Four Seasons and Counting…
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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New Year = New Hope
Happy New Year everyone! Can you believe that it’s 2010 already? I certainly can’t. It’s unbelievable how fast the time is going by!
But I’m super excited about a new year, which means a new season of Padres baseball! Let’s see, it’s been about three months since I got to listen to a Padres game. It doesn’t seem like much, but it has been a really long time! On the bright side, we have just over a month until pitchers anc catchers report. This season is going to be here before we know it!
I would like to look at the team as it stands right now. I know we’ll probably make a few more moves before Opening Day, but as of right now, what does the team look like?
Pitching: I think we’re definitely going to have to add at least one more veteran guy to this rotation. Right now, we’ve got Kevin Correia, Mat Latos, Wade LeBlanc, Clayton Richard, and Chris Young in contention for the rotation, among others. Oh dear, I hope so much that CY will be able to stay healthy all year. I miss him sooo much!! These are all great guys, and great pitchers as well. That said, most of them are very young. If the Padres add a veteran pitcher or two, I think we can take that as a sign that some of these guys are going to be in the minors for the first half of the season. Latos, LeBlanc, Richard, are amazing pitchers, but there’s room to grow. I think that the Padres are going to try to get some more starting pitchers before Spring Training.
I think the bullpen is good to go, though. Sure, you can never have enough pitching, but we have a great group of guys out there right now: Mike Adams, Greg Burke, Mike Ekstrom, Luke Gregerson, Edward Mujica, Joe Thatcher, Ryan Webb, plus the closer, Heath Bell. I don’t think we’ll have too much of a problem with finding guys for that bullpen.
Catching: Catching is one of the biggest gaps that I see on this team right now. We only have Nick Hundley and Dusty Ryan on the roster right now, both very young guys. I’m still not sure how the Padres are going to sort out this position, but my best bet would be that they sign a veteran catcher. It would make a lot of sense. So, we definitely need a little help on the catching side.
Infield: I think we’re very well covered in the infield: we’ve got Adrian Gonzalez, David Eckstein, Everth Cabrera, and Kevin Kouzmanoff. All four are phenomenal defensive players, and they’re a blast the watch. You’ve got a two-time Gold Glove winner in Adrian Gonzalez. A veteran guy in Eck. A young, but excellent guy in Everth. Plus an almost-Gold-Glove winner in Kouz. I feel very safe with this infield. They’re amazing!
Outfield: Like Hyun Young said, this outfield is very, very young. We’ve got Kyle Blanks, Luis Durango, Tony Gwynn, Chase Headley, and Will Venable. Kyle really impressed last year. He’s a big kid with a lot of power, and I think he’s a fixture in the outfield.
Durango didn’t play much in the outfield when he was up here at the end of last year, but he can run. He caused quite the stir in San Diego after a few stunning games. If he gets on base, he’s going to get to second. Or third. I am really excited about seeing what this guy can do.
T. Gwynn’s been in the majors for a while, but I think he’s going to thrive here. It’s super exciting 🙂 Chase has been in the outfield for a couple seasons, but is still pretty young. As long as he finds his bat, I think he’ll have a great season.
And Will. I love Will. He’s a great kid, and an amazing outfielder. I really hope he sticks around on the roster for the whole season.
We’ve got a great outfield, but very young. I think we definitely need to sign a veteran guy.
Bench: I’d say that the bench is the biggest problem. Our bench has always been terrible. We’ve tried guys like Tony Clark and Cliff Floyd, but they’ve always been hurt or not that great. It’s a really tough part to play, coming off the bench late in a game all the time, but hey, it has to be done. I definitely think that we need help in this area.
So, as you can see, things are looking pretty positive. I don’t think we’re 100%, but we’re getting close. A few pieces, and I really think that we can have a great winning season.
That’s the biggest thing that we need to work on this season: winning. The second half of last season was great. I really, really loved being a fan of a winning team. It was so much fun! But that’s gotta carry over to this season. Padres fans are getting excited about this team. Things are changing for the good, and I just really hope that we’re not wrong in placing our trust in this team.
No matter what happens, it’s going to be great to have baseball back. I miss it: the sound of a well-struck ball off the bat, long summer nights listening to Ted, Andy, and Jerry, the beauty of a ball snagged by an infielder and hurled across the infield. I miss it a lot!
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I can’t wait for 2010 Padres baseball. GO PADRES!!!