Friday, May 14, 2010
How About Them Padres. . .
In case you haven't heard, my favorite team, Los Padres de San Diego (heh), are in first place by 3 and a half games and owners of the best record in the National League. Woot! As a Padres fan and season ticket owner, I feel its necessary to gloat at this moment before the whole thing comes crashing down.
Going into this season, most of us diehards were cautiously optimistic about this season. Unlike last season, where the Padres were beset with trade rumors and over-the-hill veterans (which lead to total disarray in the infield, outfield and pitching staff), the Padres entered the year with a solid core of young players at all positions. It was this group that did exceptionally well toward the end of last season, and gave me some hope.
However, this team has exceeded my expectations in surprising ways. For instance, every year for the past four years, I heard the same story - the Padres are going to steal more bases this year - and every year the Padres were one of the worst baserunning teams in baseball. Suddenly this year, the team leads the majors in stolen bases. The pitching is phenomenal - teams that are behind after seven innings have no chance. Right now, the Padres have kept opposing teams to two runs or less in 17 games out of the 34 games played. 17 games!
Now granted, some of this has to do with playing in Petco Park ("where fly balls go to die"), but here's the thing - for the first time since Petco opened, the Padres are built to play in Petco. No more station to station players. No more guys dependent on hitting opposite field home runs. No more slow pokes. And the front office has figured out that "hey, pitchers free agents will play at Petco for a discount because they get to pitch at Petco."
So, I'm glad to be able to go to the games, and if you live in San Diego, so should you. Sure the food continues to suck, but the beer is cold (and at $8 a beer, it better be), and the team is hot. Woohoo!