Thursday, April 28, 2005

Tennis Anyone?

Well, well, well. Near dead last in some pretty meaningful categories defensively. Not to say that the defensive problems are what’s causing the torrential drought in the offensive categories, but, hey, we need an explanation as much as the next guy. Far be it from the one that nobody wants to speak audibly, but there is still, as was discussed at length last year, an inescapable void in the middle of the batting order and it is just back burnered once again.

Oh yeah, I forgot, it’s April and we can’t expect much yet, those guys will get it going and we will be fine. Just like the way they got it going last year, never at the same time and not until the last month and a half of the season. So sure, let’s ignore the fact that Jason Bey and Oliver Perez are performing at major league levels while we overpay for their less productive replacement that pulls off the baseball during his swing the likes of which I have never seen. Can someone get Mr. Gwynn down there to help these guys with their swings? Perhaps if we can get them all to a mildly lukewarm state by June, there may still be some gas in the tank to perform like all the most fabulous, expert, pundits predicted we would and win the damned division. Can you hear that? That’s not the wonderful springtime rain you’re hearing, those are frustration drops folks! Yeah!

Tomorrow marks a great day in my life. It seems as if one of the members of the crew happened across four, count ‘em, four box seats to the game tomorrow night. Now, fortunately for me, I manage to fit into the top four, how the hell I managed that I don’t know, but I am on my way to Petcoland to triumphantly declare my faith publicly for the above mentioned team in person. Perfect in so many ways. An early evening trip to the historic Gaslamp District, followed by a happy hour somewhere in the vicinity of the park, preferably one serving icy cold bevies at price. Followed by a short trek to the baseballing Holy Land, to be supported by more nice, icy cold ones. As we are directed to the privileged seating area, (if they only knew me they’d be directing me to the exits) we are to be treated like Golden Gods and showered with riches, and virgins and overwhelming feelings of happiness until our black hearts are content with significantly high levels of debauchery. We are to be seated in cushioned thrones to see the one and only Miss Anna Kournikova bounce and jiggle her way to the mound to ceremoniously heave the first strike in the general vicinity of the home plate area. Hopefully it’s cold, windy, raining profusely, and she insists on wearing white. Oh, and then the whole game’s beanie night too.

We're The Best In The League At Some Stuff.

You know its bad. I mean, I'm Brother Holy Gatling Gun of Patience over here, and I don't think I can take it anymore. In case you didn't fire open the UT this morning let me fill you in. Aside from the fact that the fifth spot in our rotation hasn't won a game in nearly a year (take that, dead horse!), the Padres lead the league in errors (18), unearned runs (15), the worst fielding percentage (.978).

I really wish I hadn't put a moratorium on one of those two words the other day, but I did, and so I thought I would honor it by checking my thesaurus for other options. Unfortunately the thesaurus is pretty literal, and that particular word, used in the sense that most people use it when describing the Padres, is a slang term. So instead of great adjectives (verbs? Who knows? Nobody. Grammar is a mystery to man.) like blow, stink, or flat out disgust me, I got returns like consume and inhale. Whatever.

At this point I say we throw out a pitching machine and nine gloves on a stick every fifth day and work on our batting. Go Pa- Oh screw it!!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Not So Gritty On Wednesday.

Was it less painful for you to watch them just hand it over, never making it exciting in the least? I don't know how to feel anymore. This game isn't even technically over. Its 10-3 in the top of the ninth. Felipe Alou just changed pitchers. Whatever. Just get it over with already.

For those of you who may or may not care. Both of our potential 5 spot guys got to pitch in today's game. The lines, you ask? Here you go:

Tim Redding: 3.1 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 3 BB

Darrell May: 1.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 3 BB

No one calls them Ismael. Game just ended. 1 for 5 on the road trip. Go padres...

Alaskan Crab Fishing is Dangerous?

It’s safe to say that there are many things that I would have rather been doing last night than watching the end result of what was a pretty good baseball game. Most of them involved either Lindsay Lohan or midgets, but one thing is clear, that was really tough to watch there at the end. We played gritty, gutty baseball. Then the Bondsless Giants did the same. So we got a bit grittier and guttier. And, so did they. Once more, there near the end, it was clear that we had to be the grittiest, guttiest baseballing crew that has ever been assembled, and the guys ponied up. And, then, so did they. Really gets to you sometimes, you know, it was just one of those painful stepping on a rusty nail kind of games. Had this been a playoff game, well, let’s just thank the hot chicks who marry for money that it wasn’t...

