Spring Training Update for 3/17/03

Hey, how’s it goin’ out there? Happy St. Patty’s Day! I’m sitting here listening to some cool tunes by Flogging Molly as I type, so I’m definitely getting into the spirit. Thanks, Jeff, for the music!

Movies to Avoid: "Evolution"

Man, this is the worst movie I’ve seen in a long time. The cast is good (David Duchovny, Orlando Jones, Julianne Moore, Seann William Scott, Dan Aykroyd), but the writing is just brutal. Moore does some nice physical comedy and Jones has one good line about ice cream–the only point in the movie when I actually laughed. But two or three amusing moments are surround by nearly two hours of nothing. Imagine an Adam Sandler movie. Not a good one, like "Happy Gilmour" or "The Wedding Singer"; think "Little Nicky." Now take away the charm and sophistication of that movie, and you get the idea. Terrible waste of time and money for all involved.

Spring Training Update

There’s not a lot going on in Padre land at the moment. Here are a few items of note:

  • X marks the spot (padres.com). A quick look at Xavier Nady.
  • Notes: Nagy looks sharp (padres.com). Pads continue to hope one of the washed-up, injured veterans will claim the fifth starter job rather than someone with a future like Mike Bynum or Clay Condrey.
  • Loretta counted on to get on vs. lefties (U-T). Mark Loretta figures to see some duty in the leadoff slot against southpaws. Sean Burroughs’ shoulder continues to bother him. Brandon Villafuerte is the current favorite to open the season as the Pads’ closer. All indications are that Jeromy Burnitz will not be coming to San Diego.
  • Boston fixates on Burroughs (U-T). I feel bad for the Red Sox’ fans, who may believe there’s a snowball’s chance in hell of this happening. The offer mentioned here is funnier than "Evolution."
  • Padres down to three in race for No. 5 (NC Times). Another look at the battle for the fifth starter job.
  • Padres show off Bozied, Nady (NC Times). Personal observation: Bozied showed excellent selectivity on Saturday; he battled every time up. Nady looked a little overanxious but he did a nice job lining an 0-2 pitch to right in one at-bat. FWIW, Giant prospect Tony Torcato looked real good at the plate.

Pete Rose

ESPN’s Jim Caple has written an interesting piece on the interminable Pete Rose situtation. He basically says that Rose should never be allowed back in baseball in any capacity that could influence the outcome of a game but that he should be allowed into the Hall of Fame. Best passage:

Keep Rose on death row, and he remains baseball’s official canker sore. Put him in Cooperstown and he becomes Johnny Bench. Just another guy with a plaque.

Albeit a plaque he’ll be willing to sell if your credit limit is high enough.

Obviously Caple’s opinion of Rose isn’t real high, but I think he’s sick of seeing the guy slowly turn into a martyr. So am I. Caple’s position actually makes a lot of sense. Stick Rose into the Hall and forget about him. I could probably live with that.

Junior Seau

I hesitate to juxtapose a segment on Seau, one of the professional athletes I most admire, with one on The Gambler. But I can’t figure out a better place to put this, so here it is.

I’m not a huge football fan, but I’ve followed the Chargers for a reasonably long time–since the very end of the Tommy Prothro era. I’ve seen them win big games with Dan Fouts and Kellen Winslow, I’ve seen them lose to the Raiders in unfathomable ways, I’ve seen them go to the Super Bowl, and I’ve seen them win only one game in a season.

Junior Seau grew up in Oceanside, about 45 minutes north of San Diego. He has played with the Chargers since they drafted him in the first round out of USC back in 1990. He was on the lone Super Bowl club the franchise has known. He’s been to the Pro Bowl in 11 of his 13 pro seasons. Seau is the heart and soul of football in these parts. He’s the Tony Gwynn of San Diego football. He owns a restaurant in Mission Valley, a stone’s throw from the Q. Everyone knows him, everyone loves him.

And now he’s leaving town.

This would probably bother me a lot more if I were more of a fan. I know that football is a business; I’m not naive that way. But the Chargers have really been irritating me the past several years. Between their treatment of the Padres, the hack job they did on Qualcomm Stadium to appease the Super Bowl folks, the Ryan Leaf debacle, Alex Spanos’ whining about needing a new stadium, the rumors of a move north to LA, and their summary dismissal first of John Carney and now Seau, I’ve had enough.

The Chargers show a lot of promise, and GM John Butler strikes me as a reasonably intelligent guy. But Spanos and company have pretty much done everything in their power to alienate the people of San Diego at every turn. I like watching LaDainian Tomlinson and Drew Brees. They’re exciting young players who may be capable of great things. But at this point, if the price of not having to put up with Spanos is moving the team, I’ll gladly pay it. And I think a lot of people around here agree with that sentiment. He just isn’t worth the trouble.

As for Seau, I’m sure he’ll hook on with another team and be successful wherever he goes. It won’t look right when I see him in different colors. It won’t feel right. And in many ways, it won’t be right. But he’s handled the entire situation with the grace we’ve come to expect from him. And to those folks who live in whatever town he ends up calling home: If Seau is healthy, you’re in for a real treat. He may have lost a step, but you will not see many who play harder or smarter than Seau.

So Junior, thanks for all the wonderful years here and best of luck to you. You’ll be missed more than you can imagine. Wherever you end up, I’m sure you’ll do great. And if your new team plays the Chargers, I hope you kick their butts.

Oh, and one more thing. Please, please, please don’t go to Oakland. It would break a city’s heart.

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