When I was younger and measured days by the inning rather than by proximity to the next mortgage payment, I ridiculed people for arriving late to ball games. Such luxury… Nowadays, I am grateful to arrive at all.
We showed up to Tuesday night’s contest in the second inning, never made it to our seats… Got sidetracked by pizza and beer. Stood on the field level concourse, along the left-field line, amongst the Royals fans.
Yes, a few travel with their team. And unlike fans of some other teams, they do not descend upon our city via bandwagon. I respect them. Nobody follows the Royals to look cooler than they are.
It’s like being a Padres fan, but with George Brett instead of Tony Gwynn… Dan Quisenberry instead of Trevor Hoffman… mustachioed Bud Black instead of clean-shaven Bud Black…
When I was younger, I might not have appreciated Cameron Maybin’s talents as much as I do now. He singled twice on grounders to the pitcher and second baseman, and was robbed of an easy triple when his drive to right-center in the sixth short-hopped the fence.
Maybin stole a base in the fourth, then stole a run. When Kyle Phillips flied out to left field, Maybin bluffed tagging up to third, drawing a throw from Alex Gordon. The Royals left fielder sailed his throw over third baseman Wilson Betemit’s head, between the legs of Royals pitcher Felipe Paulino, and into the dugout, allowing Maybin to trot home uncontested.
It was a stupid way to give up a run. Had I traveled to see the Royals play on this night, I’d have been peeved… maybe even irked or perturbed.
The Padres won, 4-2. Clayton Richard worked 7 strong innings… never mind the home run he allowed to Jeff Francoeur in the seventh (or the walk in the second; Francoeur came around to score because, honestly, who walks that guy?)
The bullpen did its thing. Heath Bell ended the contest with a strikeout. After slinging a slew of curve balls, Bell fired a fastball that Betemit couldn’t catch up to, sealing the game and the series for San Diego.
When I was younger, I exercised questionable judgment on more than one occasion… Like Chase Headley getting picked off first base in the fifth, or Will Venable doing the same in the seventh… Except that my transgressions tended to sprawl beyond the confines of the well-orchestrated dance that is competitive sports.
I no longer feel qualified to ridicule people for arriving late to ball games. Ridicule… Really, who among us is not ridiculous at some point?
Former first-round pick Donavan Tate has been suspended 50 games after a second positive drug test (yes, second; there was a first earlier this season that received little, if any, coverage).
What the heck is his problem?
I don’t know, but I hope he gets it fixed.
How stupid can he be?
Pretty stupid, just like the rest of us.
This absolves Tate of nothing, of course — as Jason McLeod says, “You messed up, now you have to accept the punishment and make it right.” Still, if I’d been given bucketloads of money at his age… let’s just say that the return on investment for whomever gave me the money would have been less than stellar.
If you never made a mistake when you were younger, I count three possibilities (all of which are themselves mistakes):
- You’re lying
- Your memory has failed you
- You did “younger” wrong
I met Tate once, a few minutes before his signing was announced. Inasmuch as it’s possible to formulate an opinion about someone on the basis of a handshake and 15 seconds worth of words, I’ll say that he seemed like a nice kid. Pat Murphy, his manager at Eugene, calls Tate “a great kid.” (What else is Murphy going to say, but still…)
I’ve known many nice/great kids. Many of them did stupid things. Most survived and grew from the experience, but some did not.
I hope Tate gets his act together, not only for the Padres’ sake (although it would be nice to see one of their first-round picks, acknowledging Tim Stauffer’s recent revival, do something positive for a change), but for his sake as well. If I’d had his talent at age 20 and pissed it away, I’d be pretty irritated at myself by the time I turned 42.
I guess. I can’t imagine having his talent… or his money… or the responsibilities that come with both, at such a young age.
I sometimes think it must be nice to have such problems, but maybe it isn’t. Maybe it sucks…
* * *
- Thoughts from the break (Watson Files). Dan Watson likes what he sees from Rymer Liriano and Zach Cates at Fort Wayne.
- First-rounders Spangenberg, Tate shine (MiLB.com). Cory Spangenberg has been an absolute beast, batting .436/.603/.641 with 16 BB and 5 K in 12 games at Eugene.
- The Least Exciting Player Ever (Joe Blogs). Quoth Posnanski: “Adam Dunn in 2011 is the single least enjoyable player to watch in baseball history.” I would go with Jon Garland, but that’s just me.
- Blue-Eyed Players Hit Just Fine in Day Light (FanGraphs). Someone is asking the tough questions…
- Luebke (Inside the Padres). Tom Krasovic talks about Cory Luebke before the young left-hander’s first start of the season and after. Meanwhile, Chris Cwik likes what he saw but advises us to temper our excitement: “Nothing in his minor league profile suggests Luebke can sustain a K/9 of 10.02 as a starter.” Sure, but almost nobody can sustain such a rate. You know how many pitchers who qualified for the ERA title last year did that? Zero. [h/t reader Didi]
- Squeezes and Suicide Squeeze calls by Bud Black (Padres Trail). Mike finds, among other things, that of 303 bunts laid down by the Padres since Black became manager, only 11 have come with a runner on third base.
- The Los Angeles Dodgers + Bankruptcy= Double Trouble for Baseball (FOX News). Former MLB commissioner Fay Vincent offers his thoughts on the continuing disaster. Here’s where instant replay would benefit MLB: Upon further review, the McCourts are not suitable owners for a franchise; sale overturned. Or Christopher Lloyd and a Delorean…
- Orlando Hudson defensive off the field “…if it were easy, guess what? You’d be doing it.” (Gaslamp Ball). Defensive, honest, whatever…
- Acrobatic first pitch part of Cirque du PETCO (Padres.com). This is the coolest ceremonial first pitch I’ve ever seen.
- Who’s an All-Star? Let the numbers decide (Hardball Times). Ty Wigginton over Chase Headley at third base? At least stick someone there who can play the position. If you’re going to disregard defense, put one of Prince Fielder or Joey Votto there instead. Or, better still, just skip the game altogether…
- The top 10 worst owners in MLB history (SweetSpot). I’m glad Tom Werner makes the list. Not because I’m glad he owned the Padres but because he often gets a free pass for his more recent run in Boston. People need to remember what a crap job he did here.