All in all, nothing was done particularly well, and at the same time nothing was done particularly horribly. It was just good, exciting, almost fundamentally sound baseball. Fun game to watch, as I said, until the end, at which time I began wearing out the remote buttons in between pitches out of some kind of nervous, Tourette’s like tick. I couldn’t stay static on the one channel, but then some kind of nuclear powered magnetic force would suck me right back to the game. I even missed Phil’s late inning heroics; I couldn’t stand the view, changed channels, came back and saw the results just a bit too late. Took the network about ten minutes to get me a replay and I was a bit dismayed that I missed it live. But the outcome was still the same. Tie game. And then it wasn’t.

Day game today that is curiously being shown on t.v. Why they show the day games on t.v. is beyond me as it makes about as much sense as air fresheners in an outhouse. I am starting to get to a point where I think this team needs a good old fashioned winning streak to get them playing their best baseball. It almost seems like there is this cloud, maybe more like a storm of doubt showering these guys at the plate. Give ‘em a little taste of the good stuff and watch them take off head first. Where are those hot chicks at right now? Somebody get them over to the Omni and start a huge hot chick party for the guys. Maybe get them to relax a bit, and start playing baseball dammit.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

There's That Word Again.

What word you ask? Consistency. My favorite. We are an extremely consistent ball club right now. We consistently beat the Giants (There's your whammy people), and we are consistently beaten to death by just about everybody else. The Dodgers are also a consistent team. They are consistently my least favorite team ever, right now. Don't even start.

I have to admit, I'm not terribly surprised that the Diamondbacks are back in the thick of things here in the NL West. There is some talent on that team, and the guys who are supposed to produce (Glaus, Vazquez?) are starting to do just that. This ain't rocket science people. When your key guys produce, you tend to fair better than when they don't (channeling Madden here). I'm not pointing any fingers or anything, I'm just saying is all.

I will, however give just a little bit of credit where credit is due. And this is hard for me because what I'm about to say pretty much confirms that I was, well, wrong. Kevin Towers and Co. can go right ahead and say, "Told you so dumb ass!" Woody Williams puts up another solid performance last night, after a shaky start to the season, while a couple of thousand or so miles away our boy Boomer is busy nursing a busted foot that is likely to keep him out for at least a month. The Sox say he was going after a slow roller the other night. Must have been in the living room cause those bottles roll pretty quick across the linoleum in the kitchen.

Anyway (said the guy trying to weasel himself out of the mind numbing conversation involving financial gain through marriage), I have decided that for a little while I am putting a moratorium on the words "suck" and "rule." They just make me look stupid and/or bitter (which anyone who knows me can tell you is terribly far off-base). So, go Padres! Or don't. Whatever.

You Got What On Your SAT's?

Certain things just don’t need to be discussed sometimes. Like, when your buddy had a bit too much to drink from the fountain o’ courage and decides that he like girls that are in the same weight class as he is. Sure, it’s usually based on mutual attraction, and about five too many drinks from Grandpa’s custom bottle of cough syrup, but nonetheless, it generally goes unmentioned out of pity to all of those involved. On that note, I didn’t see anything even resembling Padres baseball and magic brooms out in Phoenix this past weekend. I didn’t participate in any television watching that may or may not have included us dropping three consecutive games out in Arizona. I especially didn’t see one Troy Glaus play Padre Killer to the tune of what looked to be about 12 doubles and 30 RBI. And I certainly didn’t see a wasted effort on a Saturday night by my lock for the Cy Young award, at the very least for the month of April, I was too busy discussing marriage for money options with some smokin’ hot chicks. All the while taking in this beautiful tidbit, that with enough money, any of the girls in the room should, could, and would call themselves Mrs. Insert Last Name Here. Just a nice relaxing weekend in the partially sunny climate here in San Diego.

