A poet friend and I exchanged Sarah Vaughan tunes on Saturday morning. I served with “Shadow of Your Smile”; he returned with “Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most” — nothing but aces with The Divine One. Her voice and a pot of freshly ground French roast go a long way toward wiping away the grime that accumulates after a week’s worth of nonsense.
After a light breakfast, Mrs. Ducksnorts and I hit the road. We were running late, but we were running. The original plan had called for us to arrive at the ballpark around 11 a.m. The new plan involved, chiefly, not arriving at that time.
It was a good plan. A workable plan. One immune to the whims of southbound traffic on 163 headed downtown. Not the Padres… the Navy.
At the ballpark. There may have been a main entrance somewhere, but I lacked the patience to find it and slipped in through the Padres Store instead.
I once worked as a canvasser for some political group. Then, as now, I didn’t give a rat’s ass about whatever their cause was. I was there for the alleged money.
They would throw a bunch of kids in a van, drive us to rich neighborhoods, and have us recite scripts designed to extract money from people who lived there. Here’s a handy tip: People who live in rich neighborhoods didn’t get there by giving money to van-riding, script-reciting kids in the name of whatever our cause was.
I lasted two whole days. The first day, some guy behind a still-locked door felt the need to tell me about his gun. That conversation didn’t last long.
The second, one of my “co-workers” suggested we hop the fence of the local community college at night and plaster fliers all over everything. My mother taught at said college. Worse, it was after hours and we weren’t getting paid.
“Stick your fliers wherever you want. I’m done.”
So much for that job.
Anyway, we slipped in through the Padres Store and made our way to Section 122 along the third-base side, where the bloggers were stationed. Tables and everything. I hung out with the guys from Friarhood, RJ’s Fro, and Avenging Jack Murphy.
We chatted, which is like doing Twitter but with fresh air. I rocked my Xavier Nady Lake Elsinore Storm jersey and a Portland Beavers cap. I wore a name tag that said, “Hello, My Name Is Bip.” Even by inside joke standards, it was kind of stupid, but there you go. (Another handy tip: Set the bar low enough and you can justify almost anything.)
We were Bip, Joe Randa, Not David Wells, and Not Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage’s character in “The Wonder Years”). We could have ruled the world.
Mrs. Ducksnorts, meanwhile, wanted no part of this and wandered around Petco Park. I later asked her what she was doing… mainly, not being seen in public with me.
The Tucson Padres had a table not far from the bloggers. I introduced myself to them. We chatted for a while, exchanged business cards.
Then I got hungry, so I tracked down Mrs. Ducksnorts, who was literally as far away from me as she could be without leaving the ballpark. We ambled over to The Field for fish and chips and a pint of Boddington’s.
Hungry. Thirsty. Whatever.
* * *
- Baseball’s Top 100 Prospects of 2011 (MLB FanHouse). Here’s another list. The Padres are represented by Casey Kelly (no. 29), Anthony Rizzo (no. 50), Simon Castro (no. 71), and Reymond Fuentes (no. 86). I have never seen “Decker” spelled F-U-E-N-T-E-S before, but there’s a first time for everything. [h/t BBTF]
- Peoria (Inside the Padres). Speaking of which, Padres strength coach Jim Malone notes that Jaff Decker has lost 10-15 pounds this winter, which should help Decker avoid the hamstring problems that dogged him in 2010. Quoth Malone: “There’s more physical stress on your legs when you’re heavier, and then it’s a matter of what stress your frame can take.” As someone with bad knees who has dropped about 50 pounds over the past 5 years, I will testify.
- Things that might only interest me: Highest paid players, per team (IIATMS). Heath Bell heads the Padres’ list at $7.5 million. And to think, for only $11 million more, they could have Barry Zito.
- Padres FanFest A HUGE Success!!!!!! (Bob Scanlan). Scan and his exclamation points loved the experience, and why not. It was awesome.
- Every baseball has a story… (Avenging Jack Murphy). Someone got a baseball at the recent Town Hall Meeting. How? “It’s all about positioning, anticipation and a proper jump. Like Tony Gwynn Jr. playing a Petco Park centerfield.” He’s also all about the San Diego/Seattle rivalry.
- CAIRO v0.6 and Still Too Early 2011 MLB Projected Standings (Replacement Level Yankees Weblog). This projection system has the Padres winning 83 games, which sounds almost exactly right to me as a baseline. I’ve been saying this for a while, but if I had to set an over/under, it would be 82 or 83 wins. And yeah, the NL West is going to be a dogfight again… whoever stays healthiest will take it.
- The Favorite Obscure Baseball Figure Project (Misc. Baseball). I put in a good word for former Padres catcher Gene Tenace. Head on over and add to the list.
- When is Baseball’s MVP Its Least Valuable Player? (Baseball Prospectus). I haven’t been paying attention to Albert Pujols’ contract drama, but this is turning into a mess. He may have to stand and admire his home runs in some other city.
- NL All-Zero-to-Three Team (FanGraphs). Padres Mat Latos and Luke Gregerson make Jonah Keri’s list of good young players.
- Randy Ready, The Second Time Around (619Sports). John Conniff chats with the Padres hitting coach. Quoth Ready: “I’m a combination of old school and new school in my approach. I like accountability but also understand all of the technical information that is available to the modern player without overloading him.”
- Cal Will Not Reinstate Baseball (Baseball America). The alma mater of ex-Padres Xavier Nady and Geoff Blum, which enters 2011 as the no. 17 team in the country, is terminating its baseball program at season’s end. There is no way to say this other than it sucks.