Friday, May 30, 2008

Padres aren't even best of the worst

Remember back when we all thought the NL West might be Major League Baseball’s strongest division?

Come to find out, it is actually the weakest division in MLB.

Sure, the Arizona Diamondbacks got off to a great start; but that was only because they were playing fellow NL West teams.

As the season has progressed, the division could just as well change its name to the NL Worst.

That being said, consider the records of each NL West team going into this weekend in games played outside of the division:

Arizona 10-16
Los Angeles 15-18
San Francisco 10-22
Colorado 13-12
Padres 13-19

Overall, that’s a cumulative record of just 61-87 in games outside of the NL West.

This is such a reminder of 2005, when the Padres won the West with an 82-80 record. They lost 12 of 13 games at one point that season but hardly lost any ground because everybody else in the division was losing, too. Ditto the Diamondbacks in 2008.

May the best of the worst win the division!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Will Adrian Gonzalez hit 50 home runs?

Local media members are tripping all over themselves, trying to figure out which person first said Adrian Gonzalez should represent the Padres in the 2008 All-Star Game.

Let us be the first to ask: Will Gonzalez hit 50 home runs this season?

It looks like he very well could.

Gonzalez already has 15 homers one-third of the way into the season, 10 coming in May.

He’s two off the club record for home runs in a month, set by Greg Vaughn in May 1998 on his way to an all-time team record of 50 homers.

The difference in teams is immense: Vaughn played on a team that went to the World Series; Gonzalez is on a team with the worst record in the National League.

This brings up the point that opposing teams will likely start pitching around Gonzalez because he is the one hitter to fear in the Padres’ lineup.

That being said, Gonzalez is one of the best there is at taking an outside pitch and going the opposite way over the left field wall.

As the Padres limp through the last four months of the season, at least the Gonzalez home run watch will be something worth talking about.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Unlike local TV, pro wrestlers are very patriotic

Say what you want about owner Vince McMahon and World Wrestling Entertainment.

You can call the group too theatrical, too this or too that.

But there’s another term you can use for McMahon and the WWE: “very patriotic.”

At the beginning of Monday Night Raw, the WWE featured a salute to our troops on Memorial Day.

This beat the heck out of the local TV stations that led their newscasts with the same-old police blotter stuff and threw in Memorial Day remembrances as an afterthought.

Actually, the WWE is gaining quite a reputation for its patriotism.

After all, this was the first organization to hold a major public event in the aftermath of 9/11, staging a show in Houston just two days after the terrorist acts and having McMahon say “We’ll go on with the show; we’re not afraid of terrorists.”

This is also the same WWE that travels to Iraq each year during Christmas time and puts on a show for our troops.

When it comes to being patriotic, our local and national TV shows can sure learn a lot from the WWE.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Remember our fallen heroes on Memorial Day

As we begin our Memorial Day weekend, let’s not forget what this holiday is all about and why we continue to live in a free country.

Without the sacrifices of millions of men and women over history who have given their lives for our country, we would not enjoy the freedoms we have today.

If you’re watching a baseball game or any other sporting event this weekend, just remember that we wouldn’t even have these pleasures without those who have selflessly laid down their lives for our country.

Here are excerpts from a past Memorial Day speech by President Bush at Arlington National Cemetery:

"Every year on this day, we pause to remember Americans fallen by placing a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns. I'm honored to do that this morning on behalf of the American people. The names of the men buried there are known only to God, but their courage and sacrifice will never be forgotten by our nation.

"At our National Cemetery, we receive the fallen in sorrow, and we take them to an honored place to rest. Looking across this field, we see the scale of heroism and sacrifice. All who are buried here understood their duty. All stood to protect America. And all carried with them memories of a family that they hoped to keep safe by their sacrifice.

"These are the men and women who wear our uniform. These are the men and women who defend our freedom. And these are the men and women who are buried here. As we look across these acres, we begin to tally the cost of our freedom, and we count it a privilege to be citizens of the country served by so many brave men and women. And we must honor them by completing the mission for which they gave their lives, by defeating the terrorists, advancing the cause of liberty, and building a safer world.

"A day will come when there will be no one left who knew the men and women buried here. Yet Americans will still come to visit, to pay tribute to the many who gave their lives for freedom, who liberated the oppressed, and who left the world a safer and better place. Today we pray that they have found peace with their Creator, and we resolve that their sacrifice will always be remembered by a grateful nation.

"May God continue to bless America."

Thursday, May 22, 2008

USD: The best there is in San Diego

At least there is one success story this baseball season in San Diego.

The University of San Diego is a sure bet to advance to the NCAA Regionals for the second straight year.

This comes after both the men’s and women’s basketball teams at USD made the NCAA Tournament; with the men pulling off a huge upset of the University of Connecticut.

