Sitting on Top of the Padres Dugout

More wacky Bud Selig stuff: Former minority partners charge Selig, Loria with fraud (CBS SportsLine). Go get ‘em, boys.

Good chat with Tony Gwynn over at

Closer to home, Monday night, thanks to my buddy Don, I had the best seats I probably will ever have at a big-league game. We sat literally on top of the Padres dugout. We were so close to the action, it was downright scary. Occasionally Bruce Bochy or one of the players would look up, and he’d be staring right at us, about 5 feet away. We were just to the first base side of the protective netting, so we pretty much had to watch every pitch. Nothing wrong with that, but it was to the point where we didn’t even talk much except between innings. Very intense.

Good game, too, except for the fact that the Pads didn’t score any runs. Again. Oliver Perez looked terrific, fanning nine batters in six innings and change. He worked quickly, as usual, throwing fastballs, sliders, and the occasional change-up from three-quarters (and sometimes sidearm against lefies Todd Helton and Larry Walker). When Perez came out of the game (after 98 pitches; looks like Kevin Towers had a little talk with Bochy), we all gave him a standing ovation.

Colorado’s starter, Denny Stark, pitched a nice game, too. It didn’t look like he threw real hard, but he was constantly jamming hitters. Particularly impressive was the fact that Stark seemed to be able to tie up both lefties and righties.

The game is very different when viewed from so close to the field. Suddenly these millionaire ballplayers that you’re used to seeing on television are just guys playing a game. It’s precisely this experience that has pushed me toward the minor-league brand of baseball, where being a part of the action is the norm rather than the exception.

Speaking of the minors, Khalil Greene is tearing it up at Elsinore. So is Mark Phillips. His command still wavers at times but he’s been downright overpowering for the better part of two months. Mike Bynum is also looking good, having made a fine debut at Portland after dominating at Mobile. And while we’re on the subject of good young lefties, Kevin Walker is set to begin a rehab assignment at Elsinore shortly.

Back to the big leagues, how about Jake Peavy last night? That’s the best I’ve ever seen him throw his change-up. He credits Darren Balsley (who else) for helping him to develop that pitch. The best number in Peavy’s line: 92. That’s how many pitches he threw in seven innings of work. Good to see (a) Peavy being more efficient and (b) Bochy being more prudent with the pitch counts.

Last, but certainly not least, here’s a feel-good story about a fellow blogger. Ray Kerby has an outstanding site dedicated to all things Astros. MLB, in its infinite wisdom, recently sent him a cease-and-desist letter, and it looked as though would be no more. Way to go, Ray!

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