans could have used both this year, although Blake Sharpe has been adequate with the bat this year from the shortstop position.
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Top Prospects

Several other blogs have been putting out organizational prospect lists of their own and that others have done. One of the major lists so far is the Consensus list of the top 599 prospects. There are 17 Padres on that list, with only Josh Barfield and Khalil Greene in the top 100.

Redbird Nation ripped the Cardinals' system, but indirectly exposes the relative weakness of the Padres' system in doing so.

Another impressive prospect database is from AtThePlate, which compiled many prospect lists into one page. The link is here.

Where some of the top Padres rank:

Josh Barfield
Minors First-12
Roto Wire-12
Baseball America-20
Roto World-28
OnDeck-67
Sporting News-10
Ken Warren-23
Fox Sports-31
Baseball Prospectus-32
MLB.com-17
Spring Training-20
Aaron Gleeman-33

Khalil Greene
RotoWorld-26
OnDeck-31
Minors First-51
Baseball America-61
Fox Sports-27
Baseball Prospectus-28
Ken Warren-29
Sporting News-34
Aaron Gleeman-32
Spring Training-39
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Flashback

Here's a link to a Gleeman post about David Wells and his amazingly low walk totals, from last year.

Classic Gleeman work, hopefully he'll be able to manufacture a few more of those this year aside from his duties at the Hardball Times.
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Odds and Ends

-With the apparent emergence of Khalil Greene, the Padres are hoping to use Ramon Vazquez as a "super-sub", a role I always thought he'd be very good in. I think he's a terrific bench player, and a capable spot starter, so I'm real excited. The Padre bench is going to be fairly good this year, as I think (hope) Jeff Cirillo can bounce back, and there's Vazquez and his lefty bat, Brian Buchanan and his lefty bat, and Terrence Long, who can hit just enough to have a valuable pinch hit at bat.

-MIT grad Jason Szuminski might just make the opening day roster. With Rod Beck gone indefinitely for personal reasons, Jason's been on fire the last week, and the UT notes Towers has talked to the Cubs about keeping him in San Diego. Jason is a Rule V pickup and needs to be on the roster the entire year or he will be returned to the Cubs. He could also shuttle between Portland and San Diego a lot, given Towers' search for flexibility in negotiating with the Cubs to basically trade for Jason instead of having him on Rule V conditions.

Hopefully this isn't another Kory DeHaan situation.

-Sean Burroughs and his .350 and rising OBP will be at leadoff again this year. But this will be more of a full-time thing, or so the Padres say. At least he's relaxed and not as burdened by expectations. Three years away from being a can't-miss prospect can do that.
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Ladies And Gentlemen, Your Opening Day Starting Shortstop

Rey Ordonez has apparently left the Padres. Not cool. Khalil Greene, welcome to the Majors, kid. Rey would have been a good spot starter and bench guy. Doesn't sound like a classy maneuver though.

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Something To Ponder

Giles (148 OPS+), Nevin (121 OPS+), and Klesko (118 OPS+)

VS.

Caminiti (133 OPS+), Vaughn (158 OPS+) and Gwynn (135 OPS+)

Dare to dream...
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Friday, March 19, 2004

Cuba, Ben Davis, and Baseball Primer

Darren at Baseball Primer sent this amazing link from Chinmusic my way: USC Baseball Goes to Cuba. Go Trojans!

I think the sidestory was way more interesting...

-For the gentlemen in the audience, let me give you perhaps the best piece of advice you will EVER receive: Drop what you are doing and go to Cuba. RIGHT NOW! It makes Thailand seem as expensive as Milan, if you know what I mean and I think you do. I was in and out of the Havana Café in less than 20 minutes, and it proved to be an adventure I will not soon forget. HOLY COW!!! This, as it would turn out, was just the tip of the iceberg, and over the ensuing 6 days, I would go on to enjoy some of the most beautiful (and affordable) companionship I have ever known – or could have dreamed of on the web.



Also from Baseball Primer this: Mariners Grow More Disenchanted With Davis. Ben Davis, that is.

