First things first: I’m sorry for ruining the season.

Six weeks ago I wrote about the Padres being buyers at the trade deadline, and they didn’t win a game for over a week. Two weeks ago, I wrote about how relatively durable Carlos Quentin had been this season, and how keeping him could end up paying dividends going forward. Quentin subsequently missed that night’s game, hasn’t played since, and was finally placed on the disabled list this weekend.

If you want to go back further, I’ve been one of Chase Headley’s most ardent supporters since The Vocal Minority blog was founded in early 2012. During the 2012 season, he was almost all I could bring myself to write about. Now, even as his slump is over and his numbers have stabilized, this season has been a huge disappointment. Rather than putting up Adrian Gonzalez numbers, he’s putting up Yonder Alonso numbers, and you don’t get a big long-term deal if you keep putting up Yonder Alonso numbers.

I accept the blame for all of these things. The problem is that I enjoy blogging too much to quit and am not nostalgic enough to stop writing mainly about current events. I want to give my opinion on Yonder Alonso or support a Josh Byrnes move even if I’m not a big fan of Josh Byrnes. I like my role in the Padres Public stable of blogging drunkards, and I’m not changing it. Unless it means the Padres will actually win something. I’d give up blogging for a World Series victory. In a heartbeat.

Anyway, I don’t really believe in jinxes, no matter how much my baseball mind clashes with my non-baseball mind on the concept. So I shall continue to share my opinions, while hopefully giving them proper thought and relying on sound logic and reasoning, and if they continue to backfire almost immediately, I will continue to accept the blame. Sorry.

Congrats Eastlake Little League!

On Saturday Night, Eastlake Little League of Chula Vista advanced to the Little League World Series after defeating Belmont-Redwood Shores Little League of Northern California 9-0 in the West Regional final in San Bernadino. That a team from Chula Vista has now represented the West Region twice in the last 5 years is quite the accomplishment. If they can go forward to win the championship like Park View LL did in 2009, it would be an even more remarkable feat.

Little League baseball was a hugely significant part of my childhood. I lived just blocks from the Poway National LL fields throughout my childhood, played my Little League ball there, played kickball and home run derby on the fields with friends, and even umpired for the league for some quick cash as a teen (I’m wearing a PNLL Umpire t-shirt right now). In Little League, I played for the Dodgers, Cubs, Giants, Astros, Phillies, and Marlins. Never the Padres, since Garf wasn’t around then. The Marlins won it all one year. It was awesome.

Unfortunately, I was never selected to play in All-Star competition at the Little League level, but that didn’t stop me from attending the games. I watched PNLL play in area, district, and sectional play, and I’ve seen division (state) tournament games in person as well. One of the big traditions we had growing up was my dad taking my brother and I up to San Bernadino for a day at the West Regionals.

I was in the crowd at the 1992 West Regional Final, when Sean Burroughs and Long Beach Little League squared off against a Hawaiian team whose pitcher was throwing 80+ mph. Now there weren’t any scoreboards with gun readings or anything, but there were radar guns there, and word spread quickly just how fast this 12 year old Hawaiian kid was throwing. It was Burroughs who was the hero that night, like he would be in Williamsport, crushing a fastball to the opposite field for the game-deciding home run. The atmosphere was incredible, and everyone could tell Burroughs was special.

I also spent the day there on August 13th, 1996. I don’t remember much about the games, although I distinctly remember how great a day it was. I’ll always remember every detail from that night, arriving back home late that night to find out that my best friend and next door neighbor had died in a car accident earlier in the day, just a week after earning his driver’s license.

We never went to the West Regional tournament again after that year. Mostly we had aged out of it, but if we had continued going, I don’t think we would have enjoyed it any less. It was always a great time, and I’ll never forget it. RIP Brian, we all still miss you greatly, seventeen years later.

Congratulations again to the Eastlake All-Stars, good luck in Williamsport, and we can’t wait to see you bring back another Little League Championship to San Diego County. I hope I haven’t jinxed you.

Bring Back the Brown

This weekend, my in-laws headed out to a farm in the middle of nowhere here in Ohio and came home with just about the cutest puppy you will ever see. Her name is Sadie (I shall call her SD…no I won’t) and she’s half-lab and half-unknown. She has a beautiful brown coat, with white on her chest, feet, and just a little bit of white at the end of her tail. I was able to meet her today, and can’t wait to visit with her all the time.

I dare anyone to tell me after looking at that pup that brown is an ugly color. The Brown and White color combination, specifically, is a great look. Take note, Mike Dee.

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  • You do nostalgia well, Nate. Sorry about your friend.

  • Lonnie Brownell

    A team from Washington with Eastlake on their jerseys also has made it to the LLWS. At some point, maybe the two Eastlakes will square off against each other.

    • VM David

      Yep, the Eastlake Little League up here is in Sammamish. They are, indeed, east of a lake.

  • I played for the Padres while in little league. Yellow stirrups. We looked great and won twice.

  • My LL teams: Indians, Indians, Brewers, Yankees, Yankees.

    • SDPads1

      I can only recall 1 Padres team ever in my LL days…and I was not on it. Royals, Red Sox, Mariners, Mariners, Astros, Tigers, Astros.

    • VM David

      Royals, Mets, Indians, White Sox, Braves. I forget anything else. No Padres.

  • Donald W. Veale

    Western Regional LL was a blast to go to. 104 degrees and almost no shade.. we’d leave at around 8 am and get home after 11 pm. Fun day 5 or 6 games, pin trading and food and fun.
    All the pics of Sadie rocked facebook … Nice posting Nate..