I did happen to return to the world of Baseball this past Monday night, while shirking my duties as a birthday escort. Geoff Blum is making a solid case to be included in the all under- rated squads here in the greater San Diego area. There are a few guys in the lineup that the bat plague has yet to reach. Geoff did his best to build us a lead and the pitchers took care of the rest. Good Work guys. The season is still young and with enough trips to the free clinic we may be able to oust this virus that is infecting the baseball swings of our everyday lineup. Whatever was in the water this spring, I would recommend getting as far away from it as possible, or perhaps start bottling it and selling it to some of the hot hitting opponents. Starting with that Glaus character…

Tonight we are back in the Bay Area, looks to me like Adam Eaton v. Jason Schmidt. Looks to me like an interesting match up. I hope it’s cold and the wind is blowing out and that Jason Schmidt has a sore elbow. I hope those guys out in the bay get holes in their kayaks and sink like stones only to resurface cold and miserable. I hope J.T. Snow trips over first base and bleeds out of both hands so that every trip to the restroom is a memorable one. I hope that Moises Alou gets his hand soaking liquid mixed up with Pedro Feliz’ Gatorade. Oh, and I hope that we win...

Friday, April 22, 2005

Death Comes Ripping.

Can't say I ever doubted this baseballing club for a minute. Tremendous showing last night. Might Eaton finally be turning that corner? Klesko, is he finally back to 100%? This would be sports hack says yes.

The trick is to watch the game out of the corner of your eye. If I sit there and stare straight at the TV, I am time and again punished for my efforts. But if I glance at the TV from time to time or check the score on my cell phone I am rewarded with baseball riches beyond my wildest dreams. Boo. Yah. At this point I'm thinking I should probably never actually go to a game again. Or at least, if I do, spend the entire night in the Omni club, sneaking food from the buffet and getting hammered on over priced libations while occasionally asking the guy next to me what time the game starts and if he wants to arm wrestle. I think I can take him, he's old. This, of course, would be new territory for me.

Tonight our boys face off with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Dare I say sweep? Hell yes, sweep. Sweep the whole damn season! If this one victory over the Dodgers has taught me anything, its that the Padres are the best damn baseball swatting outfit in the bigs. And doesn't it stand to reason that if you're the best damn baseball swatting outfit in the bigs, you should win every damn baseball contest you're involved in? This is simple arithmatic, people. Monkeys solve more complex equations with their toes!

So, in summation, the Padres rule, and every other team? That's right, they drool. Go Padres!!!

P.S. Second place in the old fantasy league. Thanks for that complete game shut out win yesterday Carpenter. Against the Cubs too. Your too good to me. Peace, I'm out!

Hey, Hey, That Looks Like Some Runs...

As a baseball prognosticator I will admit that I am not a smart man. But, in my defense, and to totally rationalize what happened on the ball field last night, I did that kind of mindless, negative forecasting to spark a fire under the bench of the old ball team. I knew that every one of those guys would read this before plate time, thus, turning their fire towards me and proving me wrong. We won, we won handily, my partner was right on with his thoughts, and we won because of me. Thanks me.

Fifteen hits, well that one went over.
Six Runs, well that one went over.
Left on Base, well that one went over, although I dispute the number that the statistics are providing, as they state we left 19 on base. That seems high to me. But, stats never lie do they?
The Big Three: Combined 5 for 10 with a walk and a bunch of RBI.
Klesko: 3 for 3, 5 RBI, 1 walk, made the other two’s 2 for 7 look a lot better.

Klesko had himself a night with a very solid looking, well balanced baseball swing. Instead of that George of the Jungle wild, flailing hack that he has been working on perfecting lately. He hit the ball solidly and with plenty of pep. Encouraging site to see that he is working on mellowing out that axe murderer swipe he was taking. Keep it up so we can have a day ‘o’ drinking at your expense.

Finally we were able to beat those Bums, now we ought to give it a try when one of their good pitchers is on the bump. Happy Friday of baseballing gents.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

No Way In H-e-l-l... Scott Erickson beating up on us again! Damn it, this is the last chance I may give them for a while, so I'll see your predictions with some hysterical myopia.

Hits: I'll take the over. Way over. Like 14 hits, damn it!

