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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Tomorrow = two words: pitchers and catchers. WHOOOHOOOO!!! We are finally back to baseball! Sure, they are basically just running and streching, but they are running and streching in preparation for baseball. It is so exciting! How many long, hard months have we been waiting for this? Too many. Way too many.
It’s going to be a tough season for me and all Padres fans. I just read a preview for the Padres and 2009 looks very bleak. It was a depressing article, actually. It seems very likely that Jake Peavy will not end the season with us. We’re not going to win that many games with the team we are planning to put on the field. And I mean, VERY depressing article. But I need to have hope that this team will play above expectations. I mean, who thought the Rockies or the Rays would get to where they went? We can win. I know that. I am dying for my team to prove that they are better than what people expect them to be. I am a Padres fan, and proud of it. We may lose a lot of games this year, we might lose our All-Star, CY Young winner and ace Jake Peavy, but I will stand by my team and I will support them through the good, the bad, and the ugly. It just won’t be easy.
But now, here is the most shocking news of all. You all know that I am super excited about tomorrow, and that the Padres’ 2009 season is finally getting started. But…I am not going to be here! *gasp*! No, I will not be in San Diego, and no, I will not be in Arizona (that would be amazing!!), but I will be up in the mountains with a group from my church. We will be serving a group of about 700 teenagers in a camp up there. We serve them all their meals, but we get some time to ourselves to have Bible studies and stuff too. It’s going to be a lot of fun, and I am really looking forward to it. There is two feet of snow up there right now from the storm last weekend, and there’s another storm coming in today. It is going to be very cold. I’m really hoping that we’ll be able to get up there before it starts snowing. It would be a big hassle to try to drive through the snow and everything. I have never been in falling snow in my life, but I have a pretty good feeling that I will be this weekend. It’s going to be very cold, but I am very thankful that we have heated cabins with bathrooms on the inside. It’s going to be an adventure, that’s for sure. So, if any of you think of it, we would really appreciate prayer as we minister to a lot of hurting teenagers, and also safety on the road with the inclement weather.
We’re leaving this afternoon, and we’ll be back on Monday afternoon. Also, if there’s any big news in the baseball world, feel free to leave me a comment so I can catch up on everything when I get back. Of course, you can also just leave a comment saying how much you miss me 🙂 I’m really going to miss blogging and reading all of your blogs! Hey, you could also post links to entries you write so I can definitely read them when I get back! OK, OK, I do want a lot of comments when I get back 🙂 See you Monday! And GO PADRES!!!
(photo credit: longbeachrealestatehome.com)
Welcome to 2009! I think this will be a great year in MLB. It will just be great to have baseball back! And I’m sure Spring Training will be here before we know it! I am very excited.
So, last night the MLB Network launched. It’s really exciting for the world of baseball fans. But not so much for me, because I don’t have cable, and as a result I don’t get to watch ANY baseball on TV, not to mention the MLB Network. So, am I less of a fan because I can’t watch baseball 24/7….just kidding. If I did have it, I would be glued to the TV 24/7 and my family and friends would hate me. It would also wear severely on my education, and I don’t think my parents would let me do that. Oh well.
But anyways, 2009 is here. The Padres this year are going to look a lot different than the team last year. I would like to look at some of the players who were on the team last year, and how different it will be this year.
BUD BLACK, MANAGER
Last year, the second year manager was going into the season after a 89-74 record the year before. His team had been one game away from the playoffs. But last year, something went horribly wrong. He was put in charge of a team that lost 99 games. I really do not think it was his fault. He has the ability to coach a team far into the postseason, if he has the right pieces. He doesn’t have enough pieces here, though. In 2009, he’s going to have to lead a team made up of mostly rookies. Let’s see what he can do with them.
JOSH BARD AND MICHAEL BARRETT, CATCHERS
Josh Bard went into 2008 with a fairly good season under his belt. He was at one point in 2007 our best player with runners in scoring position. But 2008 was not so great for Bardo. He was riddled with injuries for the majority of the season. He did have a few good games, but he was not that great in 2008. Michael Barrett was not our guy. In 2007 and 2008, he was plagued with injuries, and in the time he did play, he was bad. He was very frustrating to the fans. He just never turned on. Josh Bard is going to the Red Sox for 2009. That will be very interesting, but very exciting for me. I love the Red Sox and I love Bardo, so it works out. I don’t know where Barrett will end up. Maybe he can go somewhere and have a good season. We’ll see.