Sounds like former Padre uber-prospect Ben Davis isn't cutting it with the Mariners, either. Too bad, because it sounds like he's a really nice kid and the ladies absolutely love him. I think I saw 2 mariner fan sites devoted to him on a Mariners blog. Female fan pages. I remember Padre games all the girls rushing close to the field to see him do batting practice also.

An excerpt:

In a Tuesday game with the Padres in Peoria, scouts and front office personnel from both teams sat near one another behind home plate. Davis, who went 0-for-2, dropped a pop fly and misplayed a throw to the plate that allowed a run to score.


"That's why he's your problem and not ours," one Padres scout said. "We saw four years of that."


For similar stories, visit Clutch Hits at Baseball Primer.

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Thursday, March 18, 2004

The RB Broncos

Guess which High School I went to?

This one.

And if you've read Moneyball... Sam Blalock was Billy Beane's HS coach. He was also my P.E. basketball teacher.

Interesting R.B. Baseball Did-You-Know: The team practices to the tunes of country music. I ran by the baseball field enough afternoons to know. Whatever works I guess.
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Pipeline

I've got another USC baseball player worth keeping an eye on: junior Joey Metropoulos.

He's got amazing power, although his college power numbers have not quite matched his potential. This year he already has six homeruns through 19 games, and is slugging a whopping .708. Joey's strongsuit so far has been getting on base (.461 OBP), as he has developed the classic USC skill of the ol' HBP (7 on the year).

Right now he's got a .461 OBP, pacing the Trojans. Last year he was (.423/.560) with 11HR and as a Freshman All American he posted (.463/.563) and 13HR. He "slumped" last year, as teammates Anthony Lunetta and Jeff "Boy Wonder" Clement, ye of 21HR as a Freshman, had better OPS's. But Joey has been USC's most consistent hitter his three seasons at Dedeaux, as he has plus power, can steal a base, and has a knack for getting on base. I don't know his range factor or any of that, but eyeballing him he looks like a terrible first baseman and may be a contributing factor to USC's shoddy defense over the last 2 seasons. Graduating a slick shortstop like Seth Davidson and having the inconsistent Michael Moon at the hot corner doesn't help either.

In case anyone cares, the Trojan baseballers are off to an 8-11 record, although the last two weeks they've beaten #1 Stanford, and ranked teams in Tulane, UC Irvine and Mississippi State. It's turning out to be a really tough schedule, as the Trojans haven't even started Pac-10 play. Oh, and they were 2-hit by Jered Weaver over seven innings in the season opener, wasting a great debut by Ian Kennedy and James Luna's best outing of the season.

Because This Is A Padres Blog

-The Padres are now 6-9 in Spring Training 2004.
-Brian Buchanan (great pickup by Towers, and a great trade throw-in if the team tanks) and Ramon Hernandez hit solo shots against the Giants yesterday, but of course the Giants won because that's what happens when they play the Padres.
-The Padres were wearing green caps.
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Yard Sale Bargains

Straightaway CF did a cool piece on the 70 most overlooked hitters and pitchers of the last two seasons, basically using OPS+ and ERA+. What's interesting is the abundance of Athletics and Padres on there. Both are SABR-inclined organizations, although the Padres are a bit more subjective.

The link.

The Padres:
Rod Beck
Brian Buchanan
Brian Giles
Ryan Klesko
Mark Loretta
Jay Payton
Steve Reed (in 2002)

Kevin Towers doesn't lie when he says he'll dig around the trash. Although these are good players, just undervalued by the market and thus affordable for the Pads.

Phil Nevin definitely would have qualified 2 years ago for this list. Still a great find, I think the trade was Andy Sheets and a bag of peanuts for Phil who was playing third string catcher for Anaheim.
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Sharing Makes The World Go 'Round

Richard over at Pearly Gates (an Angels blog) just sent me a little email greeting into the blogging community. How nice!

