December 2008

Padres, Rain, and Christmas

There is not much going on in baseball right now. Well, the Yankees signed A.J. Burnett, I guess that’s big news. The Padres non-tendered Clay Hensley and Charlie Haegar recently. Now, Haegar I can understand. He is a knuckleballer, and not too good at it. He lost at least 3 games for us, I’d say. It was kind of sick. But Clay Hensley is a bit of a head-scratcher. Clay is a fairly good pitcher, and he’s been with the Padres for quite a while. But he has been riddled with injuries for the past few years. It’s kind of sad, because he is a great guy, but obviously the Padres don’t have him in their plans.

Speaking of plans, let’s take a look at the Padres rotation for 2009. We will (hopefully) have Jake Peavy, Chris Young, and Cha Sueng Baek. From what I’ve heard, the other two spots will be filled by young guys who pitched with us in ’08, like Josh Geer. I am guessing that the other spot will be filled by a young pitcher. We’ll probably get to look at a lot of guys in Spring Training. Wade LeBlanc and Chad Reinike might get some looks, but it’s very likely that we will get another starter sometime this offseason.

The weather is so beautiful here in San Diego. It is raining like crazy, and it’s supposed to rain all day. I absolutely love the rain. It’s like amazing.

Well, it’s certainly starting to feel like Christmas, even in San Diego. I have three Christmas parties this week…

 

Jake still a Padre (for now)!!!

For the past three months, the Padres have been trying to trade Jake Peavy. A deal with the Atlanta Braves fell through, and now a deal with the Cubs has fallen through. They talked all through the Winter Meetings, but yesterday the Cubs withdrew from the deal. So, we are still burdened by Jake’s $11 million salary for next year. There is a little talk about the Angels being interested, but I think Texiera and Burnett need to get signed before Jake can move. Kevin Towers said that if Jake didn’t get traded by the end of the Winter Meetings, they will most likely pull him off the block, for the fans’ sake and for his. If a deal’s going to be made, it’s gotta be made soon. This is very unfair to the fans, the team, Jake and his agent to keep it going. Let me tell you, I am so relieved that Jake didn’t get traded yesterday. I wasn’t able to check all day, and eventually I panicked, convinced that he had been traded. But then I got to check, and it was soo relieving to see that the deal was off. But I still can’t relax, cause Jake might very well still be going somewhere.

The Padres got two players in the Rule 5 draft. Ivan Nova, a pitcher, and Everth Cabrera, a shortstop. Both guys look like very good players.

The MLBLOGS leaders for the year came out this week. I got #74 and #90. Hmmm. Well, it is really cool to be on the list, I have absolutely loved blogging here. It’s pretty cool.

The weather next week in San Diego is going to be in the 50s. I am so excited, because I abslolutely love cold weather. It’s going to be amazing.

Well, the Winter Meetings are over. But things are happening like crazy. Lots of deals are going to made in the next few weeks.  GO PADRES!!!

     

Winter Meetings News

OK, enough dwelling on the past. Baseball is hopping right now, with rumors flying like crazy.

JAKE PEAVY: There is a deal really close to being done with the Cubs and another team, most likely the Phillies. The Padres would get a lot of good players, but I still don’t want him to go. I have heard so many things, I have no idea what’s true or not. On the Padres website it looks like this thing could get done like today. But I heard on the radio that the Cubs think this is kind of getting ridiculous. If a deal’s going to get made, it’s going to be in the next 48 hours. If not, Kevin Towers has said the he will take Jake off the block, for the sake of the fans and Jake himself. So if we can get through the next 48 hours with no go, Jake will probably be our Opening Day starter. You have no idea what a relief that is to this Padres fan. We’ve been riding this since the end of the season, and we just want to keep Jake. But a deal still could get done. So we’ll just have to see.

TREVOR HOFFMAN: Trev has talked to the Mets, but with the signing of K-Rod, he won’t be going to then this year. The Indians also had some interest, but now it’s reported that they are signing Kerry Wood. So, our famous closer is still out of work. Manager Bud Black had spoken positively about getting Trevor back to San Diego, but he’s not the one who has the money. I think Trevor could come back, but it might be a little tense. I just hope he doesn’t sign with the Dodgers. Oh, no, please not the Dodgers!

