Doesn’t Get Much Better Than This
Just going to a Padres game would have been amazing enough. Going to the ballpark to watch my boys is always a big deal for me. But to have that plus getting a free ticket (from a Padres player), hanging out with two Padres bloggers, touring the press box, getting two autographs from prominent Padres players, meeting David Eckstein, meeting Ashley Eckstein and talking with her for an hour, and getting a Padres win. It really doesn’t get much better than that.
First of all, a huge thanks to the Ecksteins and to Hyun Young. I’m amazed at the generosity of the Ecksteins to allow four people to attend a Padres game at their own cost. Thank you guys sooooooooo much!!! Also, a thank you to Hyun Young for having the contest and randomly selecting me. It was soooo much fun!!
As I got ready to go to this game, I was fighting myself about what to wear. First of all, it was super hot in my house so I was melting. Second of all, I know that sounds kind of superficial (trying to decide what to wear), but I am a girl, and, despite of myself, I am very superstitious. I try really hard not to be, because I know that nothing I do is going to affect how the Padres play. The idea, when I really think about it, is ridiculous. But on Saturday as I thought about what I should wear, I just couldn’t bring myself to wear my amazing Kouzmanoff jersey. We lost when I wore it in my first game of the year, and I just could not risk another loss. I know, I know. So I didn’t wear my Kouzmanoff jersey, but my thrift-store NATIONAL LEAGUE CHAMPIONS shirt from 1998. It worked.
Plus, one thing I forgot in the first game was my #5 necklace that I bought the day I found out that Kouz got traded. I wore it this time. Again, I try really really hard to not be superstitious, but hey, if it works, I’m not going to change it.
Anyways, what I wore was not the biggest and best thing that happened to me at this game. I got to Petco around 3:30 and met up with Hyun Young, John, and Hyun Young’s friend. We walked right into the VIP entrance, which made me feel so special. It was the coolest thing. Hyun Young got our tickets, which were great, and we got in the stadium with no problem. I really, really felt special. I mean, we were VIPs for the night!!
We got our Padres caps, which were really simple but surprisingly really nice. I love mine.
We went to find our seats, and when we got there, I noticed that Adrian Gonzalez was signing with not that many people around him. Sometimes I don’t even try to go for autographs because there’s such a huge crowd, but this looked very easy. I went down there and easily got Adrian’s autograph. I thought it was kind of funny because Adrian is like THE face of the organization and I’d never gotten his autograph in all these years.
Adrian left soon after, so the four of us were just hanging out down by the field waiting to see if any players would come out. Chris Young was throwing a bullpen while batting practice was going on. He was looking good. It was soo good to see him and I really really hope that he’ll be able to pitch again for us soon. Man, can you imagine how much better our second half would be if he was able to come back?
As we hung out there, Hyun Young told us that someone was coming down to meet us and that she was going to do something really cool for us. Soon, we met Angela, who is head of some photographers at Petco Park. She showed us where she works during the games, and then she took us up to the press box!!
I was sooo excited, because that’s the place I hope to be working every day someday. It was sooooooo cool!! I felt like even more of a VIP. Angela just walked in there coolly with four teenagers and showed us around. We got to see Jerry Coleman’s personal office. I really wish he was there so we could have met him, but he was in New York. The view was amazing!
We walked past the dining room (the food smelled amazing) and took a peek at the area where all the reporters sit during the game. Totally incredible!
I saw all sorts of cool people around that area. Dick Enburg, Andy Masur, Corey Brock. It was amazing to be there, and I really hope to be there again someday with my own press pass and to belong there.
Thank you sooo much Angela!!
We went back to our seats and I saw Chris Young signing. There weren’t that many people around him, but all the ones who were were little kids, so I didn’t think I would get much of a chance to get his autograph. He was so nice, especially with the little kids. One of them was at his first baseball game. Chris was nice enough to sign for the big kids as well as the little ones, so I got his autograph for the first time. Again, Chris is one of those face of the organization guys, and I had never had his autograph until now! Oh well.
We went back to our seats and hung out for a while in the sun. It was pretty hot, but not as bad as it could have been because we were on the coast. Finally it was getting closer and closer to 5 o’clock, which is when David Eckstein comes out. We went down to the field and waited for him.
He finally came out and started signing autographs. I started getting really nervous because he didn’t notice Hyun Young right away and I was afraid that he was going to leave without us getting to talk to him. But then he saw her and said, “Hey, I was looking for you!” He made his way over, signing as he went, and asked who the three of us were. He shook each of our hands. IT WAS SOOOOOO COOL!!!! He was super nice. I was totally shaking the whole time. It was a totally amazing experience.