CHRIS YOUNG, STARTING PITCHER
Last year, CY came into Spring Training after a frustrating oblique strain in 2007. He was able to regain his old form for part of the season, but was never the same after he got hit in the face with a batted ball. He was able to salvage a bit of the season though. Going into 2009, he will be the #2 starter behind Jake Peavy. Hopefully he will be able to stay injury-free this season. This guy is a good pitcher, and he’s a solid part of our rotation. If he can stay healthy, he will be a positive part of this rotation.
JAKE PEAVY, STARTING PITCHER
Jake went into the 2008 season with the NL CY Young award and a new contract extension. Things did not go very well for Jake, though. He was out with an injury, and his offense couldn’t score runs for him. He did do a fairly good job, considering, but he finished the season with a 10-11 record. You know that Jake was not happy about that. After enduring trade talks for the past few months, hopefully he is here to stay for the 2009 season. Believe me, we need this guy in our rotation. He brings so much to the team, and it would be a huge blow to give him away. Hopefully he can return to his form of 2007.
ADRIAN GONZALEZ, FIRST BASEMAN
Adrian was really good in 2007. He was amazing in 2008. He was such a positive on this horrible team, it was incredible to see. Adrian’s all about teamwork, the team effort, but he had a wonderful season induvidually. 36 home runs, 119 RBIs, and he won a Gold Glove. I don’t think he had a game off during the season. He doesn’t complain, he just goes out there every day and plays baseball. He’s very humble, and he does a lot of charity work. It’s pretty amazing. This year, he will be the first baseman. He’s almost becoming a veteran on this team of young guys!
SCOTT HAIRSTON, OUTFIELDER
Last year, Scotty was fighting for a spot in the outfield. This year, he will be doing the same thing. He will probably be on the bench (again), but he’s not a bench player. He does a lot better when he can play every day. Unforunately, our outfield situation is pretty much locked up with Chase Headley, Jody Gerut, and Brian Giles. But we’ll see. Hopefully Scotty can find a spot on this team. He really is a great player; he’s hit 4 or 5 walk-offs for us in the last two years. Plus he can play a wonderful center and left. He filled in very nicely when Jody Gerut needed a day or two last year.
EDGAR GONZALEZ, INFIELDER
Last offseason, Edgar was signed to a minor league deal with the Padres. This was pretty exciting because 1) He has grown up watching the Padres, and 2) he would be joining his younger brother Adrian. Edgar didn’t make the Opening Day roster, because Tadahito Iguchi had his position of second, but when Iguchi went down with an injury, Edgar was called up. He made his major league debut after 8 years in the minors. How incredible is that? And doing it on his younger brother’s team no less! He was really good with us, too. This year, he looks to be the starting second baseman.
TREVOR HOFFMAN, CLOSER
Last year, Trevor was coming off a heartbreaking blown save. He did get a little cleanup surgery for his elbow in the offseason, and he was as good as new going into 2008. He wasn’t the best record-wise, but he was so sharp mechanics-wise. In fact, his stuff was the best it’s been in years. But the Trevor-bashers were out in hordes. A blown save, and they screamed to kick him off the team. It was pretty sad. Trevor finished pretty well. He had 30 saves. He is the best closer of our time, with 554 saves in his career. It’s pretty amazing. After bad negotiations with the Padres, he is now a free agent. Maybe the Padres will still be able to get him back. We’ll see. The fans would really like him back!!
HEATH BELL, PITCHER
Last year, he was just getting ready for his role as set-up man to Trevor Hoffman. This year, he might have to replace Trevor Hoffman. How do you replace a guy like Trevor Hoffman? Heath has 1 career save; Trevor has 554. Heath has the closer’s mentality. He’s said that he would be willing to replace Trevor someday…but only if Trevor handed off the role to him. I’m sure Heath would be content with staying in the set-up role if Trevor was able to come back. But right now, it looks like Heath will be the closer for this team. That’s pretty sad. I mean, it’s great for Heath, but the Padres have had 1 closer for 15 years. We want that closer back.
Many other players have taken different directions, are doing different things. This team will be very different. But general manager Kevin Towers has said that the majority of our signings will be late January to early February. We could still have a great team. And I think it will be a pretty good year of Padres baseball.