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A weblog covering the San Diego Padres.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

The Padres' Big Day Off

They could sure use one. I talked a few weeks back that this time period is crucial towards seeing where the team is at and their positioning for a postseason run. Well, after a nice road trip, the longest of the season, they lost five straight home games against a skeleton Cubs squad and the visiting Rockies before salaving last night's game. Not good.

The next six games after the Milwaukee series are on the road against Boston and New York, two of the better teams in either league. These games could be huge, as the Padres don't want to drop four of six or get swept in either, a strong possibility. Luckily, the series means much for San Diego and not much for the East Coast powers. Hopefully the players don't get intimidated by the settings and find a way to steal a few. It's baseball, so anything can happen, but they really goofed by wasting two relatively easy home series before this ten on a scale of ten difficulty road swing.

It would be nice to see the Pads sweep Milwaukee at home before the toughies.

For anyone who cares, the Padres are now 1-1 at games I attend this season. I remember my first few Padre games years ago they just couldn't win. I think they were 1-12 in games I attended at one point. So maybe some of that bad luck's broken.

Back to PetcoPark. There has been talk that the it is suppressing the Padres' offense, and after watching a few Padre home games I think it's pretty true. Some of this may just be the players, because they look a lot less patient at home, swinging at first pitches, hitting a lot of pop outs, slow grounders, jam shots, and so forth. They really are struggling to drive the ball at home, let alone get it to the wall.

Here's some quick stats

Home:
.235/.319/.338
.228 GPA
3.56 Runs/Game
34 2B
8 3B
11 HR

Road:
.296/.358/.427
.268 GPA
5.11 Runs/Game
56 2B
4 3B
23 HR

Well, that looks like confirmation. I don't have any further comment, I just hope it gets better.

That team two hours to the North is doing its best to hand away the division, although they have a .002% lead right now. Annoying. But they are fortunate to have one of the best bloggers out there watching their back, in the form of Jon Weisman at DodgerThoughts. Jon's a busy guy, so real life robs him of daily brilliance, but take a look at his recent piece on Milton Bradley's tirade and ejection.

I admire Weisman because he can be a partisan but also step outside a situation and grasp some of the complex things happening on all sides and give a lot of context to what is going on. He writes in clear prose, and patiently can craft his arguments and take a different look at things. Too often our media manage to grab something complex, and oversimplify. This leads to shouting matches and polarization, the byproduct being shows like Around The Horn and Crossfire.

I don't like reading 10,000 word pieces on an issue, but there are people like Weisman out there who can be fairly good substitutes for that route, and also make what they write interesting. I should despise the guy as a Dodger fan and Stanford alum, but he's a heck of a blogger and also a good person.

Anyway, here's his recent piece:

“Like rice at a wedding, Milton Bradley is throwing baseballs onto the field.”

- Vin Scully, 9 p.m.

Who started it? Depends on your definition of the term, but unless umpire Terry Craft’s statements that Bradley had been riding him are completely inaccurate, you might have to point the finger at Bradley.

“He was arguing a pitch I called against him earlier and he had argued a pitch on another batter from the dugout,” said Craft on Dodgers.com. “When he came to the plate, I told him he had better think twice before yelling at me from the dugout. Then he went off on me and I ejected him.”

The reports indicate that Craft and second-base umpire Joe West were particularly proactive in trying to keep Bradley quiet, and who knows if they’re gifted and sensitive communicators or not.

Anyway, in Craft’s opinion, Bradley had given him just about enough. Craft gave Bradley a warning, and the warning itself ignited Bradley. Unless the warning was more than a warning - unless it was truly incendiary - the idea that Bradley was provoked, as Jim Tracy said after the game, is questionable.

I’m capable of a level of anger that sometimes surprises myself, so I can relate to that feeling of injustice Bradley must have had. Even if he was provoked - and I say this dispassionately - he should find a way to handle it better.

“I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t lose it when provoked,” Tracy said. Sure enough - but it’s how you lose it that is worth examining.

Perhaps, in his mind, Bradley’s anger was a display of civil disobedience against an entity abusing its power.

I can find no such explanation for the behavior of some fans after the ejection. I’d like any of those who threw something on the field Tuesday night to explain to me a possible justification for doing so. Really - I just want to understand, because it utterly perplexes me.


So both sides are wrong and both are right, sort of. But too often our writers and reporters cannot demonstrate that. End behaviors are scrutinized instead of the context.

Moving along to some links I have saved:

Easygoing Drew Focused on Draft.

As noted before, the Padres may have narrowed down their draft choice to FSU shortstop Stephen Drew. He sounds like a very versatile player who can be shuttled quickly through the minors, much like Khalil Greene. I love his high slugging percentage.

Danny Putnam Putting Himself in the Forefront.

I've been told recently I should keep this blog more focused on the Padres, and I've tried doing that more the last few days and hope to keep that up. But I also have a love for USC sports, USC baseball, and love to talk about things I know, and in this instance, I know a bit about Rancho Bernardo baseball.

Danny Putnam played at RB high (my old high school) and attends Stanford. I remember a few years ago the papers were talking about how he might be a first round pick after setting California records for homeruns in a season (19) and career (52 I think). I laughed after he wasn't even drafted.

Well, now he's once again considered by the media a top draft prospect, but it may be more realistic this time. His main problem may be height, as he's just 5-10 (if that), but the kid can run and has good pop in his bat. I attended the RB/Poway CIF championship baseball game at Tony Gwynn Stadium at SDSU a few years ago, and Danny nearly had three home runs in the game. He hit three balls to the wall in centerfield, two caught by a leaping centerfielder. If the game had been played at RB's home stadium instead of a college stadium, those would have been out. Needless to say that was impressive, nevermind that they were three outs just the same.

We'll see how Danny ends up, but there's some more links coming right up that relate to him and other players.

MLB.com Draft Tracker: USC.

Yes, USC again. Michael Moon and Joey Metropoulos are profiled, and there's some video on Metro. We've talked about Metro before on here. He posesses prodigal power, although his statistics don't reveal that. I'd love to see him back at USC, but I wish him well if drafted. Moon's just a tenacious, pudgy guy who has played all over the field and is a 4-year starter. Cocky kid, but he's had some magic moments.

The draft tracker is really neat, so play around in there if you get the chance. Here's the link. You can watch video and read scouting reports. You can sort by name and school, so you can see who is coming out of your alma mater and if they're any good. Have fun.

NCAA Adjusted Statistics.

The Hardball Times updates their college player rankings. I LOVE this stuff. Most of it is now .pdf, but they've expanded the number of players listed.

Notable hitters:
4-Kurt Suzuki (I saw him play USC, very good hitter)
12-Stephen Drew (moving up fast, potential Padre draftee)
16-Danny Putnam (mentioned above)

USC Players:
261-Joey Metropoulos
339-Jeff Clement
626-Billy Hart
665-Cyle Hankerd
733-Baron Frost
1066-Blake Sharpe
1148-Michael Moon
1331-Jon Brewster
1412-Daniel Perales

Notable Pitchers:
1-Jered Weaver (potential draftee)
5-J.P. Howell (former Trojan)
19-Ian Kennedy (Trojan)

USC Players:
19-Ian Kennedy
341-Clayton Wentworth
638-Michael Friedman
891-Josh Rummonds
901-Austin Miller
951-Bret Butler
1410-Jon Williams
1441-Bobby Paschal

Clement, Kennedy Earn Pac-10 Honors

Deserving award for both.
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