Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Guess Who's Back

Hey Friend..

I say friend because its probably just YOU reading this. Well I'm back...again..Tell a friend. A lot has happened in the several months since I've stopped blogging. At least personally. Not so much with the Padres in the off season, but since I last blogged The Padres played better, (but not enough to get back to .500 or anything to write home about), extended Huston Street and Carlos Quentin, had their catcher get busted for PEDs, while being linked to a bigger story.  Its been so long I could spend days discussing my life, or the Padres, but frankly many people are doing that, in several much finer blogs than mine.  So instead of putting in my regurgitated comments about the  Marver doc, or discussing the Padres decision to remain relatively quiet this off season, I'm simply going to tell a story.

Many of you know I live in Yuma, AZ, the one time home of the San Diego Padres spring training.  It was because of this that I became a true brown, dyed in the wool member of the Friar Faithful.  When I was three, Tony Gwynn gave me a ball, and later that season the Padres went to the 1984 World Series.  When I was 12 and 13, I was given permission to leave school early to sell sodas, ice cream, peanuts and Cracker Jack in the stadium, and made a decent penny or three.  Unfortunately, when I was 13 was of course 1994 if you do the math correctly, and 1994 was a season that did not end well...actually it ended short because of a players strike. Furthermore, it was also the last spring the Padres spent in Yuma.  Between the strike and the move, I was mad at baseball and mad at the Padres.

When baseball came back, I couldn't stay long.  It was and remains my favorite sport. But I'll be damned if I was gonna root for that no good sad sack franchise that moved out of my home town! I vowed never to set foot in Peoria (the city even, let alone the shared complex with the natural rivals, the hated Mariners) My family decided we were going to start rooting for a different team.    The D-Bags weren't yet a wet dream for Jerry Colangelo, and I certainly was  not going to jump ship to the team that shall not be named in LA.  The Giants were never considered despite not really having a reason to hate them yet, and AL teams were a big, emphatic HELL NO!!  So the Colorado Rockies it was!

In the summer of 1995, we had the chance to go to a game at the Murph to watch the Rockies take on the San Diego Deserters.  We decked out in purple and silver, and made our way to watch. I don't remember who won that game.  I do remember booing Tony Gwynn getting pitched around and basically coming back to my roots as a Padres fan.  The Rockies jacket that we took to the game? My memory tells me we left it at the stadium, but one thing I know is that it never touched home again.  The point is, I love baseball. I love my Padres more.  Its deep in my bones, and often defies logic.  I couldn't fully complete a boycott or rooting for another team despite the then ownership directly affecting my wallet and my way of life every spring.

A 36 minute video telling me owners are lying to me is not going to shake me from watching my team.  Its an emotional investment through highs and lows, and frankly, I don't give a damn what owners are doing.  Would I love to see some top notch players come to San Diego and make a splash? Sure- what fan doesn't want to see that. I'm also a believer in the way SD is attempting to build from a solid foundation of youth, and am mostly in support of how things have gone the last couple years.  I'm not an employee of the team.  I rather resent that implication to be honest. I'm just a born and bred fan that couldn't give up my team any easier than I could give up breathing. I've been called a fool by a certain fan for believing this way and not supporting a blackout. Fine, I'd rather be a fool and find joy an optimism and hope. and frankly enjoy the game I love, supporting with my heart and, yes, my wallet, the team I love.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Time Away to Get it figured out

The title could easily be talking about me, as its been several weeks since I have posted. However, tonight's posting is regarding the news that Padres catcher Nick Hundley has been optioned to AAA.  Honestly, there should only be one reason that such a move comes as a surprise. That is you might be surprised Hundley still had options.  Baseball people that I've asked have told me he's out of options, so I have been waiting for that "injury" so Hundley could get things worked out.  Let's face it. He's hitting worse than 1 for 6.  For a starting catcher with a new $9 million extension, that's just not cutting it.  I want to make one thing clear. I do like Nick Hundley as a catcher and thought he was worthy of the extension that he signed. I truly hope and believe he will get his offensive woes worked out. As Bob Scanlan addressed in his blogpost about this news earlier tonight, Hundley is at a point where its simply not helpful to him or the team to contine to play at this level.  

I've heard the argument that Hundley's defense makes him the best catcher on the Padres. I agree that Hundley's defense has been superb.  Unfortunately, his offense is soooo bad~How bad is it? It's so bad that it completely wipes out any defensive advantage he has.  I believe Hundley has much more talent than Baker.  However, this year, Baker has been ...average.  Not terrible. Average. What one would expect from a backup catcher.  But when your backup catcher is outplaying your starting catcher, and make no mistake, he IS outplaying Hundley, it's not a good thing.  Don't believe me that Baker has outplayed Hundley? Let's just compare the stats, courtesy of fangraphs.  Hundley has been 3.9 Runs BELOW replacement as a catcher, which lands him dead last among all major league catchers. All of them. Every single one.  Including Baker, since you can't be worse than last, but if you need to see it, fine Baker is 3.0 Runs ABOVE Replacement level, or average.  

