I had contacted the Lake Elsinore Storm about coming up for the game with my friend @Thebaseballphd to talk to some of the players for our blogs. We were given permission and told 2 media passes would be left for us. We had heard that Zack Greinke would be there doing a rehab start before coming off the DL, which meant that a lot more members of the press would be there covering the game.
We arrived at 4:10PM and received our passes and were escourted to the press box and then down to the field. As we were on the field taking pictures and talking to Lake Elsinore Storm players, we saw the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes players arrive and walk down to the field to stretch out before the game. In the stand sitting next to a gentleman with a laptop open was Zack Greinke. I decided since there was barely anyone there that I would go up to him and ask him who his favorite player was growing up. My thought was to do the same thing that Dick Enberg did years ago when talking to Ted Williams, and that was bring up a topic no one has probably asked him about (in Dick’s case, it was talking about 2 innings that Ted had pitched against Detroit in 1940). As I walked up to Ted, one of the Dodgers media people walked up and reminded me Zack had a social anxiety disorder. I thanked him and walked over and waited. The gentleman he was talking to motioned for me to talk to him, so I did. I introduced myself and what I write about and asked him who was his favorite player growing up. He said, “I’ll answer your question after the game assuming I talk to anybody.” I thanked him and wished him well.
We did attend the press conference later where Greinke answered questions posed to him by the media. I didn’t bother to ask him who his favorite player was then, I asked him how many rehab starts he thought he would need before he was ready to return. He said, “I don’t know, I’ll talk to the organization and we’ll talk about it tomorrow.” I recorded the entire press conference and will be taking time over the next couple of days to type it out and post it along with my thoughts that me and the @TheBaeballPHD had after the game.
Last Saturday, I attended the Padres vs Diamondbacks game. I got in early to watch the Padres take batting practice. I sat down with my friend Laurie and watched players shag fly balls. Jason Marquis walked by us and I asked him if I could take a picture with him. He told me, “I’ll do it after batting practice is over” which is almost always a polite way of saying I’m busy or don’t want to do it. After 10 minutes, batting practice ended and we stood up to see if Jason would come back over and we didn’t see him. We figured oh well and started to leave to go to the Diamondbacks dugout when Jason walked up and said, “lets get that picture.” I was so surprised and happy that he remembered. My friend Laurie took the picture and I thanked Jason and shook his hand and he walked off with his little boy.
If you ever read this Jason, thank you for taking the time to take a picture with a fan.
Andrew Cashner is a young pitcher on the rise. Drafted in the 1st round with the 18th pick by the Chicago Cubs, he started moving up through the Cubs minor league system. In his 3 years in the Cubs minor league system, he only gave up 3 home runs while displaying a fastball clocked at 95 plus MPH. He was called up in May 2010 and spent the season in the bullpen. In 2011, he won a spot in the Cubs rotation but a rotator cuff injury caused him to miss most of 2011 season. On January 6, 2012, he was traded to the San Diego Padres for Anthony Rizzo. Andrew started the season in the bullpen and was then sent to AA San Antonio to work his arm strength up to become a starting pitcher. Arm injuries once again crept up on the tall Texan and he was shut down in September. Andrew began the 2013 season in the bullpen but has now moved into the starting rotation for good. His last start before this writing saw Andrew beat the Giants and Tim Lincecum 2-1. Andrew pitched 6 innings giving up 1 run with a walk and 5 strikeouts. At the plate, he hit a single, stole second and scored the tying run. With a fastball clocked as high as 97, Andrew appears to have finally settled into a permanent spot in the rotation.
Before Sunday’s game, Andrew was signing autographs for fans who were eating breakfast on the outfield warning path. I walked up to Andrew and asked him who his favorite player was and why and without hesitation he said, “Nolan Ryan, I just grew up watching him and that’s who I saw as a kid and he was always on TV.”
My hope and desire is Andrew Cashner becomes as good as his favorite player because if he does, the Padres will have a great starter for years to come.
*Photo courtesy of TheBaseballPHD
On April 25th, 1976, Rick Monday grabbed the American Flag away from 2 creeps who were trying to burn it.
