I Missed It, but Maybin Didn’t

We were stuck in Dodger Stadium traffic but weren’t on our way to the deservedly hyped Clayton Kershaw/Tim Lincecum pitching matchup (probably just as well). We had tickets to see the pilot of a sitcom that hopefully will air this fall. I’m not a fan of the genre, but this show has a great cast and was damn funny.

No worries… I’d set the DVR before we left. I even had it record for an extra hour just in case the game ran long, which it did.

One problem: ESPN didn’t broadcast the game in the San Diego market. When I got home, around 1 a.m. on Friday, I had the final inning of some other game (Yankees/Tigers?) followed by a boatload of basketball highlights.

Basketball. Really? People watch that?

So I had to settle for reading the papers and watching video. My favorite video? Cameron Maybin’s home run, of course.

From what I can tell, Maybin’s blast was the first game-tying homer with two out in the bottom of the ninth on Opening Day in Padres history. The only other time the Padres did that in the season’s first month was on April 11, 1991, when Marty Barrett took San Francisco’s Dave Righetti deep to tie the game, 9-9. The Padres ended up losing, 11-9. (Steve Finley famously hit a game-winner in ’98, but that’s a different thing).

Oddly specific? Yup. Cool beyond words? Yup.

Speaking of Maybin, I was supposed to write an article for ESPN identifying the Padres’ “X-factor” this season but I ran out of time and it never got published (entirely my fault). My X-factor was Maybin, and in light of his Opening Day heroics, I thought I’d quote from the working draft:

He was a stud in the minors but hasn’t done much in his big-league trials. Still, Maybin is 24 years old and there’s a lot to like.

The Padres are in a funny place right now. On the one hand, I suspect they’ll do better than many folks expect (I keep hearing fourth place, which is a step up from last year’s predictions of fifth place, which preceded a 90-win season) and they could contend again. On the other, it’s vital given the financial state of the ballclub for them to maintain a solid long-term vision.

If Maybin develops into the player the Tigers thought he was when they picked him 10th overall in 2005, the Padres won’t have to worry about center field — a difficult position to fill — for a while. If not, then they get to hope that one of Reymond Fuentes, Donavan Tate, or Blake Tekotte turns into something. I don’t need to explain the difference between having hope and having a solution.

I still people folks lamenting the loss of Tony Gwynn Jr. Maybin is Gwynn’s equal with the glove and has offensive upside that Gwynn can’t imagine. I don’t know what to tell those people other than keep watching.

On the Cardinals’ side, Albert Pujols went 0-for-5 and grounded into three double plays, which was not only unexpected but also beautiful. Only Joe Torre has hit into more double plays in a game, and a mere 24 players have pulled the trifecta in the past decade.

Thanks for that.

Meanwhile, the Padres are assured of finishing no worse than 1-161 in 2011. Dude, if that doesn’t get you pumped… go watch basketball or something.

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9 Responses »

  1. Just like last year. The best part was the disappointed Redbird fans, leaving early when the scrappy Padres started coming back. Thought they where the greatest fans on earth.

    Go Padres.

  2. It was a great game to watch. You know what was nice? Run #2 . . .

    Venable doubles to left (opposite field). Venable takes third on a grounder to third(??). Hudson lifts a shallow fly to center, Venable tags up and scores.

    That was nice.

  3. Oh my. Nine runs so far and counting. Imagine how many we’d have if we still had Adrian in the lineup.

  4. Maybin scoring from 3rd on Clayton’s bunt was nice after the hustle from first to third on a single to center.

  5. Both of the first two games were so beautiful and exactly what needs to happen for the Pads to win this season, timely hitting, solid pitching, outstanding defense, all around hustle. Honestly and I know I’m practically alone here but I can see this offense being better than last years, yeah Adrian’s gone but Headley, Hundley, and Venable all have one more year under their respective belts and should all hopefully either keep to what they did last year or hopefully improve slightly. Bartlett is better than Eckstein, Hudson at least picks up the slack of J. Hairston and Maybin is definitely better than Junior if he plays to his ability. So really the only place where we got worse was Adrian’s spot in the order and I know it is a lot worse but I think the rest of the order picks it up enough to the point where they could potentially be a more solid line up 1-8. Hopefully the first two games are a hair-bringer of whats to come.

  6. @Jonathan — you are not alone, my friend. The pitching is still going to be great, the defense is better. Maybin’s like TG Jr in center — except he can hit.

  7. As a Padres fan living in S. Florida, I was pretty pumped when I heard that SD had acquired Maybin from the Fish. Maybin, despite his struggles last year, really does have that “difference-maker” potential. We just need to bring it out of him.

    As always, I dig on the Ducksnorts…keep up the great work.

    PS…Which is the better SD-related fantasy baseball squad name: “Who’s Your Padre” or “Into the Friar?”

  8. Into the Friar!

  9. @Didi