GREG MADDUX: The Professor retired on Monday. He was an incredible player, a great guy. I really enjoyed having him here in San Diego. His fielding and hitting were the things that really got me. He was so good, and it was so cool to watch him. I remember when he stole the only base we stole one month. It was so cool! He was such an amazing player, and he’s going to the HOF as soon as he can. Wow, what a player!

It looks like CC has signed with the Yankees. I think there will be lots of moves today!

I want to point to two articles: One is a supplement to my game 163 entry. In March, Trevor Hoffman was on the front page of USA Today, and this article is incredible. It is one of the best I have ever read. Wow. Disappointment Aside, Hoffman Still Stands Tall 

The other is this pathetic interview with Bud Black. I don’t think it was done by someone associated with MLB.com, and he doesn’t really know what he’s talking about. Plus, “Bud’s” answers don’t sound like him at all. Read the comments after you read the article. It is plain pathetic. An Interview with Bud Black 

Well, that’s all for now. I may need to check in later… 

Game 163: A Fan’s Perspective

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I know it’s been over a year. I know that what’s over is over, what’s done is done. But it still hurts. So I have a little “unfinished business”: I need to deal with Game 163 for once and for all. For the first and last time on this blog, I will deal with it. I need to let it go.

All baseball fans probably remember this game. It was Monday, October 1, 2007. We had just lost two hard, hard games. On Saturday, Trevor Hoffman had a one run lead, two outs, and a runner at third. He had a 1-2 count on Tony Gwynn Jr. We were one strike away from the playoffs. But the next pitch, which was low, was shot down the left field line. We eventually lost in extras. That was hard. Then on Sunday we lost, so, on Monday, we had to play a tiebreaker for the wild card against the Rockies at Coors Field.

It was a super emotional game for me. I was actually at a dance class during the majority of it, so I didn’t know what was happening. But I did get to hear Adrian Gonzalez’s grand slam. I was so excited and I had so much energy it was insane. I did get to check the game once in a while. I couldn’t believe it was still going. Looking back, I really should have stayed home, But when I finally did get home, it was nerve-wracking. I went into my room with the radio blaring. I think I got back around the 11th inning. When Scott Hairston hit the 2-run homer, I was so excited, as in, jumping around my room excited. I could hardly believe that we could really be getting this. Right after the homer, rookie Chase Headley got a single, and I really wanted the guys to get him in. Trevor had had a rough weekend, and I was hoping he could have bigger cushion. But no. So he came into the bottom of the 13th with a 8-6 lead. He got destroyed by the Rockies. Let me tell you, they were on absolute fire. It was unbelieveable. During that 13th, I held on to hope as long as I could. But it was not to be, and I was devistated. I cried for a good half hour, and then I had to go brush my teeth. I thought it was so weird. I mean, here my team just got brutally eliminated, and I have to go on with life and brush my teeth.

It took me a long time to recover from that game. I couldn’t watch the highlights for quite a long time, especially the last play. I would always break down to see Trevor get bashed around like that. My friend recorded the game, and when I finally made myself watch it, it was so hard. Especially watching the Rockies celebration. They were so detestable in my eyes. I finally had to stop it when they were talking to all the players afterwards. I know for many people it was so cool that this underdog team won in such an exciting manner, but for me it was pure pain. I rooted against the Rockies all throught the postseason. I don’t hate them anymore, though. The pain was so fresh, and I couldn’t root for the team that inflicted it. But it made me a Red Sox fan, so I am thankful for that. I started wearing black, and I don’t like wearing bright colors to this day. Last year was a tough, tough offseason. (Just FYI, that was my “obsessed” stage. Things are much different now.)

The Game was a reflection of our season. It seemed like every Padre in that dugout played in that game. The rookies, the veterans, they were all there. Even the broken-fingered Mike Cameron was out there, running the bases and playing center. Bud Black pulled out all the stops, and he played the game like it was his last. And it was.

We had our ace, Jake Peavy, out there. He was so sharp all season. We had pretty much the same infield. Adrian Gonzalez, Geoff Blum, Khalil Greene, Kevin Kouzmanoff. Josh Bard had caught the majority of Jake’s games, and he was out there again. The outfield was the same way it had been in the last few days.

