On January 13, 2009, I wrote a tribute to Trevor Hoffman that I considered to be one of the best things I ever wrote. I actually wrote a ton of tributes. I don’t know how many of my readers from then are still around now, but for those of you who were, I’m sure you remember how upset I was that Trevor got kicked out by the front office. In fact, you even established a support group for me.
Then, things looked pretty hopeless. Trevor left and signed with the Brewers. The Padres’ front office was awful. But man, we’ve come a long way. Trevor’s back. He’s home now. He’s a Padre again. We’ve got new people in control of the team, people who actually care about the fans. We’ve got an amazing winning team on the field. We went through quite the dark period, but we have come out of the tunnel and into the light.
Yesterday, Trevor threw out the first pitch for the Padres’ Opening Day game. It was the coolest thing ever. Trevor is finally home.
So, here’s the tribute that I wrote in that time of hopelessness. But this time, it has a new ending. This time, it ends with joy.
“The first time I ever saw you live was June 23, 2005, at my first
Padres game. I wasn’t a Padres fan, in fact, I thought baseball was kind
of boring. I had heard of you before, who in San Diego hadn’t? You were
the only person I associated with the Padres. I don’t remember much
about that game. But you did pitch that day, in the 10th with the game
tied. You’ve always been horrible in tie games. (Note to Milwaukee:
whatever you do, do NOT put Trevor in to pitch in tie games!!) This game
was no different. You gave up the winning homer. I don’t remember
seeing you pitch, but I can say that I was there.
In 2006, I attended another game, and after that, I was hooked. One
of my best experiences involving you was your record-breaking 479th
save. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon near the end of the season. I
was in my room with the radio cranked. My parents had their radio way
loud, too. It was so amazing to hear the call of the save, and to hear
the interview and analysis afterward. I was so happy for you that I
almost started crying. I remember wishing so much that I could be there.
I still have the newspapers from that wonderful weekend. You were my
I went into the 2007 season as a Padres fan. You had a great year.
There are so many stories I could share, but let’s just say that I was
super excited when you got a save, and pretty disappointed when you blew
one. The day you got #500 was very exciting for me. I didn’t get
to hear it live, but I’ve watched it a lot since. In September 2007, I
headed down to PETCO with my sister and two friends to celebrate my
birthday. We got BP balls from the groundskeeper, and when we got into
the stadium, we went towards the right field line. There you were, stretching near the visitor’s bullpen. I was so excited to see you. I was
pretty much awe-struck. When you were done stretching, you stopped by to
sign autographs. And I got it, on my BP ball. I think I squeezed in
between a bunch of people, and just stuck my hand in there. It was so
cool, and that ball is very special to me.
Game 163 hurt, badly. I was really confident in you, but you blew it.
That was truly devastating, hearing you fall apart on that field. But
the way you handled the situation, taking the blame, and giving no
excuses was just incredible.
On August 14, 2008, I finally got to see Trevor Time. In the bottom
of the 8th, the score was 3-1 Pads. My Padres got Kouzmanoff on, but I
desperately didn’t want Chase Headley to get a hit! He didn’t, and so
the game headed into the top of the 9th. One of my goals in 2008 was to
see Trevor Time. I wanted to see it before you retired. And there I was.
I had been watching you warm up in the bullpen. I could tell it was you
by the leg kick, and the way you pitch. It was incredible to watch the
Trevor Time, to hear “Hell’s Bells”. I was screaming like crazy and
taking countless pictures. You did give up a home run to Mike Cameron,
but you did it. You closed your 550th save. I am so thankful that I was
able to be there, to see it before you left.
Trevor, you are a Padre. No matter where you go, you are and always
will be a Padre. You’ve been here for 16 years. In 1998, “Hell’s Bells”
debuted and you became San Diego’s hero. Over the 16 years with us, you
collected 552 saves. You broke the all-time saves record right here in
San Diego. You got 500 and 550 here. You represented the Padres 6 times
in the All-Star game. You’ve been here for so long, done so much for
this team, and how are we supposed to say goodbye to you?
We love you. We love Trevor Time. We love your humbleness, your
humor, and the way you play the game. That front office was eager to let
you go, but we weren’t. We weren’t ready to watch you walk away. We wanted
you to stay, to end your Hall of Fame career here.
You got your 600th save with the Brewers, and you retired after two seasons with them. But you’re back, with a fresh start. You don’t feel like you need to have a one-day contract, because you’re going to be here now. You’re a part of this team again. It feels like you never left.
We love you Trevor. Thank you for not giving up on us. You have been one the best players ever to wear a Padres uniform, and we are so happy that you are back for good.”