LOB: Under. Ridiculously under, I say! 3 runners. That's it. 3.

Murderer's row: 9 for 15, 2 Walks, 11 RBI. Easy math, my friend. Easy math.

This evening's glorious 16-2 thrashing will jump start our 110 win season in high fashion. Mark my words.

What's my record on calling these kinds of things, anyway? And where did this empty bottle of Bourbon come from?

Ahhh Baseball...

Bums. I hate those Bums.

Took a stroll to the old Petco last night, meandered through the concourses, past the agonizingly long beer lines, down to the unobstructed front row behind the bag numbering three and had a nice comfortable seat to watch another Padre masterpiece unfold. Unfortunately for me, I was surrounded by not Padre Blue, but Bum blue and I was subjected to their idiocy all the night long. I got to hear the sweet sounds of “Sweep” all night from a certain fan, of which I am sure really had no idea what was going on. You don’t sweep someone on the first night of the series as far as I can remember. But, no one ever accused Dodger fans of being Mensa members in disguise.

I knew I was in for a long night when the bevvie line I picked was moving twice as slow as the one directly to my left. The guy standing next to me in that line not only made it to the front twice as fast as I did, bought not one but two beers, made his way back to his seat, consumed said beers, made nice with one of the Bum’s wives, then got back in line and nearly beat me to the front of it again. Meanwhile I am staring down two Sony t.v.’s watching what is fast becoming routine for the squad. Lots of baserunners, lots of potential runs, lots of going home without any action. It felt like high school all over again.

Good thing that we chose the old camo uni’s last night, wouldn’t want anyone to see the baserunners out there being left for dead. In those cammies, you could barely see the 10 guys we left on base. They blended in so nicely with the dirt and grass, it’s like they were hiding out there.

Woody pitched well. Very well. Walked a bit too many for my liking but it didn’t come back to hurt him. Then, in the most opportune of times, in the tenth we decided to start kicking the ball around. Good timing being extra innings and all. It’s not like you can go out and throw the ball into left field and expect it not to hurt you when the two best hitters on the team are coming to the plate. Oh, and that Milton Bradley guy, if he tells the crowd to shhh one more time with that fat finger up to his lips I might start throwing batteries at his goddamned head. Sorry. I lost it for a minute…

Hey, at least we get to see more of the same tonight. So it’s time for what I want to introduce as the old “Item ‘O’ the Day”, we’ll make predictions (for sport only, no gambling. Hint, Hint!) and see how accurate we can become… so off we go.

Over/Under on hits tonight: 7.5
Over/Under Left on Base: 9
Combined totals at the plate for the aforementioned “Murderer’s Row”: 3 for 12 with 1 walk.

Let’s see how good I am…

Maybe They Should Have A Ladies Home Plate. Like In Golf.

Hmmm. Uhhh. Where do I start? The good, perhaps? Okay, Woody pitched a nice game. that was definitely good. And...oh, Ramon Hernandez continues to be a player you can be proud of. Uhhh...

I am not happy with this team. I can't even try to be eloquent about it. This is poo! Poo, I say. I do not like having to hope that my team can hold on to a 1 to 0 lead. Sickening. Fire everybody! This is the filthy, patchwork Dodgers here people. These guys are feasting on the division, and even if we turn it around now, we're going to end up chasing them all freaking year.

This was supposed to be our year. That's what people kept telling me. I'm sure that's what I heard. Almost our whole team returning. The Rockies suck. Arizona probably a year or two away. No Bonds for the Giants. The Dodgers would need time to gel. We were supposed to take a strong early lead in route to being this year's sacrificial lamb from the NL West. Screw these guys. Just like they try to screw themselves into the ground every stinking at bat.

Aren't you supposed to get excited when the heart of the order is up? Yeah, real murderer's row we got going on down there at Petco. Way to pepper the warning track with fly balls, gentlemen. Wait, that isn't even what's happening cause then you'd at least advance the runner.

I swear to God, I am over it. I am going to start rooting for the team with the biggest payroll from now on, because I am sick of the heartbreak. Your ballpark sucks. Your sand colored uniforms suck. Your farm system sucks. Trade Peavy and Hernandez to the Yankees so I can root for them.