Across town, San Diego State can’t even get into an NCAA Tournament postseason event. Gee, which school has a better athletics program?

The USD baseball team (39-15) will host the West Coast Conference Championship Series for the second consecutive season this weekend against Pepperdine. This will be a best-of-three series to determine who will get the WCC's automatic bid into the NCAA postseason.

Friday's game is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. inside of Cunningham Stadium. Saturday's game is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. and if necessary Sunday's game will begin at 1 p.m.

Win or lose, USD is going to be in postseason play. There seems to be a trend here!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

La Mesa man celebrates 100th birthday at SDSU

Let's put sports aside for one day and focus on a once-in-a-lifetime event going on at San Diego State University’s College of Extended Studies this afternoon.

William “Uncle Bill” Gilmore will celebrate his 100th birthday while joined by fellow classmates at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute through SDSU’s College of Extended Studies.

SDSU President Stephen L. Weber and Provost Nancy A. Marlin will make a special presentation to Gilmore during the celebration. Among other things, Uncle Bill will receive a certificate from President George Bush.

Gilmore still drives from his La Mesa condo to the SDSU Extended Studies Center, where he has taken more than 30 classes through the Osher Institute; a unique place offering adults 50 and better a chance to return to campus and study a fascinating array of topics from political science to art history, literature to astronomy.

Although once intimidated by compositional writing, Gilmore now takes joy in exploring the topic while writing his memoirs. He attributes his pursuit to Patricia Geist-Martin, professor in SDSU School of Communication and Osher Institute faculty, who persuaded him at age 99 not to drop her Osher “Of Lives and Words” course and continue on his memoirs.

He intends to always follow the advice he offers others: “Life is for the living – get busy, and be happy.”

That’s great advice from a great man!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Have Padres given up on 2008 season?

Have the Padres quit on the 2008 season?

It sure looked like it in Monday night’s 8-2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

The night began with Scott Hairston dropping a fly ball over the fence for a two-run homer for Ryan Ludwick of St. Louis.

It ended with Josh Bard appropriately taking a called third strike.

In between, there was lack of effort, lack of execution and an overall lack of desire displayed by the Padres.

Sure, General Manager Kevin Towers is threatening to bring up a bunch of players from the minors.

But what good would that do? If those guys were good enough, they’d already be in the majors because this team has needed help all along the way.

Towers has only himself and the front office to blame for building a team with a lack of speed, power, pitching depth, outfielders, etc.

Sadly, with 116 games to play, it looks like the Padres have already cried “Uncle” for 2008.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Peavy's injury bad news for Padres

No matter how you spin it, consider this bad news for Jake Peavy.

The Padres’ ace will not make his scheduled start Monday at home vs. St. Louis because of constant soreness in his right elbow.

Peavy has been less than his normal self in his last five starts, and now we know why.

Sadly, there’s a long-time trend with Peavy. Whenever he does not pitch well for a long stretch, it means he is trying to hide an injury that is bothering him.
He was never injury-free in 2006 when he was just 11-14 with a 4.09 ERA.

In 2004, he was struggling until being sidelined five weeks with a strained flexor in his right forearm.

This time, it may be more of the same.

"I just felt something in there and we haven't really had progress with it," Peavy told Sunday. "It's not normal soreness. It's sore all the time. That's the reason we are missing the start."

And if Peavy’s history is any indicator, he may well miss more than just one start.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Interleague play benefits Padres

When it comes to interleague play, which begins Friday night, the Padres have it much easier than their two California rivals in the NL West.

The Padres get to play Seattle each year as their “natural rival.” The Los Angeles Dodgers must face the Anaheim Angels; while the San Francisco Giants are matched up against the Oakland Athletics.

Think about it for a minute. The Padres play a Seattle team that traditionally battles Texas for last place. The Dodgers and Giants are playing the year-in and year-out top two teams in the AL West.

What’s interesting is how this all breaks down. The Padres have a winning record against Seattle and losing record against the rest of the AL. The Dodgers and Giants have losing records vs. their “natural rivals,” but winning records against the remainder of the AL.

So we can’t feel too sorry for the Padres having to play the New York Yankees, Cleveland, Detroit and Minnesota this year.

It could be worse: They could be playing the Angels or Athletics every year in interleague action.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Padres line up well lately

The Padres have won three of four games since they altered their lineup.

This came directly in response to the team losing 18 of 22 previous games.

So is it the new lineup making the difference?

Jody Gerut hasn’t even been here a week since being recalled from the minors and is leading off.

Tadahito Iguchi bats second, and Brian Giles has been moved from first to third in the order.

Adrian Gonzalez is clean-up and Kevin Kouzmanoff bats fifth, each dropping one spot in the order from before.