Pearly Gates is definitely worth a link, and I love the depth chart feature. Just scanned some recent posts, and we've got a funny rip on Gleeman (choosing Joe Mauer as his #1 prospect, what a stretch that was!) and something I've also been noticing, the "civil war" between Mariner blogs over the team's chances this season and beyond. Mariner Optimist vs. U.S.S. Mariner, Round I, fight! Those are two good blogs, by-the-way.

I tend to see the Mariners as a pretty average team, they've made some dumb moves and I really don't see the optimism. I watched their preseason game against the Angels and found myself disagreeing with everything positive the announcers said, simply didn't see some of their moves as all that positive. Vlad Guerrero backed me up by crushing a home run in the middle of the spin-fest.

Anyway, looks like another young, talented blogger is out there, as Richard is 18 according to his profile. There might be a little divide amongst baseball bloggers in age, I get the feeling some sites are run by guys in their mid-30s, and the rest are by younger guys like myself, Aaron Gleeman, and Richard Ceccarelli.

Pearly Gates is definitely worth taking a look at, I haven't read any other Angels blogs so I can't compare it to others yet, but I love the layout and creativity in looking for new features. So check it out. Gotta stick up for the California teams anyway. I'll link it momentarily.

Nice job, Richard!
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Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Feeling Green

It's SAINT PATRICK'S DAY! I'm very excited. I don't know about knocking down a Guinness, but definitely some green beer, and I have a hat that says I R I S H on it, so I think I'm set.



Enjoy the holiday!

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Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Uma, Oprah...Mark, Jered

I found the Prior/Weaver comparison link.

It's right here.

USC might have a great pitcher coming up the ranks also, in Freshman Ian Kennedy.

The Numbers so far:

1.47 ERA in 5 starts.
30.2 IP
21 H
46K/9BB
.189 BAA
3-0 Record

Ian has allowed 3 stolen bases and his walks have gone up a bit, but he looks to be a very good prospect.

The knock on him coming out of HS was his height (generously listed at 6-0) and I believe a knee injury.

We'll see how he holds up against a Pac-10 slate, but so far, so good.
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Hold The Phone!

Was just having some fun on Baseball Primer, checking up on Rancho Bernardo High School alum Hank Blalock in their Rangers reports, came across THIS:

-Carlos Almanzar was a much sought after minor league free agent this past off-season, thanks to a fine year at AAA Louisville. He saved 23 games, posted a 3.50 ERA and tallied a 54/3 K/BB ration in 46 innings. Almanzar is all but certain to spend time with Texas this season.

I almost read right over that, but then smartly did a double-take. Padre fans, remember this guy? I'd almost forgotten, but what remains is bad memories. That blurb sounds pretty promising, but I don't know. Maybe it was a classic AAAA season for a Padre castoff. Remember George Arias, anyone? He's doing well... in Japan!

Fluke

Fluke

Fluke.

Kevin Towers is pretty adept at piecing together solid relief squads, but when he misses, he misses badly.

Have fun, Texas!

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National League West

All-Baseball has an NL West preview up. The consensus is Giants in first, followed by anyone who wants it, and trailed by the Rockies. Sounds like a big hurdle for Clint Hurdle. Bad joke.

Without any serious effort, here is how I see the West as of right now:

-Giants
-Padres
-Diamondbacks
-Dodgers
-Rockies

I think those first three are fairly interchangeable, as the Pads might have the depth to make a run and I'm not ready to count out the D-Backs yet. A good point was made that this division can probably be had with 85-88 wins, and maybe that motivated Sabean to scrap most of the team and give the division some hope. That could come back to bite him in the butt though.

In two years the division's going to be just San Diego and the Dodgers (fear DePodesta), since Arizona has a ton of money deferred well into the future and their revenue is reportedly already dicey. Not good. Bonds won't be around forever, either, but I respect Sabean a lot, just don't know how quickly he can change gears when that happens. That's a lot of win shares down the drain overnight when that goes down.
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Jered Weaver

DRAFT HIM. It's that simple. I just saw a comparison of his college career and Mark Prior's. I'm a USC guy and I gotta say Weaver's blowing past Prior's junior year stats so far, a season considered to be the best ever by a college pitcher.