Yesterday at the Padres game, I decided to go over to the Brewers dugout and attempt to talk to and or get the autograph of Bob Uecker. Bob never came out, so I was left standing around watching batting practice when Brewers manager Ron Roenicke came walking toward the dugout. I decided to ask Ron for an autograph to give to my friend Rebecca Herman who interviewed him for a book she is working on. He walked up and I said, “Ron” and held up the ball. Ron looked up at me, put his index finger in front of his lips and said, “ssshhh, not now” and walked into the dugout.
In 41 years of going to ballgames, I have never had that type of reaction while asking for autograph. I could understand if I was yelling the whole time, but I didn’t even yell, “Ron” when I called to him. While I didn’t get the autograph, the memory I have from this moment is priceless.
Over the last few days, I have observed lots of comments made about Carlos Quentin charging the mound and injuring Zac Greinke. As a Padres fan, I can honestly say that Carlos Quentin deserves to be suspended for going to the mound. I can also say that Zac Greinke made a huge mistake in mouthing off at Carlos after he hit him. No one but Zac Greinke knows if he really meant to hit Carlos Quentin with a 3-2 pitch (probably not) but we do know that it isn’t the first time Zac has hit him. Whatever words were said by Greinke he isn’t owning up to and Quentin won’t repeat what was said. As of now, Carlos Quentin has been slapped with an 8 game suspension and Zac Greinke will be out at least 6 weeks. All of this isn’t good for baseball. I hope at some point these guys can meet man to man and settle it and get past it, for the sake of both men and their careers.
My bigger concern is what has happened is comments made by fans on Twitter, Facebook and You Tube. Some Padres fans seem to be happy that Greinke got hurt and I find this repulsive. We are out to beat the Dodgers on the field, not hurt their players. The same can also be said for Dodger fans who are seeking revenge for their player getting hurt and want Quentin hurt as well. I can understand revenge and the sense of justice, but that’s not good either. It will only make matters worse for the Dodgers. They’ve spent a ton of money in the off-season trying to buy something they haven’t earned in 25 years; a World Series title, and the last thing they should get caught up in drama with a team that is at best in a rebuilding process lead by the former owner of the Dodgers.
My hope, when all is said and done, is that fans leave it to the players on the field to do what they’re going to do. We don’t need another incident like what happened 2 years ago when Bryan Stow was beaten almost to death by a collection of sick minded Dodgers fans just because he was a Giants fan. My fear is that this will happen again this week and I hope the Dodgers organization is prepared for the worst.
-The Casual Fan
Ah, that day of the year I love! Regardless of how bad or good my Padres are, I love the home opener. It’s our chance to show our Padres some love and remind then we’re behind them 100%. We get to see the changes made to the ballpark (good and bad,) see our friends who work at the ballpark who we haven’t seen since last season, and sample some of the new food and drinks offered at the ballpark.
Arriving at the ballpark at 12:00PM, we sat in the car and drank champagne while waiting for the gates to open at 1:10PM. After finishing the bottle, we walked to the gate and saw a couple of the Dancing Friars Of The Right Field Mission greeting fans and praying for a Padres victory. Corey “The Abbot Costello” Menotti blessed me before entering the ballpark (every Padres fan needs a blessing.) After that, it was off to the Park in the Park entrance where we would finally enter the Padres home called Petco Park.
Once entering the Park, we walked around and checked out the Fox Sports booth and interview stage located near the Tony Gwynn statue.
The field in the distance looked spectacular! The grounds crew had done a marvelous job preparing the field for the upcoming season. We checked out the new bullpen area. It’s a 2 tier bullpen with the visiting team bullpen at the top level and the Padres bullpen remaining in it’s original spot.
