January 2009

KOOOOOZ!!!!

I don’t think I’ve ever really dedicated a blog entry to this man. Which is really strange, considering that he’s my favorite Padre all-time. Now, all of you know that I am a huge fan of Trevor Hoffman, and he is one of my favorite players. But notice that he’s ONE of my faves. Yes, there is another player who holds a place in my heart. That man is Kevin Kouzmanoff.
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I love that picture :)

Anyways, this guy is like my celebrity crush. Well, not really. But sort of. The main reason I love Kouz is because of his performance on the field. But I also like him because he’s a great guy off the field. I think we need a story.

It was Friday, September 21, 2007. I went down to the game with three of my friends to celebrate my birthday. We got to the game early, before the gates opened. As we were walking toward the left field gate, we stopped by this place under the Western Metal Supply Building where you can look through a tunnel out onto the field. The Padres were already on the field, so I was trying to check them out. But there was this guy coming towards us and he was blocking our view. Now, you have to understand that there was a glare coming through, so I couldn’t see the guy’s face. But then he rolled a ball under the gate. 

“What’s up?”

I instantly thought, “It’s Marcus Giles!” When I was at another game earlier that year, I had seen a different player walking on the field and I thought he was Marcus too. I though a lot of guys were Marcus that year.

Anyways, this guy was not Marcus Giles. It was Kevin Kouzmanoff. My friends and I were awestruck. We seriously didn’t say a thing to him. We just breathlessly pulled out pens and paper and he signed autographs for us. 

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It was so amazing. I became his biggest fan right after that. During BP that day we also got balls from the groundskeeper and got Trevor Hoffman’s autograph, so it was a pretty amazing night. The game went 14 innings, but the Padres lost 2-1. It was a sad game, but my guy had a few hits, a couple walks, and a hit-by-pitch. It was a lot of fun!

So, that act of kindness to some Padres fans made me a huge fan of him. He’s a really great guy. I love listening to interviews of him, reading articles about him, and watching interviews on him. But most of all, I love watching him play baseball. He’s a stellar third baseman, he’s got a great glove. And he’s been growing in his hitting too. But he does have a chronic back problem, so he has to work really hard to keep himself healthy and able to play. He did have to miss time in the last two seasons because of it, but he takes great care of himself. He’s kind of a quiet guy, he doesn’t talk to the media as much as some guys. I love watching him flash that leather at third. He’s good.

I love “Kooz-ing” when I’m at the ballpark. Similar to the Red Sox’s player Kevin YOOOOOUKalis, we “Kooz” whenever Kouz comes to the plate or makes a great play. It’s a lot of fun. It’s kind of sounds like we’re booing him or mooing like cows. But no. We’re “Koooooz-ing”!! Another thing, I never call him Kevin. That’s just weird. It’s just doesn’t sound right. I mean, Kevin? No, KOOOOOOOOZ!!   

Last year, I had the opportunity to go to an autograph session that Kouz was signing at. It was outdoors, probably over 100 degrees outside. It was hot!! After that encounter at the game, I was very frustrated with myself because I didn’t say anything to him. This time, I wanted to actually say something useful to him. I had no idea what, but I wanted to say something besides “hi” and “thank you”. You know, it really helps if the player is funny and outgoing. When I met AC Green last week, it was really easy to talk to him because he was really funny, and he got a conversation going. But Kouz is not outgoing enough!!! So it’s hard to talk to him. He needs to work on that. Anyways, I got his autograph without saying anything useful to him. Oh well. Maybe I was just too hot to think clearly. Hopefully I will have other chances to really talk to him. 

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There has been a teeny bit of talk that Kouz could get traded this offseason. Our rookie and highest-rated prospect, Chase Headley, is a natural third baseman, but because Kouz has that covered, Chase moved to left field last season. The Padres might eventually want their prized rookie to play his natural position. I would be devastated if they traded my dude, but I think I’m getting used to losing players. That doesn’t make it any easier. But I think Kouz will be sticking around for a while. He doesn’t get that much notice, but he’s a good player. Did you know that he hit a grand slam on the first pitch he ever saw in the major leagues, first AB and first game? Pretty incredible. He’s a great player, and great guy, and I really really like him. I hope he has a wonderful season, and hopefully his shoulder and back will be good all year. Go Kooooooooooz!!!

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Don’t Trade Jake!!!

Uh oh. Here come more problems for the Padres fan. With the imminent sale of the Cubs, the trade talks for Jake Peavy are heating up again.