I don't know how Weaver would have done against those loaded Stanford teams and some very good Pac-10 offenses, but it's not like Long Beach plays a weak schedule either.

Who knows, but he's doing it in college, and the last time I saw that dominance I saw it IN PERSON, witnessing several of Prior's gems, including a 2-hitter and several games upwards of 15 strikeouts. This kid looks just as dominant.

Who knows if he'll have Prior's flawless mechanics, superhuman lower body and winner's grace. And he's not a Trojan. But the kid is unbelievable.

Tomorrow's St. Patricks day and the Padres have a little Irish luck in owning the very first pick in all of baseball this year (pity the Tigers).

Mr. Towers, you have my permission to draft that kid.
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Password Please

I just got an email from JD at Reds Daily. He told me he'd seen this site and linked to it (how generous!). Well, of course reciprocity is in order, so the link's there to his site. I just took a look and it's terrific. How can you got wrong with a baseball blogger who can reference Lil Jon?!

In the email he hit on something I think both of us have noticed, the paucity of blogs for certain teams. I saw a recent blog entry somewhere about that, and it's true for the Padres as it is for the Reds. Well, hopefully by us being out there we can inspire others. Ducksnorts has certainly been motivation to get this blog going (as has Aaron Gleeman, perhaps the most influential blogger in the baseball world especially after yesterday's launch).

In the meantime, take a visit to JD's site. I probably will stop by a fair amount, as the Reds are Central Division rivals with my other baseball love, the Chicago Cubs. I was going to do a confession time post later on about this duality, but it's out now. I'll discuss the Cubs thing in detail at another time. But in brief, I have two baseball loves, and this one happens to inspire my writing. Besides, the Cubs have a million capable bloggers.

I'm getting sidetracked now. If you do nothing else today, stop by JD's site, and then do it a few more times throughout the month.

Thanks, JD.

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Monday, March 15, 2004

Petco Park, From The Outside

Yes! I finally made my way down to Petco Park today. After finally stopping at Grab-And-Go Subs and dropping a friend off at the airport, I drove down Harbor Drive, and through Downtown, to Petco.

I parked at a meter near the outfield picnic area, and walked over. Construction work is still happening, and they looked about halfway done with the new Picnic/cheap seat area, as there was grass, some trees, and a few other random buildings (hopefully concessions and restrooms), plus a lot of workers and bulldozers.

The rest of the park is basically finished, and looks incredibly sterile. Obviously, I could not enter the park, but I made sure to walk around the entire perimeter of the place, starting at the outfield. There's a lot of grass, trees, and immaculately kept sidewalks outside the park. Most of the facade is a mix of steel and this beige/orange/brown brick. Near the main area of the park, on the bay side, is the main structure. What's interesting is the use of the bricks in the original structure as well as some architectural elements.

Near the home plate area I think it's the Padres' corporate offices, where a pyramidal structure arches into the park, all made out of this brick. There's a lot of interesting layering and design, reminiscent of both Horton Plaza, with its blended levels (am I on the first floor, or second? Or am I inbetween? How do I get out of here?) and Escher-esque visual fantasy, and an nod to the Getty Center in the simple brick facades.

Either way I think this is one of the highlights of what I've seen so far, as a fan can have a lot of fun just looking at the ballpark's exterior.

The Northern side of the ballpark is the most developed in terms of blending in with existing neighborhood structures, but it's still relatively undeveloped around the perimeter. But the immediate neighborhood to the North is growing up fast, as it is very close to both Petco and the Gaslamp District. There are some restaurants and many many many condominiums and trendy apartments just a few blocks away.

It looks like the park is going to be about a 5-minute walk from the Western edge of the Gaslamp. What hurts the ballpark right now is that it is at the extreme south of the current Downtown area. The East Village is fairly undeveloped, and with Gaslamp a fixture on the North side, I have my doubts as to whether it can develop as a commercial area. I think housing will be the main area of growth, but even that will be troublesome, as the area is heavily industrial, near rail lines and the Southern edge of the convention center, close to some seedy areas near the Coronado Bridge. That's just something to watch.

