HUGE congratulations to Bud Black! Today he won the National League Manager of the Year award by one vote. Pretty sweet.
Buddy absolutely deserves this. I thought he did an incredible job with the team this year. We were in first place for the majority of the season, and though we choked at the end there, it was still one of the best seasons ever.
Buddy had been managing here for about four seasons: two seasons, we were within one game of the playoffs. One of the other ones was horrible, and the other one was okay. But I absolutely love having Buddy as our manager. He is an overall great guy, and he knows how to run a baseball team.
The team went 90-72, ending up second in the NL West. It was an amazing season, but the end was heartbreaking. Thankfully, baseball is the game of moving on.
Congrats, Buddy. You totally deserve this. Keep up the incredible work, and let’s get into the playoffs next year, okay? Okay. Good. Glad we have an understanding.
I miss baseball. I miss my boys. I can’t wait for next season!!!!!!
(photo credit: padres.com)
NINE DAYS PEOPLE!!!! Nine days until our boys are finally, finally back in action!!!
So last night I was trying to think of something that I could talk about that had to do with the number nine for this entry. For some reason, the fact that there are nine players on the baseball field and the ninth player is the right fielder got into my head. Yes, I must have been half asleep. But whatever. Today I’m going to talk about the ninth player on the field, the right fielder.
This year’s whole outfield situation is going to be interesting this year. And so is the right field situation. Right now, I would say that Will Venable is our right fielder. Or Kyle Blanks.
The outfield looks like Tony Gwynn, Scott Hairston, Will, and Kyle right now. Argh. I’m so mad that Chase is at third. Anyways, Buddy Black said something interesting last week. He said that the outfield situation is more of a shuffling/sharing situation than platooning. I think he meant that all the outfielders are going an equal amount of playing time.
So it’s going to be very interesting to see how that works out. It’s going to be interesting to see how this whole team works out!
One thing I’m really thankful for about this team this year is that we have a very good idea of what the team is going to look like. We don’t have the bullpen or rotation uncertainties that we had in Spring Training last year. We know what our infield and outfield are going to look like. The bench isn’t completely settled, but we have an idea. The only thing we really have to worry about is what this team is going to do this season.
My expectations for this team are very low. I’m not saying that I expect them to do badly, but that I’m not having any expectations at all. I’m just going to wait and see how things work out. Last year was up and down. I certainly didn’t expect that we would do as well as we did. I’m going to let the boys surprise me. And whatever happens, it’s baseball.
GO PADRES!!! ONLY NINE DAYS!!!!
Today I wanted to write an entry on the Padres’ manager, Harry Ralston “Bud” Black. Buddy doesn’t get that much publicity, maybe because he’s not a firery guy like a Lou Pinella. But he’s a great guy and a great manager.
Buddy was a pitcher in the Major Leagues for 15 years. He played with the Mariners, the Royals, the Indians, the Blue Jays, and the Giants. He was with the 1985 World Champion Kansas City Royals. After he was done pitching, he worked for the Royals as Special Assitant to the GM. After that, he spent seven years as pitching coach for the Anahiem Angels.
He is going into his third year as the Padres’ manager. His “rookie” season as a manager in 2007 was a very good one; he led the team to within one game of the playoffs. But 2008 was not so great. In no way do I blame him, though. He did the best he could with the few pieces he had. I believe that Buddy can lead a team to the World Series if he had the talent and players available to him. We saw what he did in 2007. He couldn’t control that Trevor blew the two saves at the end of the season. Sure, he could have taken Trevor out of the game in Game 163, but why should he have? That was the all-time saves leader out there. He should have been able to get the job done.
I really don’t think you can blame a manager for what’s going on with his team, unless it’s an obvious mistake on his part. What could Buddy have done last season? We didn’t have the money to get the players he needed. A bunch of his best players were getting hurt with freak injuries, like getting hit in the nose with a batted ball. There’s no way you can blame that bad season on your manager.
He’s a great manager. He doesn’t yell, he doesn’t get boiling mad at his players. Sometimes that might be a bad thing if the manager doesn’t fire up the team. But he can get very hot if he wants to. If there’s a bad play called against his players, he will go out there and calmly talk over it with the umpires. The burden of being a manager is huge, but Buddy takes is very well. He talks with the press almost every night, and he’s a great mentor to his players. He knows his pitching very well also, as he was a pitcher and a pitching coach. He knows what he’s doing out there.
This year is going to be a challenge for him. He’s going to have clubhouse full of rookies and young players. He will have a few veterans like Cliff Floyd, Brian Giles (real great role model), and Jody Gerut. But he won’t have Trevor Hoffman or Khalil Greene, or even Greg Maddux for that matter. It’s going to be a long year, but Buddy’s strong enough to handle this terrible team. And hopefully he will be able to get them up again. In a few years, with our new owner coming in, we might be able to get more money. With more money, we can get Buddy some better players. And maybe, someday soon, he will be able to lead us to our World Series.
(photo credit: cache.daylife.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.
I know it’s been over a year. I know that what’s over is over, what’s done is done. But it still hurts. So I have a little “unfinished business”: I need to deal with Game 163 for once and for all. For the first and last time on this blog, I will deal with it. I need to let it go.
