I realized something yesterday: I am going into my fourth year as a Padres fan. Wow! It seems unbelievable that it’s been that long, but here I am, a month or so away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training.
A lot has happened over the past three years, that’s for sure. 2007 was a great year, let me tell you that. We were a great team, with a lot of marvelous players. Things were really clicking, but we didn’t quite make it. That fateful Game 163 knocked us out of the playoffs. It was heartbreaking to listen to Trevor Hoffman just totally fall apart in the 13th inning. Man that was a tough one to get over.
2008 wasn’t easy either. A lot of the prominent players of 2007 left the team, so we were left with a bottom-of-the-barrel group of guys who didn’t really qualify for the word “team.” It was not pretty at all. We were terrible. I was shocked at how a team who won two NL West titles in a row and then came within one game of the playoffs could suddenly have this major of a meltdown. It was literally depressing. And believe me, it was almost a relief to get that season over with.
2009 brought new hope, but a lot of heartbreak, too. We lost Trevor Hoffman, the all-time saves leader, and Jake Peavy, Cy Young Award winner and Padres ace. That was tough. But after an average first half, the team rebounded with the help of a bunch of young guys and actually finished decently. It was a long, hard season, but it was great to see that improvement at the end there. We ended the season in fourth place in the NL West.
Now, we’re really hoping that the momentum from last year will carry over to this year. We’ve got a ton of amazingly talented young players, and I really think that they’re going to only get better. It’s going to be a good year. There’s hope. There’s excitement.
I am just so proud to be a Padres fan. There’s no other team I would rather be a fan of. Sometimes I wish I was a fan of a team who won more, who had more money to work with, who was actually good, but I don’t want to be a fan of the Yankees or Red Sox. My Padres are good enough. And you know what I think, I think that you have to be a true fan to stay commited to these Padres. Not to insult any Yankees fans, but it’s easy to be a fan of a team like the Yankees who gets all the good players and wins a lot of World Series. It’s not so easy to stay a fan of a team who can’t get any good players, who doesn’t win that often, who doesn’t have one World Series win under their belts.
My Padres are absolutely incredible. I love their uniforms, their gorgeous stadium, and this incredible city of San Diego. It truly is America’s Finest City. I love it!!!
I’ve met so many great people, Padres fans. I feel connected to all Padres fans because we all have a love for our team. It thrills me so much to discover new people who have a passion for Padres baseball like I do. I can’t wait to meet more and more Padres fans in the years ahead!
I’m a die-hard Padres fan and proud of it. I don’t care if we stink and never win anything. They’re my boys and I’ll defend them and argue for them anytime. I can’t wait to see what the years ahead hold for my San Diego Padres.
By the way, Everth Cabrera was awarded Nicaragua’s Athlete of the Year yesterday. Everth had an incredible season, and this is totally deserved. He was just amazing. Congrats, Everth!
Oh man, I just watched the video from Everth’s walk-off grand slam, and I’m getting the chills and tearing up. I love these guys so much, and I wouldn’t trade them for any other team!!
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It was a great year. The Padres didn’t do the best (63-99 record), but there were a lot of great games and highlights. Although the results of the season were not good, I still had a lot of fun listening to Padres baseball. Here are some of the highlights of the year.
- Third baseman Chase Headley tried the outfield at Petco for the first time. When he came up to the majors, left field was his main position.
- We signed center fielder Jody Gerut to a one-year contract. Jody was a huge part of this team, and he got the majority of the time in center.
- The Padres hosted their third annual FriarFest at Petco Park. I got two autographs (Chase Headley and Randy Ready), toured the clubhouse and dugout, and walked on the field. It was so much fun!
- Pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training. Jake Peavy played with a changeup, which he used a lot throughout the season.
- The Padres journeyed to Beijing to play a few exhibition games with the Dodgers. The first game was tied at 3, but in the second game my Padres won 6-3. Great series!
- Pitching ace Jake Peavy hit a home run in one of the last spring training games. It was so funny!
- On Opening Day, Jake Peavy shut down the Astros for 7 innings. He also drove in two of the Padres’ four runs. Not bad for a night’s work. The Padres took 3 out of their first four games, with Trevor Hoffman saving two of them.
- The Padres and the Rockies battled through 22 innings of baseball, with the Rockies prevailing, 2-1. It was a crazy game, full of strange antics. Rally caps, rally tobacco, Jeff the Ram’s Head, Larry the Parrot, and applesauce. The catchers on both teams, Josh Bard and Yorvit Torrealba, caught all 22 innings. I believe that this game was the turning point in the season. We were never the same after it. Everything just went down after that.
- Second baseman Tadahito Iguchi hit a solo walk-off homer in the 13th in a game against the Diamondbacks.
- Center fielder Jim Edmonds was released after two horrible, injury-filled months as a Padre. This guy was not good. His release opened the door for Jody Gerut, who did not disappoint.
- Greg Maddux finally won his 350th game. Rookie Luke Carlin made his major league debut catching Maddux’s 350th win and Trevor Hoffman’s 530th save in the same game. Talk about overwhelming for the rookie. It was a great game for the Padres.
- The Padres signed pitcher Bryan Corey. He has a strange delivery, and he doesn’t look like he would be as good as he is. He was a solid part of our bullpen for a while.
- The Padres won 6-1 on Mother’s Day while using their pink bats.
- Pitcher Shawn Estes got his 100th win after recovering from Tommy John surgery. He had been out of baseball for two years and five weeks.
- Adrian Gonzalez’s older brother Edgar joined the major league team. Kevin Kouzmanoff got his first game of the season off while Edgar made his major league debut at third. Edgar had been in the minors for eight years.