Back to the sterility factor. The ballpark is immaculate. I hope that changes, as I felt a little uncomfortable with its newness. Just as the trendy new condo and apartment areas feel incredibly sterile, I'm a bit weary of walking by them. I'm much more comfortable in the Gaslamp, as everything's clean, but you can tell it's been used, and made familiar by a lot of people. It's an internal thing with me and I don't know if others have that same kind of feeling. But it would be nice to see the park go through a year's use, and show just a touch of age, so it isn't so shiny and untouchable.

I have a feeling the ballpark and downtown will work together fairly well, but not as perfect as it is being sold by Padres management. I remember hearing or reading either Moores or Towers saying the ballpark will bring people to Downtown who haven't been there before. That sounds nice, but I think a good majority of San Diegans regularly trek Downtown. San Diego is a fairly wealthy city, with plenty of people who use the Trolley and their cars, and are familiar with the whole region from North County, to the beach cities, to the South Bay, to Coronado, to Downtown. So I'm a bit skeptical of such claims.

What I think will happen is that those who regularly make use of Downtown will incorporate the ballpark into their experience, which is only marginally helpful to Downtown business since they're already spending money down there. Especially since ticket prices and parking have both had price hikes, fans may be relunctant to spend the big bucks downtown. But I could be wrong. Again, San Diego is a wealthy city, but for families the ballpark experience is already a costly experience. I'm curious to see if the Padres are marketing themselves more to wealthier, younger patrons than before, which could make more of a difference than the traditional fan.

Sadly, I have not been to many Downtown ballparks, but I think this one will be one of the more successful ones in all of sport. I stopped by Camden Yards when I was in Maryland over Christmas break, and can now see the comparisons between the two parks. But I also felt Baltimore's park was not as strongly situated near its active, public areas of Downtown as San Diego's is. Petco Park is in just the right area of Downtown San Diego, and the only better location would have been smack dab in Horton Plaza. But that's only a 7-10 minute walk away as it is.

I sound like I'm contradicting myself here, but I do think Petco is in a great spot, only it isn't surrounded by much. The exterior is fairly spartan and I wonder if the right mix of restaurants and shops will open up, or whether a more industrial and/or apartment-like growth will happen. I'd like the former but suspect the latter. While it isn't surrounded by much, it is VERY close to everything else.

As for traffic into and out of Petco... I don't have a clue how that is going to work out. The main lots nearby are behind the park, and I'm guessing most people will enter by driving through Downtown and the Gaslamp areas, which both have fair amounts of non-game traffic. I think it could be a mess for a year or so, until most fans get their bearings and figure out shortcuts in their gameday travels. Additionally, if more people spend time before and after games in Downtown, that will significantly alleviate traffic as several thousand fans will have already parked and gotten off the roads and lots before the main traffic rush begins. We shall see...

That's what I have to say about Petco for now, it's impressive, I love its intimate feel, its near a lot of fun things (can't wait to go to Gaslamp before a game, get a few drinks and eats, and walk over, how trendy ha!), and its fun to look at.

In Other News

Eventually I will get to Baseball on here, but I'm having fun for right now with commentary and miscellaneous details. It's especially hard when Spring Training games aren't well televised and there's so many names to keep track of.

The one Padre item I have for today is a funny Jerry Coleman moment. While driving home from Petco this afternoon, Coleman said on the radio that one of the Padres' aids had offered to drive him home from yesterday's game. Before they left she had to deposit some trash in a dumpster. While doing that, she inadvertently threw her keys into the dumpster. Next thing he knows, the elderly Coleman is side-by-side with the aide, digging through the dumpster looking for his keys. It's been that kind of a week for Coleman, who also had his rental's windshield broken into, forgot his apartment gate code, and had to have his car towed to Phoenix because nobody in Tucson could do windshield repair over the weekend.
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More...