As we headed to the gates to go in, we ran into a group of the Padres security staff. One of the men gave his Padres Opening day employee pin to my BFF Rebecca Herman aka the TheBaseballPHD, who added it to her hat that was loaded with pins (and boy, was that hat heavy!) Upon entering, we started to observe some of the changes made during the off-season; Ballast Point Beer area, a barbershop quartet singing about things to do in San Diego and how beautiful the city is, the new Jack Daniels right field party area and the field decorated for opening day. There were Padres Little League Player there to greet the team. A plaque was mounted in the Padres bullpen during the ceremony for Darrel Akerfelds. Vin Scully, Jerry Coleman and Dick Enberg were there preparing to announce the games for the clubs. All was right with the baseball world…
At this point we were all very hungry, so we headed to Hodad’s Restaurant to get a bite to eat. They’re burgers are excellent! Tasty, juicy, flavorful and make fresh on the spot.. I won’t torture you with pictures that will make you hungry (the thought of one is making me hungry as I type this) but to top all of this off, the owner of Hodad’s was there! Mike Hardin aka Bossman saw us, walked over and greeted us with hugs and said “welcome home!” He took a pic with me sporting his new hairdo and his classic tattoos…
We headed to our seats to watch the game and we weren’t disappointed!The Padres beat the Dodgers 9-3! Will Venable hit a home run and cleared the bases with a 3 run triple. The crowd cheered, the Beat LA chants were heard all over Petco. The Dodger fans that were there were classy and weren’t drunk and obnoxious. A friend of mine posted a tribute to her mom during the game. She had passed away but was a HUGE Padres fan and her daughters have committed to always attend the Padres Home Opener in her honor. I am sure in heaven, she smiled as she saw this image on the new scoreboard…
I hope the Padres keep it up. It’s a long season, but it is made better by the friends and family you go to the game with. It’s enhanced by the friends you make at the ballpark who work to make the experience even better. I love my Padres.
Had the opportunity to ask my friend Dave Freisleben about memories of Opening Day when he played with the San Diego Padres. This one came to mind for him. I hope my readers enjoy this small story and part of baseball history.
Wayne-Do you have any great moments from Opening Day as a player?
Dave-Wayne. One comes to mind. Forget what year 76 or 77. We opened the season on Thursday in Cincinnati. Woke up to it snowing. Walked to the ballpark in the snow and found the whole field covered. Well, what to do. Hmmm. We built a snowman at the end of the dugout and ended playing the game. That was fun!!!!
Thank you Dave and thank you for the memories you provided as a player. Padres fans don’t forget our players.
My friend TheBaseballPHD received her season tickets yesterday. As a full season ticket holder, the presentation is breath taking. Tickets in a box that opens up to display the tickets. All of it is very impressive. As The Casual Fan, I ordered the infamous 21 game package, which of course looks totally different.
My tickets arrived in a large waterproof envelope, which protected my tickets on their multi-city romp that started in Arkansas and actually at one point was in Hawaii before settling gently on my door step. I ripped open the envelope (yup, I’m that strong!) and inside was…another envelope! Another protective procedure to assure my tickets would stay safe and sound.
Upon opening this (it wasn’t sealed so I didn’t have to use my incredible defined muscles) and inside was a smaller envelope with a couple of handy dandy brochures…..
Finally inside all of this were my tickets, membership card (not shown here, but very nice looking) and my 21 tickets. If you can look closely, you’ll see I have a the Tuesday and Saturday tickets with 2 exceptions: The game on Monday July 29th with the Reds and of course, Sunday August 4th when the Yankees were here. Wanted the Saturday Yankees tickets, but got Sunday, which of course, I can’t go to.
All in all, I am actually happy and don’t expect much since I didn’t pay much. I do love my Padres and I do have an awesome person who takes care of my ticket needs and that’s Hayley Hallum. She covers full season ticket people, but I called her to order my seats and she was happy to help. If you need ticket info and help, contact her.
Hope the story made you laugh. Go Padres 2013.
Yesterday was really rough and I sincerely hope that it isn’t a preview of the 2013 San Diego Padres. The Padres did not have a good spring, and they’re starting the season off with Chase Headley and Logan Forsythe on the DL.
Good news: Chase Headley took ground balls in New York, so he might be back soon. Jedd Gyorko got his first major league hit, Yonder Alonso hit a home run and made some good plays in the field. Chris Denorfia made good contact each time he was at the plate and Carlos Quentin started the season on the field and NOT on the disabled list.
Hoping for a turnaround tomorrow. Keeping the faith. Win or lose, I’ll cheer my Padres on.