All baseball fans probably remember this game. It was Monday, October 1, 2007. We had just lost two hard, hard games. On Saturday, Trevor Hoffman had a one run lead, two outs, and a runner at third. He had a 1-2 count on Tony Gwynn Jr. We were one strike away from the playoffs. But the next pitch, which was low, was shot down the left field line. We eventually lost in extras. That was hard. Then on Sunday we lost, so, on Monday, we had to play a tiebreaker for the wild card against the Rockies at Coors Field.
It was a super emotional game for me. I was actually at a dance class during the majority of it, so I didn’t know what was happening. But I did get to hear Adrian Gonzalez’s grand slam. I was so excited and I had so much energy it was insane. I did get to check the game once in a while. I couldn’t believe it was still going. Looking back, I really should have stayed home, But when I finally did get home, it was nerve-wracking. I went into my room with the radio blaring. I think I got back around the 11th inning. When Scott Hairston hit the 2-run homer, I was so excited, as in, jumping around my room excited. I could hardly believe that we could really be getting this. Right after the homer, rookie Chase Headley got a single, and I really wanted the guys to get him in. Trevor had had a rough weekend, and I was hoping he could have bigger cushion. But no. So he came into the bottom of the 13th with a 8-6 lead. He got destroyed by the Rockies. Let me tell you, they were on absolute fire. It was unbelieveable. During that 13th, I held on to hope as long as I could. But it was not to be, and I was devistated. I cried for a good half hour, and then I had to go brush my teeth. I thought it was so weird. I mean, here my team just got brutally eliminated, and I have to go on with life and brush my teeth.
It took me a long time to recover from that game. I couldn’t watch the highlights for quite a long time, especially the last play. I would always break down to see Trevor get bashed around like that. My friend recorded the game, and when I finally made myself watch it, it was so hard. Especially watching the Rockies celebration. They were so detestable in my eyes. I finally had to stop it when they were talking to all the players afterwards. I know for many people it was so cool that this underdog team won in such an exciting manner, but for me it was pure pain. I rooted against the Rockies all throught the postseason. I don’t hate them anymore, though. The pain was so fresh, and I couldn’t root for the team that inflicted it. But it made me a Red Sox fan, so I am thankful for that. I started wearing black, and I don’t like wearing bright colors to this day. Last year was a tough, tough offseason. (Just FYI, that was my “obsessed” stage. Things are much different now.)
The Game was a reflection of our season. It seemed like every Padre in that dugout played in that game. The rookies, the veterans, they were all there. Even the broken-fingered Mike Cameron was out there, running the bases and playing center. Bud Black pulled out all the stops, and he played the game like it was his last. And it was.
We had our ace, Jake Peavy, out there. He was so sharp all season. We had pretty much the same infield. Adrian Gonzalez, Geoff Blum, Khalil Greene, Kevin Kouzmanoff. Josh Bard had caught the majority of Jake’s games, and he was out there again. The outfield was the same way it had been in the last few days.
We showed the resiliance that we had shown all year. Adrian’s grand slam represented the incredible 30 home run 100 RBI season he had. Jake did not do well. He gave up too many runs too early. These Padres hung on all the way to the 13th, when Scotty hit the two-run homer. He had been hitting walk-offs ever since we got him in an incredible deal. Heath “Workhorse” Bell was out there for the longest stint of his season, and he held them to nothing. Joe Thatcher, who came in a trade that upset some players, pitched a couple of scoreless innings. He was in line for the win if we had won it. All the players threw their guts in the game, but it wasn’t enough. After Scotty’s homer, Trevor Hoffman came into the game. The Padres were excited. They thought they were going to win this, and why shouldn’t they? The all-time saves leader was going out there to try to save it for them. Yeah, he had had a rough weekend, but they knew that he wanted this as much as they did. Besides, he’d done it 524 times, so why can’t he do it again?
But it was not to be. I don’t know what happened to him, but something was not right with Trevor Hoffman that night. Maybe it was Michael Barrett, the catcher. Maybe Trevor had done something that messed him up. Or maybe it was simply the Rockies. They were unstoppable.
So Trevor promptly gave up two runs and a triple. Here’s the situation: Holliday at third with Jamey Carroll at the plate, with no outs (They had intentionally walked Todd Helton, but that run didn’t matter). We Padres fans are holding on for dear life, hoping that Trevor can somehow leave the game tied. Carroll hits a ball to the right fielder, Brian Giles, who throws it perfectly to the plate. Holliday is sliding in and Barrett is blocking the plate. The ball comes in, Barrett doesn’t get it, Holliday doesn’t touch the plate, and the umpire doesn’t make the call. Barrett scrambles for the ball to tag Holliday, but the ump signals safe.
That’s it. Padres season over. Padres fans devistated. One city torn apart, while the other is filled with rejoicing. A dream crushed for one team, but a dream realized for the other.
A group of men devistated. Particulary one, who stands in front of his locker surrounded by reporters, fighting back tears, taking all the blame onto himself. It wasn’t entirely Trevor’s fault. The whole team lost, the whole team failed. And yet, Trevor takes all the blame, everything. That’s so beautiful in the midst of this pain.
It hurt so bad. But you know, it’s over. The Rockies didn’t win it all. The Padres survived the offseason and the season. What’s over is over, what’s done is done. This game was one of the best played game in years. It was so amazing, so heartbreaking.
Looking back, we weren’t meant to win that game, to go to the postseason. It wasn’t meant to be, and so I am finally OK with it. I am finally over it.