The talks during the fall were pretty stressing. First we negotiated with the Braves for a long time. It didn’t go through, though Atlanta was able to put together a fairly good package. Then we started talking with the Cubs. The talks intensified during the winter meetings to the point that it looked absolutely certain that he would be traded by the end of that week. But on the last day, the Cubs backed out.

Things were pretty quiet after that. The club said that they would no longer be shopping Jake, but they said that teams could approach them. So, I think Padres fans have kind of assumed that Jake will be the Opening Day starter. Well, at least I hoped that. But now, with less than three weeks until Spring Training, the talks are starting to pick up again.

Now, I believe we are over our $40 million budget right now. I mean, it’s not easy to built a team on that little. But if we trade Jake, we would shed $11 million. It almost looks like we have no choice but to get rid of him. But we really shouldn’t. Two words: the fans.

We’ve already lost two of our stars, our fan faves in Trevor Hoffman and Khalil Greene. Petco Park has these huge posters of our star players around the outside of the park. We’re already going to have to replace two of them.
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We do not want to have replace three of them. I don’t know who they will replace them with though. We already have an Adrian Gonzalez one somewhere. I think they should put up a Kouz one, and maybe Chris Young. Anyways, as Jen would say, I digress.

Point is, as soon as the Cubs get officially sold, the talks with the Padres will probably pick up big-time. Sounds like the Cubs already have a lot of pieces lined up. This deal could very well get done in the next few weeks. Now that would be plain sad. We need our ace. We NEED him. It would not be fair to him or his family to move him right before Spring Training starts. I just want him to stay. I don’t care if he takes up a lot of our salary. He’s the guy now. The Padres’ biggest star, and the one who will draw the most fans. That’s bad for the front office, though, because Jake only pitches every five days. Oh well. The Padres need this guy, on the field, in the clubhouse, and in the community. We’ve lost a lot this offseason. Stop it, Padres. Keep Jake. Keep your fans coming to the stadium. If you trade Jake, you’re going to be hard-pressed to get a good crowd this year. For the sake of your fans and your players, don’t trade Jake.  

Movie Rush: Fireproof

In case you didn’t notice, a new movie is coming out on DVD today. Maybe you didn’t even notice it when it was in theaters. But no worries! It is now on DVD, and you can go out and buy it today!

What is this movie? It’s called Fireproof, and it came out in theaters in the middle of fall. If you missed it, wow did you miss a great movie. It’s about a firefighter named Caleb Holt, whose duty as a firefighter is to “never leave your partner behind”. Things seem to be going pretty well when he’s at the station, but when he gets home, sparks fly between him and his wife. She wants a divorce. Caleb’s father challenges him to the “Love Dare”: a 40-day program that Caleb would use to love his wife. But will Caleb be able to keep his marriage together?
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This movie is excellent. Great action, and a wonderful story. I would recommend it with a LOT of stars. Plus, it stars Kirk Cameron. You know, my family felt so highly about this movie that we went to the theater to see it. Now, that’s saying a lot. The last time I had been to the movie theater before Fireproof in October was early June. And that was with a group! So, we paid a pretty penny, but it was so worth it. I don’t want to give any of the movie away, or else I would be telling you even more how excellent it is. Just go buy it, or at least rent it or borrow it from a friend. I would especially recommend it for married couples, but it is wonderful for everyone else, too.

Now let me tell you about the church that made this movie. They are a congregation from Georgia called Sherwood Baptist Church. Two of their associate pastors Alex and Stephen Kendrick always wanted to make movies. The brothers took over the church’s first project. Their first movie was Flywheel, which was made on a $20,000 budget and an all-volunteer cast. I wouldn’t recommend it that much, because it’s terribly cheesy and the acting is pretty bad. But the second movie was Facing the Giants. Now, it wouldn’t be surprising if you missed that one, but it was in theaters, and it was excellent. You know, you might as well pick up a copy of that while you’re getting Fireproof.

 

facing%20the%20giants.jpgThis one might appeal to the sports fans here more that Fireproof, but still get both. Facing the Giants is about a high school football team who has not had a winning season for a very long time. Coach Grant Taylor is dealing with unrest from the parents of his players, as well as personal problems. When he starts a new team philosophy, will he be able to revive his team? This is a wonderful movie, much better acting than Flywheel. There’s some amazing football action, and what a story!

So get out there today, buy these movies, and support these movies. You will enjoy them a lot, I can guarantee that. I can’t wait to get out and buy Fireproof myself! What a movie. Tell me what you think after you’ve watched them!!

For more info on Fireproof, check out the website: http://www.fireproofthemovie.com/

For more info on Facing the Giants, check out the website: http://www.facingthegiants.com/ 
  

Good-Bye, Trevor!!


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Alright, here I go again. Support group, stand by.