We showed the resiliance that we had shown all year. Adrian’s grand slam represented the incredible 30 home run 100 RBI season he had. Jake did not do well. He gave up too many runs too early. These Padres hung on all the way to the 13th, when Scotty hit the two-run homer. He had been hitting walk-offs ever since we got him in an incredible deal. Heath “Workhorse” Bell was out there for the longest stint of his season, and he held them to nothing. Joe Thatcher, who came in a trade that upset some players, pitched a couple of scoreless innings. He was in line for the win if we had won it. All the players threw their guts in the game, but it wasn’t enough. After Scotty’s homer, Trevor Hoffman came into the game. The Padres were excited. They thought they were going to win this, and why shouldn’t they? The all-time saves leader was going out there to try to save it for them. Yeah, he had had a rough weekend, but they knew that he wanted this as much as they did. Besides, he’d done it 524 times, so why can’t he do it again?

But it was not to be. I don’t know what happened to him, but something was not right with Trevor Hoffman that night. Maybe it was Michael Barrett, the catcher. Maybe Trevor had done something that messed him up. Or maybe it was simply the Rockies. They were unstoppable.

So Trevor promptly gave up two runs and a triple. Here’s the situation: Holliday at third with Jamey Carroll at the plate, with no outs (They had intentionally walked Todd Helton, but that run didn’t matter). We Padres fans are holding on for dear life, hoping that Trevor can somehow leave the game tied. Carroll hits a ball to the right fielder, Brian Giles, who throws it perfectly to the plate. Holliday is sliding in and Barrett is blocking the plate. The ball comes in, Barrett doesn’t get it, Holliday doesn’t touch the plate, and the umpire doesn’t make the call. Barrett scrambles for the ball to tag Holliday, but the ump signals safe.

That’s it. Padres season over. Padres fans devistated. One city torn apart, while the other is filled with rejoicing. A dream crushed for one team, but a dream realized for the other.

A group of men devistated. Particulary one, who stands in front of his locker surrounded by reporters, fighting back tears, taking all the blame onto himself. It wasn’t entirely Trevor’s fault. The whole team lost, the whole team failed. And yet, Trevor takes all the blame, everything. That’s so beautiful in the midst of this pain.

It hurt so bad. But you know, it’s over. The Rockies didn’t win it all. The Padres survived the offseason and the season. What’s over is over, what’s done is done. This game was one of the best played game in years. It was so amazing, so heartbreaking.

Looking back, we weren’t meant to win that game, to go to the postseason. It wasn’t meant to be, and so I am finally OK with it. I am finally over it.

  

To Change or Not to Change…

…that is the question. So, I’ve been thinking about changing the title of my blog and I was wondering what you all thought. As most of you probably don’t know, this blog is named “Unfinished Business” based on a quote by Padres General Manager Kevin Towers at the beginning of the season regarding Game 163 in 2007. As you’ll find out in my next entry, Game 163 impacted me deeply. But now, we don’t have the unfinished business anymore. We failed. And so, I feel like I should change the name of my blog at the beginning of 2009. I have a new name ready and everything, but what do you think?

The Winter Meeting start today. If Jake is going to be traded, it’s going to be during these meetings. It appears that the Cubs are the most interested, but I think the Braves will at least talk a little more. Things will be happening this week. Let the games begin!

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40 Years of Padres Baseball

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Next year, the Padres will be celebrating their 40th anniversary. It’s pretty amazing that they have been here for so long. There have been a lot of bad years of San Diego baseball, but there have also been a few great ones.

The Padres were a minor league team until they got accepted into the National League in 1968. They made their major league debut in 1969 at San Diego Stadium. In 1974, Ray Kroc bought the Padres, thus preventing them from moving to Washington D.C. In 1982, Tony Gwynn made his major league debut. In 1984, the Padres went to their first World Series, but fell 4 games to 1 against the Tigers. 1998 was very possibly the best year in Padres history. We had a ton of amazing players like Trevor Hoffman, Tony Gwynn, Kevin Brown, Sterling Hitchcock and Greg Vaughn. Trevor got 53 saves in 54 chances that year. WOW. We got to the World Series, but the Yankees swept us in 4. It was an amazing year.