As usual, perusing several blogs and the internet. Looks like I found one more Padres blog, so there's about 3-4 of us out there now, with only Ducksnorts really doing much of impact. I'll try and change that.

As a side note I love that name for the Ducksnorts blog. Jeffrey properly notes the reference to Ken "Hawk" Harrelson, a White Sox commentator. That's Mr. "You can put it on the board, eyessss!" for those who only watch SportsCenter and can't catch WGN for Sox games. My excuse is I grew up in the Chicago suburbs, although I'm much more of a Cubs fan.
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Breaking News...

For months now my favorite blogger, Aaron Gleeman had been talking about some big changes on the horizon. Two of the events were revealed, to little fanfare. He had joined RotoWorld and Insider Baseball, which netted him some cash and a broader audience. I was proud of the little guy.

But then I read today he's been in cahoots with several other bigtime bloggers, and just recently published a months-in-the-making website, "The Hardball Times."

I'm shocked! But in a good way. I think it is a GREAT idea. And it shows ambition and commitment. The site promises to be incredible (Aaron can deal with the hype). I think its a huge step up, and it's kind of cool to see that kid (funny I call him a kid since I'm the same age) heading closer towards the Bigtime, whatever that is.

What this does for aarongleeman.com, I don't know. I suspect it'll start to whither away. In the end it's positive because that new site has unified Aaron and some other tremendous bloggers, but it probably takes away a lot of the personalized, deprecative mood of Aaron's original site.

Funny to be talking about these tiny changes in cyberspace as being consequential, but in a way, they are.

I'll conclude by saying Aaron, I wish you the best of luck, its a great idea and if I was anywhere near as talented as you are I'd do the exact same thing. It sounds like a blast to have put together and gotten running, and should turn out to be a big player in the whole baseball intelligence market alongside prospectus and others.

So, to my readers (of which there are none, if any, as this is a VERY new blog), here is the link to Hardball Times, and I will be adding the link to the links page here momentarily.

I can't wait to see what content emerges from this new venture.

Back to your regularly scheduled program...
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Sunday, March 14, 2004

I'm Still Here...

It's been a busy last week, and I'm now on Spring Break, so updates may be more sparse for a few days. St. Patrick's Day is coming up and I probably won't be far from the new ballpark. Saw it the other nite as I went to the Yard House brewery near Horton Plaza. Not much of a crowd at the restaurant, allowed me to relax and enjoy my Hooegaarden pint. Always a plus.

Anyway, I've got a ton of links saved on my computer, which means things to talk about for the blog, but I'll probably get to most of that once I'm back in L.A. Here are a few hints: Bill James, Chicago Cubs, Dusty Baker, Kevin Towers.

Today's lone item: Petco Park. I was reading the DT's sports section today, came upon the letters to the editor part, and was surprised to find a bevy of letters expressing dissatisfaction with the park, and Padres management. Perhaps all is not rosy for Petco after all. Mostly complains about sight lines, looks like there are some obstructed views in significant portions of the ballpark. I looked online at the seat-viewer area of the Padres website and did notice that the right field seats appear to have a wall to the left of them blocking a view of the outfield and all the way down to home plate depending on exactly where in the right field seats one was. That might be something to keep an eye on, and I'll give a report if I ever make my way into the stadium in the coming months.

Other complaints centered around ticket prices (which are pretty high, as there aren't any real "cheap" seats like at Qualcomm). For the fans used to paying for $20 tickets their prices haven't gone up much so it isn't as much of an annoyance, but it would be cool if fans could have cheap seats somewhere other than the outfield picnic area. But that's also a hard sell with a small park like Petco. Wrigley Field, for example, doesn't have many cheap seats, and it is has similar capacity figures as Petco.

But the Cubs are almost never at less than 90% capacity and their novelty will never wear off like it will here with a historically losing team in a trend-setting city with so much going on and reluctant sports fans. After a few years we could see a Cleveland-like situation for the Pads with middling revenues and sagging attendance as the joy of the new ballpark fades.