As most of you probably know, Trevor Hoffman was introduced to his new team at the Brewers’ fanfest on Saturday. There are some excellent pictures on Happy’s blog, and I would encourage you to check them out.

I think it’s time for me to let go. Trevor’s a Brewer, that’s not going to change. He’s not going to be in a Padres’ uniform this season. He might not even be in a Padres uniform next season. It’s just going to be so weird to see Heath trot out of that bullpen for the first time in the ninth. What song will they play? They’d better not flash “HEATH TIME” on the scoreboard and blare “Hell’s Bells”. Trevor’s still going to play “Hells Bells”, enter to Trevor Time. It just doesn’t fit. The 9th is going to be very different for Padres fans and Brewers fans alike. Trevor is all we’ve even known in the 9th inning. How will we adjust to Heath? How will the Brewers fans adjust to Trevor? Just watch, Trevor’s going to have 35-40 saves, maybe with an All-Star appearance. He might even win a World Series. Happy’s pictures are definitely going to help, but Trevor’s going to be in the Brewers’ uniform in all of them. It’s just going to be so weird. But it is what it is. Trevor’s a Brewer, and nothing’s going to change that.

Elrond: He is not coming back.

Arwen: There is still hope!!!

Arwen is right. Remember from the Lord of the Rings? Arwen wanted to stay in Middle Earth and wait for her sweetheart to come back from defeating the bad guys.

arwen leaving 2.jpgBut her daddy (Elrond) wanted her to go to the Undying Lands.

elrond.jpgRemember, Arwen is immortal. Aragorn is not. But anyways, the point is, Daddy wanted her to give up. But Arwen wanted to believe that Aragorn would come back. Turns out, she decides to stay, almost dies, and she marries Aragorn and lives happily ever after until he dies.

What does this have to do with Trevor Hoffman, you say? There is still hope that Trevor will come back to San Diego to pitch for the Padres. Slim? Oh yeah. But it’s hope. He declined the second-year option with the Brewers. He wanted to come back to San Diego this year. But things just fell apart. He hasn’t come out and said why he didn’t want the option. Maybe it’s because he’s holding onto the hope of coming back to San Diego. Maybe he’s planning on retiring after the 2009 season. I really don’t know why. But I hope so much that a deal can be reached next year. Hopefully, with a new owner, we will be able to get something done with Trevor. That’s hope, peoples. And until he says otherwise, I will assume that Trevor wants to come back next year. Now, I think I am over Trevor. Can’t guarantee it, but I think I’m good. Thanks support group!!

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AC Green: A Champion in Christ

I met AC Green last night. I know he’s not a baseball player, but there’s not much going on in baseball, and this was a pretty amazing event.

In case you didn’t know, AC Green was a NBA player for 16 years. He is known as the NBA’s Iron Man, much like baseball’s Cal Ripken Jr. Green played in 1,192 straight games, plus practices. This guy was on the court constantly. Those 1,192 games played straight amounted to 15 years without missing a game. Now, that’s pretty amazing. He won four championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, and he was an NBA All-Star.

But probably the thing that he is most known for is his commitment to God and to purity. When he retired after 16 years in the NBA, he was able to say that he was still a virgin.

Anyways, he was speaking for a group that I am part of last night. He was a wonderful speaker. Well, first of all, you’ve got this 6-foot-9-inch guy up on the stage. And he went through his whole talk without notes. I’m sure he’s done it countless times, but still, it’s a great feat to be able to give an hour-long talk without notes. He was very funny. 

He was saying how he still loves to go to Lakers games. But what do you think he loves to watch the most? The offense? The defense? Nope. The vendors. He has to find the perfect seat to be in a good position to get a good vendor. He loves going out to the concession stands. Don’t you ever watch the game? “Oh, look…they’re getting tired. (giggleing) They’re sweating. I don’t have to be out there anymore, thank you Lord!” But if you think about it, that really makes sense. When you’re on the court, when you’re the player, you don’t get to just sit back and enjoy the game. You don’t get to go out and grab a hot dog or popcorn. With how long this guy played, it’s no wonder he loves the concession stands more than the action on the court!

But the most important thing to him, of course, is his faith. He wasn’t able to get through those 16 years and still be a virgin without God. It’s a great story. He encouraged us to keep the faith, through everything that’s going on in our lives. There are going to be a lot of hardships in the years ahead, but as long as we keep our faith in God, He will keep is strong.