In 2004, we moved to Petco Park. The young Padre Jake Peavy had 15 wins that year. In 2005, we won the NL West. Unfortunately, we got eliminated by the Cardinals in the first round. We also won the West in 2006, but again were foiled by the Cardinals. Cla Meredith, Adrian Gonzalez, and Chris Young had great years.

In 2007, we made it to a one-game playoff against the Rockies, which we lost in 13 innings. And ’08 was bad.

The thing that sticks out the most about the Padres over the years is their inability to do well in the playoffs. We’ve made it to only two World Series and we’ve won 5 championships. The people of San Diego want a world championship. And I see it happening the near future. We will get our World Championship someday.

Meanwhile, it’s going to be a fun celebration of 40 years of Padres baseball next year. I am very excited. The Padres haven’t been that good, but we the people of San Diego have baseball. We have a beautiful ballpark. And sometime soon, we will have a world champion team.   

A Tribute to Greenie

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Khalil Greene, shortstop, was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for two pitchers on Thursday, December 4, 2008.

 Khalil, San Diego has loved having you here. You are a great player. You don’t get too emotional, but we love that about you. You’ve been with Padres for your entire baseball career, 6 years. The Padres drafted you in 2002. You came up all the way through the Padres system, making your major league debut in 2003. You were there when we won two straight pennants. You played in game 163, and you almost made it through 2008. 2007 was so exciting. You had a wonderful year, one that earned you the Padres’ MVP honor. But I don’t know what happened this year. You went into a huge slump, but know that we were rallying you all the way. After every homer that you hit, we always said, “Maybe this is the one that will break him out of the slump.” We wanted you to succeed so badly. The thing we’ve probably loved most about you is your defense. Some of your plays will go down in the Padres highlight reel forever. You are absolutely stellar over at shortstop. I love watching you play there. It was a joy to witness those incredible plays.

Khalil, thank you so much for your 6 years with the Padres. We’ve loved having you here. Though it is time for you to move on, I am glad that you had some great years here. I’ll be keeping track of you through the internet. And I’ll miss you a lot, Khalil. NO ONE can replace you. Have fun in St. Louis!  

Greenie Traded to Cardinals

The Padres have made a move. It was reported on padres.com this morning that shortstop Khalil Greene has been traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for two relievers. I really hope they are very good relievers. If we can’t get Trevor locked up, we will need more solid guys in the back of the bullpen.

I am kind of sad about this trade. I’ve loved having Khalil here. Yeah, he’s quiet, unemotional and gloomy, but we love him here. He’s a stellar shortstop. Some of his plays will be forever lodged in the Padres highlights reel. Man, 2007 was his incredible year. He was so solid, and he was a key piece in getting us to game 163. This year he was horrible, no doubt about it. Nothing was clicking. But we got to see a lot more emotion from him than we ever had. I was so disappointed when he punched that storage bin. But it figures. It was right after his 100th strikeout of the season. I will miss him.

So now we are shortstop-less. We have Luis Rodriguez, but his first position is second base. Now that we are rid of Khalil’s $6.5 million, it might give us a chance to keep Jake. But then again, the Padres might want to get a shortstop in a Peavy deal. Maybe they will go back to the Braves. I am very excited about the other side of the deal, our two relievers. Like I said, if Trev goes and Heath Bell moves to the closing role, we will need more bullpen depth. I hope they are respectable major-league ready pitchers. I don’t want guys who I have never heard of. But hey, if they can pitch and help us, bring them on. 

Our Ruthless Uncaring Rude Pathetic Front Office, etc etc

IMG_0519.JPGSo, the latest news is that the Padres didn’t even offer arbitration to Trevor Hoffman, baseball’s all-time saves leader and 15-year Padre. It’s pathetic. Now, I don’t really understand arbitration too well. But I guess if the Padres had offered it to him and he signed with another team, we would get more prospects in the draft or something. If they had offered it and he accepted, he would have been with the Padres, and had a higher salary. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s basically my grasp of it. All I know is, it means that the Padres don’t want Trevor, and the Padres won’t even try to get some picks for him. It’s making me go crazy. I mean, there’s a total lack of communication on both side. Trevor says the front office hasn’t contacted him. Sandy Alderson says they have. There is almost no possible way that Trev could come back. But I haven’t let it hit me yet. Not until he signs with another team and is truly gone. So, I guess I’m still holding out even though it is SO unlikely, “99-to-1″, Trevor says.   

