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My Weekend of Padres Baseball

Pure joy. (Photo credit/KaityBergquist)

Wow. What a weekend. I have officially rested up and showered up, so I think I’m ready to write all about my crazy three-games-in-a-row adventure. It’s extremely long, I know. You don’t have to read all of it. But I promise that tomorrow, I’ll post more pictures, less writing.

GAME ONE (5/18/12)

Going to the game, both Colleen and I were kind of in a journalist mode. Nick Vincent, who used to go to our school, had been called up to the Padres that day, so we were all ready to cover the game for our newspaper (of which I am the new Editor-in-Chief, by the way). Unfortunately, Vincent didn’t pitch at all in the two days he was up here. But we can say that we were all ready for it.

We started the game in our seats in left field, which would have been an excellent area for catching Albert Pujols home run balls. Except for the fact that we didn’t allow him to do anything at all this weekend. Even though he’s struggling a bit this year, he’s still Albert Pujols, and I think it’s a huge credit to our pitching staff that he was miserable this weekend.

After a while, we got annoyed with the people in our section, plus the game wasn’t going too well so we had to get up. We went over to the first base side of the field and settled down in Colleen’s uncle’s seats. Much better view. Here’s where I was really gearing up to see Vincent, but alas. @bcline760  joined us there.

I was distracted for most of the rest of the game because of this 3-year-old kid who was sitting in our row. He was absolutely adorable. He kept coming over, talking to us, showing off his jumping and being a tiger.

At one point, he pointed at Brandon and asked, “Is that your boy?” Yes kid, that is our boy. I also overheard his mom saying, “Are you being nice to your girlfriend?” He said, “I don’t have a girlfriend.” Awww man.

He was soooo cute. Right before he left, he came over and gave Colleen and I kisses on the cheek. Night. Made.

As for the game itself, it was meh. The Angels won 7-2. Brad Brach allowed three runs in the top of the night. Will Venable hit a home run, but that was about it on the offensive side. We only had three hits!

GAME TWO (5/19/12)

I had the opportunity to go to this game because I won a Twitter contest hosted by @rjsfro by guessing the number of my beloved Kevin Kouzmanoff. What I won was a ticket to the game and the opportunity to attend Baseball Prospectus’ meetup/Q&A session before the game. There’s a great recap of the whole thing here. It was really cool to hear from all the people there, and I learned a lot of interesting things.

After the session, I headed out to my seat, which was located two rows down from everyone else who was at the session and RIGHT next to this big fat guy. There were about seven empty seats between where my assigned seats was and the next group was sitting, so I definitely moved down a couple of seats. I had all seven seats to myself for the whole game. Yes, there were 43,000 people at the game, but there were still plenty of empty seats.

Now this was a great game to watch. I was sooo happy with Alexi Amarista. I was kind of iffy about him on Friday, but on Saturday he really showed me why he should be in the major leagues. He had an excellent game – he went 2-for-2, scored two runs, drove in a run, walked and made some excellent defensive plays. I was really, really impressed.

We also did well offensively. We got seven hits and came back from deficits of 1-0 and 2-1 to win 3-2. Jesus Guzman, Amarista and Chase Headley drove in the runs for us.

Erick Stults was pretty good in his first game with us. Six innings, two runs. Not bad at all.

One bright spot on the Padres who I think has been pretty overlooked is Dale Thayer. He’s really stepped up at the closer spot after Huston Street went on the DL. He has five saves and an ERA of 0.00. He’s got an interesting moustache too.

After the game I met up with Colleen, Brandon and @bigtaterz1021, which was super fun. Good times were had by all – especially when wandering downtown.

GAME THREE (5/20/12)

After getting about four hours of sleep, I was up and ready for another game of Padres baseball. Went to church at 8 a.m. and then left for the game around 11 a.m.

One of the best parts about going to this game was that I got to go with my 10-year-old brother, my friend Rachel, and her brother, who is about the same age as my brother. All four of us were excited about going, but the boys were SO excited. It was so much fun to see their enthusiasm about seeing the game.

We were sitting in the Toyota Terrace, which was super nice. Our section had what my brother called “room service.” Both boys fell in love with the water that they were served, and since it was insanely hot, they were constantly ordering more water from our very patient waiter.

This game was probably my favorite of the three. It was epic. Well, it was mostly long. But just wait till you hear the ending. (I’m sure most of you already know what it is, wasn’t that amazing?)

Mike Trout, who is a crazy amazing kid, led off the game with a single. Mark Trumbo drove him in a couple of batters later. So we were down 1-0 instantly. The Angels got another run in the top of the fifth (Trout home run). In the bottom of the fifth, we finally scored a couple of runs with a great two-run double from Yonder Alonzo. Those would be the only runs that any team scored until the 13th inning.

Anthony Bass had a pretty good start. Went six innings, allowing two runs on five hits. He also got a hit for himself, which I think is fantastic. I’ll never forget his three-run triple with two outs and two strikes. Unbelievable.

After Bass left the game, our bullpen went into lockdown mode, especially as we went into extra innings. Gregerson, Cashner, Thayer, Brach, Thatcher, and Mikolas all pitched. All of them except Mikolas allowed only one hit. Brach actually ran into some serious trouble in the top of the 10th. He allowed a single (Trout again) and two walks with only one out. Serious stress. But then he got a strikeout and a ground out to escape. Huge props to him for getting out of that. Mikolas actually went two innings to close out the game without allowing a thing.

We certainly had plenty of opportunities to score in the whole game, but in extras as well – we left 14 runners on base in the game. But it wasn’t until the 13th that we finally, finally broke through.

Of course, the inning started with two quick outs.

And then, with our bench spent, Buddy Black sent starting pitcher Clayton Richard to the plate. I couldn’t stop laughing. I don’t think the people who I was with quite understood how funny the situation was.  The fact that we were so desperate that we had to send a starting pitcher to the plate was extremely amusing. Though I did know that he was a decent hitter himself – he’d had a big pinch hit for us before.

So as I was laughing my head off, he naturally singled. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. This was the best set up for a walkoff ever!

Then Will Venable came up and ran the count full. Then, he singled to left field and the left fielder made an error on the ball. Clayton didn’t even stop. He went all the way home and scored standing up. We WON!

It was an amazing ending to an amazing weekend. We seriously won the series against the Angels! Going into the weekend, I was fully prepared to be crushed by the Angels since they are an American League team. We have a terrible track record against AL teams. But something about the Angels not being much better than us, the huge crowds, and of course, me being there helped the Padres to an incredible series win.

In conclusion, we were walking in downtown on Saturday night when a random man saw all our Padres gear and asked us if they won. When we said yes, his immediate reaction was, “God is good.” And to that I say, yes. Yes He is. It makes sense really – after all, the Padres were playing the Angels.

GO PADRES!

Vincent called up to the Majors

Vincent to the Majors?

Screenshot from Nick Vincent’s Twitter profile, posted around 12:30 a.m. on May 18th. This guy used to play at my current college, Palomar College! Huge congratulations! We’re so excited for you. Full story: http://the-telescope.com/2012/05/18/former-palomar-baseball-player-called-up-to-major-leagues/

Nick Vincent headshot from the Padres’ website.

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