Afterwards I went up and shook his hand. He’s a really funny guy. It was very cool to stand right in front of him, you know, he’s so tall! I also got a free copy of his book, Victory. Pre-autographed :)

It was a really neat night. If you want to learn more about AC Green, check out this website for all the info: http://www.acgreen.com/   

#22

In the Latest Leaders this week, I got #22!! Last week, I was #23, so I’m moving along slowly but steadily. In continuation of Jimmy’s “dedication” tradition, I will dedicate this ranking to one Marcus Giles.
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Marcus played with the Padres in 2007. He is Brian Giles’ younger brother, and it was really cool to watch them play together that year. Marcus played second base for the majority of the year, but was released at the end of the ’07 season.

 
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I think he’s the only guy that has had #22 in the last few years, so he’s the man. He signed a minor league deal with the Rockies for 2008, but I think he was released after Spring Training. He spend 2008 just living in San Diego with his wife and three little girls. Just a few weeks ago he was signed by the Phillies and invited to Spring Training. I hope he does very well!

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In other news, the Padres signed a new play-by-play guy: Mark Neely. I think he’s related to bigpapi72, right?

Baseball is coming…I can feel it…but I think I’m going through a bit of writer’s block, so if this entry seemed a little strained, that’s why. I just can’t seem to be writing as well…AHHH!!!

Anyways, thanks to all my readers for getting me to #22. I would love to be able to dedicate a ranking to my favorite player, Kevin Kouzmanoff, soon…he’s #5…

THANK YOU!!

I just want to give out a HUGE thank you to all the people who participated in the support group that met for me today at Tom’s blog: http://rockymountainway.mlblogs.com/archives/2009/01/mlblogs_first_ever_support_gro.html

In case you didn’t know, I’m dealing with Trevor Hoffman loss syndrome right now. These people decided that I needed help, so they got together to tell their stories of players they’ve lost, and to help me through this time. That really meant a lot to me, and your stories really touched me and showed me that I’m not alone in this. Well, I knew that before, but this was a big help. You guys are amazing! We’ve got an incredible group of people here. Wow. I feel so great, you guys. Trevor’s gone, but I’ll be able to deal with it. This gathering made me laugh, it made me cry, and I feel so great right now. You guys are amazing, so thanks again!! Thank you so much to Tom, Jane, Julia, Elizabeth, Jen, Emily, Hyun Young, Homer and Happy. You guys totally made my day, if not my week. So, in an expression of my gratitude, please enjoy these beautiful flowers (Tom LOL):

 
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Padres Sign Catcher

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The Padres were going to get catcher Brad Ausmus. But they hemmed and hawed and talked abut signing him for a few months. Then Ausmus finally got tired of waiting for the Padres, so he signed with the Dodgers. Too bad for the Padres. Almost instantly, we signed this dude, Henry Blanco. He played with the Cubs last year, hitting .291 in 58 games. He’s been playing in the majors for 11 years.

He was signed for the main purpose of being a mentor to rookie Nick Hundley. He will also spell Nick every once in a while. Apparently, the Padres GM called up Greg Maddux and asked who would be a good mentor and a good clubhouse guy. Blanco was one of them, I guess. He signed for $750,000.

Now, I know I shouldn’t judge by appearance, but this guy is kind of freaky. He’s got tattoos all over his arms, and he is not that attractive. He is 37, after all. I guess as long as he does extremely well for us, it doesn’t really matter how he looks. I just hope he stays healthy, that the pitchers like him, and that he is a really good mentor to Nick. I hope he can do well for us.

Now, is it Spring Training yet? Well, not quite, but it’s coming up soon. I’m starting to get really excited about this season. I can’t wait to see what the Padres are able to do. Oh, and it looks like we will definitely be able to keep Jake. That’s pretty exciting! Anyways, baseball is coming!

A Tribute to Trevor – In Pictures

Nope, I’m still not over him leaving yet. Look, it’s only been about two weeks. If a close family member moves away, you are not going to get over them for quite a while. So, in one of my last tributes (maybe), we will look at Trevor’s career so far…with pictures!
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Trevor is going to be officially announced as a Milwaukee Brewer on Saturday.

Introducing…

The San Diego Padres’ new closer, Heath Bell!
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Heath avoided arbitration today by signing a one-year contract with the Padres. The deal is worth $1.225 million. So if it wasn’t evident before, this confirms that Heath will be the Padres’ closer this year. It will be very interesting. We will miss Trevor a lot, but we gotta move on.      

Speculation: The Padres and Heath’s advisor decided just to do a one-year contract. Perhaps they are looking ahead to the possibility of Trevor coming back in 2010, and if that was the case, Heath would probably move back to the 8th inning role. We’ll see how it goes…but we’ve got a whole season of baseball first!

 Hopefully Heath will be able to do very well for us this season!
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