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.
[In a conference room deep inside the Petco Park offices, A.J. Preller, Ron Fowler, Peter Seidler, and Andy Green are holding Green’s employee performance review following the 2017 season, Green’s second season as Padres manager.]
Six years ago yesterday the Padres retired Trevor Hoffman’s jersey number at a ceremony at Petco Park. The Padres social media team reminded us, as they’ve done a great job bringing back “on this day” events from Padres history.
I was at Trevor’s ceremony and wanted to share some of my own memories. Here’s Hoffman making his grand entrance the way he does best. It was fun cheering our collective balls off for Hell’s Bells again after watching him finish his career doing it in Milwaukee. At his ceremony he wanted his family to have the opportunity to experience the entrance from his perspective.
The Padres greats with previously retired numbers were there and stood ominously just past the infield dirt, all wearing Padres jerseys from their respective eras.
Steve Garvey, Tony Gwynn, Dave Winfield, Randy Jones
I picked up an early release from good buddy Jordan of what would become the first Bring Back The Brown sunglasses. That was the beginning of a fun era, and the various BBTB sunglasses are still in my every day rotation. #fashionchat
Ted Leitner emceed the event and did great. At one point Leitner mentioned the Padres recently signed Austin Hedges and Joe Ross, a big deal during the time when not all drafted players signed. Hedges especially had a strong commitment to college. I cheered my own balls off, but was the only one in my section and got some weird looks.
Let me begin by making the following statement, so there can be no confusion:
I like Mark Sweeney. The few occasions that I’ve met him, he was personable and pleasant. He seems to be a really nice guy to everyone he meets, no matter what.
Now, having gotten that out of the way, Fox Sports San Diego needs to stop putting Sweeney in the play-by-play booth. Like, immediately and forever.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Sweeney does a halfway decent job as a studio analyst. He should keep doing that.
However, when he shows up for those three innings during home games as the third wheel in the booth between Don Orsillo and Mark Grant, the life gets sucked right out of the broadcast. Whenever he’s in the broadcast booth, I find myself tuning out of the action of the game and doing other things while the TV stays on as background noise. When he subs for Mud on occasion, I find myself wishing that there wasn’t a delay between the radio and TV feeds.
Now that Dick Enberg and his Dickisms have retired from everyday play-by-play life, Sweeney has taken up the mantle of driving some Friars’ fans to drink.
Here are the guidelines for the Sweenalysis drinking game.
I now feel a responsibility to maintain this thing I started.
Because the Padres Twittersphere is an ever-evolving entity. Players and people leave, sometimes even of their own accord. Some who have stayed have changed their Twitter usage to not be all that interesting of a follow anymore. Still others just seem to have given up the medium altogether.
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.
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.
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.