Once Upon My Mind: It’s Just a Big Jumbled Mess

Ah, November… Of all the months between October and December, it is by far my favorite. It’s also the month in which I once wrote many things, some of which have not come back to embarrass me…

  • Padres Farm Report: Expansion Draft Aftermath (November 25, 1997)

    Before the Diamondbacks picked up [Gabe] Alvarez, the Padres had considered moving him to second base or the outfield. Now, reunited with Randy Smith in Detroit via an expansion-draft-day trade, he is likely to remain at third base and should replace Joe Randa in the Tigers lineup sometime in 1999.

    Or not… Alvarez finished his big-league career with a .222/.289/.357 line in 294 PA. Randa, for his part, didn’t do much for the Tigers in ’98 other than hold onto his starting job. He later stunk for the Padres in 2005 and, while playing for the Pirates the following year, hit a really annoying homer off Chris Young. Third base has been such a black hole for this franchise. I can’t believe Luis Salazar is still the all-time leader in games played at the position.

  • 1999 California Fall League Wrapup (November 21, 1999)

    [Ty] Wigginton, the New York Mets’ 17th round pick in June 1998, is very aggressive at the plate but has a smooth, short stroke that provides surprising power. The UNC Asheville product has an unusual build (6’0″, 200 lbs.) for a second baseman, and he looked a tad slow to his right… Wigginton hits well enough that he could probably survive the move to a less demanding position, if needed.

    Wigginton has had a nice career. His numbers through age 32 (.267/.326/.426, 102 OPS+) look eerily similar to those of Ken Caminiti (.266/.328/.403, 103 OPS+). Others I liked that panned out to some degree include Ben Broussard and Marcus Thames. Those that fizzled include… well, it’s a long list.

  • Caminiti Arrested for Cocaine Possession (November 16, 2001)

    I’m sorry to see Cammy in a bad situation again. I know just enough about addiction to appreciate how damaging it can be and I’m grateful that I’ve never experienced it firsthand. When I look at ballplayers on the field, I see numbers… very rarely do I see a guy with a wife and kids, struggling to get it right… I can’t make excuses for him but I sure as heck can hope he finds the strength to get through this and get it right.

    It didn’t quite go down that way… I will never forget the reception he got when he took the field at Qualcomm Stadium after the Padres’ final game there in 2003. It still gets me a bit misty-eyed. Part of me thinks I should demonize the man, but it seems he probably did enough of that to himself to cover the both of us. What a waste…

  • Two Roads Diverged: Jay Canizaro and Mike Cameron (November 26, 2002)

    I always like looking at stats to try and evaluate young players. I also like poking holes in the theory that numbers are all that matter. They do matter, no question; but they’re not, in and of themselves, the answer to anything meaningful.

    Wow, preach much? Anyway, I think I had a point. And it is amusing to note that Canizaro once was more highly regarded than Cameron. Same with Alvarez and Randa (again?!). Or Javier Valentin and Jason Varitek. Prospect evaluation is more art than science… which, come to think of it, isn’t any less preachy than what I said eight years ago.

  • Kotsay for Hernandez (November 19, 2003)

    I think the Twins did a terrific job of getting value [for A.J.] Pierzynski… I wouldn’t have wanted to see my team give up a package like the Giants did to acquire a good but not great catcher. Word is the Twins wanted Jake Peavy from the Padres. Viewed in that context, I love the deal with Oakland. [Mark] Kotsay is a good player if healthy (a big if) but he’s not a guy, like Peavy, around whom you build a ballclub.

    I also predicted that the Padres would trade Phil Nevin or Xavier Nady for a legitimate center fielder. They ended up shipping Nady to the Mets for Cameron… in November 2005, so yeah, I was a little off on the timing.

  • Travelsnort: McDowell Road (November 23, 2004)

    The good news is, the Italian place serves takeout till 2 AM. The bad news is, you are staying in a hotel and have little use for takeout. The cabaret, as far as you know, doesn’t serve food. This is probably a good thing. Still, you feel a little pathetic for caring more about food than naked chicks. But you get over it because you’re hungry.

    Heh. We drove past McDowell Road several times during our recent jaunt to the Arizona Fall League. The sign brought a smile to my face every time… and, of course, I resisted the urge to get on that blasted road.

  • Nady for Cameron — Part 3 (November 16, 2005)

    I think the deal is pretty even talentwise in the short run, with Cameron filling a greater need than Nady would have. Factor in that the Padres apparently weren’t willing to use Nady, and I’m okay with this… I look forward to seeing what a legitimate center fielder… can do at Petco Park.

    Cameron in center was glorious, wasn’t he?

  • Leaps of Faith (November 30, 2006)

    I’ve been trying to balance working a full-time job, maintaining three blogs, writing a book, and spending time with my family. The 17-hour work days; the strain in my back, shoulders, neck, arms, and legs; and the shortness of temper that accompanies a general lack of time to “get things done” tell me that I’ve earned an “A” for effort but a significantly lower mark for everything else… I’ve quit my job… to pursue my dreams. I will be writing full time for at least the next several months as I work to complete the Ducksnorts book.

    It didn’t work, but you know what? I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. Failure is just a way to learn how not to do things.

  • Interview: Steve Poltz, Part 3 (November 29, 2007)

    We were opening for the Ramones… and our promoter is, like, “Hey, man; I just want to say to you guys, don’t be bummed if people start throwing s*** at you — like shoes, lemons — because Ramones fans don’t like anybody but the Ramones. So, just take it as a compliment if somebody throws a shoe at you or something; they don’t mean any harm.”

    I had way too much fun doing this interview.

  • Potential Fire Sale FAQ (November 14, 2008)

    If you value your sanity and don’t want to be taken for a ride by various media wags who may or may not have a clue, my advice is to keep your head down until the decision makers announce something. Then we’ll have actual news to dissect instead of a giant, steaming load of crap that sells copy and satisfies nobody but the advertisers.

    Yikes, I must not have had enough coffee that morning. Or maybe I had too much. Either way, it wasn’t the right amount…

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2 Responses »

  1. Long time blog and annual reader, first time poster .. your ‘Leaps of Faith’ comments have prompted me. I’m sure you’ve had all sorts of time to put that chapter of your life into context. Having followed your comments throughout that time and its conclusion I’m not sure I can agree with your using the word ‘failure’. Where we end up often isn’t where we thought we’d be but being part of the ESPN network, writing gigs elsewhere, TV & radio appearances and a respected blog doesn’t sound too much like failure to me.

    Anyway, I’ve always found the journey, not the destination, to be the worthier part.

  2. Well said. It is easy to lose perspective about these things; thank you for the reminder.