Or maybe it could be like the Giants who I think have tremendously loyal fans and will continue to have great attendance well past the days of Bonds and Sabean.

We shall see...



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Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Hump Day

A's Win Big over the Pads, 16-10. Adam Eaton got shelled, but didn't sound too worried. Left a lot of pitches up. Interesting to see Kotsay get a homer against the Pads.

Another Injury: Jay Payton has a mild strain of the right hamstring.

Xavier Nady takes a stab at first base. Sounds AAA bound, but he has some experience there.

There's a neat article on the UT site about Phil Nevin. Davey Lopes says he doesn't know how to dive. Lots of interesting comments from other players about injuries, diving, etc. Here's the link.

More later...

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Tuesday, March 09, 2004

More on Nevin

Phil Nevin will miss approximately four weeks with a partial dislocation of his left shoulder. He had an MRI yesterday and will now be wearing a protective sling. It sounds like he'll miss the first few games.

In the meantime the Padres have some decent temporaryalternatives at first base. The papers mention Brian Buchanan, Xavier Nady and Jeff Cirillo (who I hope makes a solid comeback).

Rangers 4
Padres 2

Miguel Ojeda and Rey Ordonez had good games.

Former Padre Tony Gwynn will get a street named after him on Thursday. In a ceremony with Mayor Dick Murphy and and John Moores, the frontage road between Park Boulevard and Seventh Avenue will be renamed Tony Gwynn Drive. Ceremony starts at 11:30. I guess San Diego loves its baseball heroes, as Ted Williams Parkway is already a prominent inland thoroughfare.

Lucchino to throw first pitch-but not at Padres game. That honor belongs to Jimmy Carter, but instead the Red Sox exec will throw out the first pitch at Petco during a college baseball tournament that is expected to break the single-game college attendance mark. 33,000 are expected and the current record is 27,673.

Wells Making Waves...

David Wells was apparently spotted being himself coming out of a mosh pit for a Metallica concert in Phoenix. The San Francisco Chronicle details the incident and potential worries. This doesn't bother me too much, more a sense of amusement.

More on Wells from a fellow "bald, fat" guy, Rod Beck. Same article:

"I loved the Wells pickup," said Beck. "I mean, I looked over at him in the clubhouse the other day and it was like seeing myself. Everybody always counts out the bald, fat dude, and yet we're always there at crunch time. Only thing is, David's lost about 30 pounds. He's a mini-me.".

Great stuff. Nice work Bruce Jenkins.

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Nevin's O-K!

I'll update more later, but because it's important: The Kentucky Derby is on May 1. Mark your calendars. Can you tell I'm giddy? :o).

To be continued...

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Monday, March 08, 2004

Hope Springs Eternal...

I'll get to the topic I've been waiting all weekend to discuss in a moment, but first, some Padre notes culled from several news sources:

-Phil Nevin injured his shoulder Sunday, on the exact same day he injured it last year (March 7). Reports said he buried his head in his hand afterwards, and refused to talk to reporters. He is having an MRI today in San Diego to determine the extent of the injury. Comments from Towers, Bochy and the trainer Hutcheson were all vanilla, but this doesn't sound anywhere near as serious as last year's injury that kept Nevin out for all but 59 games.

I was particularly humored by this quote from the skipper:

"I can assure you he will not play on this date next year."

-The Pads have signed Jose Nieves to a minor-league contract. Sounds like he's AAA Portland bound. Not a bad pickup, as he could have played SS in a backup role last year. This is disturbing to me that the Padres could sit through six years of pathetic shortstop play and just now get around to getting an interesting mix of guys who can field well (Ordonez) and hit well (Greene), and a nice utility guy (Vazquez) who is even nicer as a bench player instead of a starter. There's no Alex Rodriguez here, but at least I'm finally comfortable with the shortstop situation.

-Lastly, the Padres lost both games Sunday. The Angels defeated the Friars 6-3 and the Mariners won in a romp, 16-5.

