The Padres held their annual awards dinner Wednesday night at the San Diego Hall of Champions. Thanks to their generosity, I had the pleasure of attending, along with folks from Friarhood, Gaslamp Ball, and RJ’s Fro.
Corey Brock offers the facts; I offer impressions as a fan…
- It was great to see Matt Vasgersian, who MC’d the event. I’m thrilled that the gig with MLB Network is working out so well for him, and I like the guys the Padres have calling the games now, but I miss Matty V. Who else is ever going to sing Rush lyrics after a home run? (The Gaslamp Ball guys got their picture taken with Vasgersian; I would have done the same except I’m lame and hide from strangers.)
- I did get my picture taken with Hall of Famer Dave Winfield. I told him that he played in the first game I ever attended, which probably made us both feel old. There should be more to this story, but there isn’t.
- Dinner was fantastic, on par with a meal just down the way at The Prado. Bloggers sat at “the kids table” (I’m closest to the camera, doing my best Pat Riley… I usually don’t wear a suit and put product in my hair unless there’s at least one dead person in the room, no offense). We talked about basements and what not.
- Several cool items were auctioned off to help support the Padres Foundation’s Padres Scholars program: a game seated with GM Jed Hoyer, dinner and a game with CEO Jeff Moorad, 2011 jerseys autographed by Heath Bell and Bud Black… all a tad out of my price range.
- Twenty-one minor-leaguers who were in town for the “winter development program” attended the event. Several walked away with awards, including catcher Jason Hagerty for Offensive Player of the Year and personal fave second baseman Jeudy Valdez for Defensive Player of the year. Valdez gave the shortest acceptance speech ever, which prompted some good-natured ribbing from Vasgersian and Black.
- All the minor-leaguers were introduced to the crowd. I personally met Jaff Decker on my way out the door, which was cool.
- Hoyer talked a bit and was impressive. He has presence and, as we’ve seen this winter, a very definite plan. Not that I ever doubted Hoyer, but after having one person in that role for so long, you want to see what the new guy can do. Let me just say that I like Hoyer a little more with each passing day. We are in good hands.
- Tom Garfinkel does a great Bud Black impression. Who knew?
- Adrian Gonzalez won the MVP award again and gave a videotaped acceptance speech, which was a little awkward but mostly touching. It really does suck that he’s not here anymore, but we move on.
- Hoyer’s activity this off-season helps that process. One of the guys he acquired, second baseman Orlando Hudson, chatted with Vasgersian on stage. I think Hudson can play ball. I also think he’s going to be the best postgame interview this year. He’s a bundle of energy, kind of like Miguel Tejada was during his brief stay in San Diego. Hudson is going to be fun.
- Vasgersian also talked to Mat Latos and Will Venable. If they said anything interesting, I missed it.
- Chris Denorfia won Favorite New Padre and expressed his gratitude to the organization for giving him an opportunity when nobody else would. As I mentioned to a gentleman I met while mingling in the lobby beforehand, fans often forget (or don’t know to begin with) the sacrifices these guys make in the name of pursuing their dreams. Why would someone like Denorfia, at age 29, believe he still had a shot at the big leagues? Why would a team? And yet, he proved to be a key player on a ballclub that darned near made the playoffs. Sometimes, if you take a chance, good things happen.
A great time was had by all. Thanks again to the Padres for their hospitality.
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The wheels on the bus go round and round…
- Bill James on relievers in the Hall (Hardball Times). Read the comments for good discussion.
- My First Scoresheet League (Beyond the Boxscore). One of my competitors this year in BP Kings is Sky Kalkman. I would talk crap, but with my luck, the rookie will destroy us all. (Another competitor, King Kaufman, has taken over as “manager of writer development” at Bleacher Report; congrats on the new gig.) [h/t my pal Dan]
- Inside the rules: four outs in an inning? (Hardball Times). Chuck Finley fanned four batters in an inning three times in his career. Rob Neyer, meanwhile, celebrates the accomplishments of a Finley teammate, Jim Abbott.
- Baseball business: Rutgers professor examines big league turnover (Gloucester County Times). Quoth the professor: “People want to move on to a job where they have a chance to make more money or be part of something big. That’s not much different than a player who leaves one team for another.” [h/t BBTF]
- 2010: Year of the Strikeout (Baseball-Reference). I kinda sorta examined this issue once upon a time.
- Trying to remember the 2010 Padres: Game 3 (Houston… we have a Beerfest?) (Avenging Jack Murphy). Fun stuff. Part 4 is here.
- Marc Kroon Signs With Giants After High-Octane Closing Stint in Japan (MLB FanHouse). Huh. There’s a name I never thought I’d hear again. What’s Robbie Beckett up to these days?