P.S. Keep in mind that I'm a little hung over and emotionally pummeled by the glaring inconsistency of this team. Just turn it around guys. Okay? Go Padres! (Only 1 exclamation point. That's all I can muster.)

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Can Two be in a Row?

So San Francisco goes ahead and skates into town and brings us their unsightly foggy, rainy garbage version of weather. Good Lord it really looked like crap out there on Monday night. So of course what do we get? We are treated to a pitchers duel for most of the night. Jake went out strong, started furthering his ”K” collection, while shouting from his dirt soapbox out there in the middle of the pet sponsored park, “I am your Cy Young pitcher”. If not for the performances of the young staff down in Marlinville, Jake might be running away with this thing. Another good night for the kid, 7IP, 6 hits, 1 walk, 1 earned run, 9 K’s. The one run was a mistake to the offspring of a Neikro and was last seen knuckling it’s way into the left field stands. Jake’s running season total:

20.2 IP
16 hits
4 walks
26 strikeouts
.97 WHIP
1.31 ERA

Not too shabby. Let’s hope his arm stays healthy and loose and not sore. We don’t need to see any Dravecky like moments out of this kid.

By the way, Jake is going to make all of $750K this year. Somebody better back up the dump truck full ‘o’ dough, I don’t want this guy making his escape out of here…

Last night saw the resurgence of the bats and the arm of Brian Lawrence. The squad was out in force last night hitting the ball all over the yard. Run production was high, as were the hit totals. Hell, even most of the outs were hit hard. Brian pitched 8 strong, gave up 6 hits and 2 runs both earned. But, I have to rain praise down upon the Lawrence, here he was trudging along generating an ERA that was touching the high points on a 1 to 10 scale and went out last night, ignored all the rumblings and pitched very well. Good pitching is when you let the defense take care of you, he struck out just two, walked none and lowered the ERA from 8.38 to 5.60. Still got some work to do before he gets to where he wants to be I am sure, but another start or two like last night and he is well on his way.

The Bats….

Everyone hit last night. I thinks Giles suffered the only 0’fer of the evening, but every time he was up he was tagging the baseball, it just so happens he was tagging it right to the guys wearing the bad uni’s out there. Loretta was knocking the ball around like Tawny Kitaen’s husband, and so was the newest likeable Padre, Geoff Blum. Ramon continues to beat the ball like a birthday piƱata, and really, he has been one of just a couple of guys assaulting the baseball. Fun game to watch last night. Made me reminisce about last year’s team.

Tonight, it’s the Bums again. I do however get to try out my new seats at the Petco for the first time. Gotta go wipe the new off the front row out by third. I think that we can improve on that complete game shutout that Derek Lowe pitched against us this past weekend. We will in fact see…

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Friday's Quick Hits... a day late

Welcome to the first edition of the Friday baseballing Quick Hits... one day late...

-Umm, three hits off of Derek Lowe at Dodger Stadium last night. Awesome. One was by the pitcher. We were in this game all night long. It was much closer than the three hits (did I mention one by the pitcher) would indicate.
-Someday I would like someone to explain to me what sarcasm is.
-Gary Sheffield. Yeah I know. I will be brief. Not guilty. To the fan, marginally guilty. What bothers me is that Sheffield said that the only thing going through his mind was the Artest incident. He didn't react differently because he didn't want to wind up like Artest. Does that mean that if the Artest thing never happened we might have had World War III out in right field at Fenway on Thursday night? It certainly looked to me like Sheffield had his fist balled up ready to throw it around pretty recklessly after he got rid of the ball. Had that happened the Yankees might have had to forfeit the rest of the season due to an influx of players put on the DL for being dead. That's all I am saying.
-The Padres. Oh boy. I am not seeing anything resembling the team that was on the field last year. Our starting pitching has been diminished significantly and the bats are very soft right now. We are not going to be able to compete with the Dodgers if we keep playing like this. I don't want to say we suck, but we are no better than a third place team right now. 85 wins here we come...

More 0f us vs. Eric Neel's bums tonight.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

You Spin Me Right Round, Baby, Right Round.

