At the beginning of the year I had a bleak possibility in front of me: we might be able to afford only one game. But I was very blessed to squeeze out 3 games and two special events with the Padres.
FRIARFEST 2008: In late January, we headed down to Petco Park for Friarfest. We got Chase Headley’s and Randy Ready’s autographs, plus pictures of many other players. After that we got to take a tour of the exercise room and clubhouse. We also caught glimpses of the manager’s office, the trainer’s room, and the cafeteria. The clubhouse was so cool to see. Not much of the players’ stuff was there, but it was really neat to see where our boys essentially live. Then we went into the dugout and onto the field. We walked around the warning track and crashed into the outfield walls. It was so much fun, and I can’t wait to go again next year!
GAME 1 vs MARINERS: On June 27, some of my close friends provided me with a wonderful ticket to a seat in the second section behind home plate. They were amazing seats. The game was kind of crazy. The Mariners left 18 runners on, but they prevailed and won 5-2. Chase Headley hit a two-run bomb, which was really cool. It was 1978 Retro Night, which was very interesting. Despite the loss, I had a great time, and I thoroughly enjoyed the seats.
BRECT BMW EVENT: On a Saturday afternoon pressing 100 degrees, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Tony Clark convened at a car dealership to sign autographs. Yeah, it was really hot. Both Kouz and Tony were very friendly, signing a lot of autographs and posing for pictures. There were also free Chick-Fil-A sandwhiches. The Chick-Fil-A cow made an apperance as well, wearing a bulky cow suit in, like I said, 100+ degree weather. I felt so bad for the guy. Anyway, it was really neat to see TC before he was traded, and of course, it’s always a pleasure for me to see Kouz.
GAME 2 vs. BREWERS: August 14th, this was a beautiful Thursday afternoon, a 2-for-1 day, and Jake Peavy pitching. Doesn’t get much better than that. It was a pretty slow game until the 7th. Then the Brewers were able to scratch a run off of Jake. But in the bottom half, we got to Ben Sheets. We got three runs. Heath pitched the 8th. I had never seen Trevor pitching in person in a save situation, so I was REALLY excited. He was really sharp. He did allow a home run to Mike Cameron, but we won 3-2. I was really pumped. Also, that was Trevor’s 550th save. Wow, it was a really fun, exciting, and satisfying game.
GAME 3 vs. GIANTS: We got to Petco about an hour before the game on September 11. We watched the Giant’s BP (boring), then went to the Beach. Nick Hundley walked out and started his running. He threw me a ball, my first and only of the year. It was a great game for the Padres. We were able to get 5 runs in the bottom of the first, thanks to a 3-run homer from Adrian Gonzalez. Josh Geer threw a really good game. Adrian hit another homer, older brother Edgar hit a homer, and Drew Macias got his first homer. We won 11-3. It was so much fun to be out in the outfield, to watch Will Venable and Aaron Rowand. I would definitely recommend the Beach. It’s a really good spot.
So, as you can see, I did have a lot of fun this season. I got 5 player autographs (Chase Headley, Kouz, TC, Heath Bell, and Justin Hampson), 1 ball, and at least 600 pictures. It was a good year.
Here’s my choices for Padres awards. Please be aware that I made some of these up.
MVP: Adrian Gonzalez. You can’t argue with 36 home runs and 119 RBIs.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Chase Headley. He is our top prospect, and he showed us why. I think he will be a star in the future. HONORABLE MENTION: Edgar Gonzalez and Will Venable.
VETERANS OF THE YEAR: Trevor Hoffman with his 30 saves in 34 opportunites. Brian Giles had a great, solid year, and it looks like he will be back next year.
COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Even though he didn’t win it in the National League, he was a very eligible candidate. Jody Gerut came back to the majors after not playing for two years, and put together a marvelous season. Unfortunately, he missed the last month because of a sprained finger.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Kevin Kouzmanoff. His play at third was the best of any Padre, I think. Anything that came his way, he would make a great attempt at it. It was incredible.
RELIEVER OF THE YEAR: Gotta be Mike Adams. The guy went out there on a regular basis, threw strikes and got people out. He was a huge positive on this pathetic team.
SUPRISES OF THE YEAR: After playing in the minors for 8 years, Edgar Gonzalez finally got the chance to play for his hometown team with his younger brother, Adrian. Edgar filled in nicely for the injured Tadahito Iguchi at second, and also swung a great bat. And Jody Gerut, what a great pickup he was! Filling in for the injured Jim Edmonds, Jody played wonderful defense. He was also great at the plate.
MOST PATHETIC PLAYER OF THE YEAR: I can’t tell you how bad this signee was. Yep, it’s Jim Edmonds. He’s old, Petco Park is too big for him, and he was injured. It was horrible.
DISAPPOINTMENT OF THE YEAR: Khalil Greene. After such a great 2007, expectations were pretty high for Khalil. He absolutely failed at the plate. His defense was average. He finally took out his frustration on a storage box and broke his left hand. So he missed the rest of the season. But Luis Rodriguez took his place and did a fantastic job.
FLOPS OF THE YEAR: I know this is kind of mean, but these people who made us lose need to be reconized: Tadahito Iguchi, Randy Wolf, Wil Ledezma, Joe Thatcher, Charlie Haegar, Michael Barrett, Colt Morton, Luke Carlin, Tony Clark, Callix Crabbe, and Justin Huber.