We thanked Eck and he went to warm up. We went back to our seats, and I got some food. I was starving! Not long before the game started, Ashely Eckstein came over to our seats. She was unbelievably nice!! She was so down to earth that I had to keep reminding myself how famous she is. After a while, I felt completely relaxed talking to her. I’ve always wanted to talk to a player’s wife, and I finally got to. It was so much fun!
A few of the highlights from our conversation were talking to her about how she and David met, and her telling me some funny stuff about Kouz. We also talked a lot about the Padres and what they’re going to do, and about Eck’s influence on the team. She also complemented us on our blogs, which I really appriciated.
I was kind of distracted when we were talking to her because the game was going and because of the noise of the crowd, but it was still amazing. I really, really enjoyed talking with her. She was so sweet and so beautiful! I hope that someday we’ll be able to talk to her again but more concentrated. There’s so many things I’d love to talk about with her!
Thank you so much, David and Ashley. I can’t thank you enough for your kindness!!
While we were talking to Ashley, the Padres were doing great. It was a crazy game, one of those back and forth types.
Right from the beginning, Clayton Richard was not completely on top of his game. In the top of the first, he allowed a single and then made a throwing error to let the runner go to second. He later allowed a walk in the inning, but got out of it.
In the bottom of the first, Yorvit Torrealba singled in our first run of the game. Getting first blood always gives me a good feeling about the game.
The top of the third was not a good inning for Clayton. He allowed two singles, then a walk, then a two-run single, and a one-run single. The Diamondbacks jumped up to 3-1, which was disappointing, but we quickly reassured ourselves that we were only in the third inning and that the boys would definitely come back.
Thankfully, they got right on it in the bottom of the third. Jerry Hairston Jr. led off the inning with a solo homer to cut the lead to 3-2. A couple outs later, Chase Headley walked to set up Yorvit Torrealba, who hit a two-run homer. Scott Hairston singled right after that, but nothing came of it. Except that suddenly, Rick Renteria was in the first base umpire’s face and was thrown out of the game. It was crazy because none of the four of us knew what happened. It was kind of freaky, but apparently Renteria thought the pitcher balked and the umpire didn’t. It was interesting.
So, we temporarily took the lead, until Chris Young hit a solo homer in the top of the fourth. The game was then tied at 4.
In the bottom of the fifth, Adrian Gonzalez hit his 20th homer of the season, a solo shot to take the lead. One interesting thing that I think kind of went under the radar is that that was Adrian’s 150th home run as a Padre. I thought that was pretty cool.
In the bottom of the sixth, Tony Gwynn Jr. hit an inside-the-park home run. I’d say that it was the most exciting play I’d ever seen live. Oh my goodness it was so good!! As I watched the hit go down the left field line, I instantly thought double. But as I watched T. Gwynn go around the bases, I definitley thought home. And I knew he was going to make it. I’m pretty sure I was on my feet screaming and screaming at him. Oh my goodness. It’s impossible to put into words how exciting it was. It was absolutely amazing. I mean, it’s cool to watch it on video, but to see it in person…there’s nothing like it.
The Diamondbacks got another run in the top of the seventh, but it wasn’t a problem at all.
In the bottom of the seventh, we got our final two runs of the game. After two outs, Adrian walked and Chase tripled him in. Yorvit Torrealba then totally surprised us by bunting right there to drive in Chase. Yorvit made it to first safely. It was really cool because we had just got done celebrating that first run and then we were up and celebrating again!
What an amazing game! We had four home runs, pleanty of offense, amazing defense, solid pitching, and we got the series win.
Joe Thatcher, Luke Gregerson, and Heath Bell were lights out. Soo amazing!
Let me go over some of these numbers. Torrealba had a huge night, going three-for-four while driving in four runs. Chase and Adrian each scored two runs. Thatcher, Gregerson, and Bell didn’t allow a hit or a walk.
It was absolutely amazing. As I stood there cheering for the boys as they congratulated each other on the field, I was overwhelmed with the feeling that these boys are so for real. Sure, I say that all the time here on this blog, and I truly believe it, but it just feels so much more real when you’re out there and you see it right in front of your eyes. I don’t see how we could have any doubters by now, but if we do, get out there. Make the time to go to Petco Park and see for yourself. Go watch these boys and see their enthusiasm to play the game and to win. Listen to the crowd getting into it. Start believing in these boys. If five months of winning hasn’t convinced you yet, I don’t know what win. Jump on that bandwagon. These boys are for real.
Speaking of the crowd, we had 40,011 out there on Saturday night. You have no idea how happy I was about that. The attendance has been so pathetic here, so to see the fans coming out and supporting the boys makes me so happy.
I should probably wrap this up. Basically, this day was absolutely amazing. I am just so grateful to the Ecksteins. It was such an incredible experience.
It doesn’t get much better than this.
GO FIRST-PLACE PADRES!!!