I know I'm being a bit of a cynic with a side of broken record here, but it certainly looked like ole Boch decided to give one away yesterday rather than take a shot at glory. Maybe I'm uninformed here, though, so if anyone can tell me why he flip flopped Peavy and Lawrence for yesterday's games I'd appreciate it. Now I know that Wood and Prior are both supposed to be good pitchers, but Prior is supposed to be the new prototype. Wouldn't that mean he's better, when he's on? So why would we put our defending ERA champ up against him, in what would have been his regular spot? I suppose he might have thought that Prior wouldn't be efficient in his first start. I don't know. Anything's possible I suppose. Well, you got one convincing win, followed by a beating, instead of being in both games, and now you're best guy will likely miss the red hot Dodgers. Good call? And for those of you who say I should be happy to take the series, piss off. They swept us at home last year, and I don't think it is too much to ask for some sweet retribution.

Oh, and, way to be clutch in the middle of the line-up again guys. Good teams would have come back against that bullpen late in the second game. Good teams.

Double Dip Roundup...

Double dip at the old gum factory in Chicago yesterday. Game one featured our Cy Young candidate Jake battling against one of Cubbielands fan favorites in Kerry Wood. And yes I conveniently got the match up wrong yesterday. Of course, because of the unusual starting time out there at the field or “ocean according to Kruk”, the game was marginalized to Sportscenter. At which time I expected them to depart from what is the most overblown storyline of 2005, Yanks, Red Sox, but to no avail, that was the lead and I had to sit through basketball highlights as well before getting to the goods of the day.

Highlights of course were Cub biased and showed game 2 before game 1. Which made little to no sense to me but alas I am no program director, so I got to see how magnificent Mark Prior is and how lowly the Padres are and how great Mark Prior is in slow motion with K-Zone and all of that. Okay, he’s good, he pitched well, we lost, move on. Just move on to game one now Sportcenter.

Game One was more of the same. The picture was painted via the “highlights” by how poorly Kerry Wood pitched. Which may in fact be true. What wasn’t shown was how well our Cy candidate pitched. They showed Mr. Wood floundering and getting taken deep. There was no mention of Jake or his line for the day. In fact, at the graphics portion of the highlight, they once again showed Wood’s line. I had to go and search today to see how Jake threw the pill. Message to the people who run the “Mothership” over there:

-There are many more teams than the Yankees and Red Sox out there.
-There are many baseball fans who don’t give a(n) (edit) about either one of them.
-Tell both sides of a game’s story. If a pitcher (Jake) pitches well, and is considered by many a Cy candidate, tell me how he pitched today, especially if he wins, which he did. Morons. Again all together now. Morons.

The only pitch I saw Jake throw was one that was hammered into the gap that Adam Hyzdu body splashed for out in left, got up and doubled off Derek Lee at second. Great play Adam.

Since ESPN doesn’t want to share here is Jake’s line from yesterday:

7.0, 6 hits, 2 runs, 2 earned, 1 walk, 7 K’s.

For anyone keeping track that’s:

13.2 IP, 10 hits, 2 runs, 3 walks, 17 K’s for the season thus far.

His WHIP is less than 1. Pretty darned good Jake. Now go have a talk with Lawrence and get him straightened out. Off day today more later…

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The Roundup...

Long weekend turns short as activities including family and weddings take up much of the already at a premium free time. Not too much was missed as the beloved squad managed a meager split with the less than mediocre Pirates. As the bats remain relatively cool, the mental mistakes and failure in the execution of the fundamentals are the talk of the town. I for one would not be me if I didn’t point this out and make it a mountain out of a mole hill, yet I feel the need to cut the guys some slack early on. We are in fact only seven games into what will be the 85 win majestic season of ’05. So listen up fellas, you have exactly about eight more games before this stuff really gets serious. Get out the steel wool and the rust remover and get it together and start playing the baseball we all know you are more than capable of.

Notes from the weekend:
-Apparently my seats at the Petco are very nice and I am looking forward to seeing a game there soon. Next Wednesday in fact.
-Weddings that bump you from your new season seats are okay if in fact they are put together like the one we attended this past Saturday night. It was a blast, the drinks flowed like wine, digital cameras across the land clicked and flashed and were left behind with astounding consistency.
-Taxi Cabs were a premium over this weekend. Long walks were the norm.
-Congrats to the happy couple, having lots more fun than we are down in Mexico. Jealously is bad. But hopefully souvenir t-shirts will soak up some of that pain.