If you're still believing that Hundley should not have been sent down, I really have no idea what else to tell you. I can point to the several metrics that show his lack of offense is completely dismantling his defense. I can point to the stats that show his plate discipline is the worst it has been in his career, and his swinging strike percentage is significantly higher than in the past.  This is a guy that's completely lost at the plate, and his defense can't keep him afloat.  But he has the talent. So lets welcome Yazmani Grandal, and wish Mr. Hundley the best of luck and hope he finds his bat, and soon.  And let his play actually show he's truly a better player, not just what we may hope and believe to be to be the case against all evidence. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Why the Hate?

"He sucks.  He's terrible.  I hate when he's playing.  I can't stand him." Any or all of this quote can be attributed to many fans of the Padres this year in regards to a number of players.  With a season approaching the vacuum that is the Black Hole of Suck and Ineptitude, it could be fair to say it of any or all players.  I keep believing that the season will get better, but I must admit, I'm questioning that belief.  Losing really does suck.  To compound that problem, is when you see the opening quote to this blog post about almost any player being repeated ad nauseum in message boards and on twitter.  One player in particular who I've seen almost universally scorned has been today's starting pitcher, Edinson Volquez.

I'm not the biggest Volquez fan. Some might not believe that, as I have defended him from criticism's on many occasions.  My problem is, that for this season, much of that criticism has been based on a perception that might not be the same as reality.  Does Volquez walk too many people? Absolutely.  But would you believe that at 4.7 BB/9 entering today's game, he has his lowest walk rate since 2008?  He gives up a lot of HR!! Actually he doesn't, giving up 0.5 HR/9 IP.  He strikes out 7.6 per 9 IP, which, like his walks, is his lowest since 2008.  Volquez has a 3.49 ERA, a 3.59 FIP, and an xFIP of 4.15 which is the low end of average.  In other words, he doesn't really suck..he's just ...average.

I've come to believe that a big reason many fans don't like him, is because of how the Padres acquired him.  Many fans were sad to see Mat Latos traded. Count me among them.  I don't have direct evidence of it, but I'm getting a feel that people don't like Volquez because he's not Mat.  IT reminds them of the "stupid decision" to trade away Latos.  Well, like I said, I was sad to see Mat traded.  But when I take an honest look at the return, I'd be more upset if I found out Byrnes didn't make the trade.  Especially when you compare Latos to Volquez straight up, and don't even factor in the emergence of Yonder Alonso as a legitimate hitter, Grandal waiting in AAA and Boxberger, whom I must admit, I still don't know much about.

Latos- 4.35 ERA, 3.83 BB/9 8.36 K/9 1.05 HR/9 3.99 FIP and 4.23 xFIP

Volquez has thrown more innings this season and has a slightly better xFIP, and is outpacing by 1/2 a run better in FIP, and more than 1/2 a run better in ERA.  Are Volquez stats sustainable? maybe not. He has a lower than league average BABIP, that could start driving his ERA higher should that regress.  But as for now, Volquez isn't the WORST PLAYER EVER. He's not even pitching worse than whom he was traded for.

So can we tone back the hate on him, or at least explain rationally why he's hated so much?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

SOTTJ Continues, and other thoughts

As most of my readers probably know, I was part of the "Sisterhood of the Traveling Jersey." In my post regarding my first Padres trip of the season, I included pictures with the then current Jersey Holder, GLBer "padscharg". Today, "padscharg" wrote his SOTTJ Post, in which I was compared, in good nature, to the Lord of the Rings characters Bilbo and Gollum. Given how much I love those novels and movies, I thought it was a great comparison.  Well Played, man, well played.

I don't want to take away from anyone's moment with the Jersey though, believe it or not, I really do wish to promote the project as a whole. It is an amazing idea and concept and has taken off to levels I never imagined.  So go read his post if you haven't done so already, be sure to Rec him, and leave comments.  And if you're not signed up and want to be, let jbox know you're interested. You never now.


In today's game, the Padres fell short again, despite remaining tied up until the 5th inning or so. The same old story really- Plenty of unrealized chances.  No wonder this is my team- They waste opportunities like I have in life.  (Don't read too much into that- It's more of a past tense thing for me).  Postives? Venable nearly had a Cycle again. Not sure if AvengingJM could have handled it if Venable had been successful.  Cabrera got hits 1 and 2 of the season. I'm not sold on him being the answer, but, hey it'd be nice


In Minor League action, I'm hearing that Forsythe is raking, and the T-Pads, consisting largely of last years AA Missions (with Cody Decker being the most recent promoted player) seem to be doing well.  This gives me hope for the future. The guys playing now have been winning on every level.  I'm believing in the future!