On the Jake side, Atlanta just got a new starting pitcher. That means that they might not need Jake. But the Cubs seem like the more likely club to get him though, probably with another team. But why would Jake want to pitch for the Cubs? The Winter Meetings are coming up. Jake’s probably going to be traded then. It is sad.

But you know, there is some hope for the season ahead. There was a mention of outfielder Scott Hairston in the latest Padres article. Even if you didn’t follow the Padres last year, you might have heard of the guy. Our outfield situation was shaky all year. Jim Edmonds was a flop, and when we finally got rid of him, we replaced him with Jody Gerut. The Padres had seen him tearing it up in winter ball. He had not played baseball for 2 years because of surgery on both knees. But he deserved to be with us all year, and he was great. He played most of the time in center. Right field was patrolled by Brian Giles. But in left, we had rookie Chase Headley. Chase first learned how to play left in January 2008. He was our everyday left fielder by June. But our backup outfielder, Scott Hairston, was a huge part of this team. In 2007, we got him in a great trade with the Diamondbacks. Bad move on Arizona’s side. They did win the division, but it would have been easier if they hadn’t traded Scotty to us. He hit 2 or 3 amazing walk-off homers, and was solid in the outfield. He was the one who got that 2-run homer in the top of the thirteenth during game 163. And this year, when he finally got a chance to play, he got so hot, it was unbelievable. He just would not stop. He also had another walk-off for us. Plus, he’s a superb outfielder. So, anyways, the story was saying that he will probably have a higher salary and stuff. And it was really exciting because this guy is an amazing player and a great guy. I love having him on this team. Plus, it will be so exciting to watch rookie catcher Nick Hundley. If we can get a veteran backup catcher for him, he will be great.

So there is a little excitement for this season. Even if we go into it without our ace and our star closer but having a ruthless uncaring rude pathetic front office, we will still get to watch all these exciting young guys. Besides, it’s baseball. And I think we’re all starving for that right now, aren’t we?    

What is Happening to San Diego Sports?

The Padres were absolutely pathetic this year. 99 losses is BAD. But the San Diego disease is moving to their NFL team, the Chargers. They are terrible this year! They are losing at a steady rate, and they will be hard-pressed to make the playoffs. Now, I really don’t care about the Chargers. I don’t care for football in general, but this is just so weird. We have amazing players here. I mean, Jake Peavy, Adrain Gonzalez, LT, Philip Rivers. And yet, the teams are horrible. It is very strange. Last year, 2007, the Padres were one game away from the playoffs. The Chargers came within one game of the Superbowl, I believe. I know that the Chargers fans are not happy. Neither are the Padres fans. What could it be? Is it the front offices? The coaching staffs? The players? I really have no idea, but I blame the front offices. I think the Chargers need to be rebuilding too. How ’bout they trade their best player and San Diego icon, LaDainian Tomlinson? Maybe they can get a few prospects. The two front offices should get together and coordinate to trade LT and Jake on the same day. Maybe Christmas. That would be so lovely for San Diego sports fans. We would probably boycott both teams.

There is also the matter of San Diego teams in the playoffs. The Padres have been to two World Series, lost both of them. The Chargers have been in a Super Bowl, but lost. Whenever San Diego teams even get into the playoffs, they have a hard time going deep. The Padres rarely get past the first round. The Chargers have gone deep, but not deep enough. We have problems.

Maybe it’s the pacific air. Maybe it’s the front offices. Maybe we aren’t cheering loud enough. Whatever it is, it’s unacceptable. San Diego teams are supposed to be good. Players are supposed to want to came here to be on championship-caliber teams. Maybe it’s just an off year. Maybe we’ll get a World Series and a Superbowl in the same year. It might take a while, but San Diego will get their championships. I just hope it’s soon.       

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