Rained out baseball on Tuesdays suck. Double headers on Wednesdays are pretty cool. Jake v. Prior today and Lawrence v. Wood. Tough day of baseballing ahead of us. More later…

Friday, April 08, 2005

Looked Like a Baseball Game, Only Longer

So, opening night came and went. Slowly. Very slowly. In fact, as I am a baseball purist, no hitters and shutouts might earn enough credit for wish number three from a hot bikini clad genie. But that game was just dreadful. I longed to turn the channel and find something that would better occupy my time. I searched for a home makeover show in the hopes of finding one that would allow me to watch paint dry on t.v. Alas it was not meant to be. I was stuck. So I watched on, and as I watched I saw some early likes and dislikes for the newborn season.

Starting with the positives:
-Jake Peavy going after everyone. 6+ , ten strikeouts, zero runs. Good Jake.
-Outfielders making very tough plays. Some separating shoulders for the good of the team.
-The New Ball Park. Still so cool.
-The crowd. They were into it. Well, at least for the first two and a half hours.
-The idea of the game. As mentioned, shutouts are usually good. It was entertaining for 6 innings.
-Brian Giles looking the same size as he was in 2004. I was a bit concerned that he might have talked with Canseco once or twice. Nice to be proven wrong.
-Being a first time season ticket holder.

And now the dislikes:
-The New Ball Park. Wait.
-The coaching. Yeah, here we go. I know it’s game three they are rusty too.
-The people blabbing away on their cell phones behind home plate. “Can you believe I’m at a baseball game?” You are in the best seats in the park, watch the damned game. Idiots.
-3 hours 39 minutes of Matt and Mark and Tony trying to make this thing interesting. Do you know who Kevin Maas is? I remember now.
-This whole “X” Nady thing. That might be the worst nickname given to a Padre. Knock that off before it sticks. I won’t be a part of it.
-Having to give away my first season tickets on Saturday for something as trivial as some stupid wedding. Man. I hate that. Stupid weddings, with three open bars until midnight. There had better be a t.v. there.

Man. This new ball park is great. I love it. I love it so. I also hate it. A lot. It’s as if we have learned nothing from last year about the homestead. This is a ridiculously tough place to hit. Colorado showed that you can do just about anything out there and score ten runs. Yeah, well welcome back to reality guys. This place was a graveyard last night, the ball just died all over the park. (Joke about the Pope’s pallbearer’s edited for decency) If we are to improve on that stupendous 42-39 record at home from the rookie campaign, then we are going to have to start hitting, or start playing small ball. We are going to have to win a bunch of extra inning one run games. I am a bit skeptical that we can do that with this staff. Don’t get me wrong, I want to see us make it happen, believe me, but I am being overpaid here to give an opinion of what I think is going to happen. I don’t want to be right. It’s a good thing I usually enjoy those low to no scoring affairs, cause we are going to see a lot of ‘em.

The coaching. There was one good decision and one bad. Pulling Jake in the 6th was the right thing to do. First start, 6+ innings and his control was just starting to slip. Get him out of there, save his arm for the season. Good move. Then it happened. I got all giddy inside about the tenth inning because the torture was on the verge of ending. STILL zero to zero and we manage to pack two bags with nobody out. The current number eight hitter was Sean Burroughs and I saw bunt in the future. Then, out of no where, there was no bunt. No bunt attempt. Not one. Pop fly for out number one. He of the horrible nickname managed to get his stomach ailment in check long enough to get off the pot and go for what I though would be a bunt attempt. Once again, no bunt. No bunting. Hey, pop flies are in season though. The replacement for separated shoulders in center field strikes out, and there goes the inning. I thought to myself Boch really wants us to get our opening day’s worth here. Hey, it’s only the home opener of a four game set with an inferior team that we should beat four times in a row if we are any good. Let’s use every arm in the bullpen the first night. Good idea. Two more innings later, after two more pitchers, and way too many pitches to even keep track of while trying to prop my eyelids open, this thing was finally put to bed with an u-g-l-y sacks full walk for a W. We got the win. But it was about as satisfying as a warm beer on a cold, rainy, beach. Hopefully there will be less ugliness and more runs tonight as we rewind this thing.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Opening Doh'...