I'm in the midst of making plans for the weekend of June 2-3. If I had a couch to crash on, or even good close friends or family, it'd be all 3 days, but looks like I'm hoteling it and to avoid total team broke, its just 1 night and two games.  Have a couple people I'm joining for sunday's games, and making plans for Saturday's too, and would love to hang out with anyone up for it Saturday night.  Especially if you have a cheap place to crash, or a windowless van lol! Also, if you have decent tickets you're looking to unload for either game (2 for Sat, 3 for Sun) let me know. I may be interested! A shot in the dark, I know, but I've got to try right?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


I've neglected this blog far too long. The last time I wrote, or "wrute" Hudson was a Padre, Bartlett was "healthy" and I was just coming off a whirlwind trip to San Diego. Well, some things don't change.  I got to take another trip to America's Finest City on Saturday, in a very whirlwind fashion. After the Preakness Stakes horse race, which "I'll have another" won, I decided, a trip to San Diego? Why, I'll have another indeed. I decided to go, and figure out tickets later. Fortunately, I was hooked up with one within seconds of deciding to go. It was a great seat, and it was A seat, as the game was sold out. I basically flew to San Diego.  Not a lot of pictures, and this is just intended to be a quit blog to get the writing juices flowing.  I've felt neglected lately.  I probably have zero reason to feel that way.  I realize this world isn't about me.  I've been neglecting to write here, so there's an ironic lesson.  I believe every writer who desires a strong audience has a narcissistic streak in them. It comes with the territory.  That includes me in a large way.  This post has no real point, no real flow, not even much about baseball.  It is what it is. Just like the Padres Season this  year.  Why do you expect me to be good at writing? Why do we expect the Padres to be good at baseball? Well, maybe you don't expect me to be good. And maybe you don't expect the Padres to be good either.  Can't say I blame you on either count....

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Light a match, and watch the bridges burn

The San Diego Padres baseball team may have the best pitching staff on the DL.  Stauffer (who's due back soon) Luebke, Moseley, Owings, and now Joe Wieland.  I'm glad they didn't say "only expected to miss one start" and put him on the DL right away. That actually gives me hope we might see him again soon.  Every other pitcher who has been reported as being likely to just miss a start has had a significant long term injury.  So, rest up Joe, and get back here. 

There has been some speculation that Josh Byrnes has been so busy dealing with injuries to the Padres, particularly at pitcher, that he hasn't had time to think about getting rid of Bartlett.  I'm of the mind that if Andy Parrino was playing better, Bartlett would be gone by now.  I know its beating a dead horse to keep asking for his release. So my next question is, why is he still here? The answer? no other options and I think the team may be afraid of burning that bridge before they have too.  But they are approaching the point of no return with Bartlett, namely the vesting option based on plate appearances. Too bad its not based on At Bats, since sacrifices (which is all he seems to do anymore) don't count.

Kind of a weird stretch here. Day game Wednesday that I didn't get to see or pay attention to, followed by an off day tomorrow, makes for about 69 hours between watching the Padres.  Coming home tonight, I was struck by how much baseball does consume my life.  I had no plans, and no one to talk with. Pretty boring lifestyle I lead. Maybe I should have started writing, but I wasn't particularly in the mood.  Oh well. Its here now.  Until next time, KTF

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I am not a good writer

Im really not.  And it will be made harder by the fact that my Y key on my keyboard is sticking/broken.  That last sentence took me a long time to write.  I'm not the smartest person. I don't have any recognizable profitable talents.  I like to think I have a big heart, but I know I'm short with people sometimes, and don't always treat them the way I would like to be.  I don't know where this is going. I'm not even sure I can tie it to baseball.  Sometimes, I may venture outside of baseball, and word vomit.  Four years ago today (and we'll call Tuesday today, although its technically wednesday) I gave the most difficult speech of my life, when I spoke at my Grandpas funeral.  I did as I've always done when giving speeches- I spoke extemporaneously. I don't like to write out my speeches. I prepare, yes.  I may jot important keynotes, and I'll research important quotes or facts.  But mostly, I like to speak from the heart.  My writing isn't the best, because, its not as formal as its "supposed" to be.  I make several grammar errors that I know would make certain copy editors scream.  What you will get from me, though, are words from the heart. And sometimes that means baseball isn't the central theme. Sometimes theres no theme at all.  Some days I'm going to my computer, with less of a clue on what to do than Jason Bartlett does with a bat in his hands. Because baseball is such a passion of mine, most of my thoughts do eventually turn back there.  I don't know what I would do if it wasn't for this great game.  I hate the thought of no baseball in my life. But my life isn't centered on it. I have many interests.  I love the Lord of the Rings.  I like cooking, even though I'm not always good at it.  I can listen to music from Eminem, to Garth Brooks, to Mozart, but give me 50s rock and I'm just as, if not more happy.  Speaking of Music, To those that are going to Wednesday's game- I'm jealous.  Bobby Cressey is on the organ, its Tony Gwynn's birthday, and I will miss it all. Work beckons.  It's late. I'm not even going to tweet out this post tonight, so I'll be surprised if anyone reads this. If you do, let me know you did. And Thank you, in advance.

I hope I have something of significance tomorrow.