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The Duck Also Rises (Sort Of)

The good folks at Padres Public have invited me to blog about our favorite team over there. I’ll be posting, for reasons that should be obvious, under the name Son of a Duck.

To recap, here’s where my stuff currently appears:

We have some catching up to do. I look forward to continuing our conversation at one or more of these places. As always, thanks for your support.


The Duck Stops Here

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time

-T.S. Eliot

As another season draws to a close, so does another year of following the Padres at Ducksnorts. And while our favorite baseball team will return to fight again next year, I will not.

After 14 years of producing Ducksnorts, I no longer have the time or energy necessary to do so at a level of quality acceptable to me. The sacrifices and compromises one is willing to make in life at age 42 are different from those one is willing to make at age 28.

Ballplayers get old. Writers get old. Priorities change.

When Ducksnorts first launched in 1997, Hank Aaron and Roger Maris reigned as baseball’s home run kings, Derrek Lee still played for the Padres, and Anthony Rizzo was just entering the third grade. In some respects, it seems like a lifetime ago. Heck, I’ve never even lived in a place as long as I’ve written Ducksnorts.

The list of people I need to acknowledge for their support and guidance is prohibitively long, so we’ll just stick to generalities. Thanks to everyone who ever read, commented, or otherwise participated here at Ducksnorts; to everyone who bought my books; to the folks at Top Prospect Alert, Hardball Times, All-Baseball/MVN, b5media, Baseball Daily Digest, Baseball Prospectus, and ESPN for providing me with opportunities to reach a wider audience than I’d ever dreamed possible; to current and former members of the Padres front office, broadcast team, and other departments for their generosity of time and spirit; to local, national, and international broadcast and print media who have taken an interest in my work here; and to everyone who doesn’t fall into one of the aforementioned categories.

Thanks most of all to my wife of nearly 16 years for putting up with more of my nonsense than you’ll ever know. How and why she has done so lies quite beyond my comprehension, but I am grateful beyond words that she has.

To everyone reading this: It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve you as best I could over the years. If you need to find me for whatever reason, I’ll still be at Baseball Prospectus, Twitter, Petco Park, and various minor-league ballparks.

Thanks again for everything, and take care. Go Padres!


Such Are the Battles One Wages

Padres skipper Bud Black started Alberto Gonzalez at first base on Friday evening against the Dodgers. The results were predictably awful, as Ted Lilly and three relievers proceeded to blank the home club on four hits.

With Kyle Blanks and Jesus Guzman nursing injuries and a lefty on the mound, Black’s options were limited. He could have started rookie Anthony Rizzo, but Rizzo isn’t hitting anyone, let alone crafty veteran southpaws. Then again, how can he learn if he never gets the opportunity? Continue reading ›

Thursday Links (22 Sep 11)

Hey, how ’bout a sweep at Coors Field? There’s still time for the Padres to knock the Rockies out of fourth place (c’mon, pretend that’s a worthy goal). I especially like that Anthony Bass needed just 25 pitches to get through the entire Colorado lineup once and 52 to get through 5 innings. Efficiency is your friend.

The Padres now head home for three against the Dodgers this weekend, three against the Cubs next week, and a whole winter to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it. Meanwhile, we’ve got links… Continue reading ›

Luebke Gets Randa’d

Nice outing by Cory Luebke on Monday night at Coors Field, eh? Luebke and Ernesto Frieri combined to spin the 25th one-hitter in Padres history.

The only blemish was a two-run homer to dead center off the bat of Rockies second baseman Mark Ellis. Luebke fell behind in the count, 3-1, and then grooved a fastball out over the plate that Ellis crushed. Continue reading ›

Thursday Links (15 Sep 11)

I’m up to my eyeballs researching players who walked a lot. Did you know that the longest streak of drawing one or more walks in consecutive games since at least 1919 is 22, by Roy Cullenbine, who did it in 1947? Did you also know that the longest such streak by a currently active player is 16, by Chipper Jones, who did it in 1999?

Well, now you do. And you also have links… Continue reading ›

Stauffer’s Struggles

I’m a little concerned about Tim Stauffer’s workload this season. The obvious reason for this, which I mention in my latest at Baseball Prospectus ($) — it’s about that bizarre walkoff walk/protest game between the Padres and Diamondbacks this past Saturday — is that Stauffer has been a completely different pitcher down the stretch than he was earlier in the year. Continue reading ›

Thursday Links (8 Sep 11)

The mind will wander while driving along I-25, south from Albuquerque, through Socorro, to Truth or Consequences and points beyond. The Rio Grande traces the interstate, lining a verdant path through the dusty corridor of southern New Mexico.

A man walks along the side of the road, carrying a backpack and a sign that reads, “Jesus Loves You.” He stops at the back corner of a Wal-Mart parking lot, wearing dress slacks and a long sleeve shirt, and begins singing and playing a guitar for no one. It is nearly 100 degrees outside.

Silly fellow. He should have stayed home and read links instead… Continue reading ›

Hoyer Learning to Love the Sludge

Jed Hoyer’s predecessor, Kevin Towers, was known as “The Sludge Merchant” for his ability (born out of necessity) to pick up discarded scraps and turn them into functioning parts. Claiming Scott Linebrink off waivers and flipping him for Joe Thatcher after five great seasons, stealing Heath Bell from the Mets, signing Brian Sikorski from Japan and trading him for Mike Adams are but a few examples of Towers’ creativity in player personnel moves.

Towers had this down to an art. And like many artists, he excelled by embracing the constraints placed upon him by circumstance. Rather than complain about the color of his paint, he set out to make something beautiful with what he had. He is doing it again this year in Arizona, as Hoyer did last year in San Diego.

This year, Hoyer’s moves haven’t worked so well. Where Jerry Hairston Jr. and Yorvit Torrealba became surprisingly useful cogs in a surprisingly productive machine, Brad Hawpe and Jorge Cantu did nothing… or worse. Continue reading ›

Thursday Links (1 Sep 11)

When your offense consists of Alberto Gonzalez and Wade LeBlanc, that’s a problem. Thank goodness links are here to save the day… Continue reading ›