Not like it shouldn’t have been expected but the Pads dropped their first heartbreaker yesterday out in Kobeland. There are many places that you don’t really want your pitchers starting off the season, but Colorado has to be number one on that list. Imitation Ball Park in an imitation city, with imitation air. On top of that the pitchers are still working to get the off season beers and brats off their scales and knock the rust off of their elbows. Great confidence builder starting out there in Kobeland, and it showed. Padres 0-1 with one more in Denver then home, thankfully. Although the bats were impressive there, let’s reserve judgment until, say, halfway through the season. Good. Moving on…

Woody has never really been what they would call dominant in Denver, and almost all pitchers have issues there. And Trevor knows what is normally routine is far from it in the thin air. You may be having a solid spring or a great season, and it only takes one start out in Colorado to unravel the best. Thin air makes a baseball do funny things like fly way too darned far when popped up. You’ve all heard that one I am sure, but it also does things to a pitcher’s breaking ball. Or, well, doesn’t do things to it. Thin air equals less resistance equals less movement on breaking pitches. Just the facts of physics here people, and as how that is the extent of my physics knowledge, enough science, let’s get back to baseball. When your breaking pitches aren’t doing just that, they flatten out and get hammered to all parts of a ball park that are just too big. I have mentioned this before in some forum or another, but the outfield in Kobeland is just too big. Move the fences in and let the outfielders have a chance at playing the jam shots and bloops that fall in because of the enormity of the field. Home runs are home runs there for the most part; the majority of the scoring comes from single after single after single that just can't be defended because the outfielders don’t have rockets up their asses.

This leads me to my next meaningless point. How many times have you had a discussion with people you hardly know over a couple of cold beers about the greatest feats in baseball (or insert sporting event here)? Barry’s 73 home runs, prior to that was McGuire’s 70 and Sammy’s concoction of cork and steroids, I mean 66. All those things are great. Cy Young’s 512 wins, Nolan’s no hitters and strikeouts, Pete’s 4200+ Hall of Fame Less hits. You know the best of the best. But the one true feat that may also never be touched or improved upon, steroids or not, is one that happened on a rainy night in Colorado. The night that Hideo Nomo pitched a no hitter there. And it is by far, one of the greatest accomplishments that has ever taken place on a baseball diamond. Even better than that night last October that Major League Baseball let the Farrely brothers shoot the end of their movie about the Red Sox and allowing them to be celebrating on the field with the Red Soxes. Oh, that Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore just bleed Red Sox Nation don’t they? I am just sweating in my chair as we speak with anticipation of that film…

More Kobeland on Wednesday. Adam needs a nickname is on the hill…

Friday, April 01, 2005

April Brings May...

Obviously sometimes it takes a little pressure to bring out the best in someone. Yesterday, in a 4-1 loss to the Mariners, Darrel May went six strong, giving up five hits and striking out five Seattlers, and facing, get this, just three batters over the minimum. Either the pitchy coach had a little talk with Darrell about job security and paychecks, or he has started to feel like it’s time to be a professional baseball player and pitch like one. Nice work Mr. May.

As for the rest of the squad, no one did diddly pooh, as most of the first teamers were on the plane home. Not too many regulars were there, and the couple that were didn’t do much. Ahhh pre-season baseball…

It’s funny lately in our division. All of the rumblings of the prognosticators are in agreement on one thing:
A) Our division is terrible. Terrible in that really terrible kind of way.
2) The entire thing is up for grabs, no one can really make a positive evaluation of how this thing is going to play out in ’05.

Yeah, I know that’s two things, get over it. Point is, the top three, which I believe to be San Francisco, US, and the Dodger Bums, are the contenders right now. In my opinion, correct or incorrect as it may be, that will be the finishing order at the end of the season. It will be close. Very close. Who really knows if Arizona will show up or not? And at this point, who really cares?

Happy Weekending to one and all.