Now, onto my weekend fascination: 800 runs. The North County Times got Padres GM Kevin Towers to predict that the 2004 offense will score 800 runs. I'm not super-aware of how many runs a baseball team needs to score in a season to be a potent offense, but I think 800 runs is probably a good estimate.

My initial reaction, after a subconscious burst of giddiness, was skepticism. Last year's offense stunk, and while the Padres added some terrific offensive talent and depth in the offseason, they're also moving into what many consider to be another pitchers' park. I started looking at last season's offensive statistics for the Padres as well as the MLB, and here is some of what I found.

Padres offense 2003: 678 runs scored. Based on EQA they were expected to score 701 runs. Right now, Towers is hoping a revamped lineup and a new ballpark can coax another 122 runs out of the offense. Sounds like a lot. But if Nevin is healthy for a full year, Khalil Greene plays everyday and hits a little, and Giles gets in a full season of work at cleanup, who knows. I also loved the addition of Jay Payton at CF and Ramon Hernandez should quietly be a huge upgrade at catcher (offensively) over previous Padre teams. But until further notice I'm skeptical.

Here are the Major League teams who hovered around 800 runs last season:
Seattle (795)
Minnesota (801)
Houston (805)
Texas (826)
Oakland (768)
Kansas City (836)

In total, 9 clubs scored over 800 runs last year. Basically, Towers is hoping the offense will be one of the Majors' 10-best.

The good news is that all those clubs listed above were playoff contenders, and generally well-run clubs (outside of Texas and Kansas City).

Just for kicks, here are the run totals of NL West squads from last year:

San Francisco (755)
San Diego (678)
Colorado (853)
Arizona (717)
Los Angeles (574)

If San Diego is on track for 800 runs it could be the monster offense in the divison as their division peers made few significant offensive moves in the offseason.

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Friday, March 05, 2004

First Meaningful Post: Dry Run

I was just perusing the Union Tribune website, and came across several tidbits about preparations for the upcoming season at Petco Park (or the Litterbox, as family and friends have suggested).

Item #1: There will be an open house for Padre fans to tour the ballpark this weekend. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday and Noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Extra special early entrance on Saturday for U.S. Military personnel from 9 a.m.-10 a.m. Saturday.

In a related note, citing Ducksnorts again, here is a link to some pictures of the ballpark from a special season ticket holders tour.

Item #2: For those trying to avoid traffic and parking hassles at what is sure to be a chaotic early-season commute situation, there will be a water taxi from Coronado and a ferry from Shelter Island for around $10.

I don't know how permanent this will be, but it sounds like a fun and unique way to get to Petco, although with the added time loading and travel plus walk time and $10 fee I don't know how much money or time is saved. If it keeps a few more cars out of the lots, I say go for it.

Item #3: Aztecs exhibition games.

-The first game at the 42,000-seat Petco Park will be a college baseball tournament Thursday. The Aztec Invitational begins with San Diego State playing the University of Houston.

The game, which starts at 7 p.m., is nearly sold out and will be the first test of how ballpark visitors navigate downtown streets and trolley routes as workers leave the area to return home. The tournament continues through March 14, with games each day at 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.


Nearly sold out. Niiiiiiiiiiiiiice. I might have to stop by since I'll probably be in town for Spring Break.

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Welcome to the "Petco Padres" blog!

Introductions are always uncomfortable so I'll start by saying I hope this turns out to be a worthwhile read. Hopefully another Padre fan friend of mine will join me in creating content for this blog, and having another voice out there to talk about what's going on with the Padres, and baseball in general. Right now there aren't many Padres blogs out, which is disappointing. The Pads have such an easygoing but loyal group of followers, and I've run into a lot of them because they're often wearing the same promotional t-shirts I've gotten at obscure games or remember watching some magic moment on Channel 4.

Anyway, keep checking back often as we do our best to provide interesting content and if we're lucky, we can be about a millionth as good as the other major Padres blog (ducksnorts) or a gajillionth as good as my blogging idol, Aaron Gleeman.
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