- Jake Peavy went on the DL with a strained right elbow. He did not return for a month. The loss of him in the starting rotation was a big blow for the already-struggling team.
- Pitcher Chris Young was hit in the face with a ball off the bat of Albert Pujols in a game at Petco. After sitting on the ground near the mound for a while, Chris walked off the field with assistance from the trainer and a teammate. He had multiple fractures in his skull. In the same inning, Pujols slid into Josh Bard to score at home. His slide twisted Bardo’s calf. Josh had to be supported off the field with a high ankle sprain.
- Near the end of the month, the Padres had another extra inning game. This one only went to the 18th, though. Adrian Gonzalez hit a three-run bomb to finally win it in the 18th.
- It was a strange way to win, but, hey, it got us a W. Paul McAnulty was hit-by-pitch in the bottom of the 9th with the bases loaded for a hit-by-pitch walk-off win. Strange, huh? I was laughing so hard!
- First baseman Tony Clark hits his first pitch-hit home run with the Padres, and three-run shot that put the Padres in top of the Mets. They swept the Mets for their first sweep of the year.
- Jake Peavy came off the DL in time to pitch in Yankee Stadium. He got bombed, but we got the Yanks when they were really hot.
- Left fielder Chase Headley also joined the team for the Yankees series. He hit his first home run in the third game. He played his natural position, third, as Kooz went down with back problems.
- We won four straight games with the score of 2-1. In the last one, Scott Hairston hit a walk-off homer. It was pretty amazing, and no team had ever done that before.
- Kevin Kouzmanoff hit a grand slam against his former team, the Indians. In Kooz’s major league debut with Cleveland in 2006, he hit a grand slam in his first AB, first pitch he saw.
- I got to go to my first game of the year, a retro game vs. the Mariners. It was a loss, but I got to see Chase Headley hit a homer with Kooz on base. It was fun.
- First baseman Adrian Gonzalez got voted onto the NL All-Star team! He really deserved it, as he was undoubtedly the best player on this Padres team. He did a good job in the All- Star game too, playing all the extra innings and driving in a run.
- We won 15-8 against the Rockies. We had been down 8-3, and it didn’t look very likely. But with the help of a few many-run outbursts, we were able to come back and win the game. It was very exciting.
- Scott Hairston heated up major-time. He was so hot that nobody could stop him. He got a lot of playing time. It was really neat to see!
- Greg Maddux got his 351st win. Finally.
- After his 100th strikeout, Khalil Greene went into the dugout and punched a storage bin in frustration. He fractured his left hand and did not play for the Padres for the rest of the season. It was not good. But Luis Rodriguez filled in very nicely at shortstop.
- Greg Maddux was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for two players to be named later. He didn’t do the best for the Dodgers, but it was OK.
- On August 9th, the Padres turned 5 double plays in a game. It was pretty cool!
- I went to my second game of the year. It was a great pitcher’s duel between Jake Peavy and Ben Sheets. Sheets finally fell apart though, as the Padres got three runs off of him. Our bullpen did allow a run, but then they handed it off to Trevor Hoffman. I had never seen Trevor Time in person, and I really enjoyed it. It was amazing. He did allow a home run to Mike Cameron, but we won. It was such a fun game!
- The Padres won a game against the Rockies, 16-7. It was obviously at Coors Field. Great game. I really enjoyed listening to it!
- Jody Gerut hit a huge walk-off for the Padres in the bottom of the 9th. It was very exciting.
- Chris Young almost had a perfect game in Milwaukee. But in the 8th, with 2 outs, Gabe Kapler hit a home run to break up the no-hitter, the shutout, and the perfect game. It was kind of sad, but CY was able to finish the game with 80-so pitches. And the Padres won!
- I went to my third game of the year, an 11-3 blowout of the Giants and Matt Cain. Adrian Gonzalez hit two home runs, one to left and one to right. His brother Edgar, also hit a home run. It was a really great game, and I got a ball from catcher Nick Hundley, too.
- Chris Young hit a homer in a 6-4 win. It was so funny to watch the 6-10 pitcher trot around the bases. I love it when things like that happen!
- We lost the last series of the season to the Pirates. We also lost the last game, pathetically as usual. Leaving 11 runners on, giving up 6 or so runs, the usual. It was sad, but we were kind of used to it. So ended the nightmare season.
- The talks for a Jake Peavy trade began. The fans were not happy.
- We signed a hitting coach, Jim Lefebvre, and a bench coach, Tim Simmons.
- Adrian Gonzalez won a Gold Glove. He is stellar over at first, so this was definitely deserved.
- The Padres picked up Brian Giles’ option for 2009.
- Trevor Hoffman went into free agency. The Padres pulled their offer of the table, creating a rift between the two parties.
- Khalil Greene was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for two pitchers. Thanks for the great years, Khalil, but it was time to go.
- Greg Maddux retired after 22 years in baseball. He had 355 wins.
- When a deal for Jake couldn’t get done during the Winter Meetings, Jake was sort of taken off the block. The Padres won’t be shopping Jake, but any other team is still welcome to approach them about him.
- The Padres announced their 40th anniversary celebration next year.
- The club is for sale.
- The Padres signed three minor league pitchers and a catcher. They also signed Jody Gerut and Luis Rodriguez to one-year contracts.
It was a long, hard year. But it was also the best of my life. I am ready to move on to a new year, though. I just can’t wait for a new season of Padres baseball, a clean slate. I hope you have a wonderful, safe New Year’s celebration! Thanks to all my readers! Happy New Year’s!!