A few weeks ago Rick and I drove out to the Phoenix area with our buddy Marshall for our annual Spring Training baseball trip. As has become tradition I have opinions about things, hopefully you’re here to read them because here we go!
Peoria Sports Complex
There’s a lot to like about the Padres and Mariners’ complex, built in 1994 and the first shared complex of its kind. We’ll start here: the craft beer selection is the best I’ve seen. While the surrounding neighborhood gets flak from some Spring Training veterans for being so suburban, there are much better options here compared to other stadiums we’ve visited. Peoria has lots of hotels in walking distance, though the “quality” can vary.
Here there’s a decent selection of chain restaurants and sports bars. The epicenter is the Moon Saloon, a bar across the street from the PSC full of sports fans and if you’re lucky, some sports employees. There’s also Salty Señorita, which admittedly has an awful beer selection and is generally kind of gross, but you know what Rick it’s outside, literally part of the complex, and you can see Padres minor leaguers practicing so it can’t be all that bad because sun baseball beer.
Sadly, the Peoria Sports Complex stadium does have one fatal flaw: it was built before panoramic concourses with shaded standing room to watch the game were commonplace. At the PSC the main concourse for buying concessions and walking around doesn’t have a view of the game. Meaning there’s almost no standing and watching from anywhere in the main seating bowl. There is one interior walkway visible on the right side of the panoramic photo below, it just isn’t meant for hanging out. If you try, you get (to be fair, politely) asked by an usher to move from the concourse to your seat. And because there’s no raised press box or upper level, shade isn’t easy to come by either.
Since 2009, Daniel Shoptaw of Cardinals Conclave has done a season preview of each Major League team by asking questions of fellow bloggers. This year is the ninth edition of Playing Pepper and Left Coast Bias and I were asked to talk about the upcoming Padres season, along with Richard Dorsha of East Village Times.
As you’ll see, we tried to answer honestly.
Playing Pepper 2017: San Diego Padres
Today’s the day. The National Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2017 will be announced at 3pm PST today. Who will get in? Who will be snubbed?
I’m not a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA). I know, big shocker there. But I am a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBBA). And, like the BBWAA, the BBBA votes for the Hall of Fame every year, using the same rules and the same ballot. Does it mean anything? Not in the least. But it’s fun.
Like a lot of BBWAA members, I believe in making your Hall of Fame vote — official or not — public for all the world to see and yell at you for.
Here’s how I voted.
According to multiple reports the Chargers will announce today they are bolting (sorry) for Los Angeles. Dean Spanos will meet with his staff shortly, ostensibly to inform them of this decision.
It’s probably too late to start a petition to keep the team name and colors here (al la what Cleveland did when the first Browns left). I’d absolutely support that initiative, by the way.
Dean Spanos leaving town will have a profound impact on the Padres. I wonder how they will react today. I hope they have thought it through and have an actionable plan in place. They’ve had two years to prepare. Their world is different starting at 8am this morning.
The Padres have been the second banana in San Diego for as long as Major League Baseball has been played here. Even during their brief forays into baseball respectability, and the occasional playoff appearance, the Chargers dominated the narrative. Now, I know using local sports talk-radio as a barometer isn’t the best idea, but for the last two years those who listen have been treated to incessant conversations about the stadium issue, new developments, theories, recriminations, speculation, and so on. It didn’t matter how well or poorly the Padres were playing, or what stupid thing the Padres did, San Diego Charger stadium discussions dominated. Only when a story became national news (like the medical file flapex) did some lip service get paid to the Padres and what they were doing; it was then rapidly swamped by more stadium discussion.
The Padres had the perfect cover. Now that cover is gone.
Although the Chargers are moving barely 150 miles up the road I can’t imagine news about that football team will continue to be the top story for the local media. All eyes should shift to the one Major-League franchise left. The Gulls will get some additional coverage, sure, but hockey is a niche sport (which is too bad, because it’s awesome). The Padres have sucked for the past six years and only the diehard fans really complained and discussed it. Now the casual sports fan will be paying more attention because there’s really nothing else to talk about.
Get ready, Padres. You’re front and center on the San Diego Sports Stage. If we ever needed our baseball team to both play well and have a realistic chance for a playoff appearance, it’s right now.
It’s everybody’s favorite time of year – Hall of Fame voting season! Every year, we gnash our teeth and argue in circles over mostly stupid things. The most recent trend seems to center on excluding players who played during the “Steroid Era” (but not those who we perceive as being clean, because you can just tell…you know?), which completely avoids context and usually devolves into general shouting at clouds. And then there’s Curt Schilling, who deserves to be in, but is an all-around awful/racist/xenophobic human being…which was probably enough to keep him out (for now), but several writers have finally decided he was bad because he posted a picture a shirt implying journalists should be hanged. Which is awful, but that was the tipping point? Anyway, enough garbage – we’re here to talk about Trevor Hoffman’s candidacy.
Thanksgiving, still my favorite holiday of the year.
Also, the time of year where everyone’s “[XX] Reasons For [insert team name] Fans To Be Thankful” pieces come out. And I do mean EVERYONE’S.
Two years ago I wrote about the things I was thankful for as it relates to the Padres. I thought it would be fun to go back and look at how those things worked out then give a new reason to be thankful.
Andrew Cashner. Gone. Matt Kemp. Gone. Melvin Upton Jr. Gone. Fernando Rodney. Gone. James Shields. Gone. Twelve out of thirteen draft picks from the first ten rounds of the 2016 Amateur Draft signed. Over $60 million in international signings so far, and that’s just since July 2nd.
One thing that all of these trades, draft picks, and international signings say to me is that Lake Elsinore is going to be the perfect place for Padres fans to watch baseball on a regular basis. And, it’s looking like it’s going to be that way for a couple of years, at least.
I’ll be honest, I should have written at least part of this earlier in the season. But the influx of talent to the lower levels of the minor leagues made it relevant again.
Mike Dee needs to go away.
There, I said it.
In the three years Mike Dee has been the president of the Padres, the amount of public relations screw-ups, oopsies, and outright disasters have far outweighed any good that may have come during his tenure.
From forcing general managers to waste draft picks on alcoholic football players, to naming a part of Petco Park after a reviled figure in baseball, to just straight up screwing the pooch when it comes to fans complaints, Dee’s reign at the top is marked by failure.
Mike Dee needs to be fired.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Ghost of Ray Kroc
Statement Regarding Ron Fowler’s Comments of
June 1, 2016
In response to the growing number of jokes being thrown around about Ron Fowler’s rant being a modern day equivalent of The Announcement, the Ghost of Ray Kroc has released the following statement for the press and public.
Every so often I write something of substance. It’s not always embedded tweets and GIFs. So prepare to have your minds blown! Or not.
My copy of 100 Things Padres Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die by Kirk Kenney showed up a little over a week ago. I have read it. This is my review.
Kenney has been a sportswriter for the San Diego Union-Tribune since 1985. Triumph Books has published a series of books about sports teams’ histories and asked Kenney if he would write one about the Padres.
The title says it all. The book is 100 things in Padres history that fans — maybe not should — but perhaps would be interested to know. People, dates, numbers, and events that helped shape the Padres into what they are today.
First off, Randy Jones wrote the foreword. You know, the barbecue guy. Oh, Jones also won the 1976 Cy Young Award while pitching for the Padres. Oh, he was the first person inducted into the Padres Hall of Fame. Oh, and his number 35 was also retired by the Padres.
I can’t think of a better way to begin a book about the Padres than to have the Crafty Lefty get the start. So right off the bat (pun intended), the book has some credibility.