In the ongoing buildup to the 2016 All-Star Game in July at Petco Park, the Padres have been adding and updating parts of the ballpark.

Last week the Padres announced the Beachers would be removed and a new group section would be replacing it. This followed an earlier announcement that the entire lighting system would be upgraded to LED. They also mentioned upgrading the seats in the Lexus Home Plate Club sections and upgraded and expanded backstop netting.

Yesterday, Bill Center wrote an article on Padres.com about the changes to the retired numbers currently located on the Batter’s Eye along with changes related to the new Padres Hall of Fame. I was out doing other stuff and didn’t really have a chance to look at any of it until today.

So let’s do that, shall we?

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Here’s some stuff I read this week that you might enjoy:

  • How baseball’s tech team built the future of television (The Verge) – Ben Popper pens a long but fascinating piece about the development of MLB.tv and the applications of its technology in non-baseball markets. MLBAM, the entity behind MLB.tv, is now partnered up with the NHL, HBO, and others to deliver content to their viewers. Popper touches on regional blackouts, but only from the technical standpoint. No solution is offered (yeah, I know) for folks such as myself who are legally prohibited from watching their hometown team via the Internet, although there is less-than-satisfying movement on that front. [h/t Sean Lahman]
  • Preller, Padres should build on rebuild (MLB.com) – Barry Bloom discusses the future with A.J. Preller, who admits that “we’re not where we want to be as a group” and teases that Justin Upton’s tenure in San Diego might not end with the season. Bloom also notes that increased television revenue and attendance will help pay for things that the Padres haven’t been able to afford in the past, like a fleet of killer whale submarines. Meanwhile, Christina Kahrl suggests that Padres fans should temper expectations regarding potential waiver wire activity (saying farewell to Will Venable, the last player from the Padres teams I watched on television, might be it). [h/t reader Didi for the Kahrl item]
  • Rea shows promise in big-league debut (U-T) – A possible part of the future is Colin Rea, who doesn’t overwhelm with stuff but who knows how to pitch. His catcher, Austin Hedges, has nice things to say: “Knowing Colin for four or five years now, I couldn’t tell a difference if he was pitching in a low-A game, a Double-A game or a big-league game.” John Sickels also has nice things to say.
  • Kemp completes first cycle in Padres history (Padres.com) – Did you know that nobody had ever hit for the cycle while playing for the Padres? Wow, I did not know that. Now Matt Kemp has done it. I was hoping he would throw a no-hitter, but what are you gonna do. Maybe Rea will do that.
  • Cooperstown Chances: Is Trevor Hoffman a Hall of Famer? (Sporting News) – Graham Womack discusses Hoffy’s candidacy, confirming my fears that he is more likely to be associated with the lesser Lee Smith than with the greater Mariano Rivera and putting his chances at 60 percent. He is Tim Raines to Rivera’s Rickey Henderson. And speaking of great left fielders who played for the Padres (Henderson, not Raines), you’ll want to read Michael Barr’s piece about a painting of Ted Williams.

All my life I have hated being asked to explain what I am doing. I hate the question because I very seldom know the answer.

–Paul Theroux, Pillars of Hercules

A thin, silver-haired man approaches me while I’m sitting on a bench near the koi ponds at Ala Moana Center in Honololu as my wife shops. He wears shorts, shirt, and shit-eating grin as he points at my head and says, “I love the hat. I know it’s a beaver, but what team is that?”

I’d bought it in Portland, in 2010, the final season minor-league baseball was played there. By then, everyone in town knew the team–a Padres affiliate–was dead and the stadium would be converted to a more lucrative soccer-only venue.

The two nights we attended in August, there were maybe 1,000 people at the ballpark, which could accommodate more than 20,000. It felt less like a ballgame and more like a funeral, which in a metaphorical sense, it was.

During a lull in the action, while Josh Geer of all people was busy spinning a shutout, my wife wandered to the team store. Most of the Beavers gear had been sold off already, but she managed to find me some flip-flops and a cap with the Portland Beavers logo at discount prices.

The man is still grinning. He speaks with misplaced urgency: “What level is that?” Read More…