Perhaps the new lineup is making a difference, but the test of time will tell.

The last time the Padres had a set lineup was on Opening Day, and they won three of their first four games …. just as they have with the new lineup.

History will tell whether the new lineup is a winner, or just a temporary fix for a losing team.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

What happened to Padres' starting pitching?

Remember when the Padres bragged about having perhaps the best starting pitching rotation in Major League Baseball?

Well, don’t look now, but …

Jake Peavy (4-2, 2.47) is not pitching like a Cy Young winner.

Chris Young (3-3, 3.94) has turned very average.

Greg Maddux (3-3, 3.60) will probably be gone to a contending team in July.

Randy Wolf (2-3, 5.16) has had a terrible May.

Aging Shawn Estes will make his first major-league start in more than two years tonight against the Chicago Cubs.

The starting pitchers were once thought to be the only strength among the Padres. Now, it looks as if the team does not have any strengths at all.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Padres can't draw flies at Petco Park

Did anybody else notice how low the Padres’ attendance was this past weekend at Petco Park?

Playing their only home series in a three-week span, it seemed like the Padres couldn’t draw flies.

Friday night, Cy Young winner Jake Peavy pitched against the defending National league champion Colorado Rockies. Attendance: 31,057.

Saturday night, Greg Maddux earned his 350th career victory on a night when free Peavy T-shirts were given to fans. Attendance: 34,117. (Those free T-shirt giveaways used to draw 65,000 fans at Qualcomm Stadium.)

Sunday afternoon, the Padres won a series for the first time in nearly two months. Attendance: 28,624.

Obviously, the fans are already being turned off by the Padres.

When do the Chargers kick off their season?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Padres making more desperation moves

In case you missed it, here are press releases from the Padres over the past 24 hours.

With five straight losses and the worst record in Major League Baseball, there is surely more to come:

The San Diego Padres today purchased the contract of catcher Luke Carlin from Triple-A Portland and optioned catcher Colt Morton to Double-A San Antonio. Executive Vice President/General Manager Kevin Towers made the announcement.

The San Diego Padres today recalled outfielder Jody Gerut from Triple-A Portland and requested unconditional release waivers on outfielder Jim Edmonds. Executive Vice President/General Manager Kevin Towers made the announcement.

The San Diego Padres announced today that they have claimed left-handed pitcher Sean Henn off waivers from the New York Yankees. Executive Vice President/General Manager Kevin Towers made the announcement.

Sean Henn is not to be confused with Sean Penn; Madonna’s ex.

With the way the Padres are going, maybe they should sign Sean Penn for some publicity. (And maybe bring up George Carlin instead of Luke!)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Who cares about the Padres?

Have you stopped caring about the Padres?

Join the crowd.

A couple weeks ago, people were mad at the team for losing. Now it’s a could-care-less attitude, which should do wonders for home attendance, lol.

Just when you think they can’t reach a new low, they did by losing for the 17th time in 21 games with Thursday’s 5-4 loss at Atlanta.

How significant was it?

Atlanta was the first team since the 2000 Houston Astros to lose its first nine one-run games. The Braves were the only team in the major leagues without a one-run victory until now.

A week ago, we suggested the Padres should get rid of Jim Edmonds when people still cared about them. Now that fans could care less, the esteemed San Diego Union-Tribune is also calling for Edmonds to go.

Last week, we all would have cared that Joe Thatcher dropped to an 0-4 record with a 6.75 ERA in the latest loss to the Braves.

But at this point, who cares about the Padres; the team with Major League Baseball’s worst record?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Padres should demote more than Germano

The Padres have demoted starting pitcher Justin Germano to the bullpen because of his 0-3 record and 6.35 ERA.

If you’re going to demote Germano, don’t forget:

Catcher Josh Bard, his .216 average and inability to throw out base stealers.

Shortstop Khalil Greene with his .213 average and one home run.

The whole left field tandem of Scott Hairston, Justin Huber and Paul McAnulty.

Center fielder Jim Edmonds with his .171 average and inability to get to fly balls anymore.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget starting pitcher Chris Young (2-3, 4.31 ERA) along with the bullpen trio of Trevor Hoffman (0-2, 6.52), Glendon Rusch (1-2, 6.26) and Joe Thatcher (0-3, 6.75).

With so many underachievers, no wonder the Padres are tied with the Colorado Rockies for the worst record in Major League Baseball at 12-21.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Is Chargers' LT getting ready to retire?

LaDainian Tomlinson created quite a stir among local TV types when he told ESPN: Sunday Conversation that he “might not” be playing football in five years.

So what’s the big deal?

If Tomlinson is still playing for the Chargers … or anyone else … in 2013, it might be a surprise.

LT’s contract runs through 2012, which would be his 12th NFL season. Most running backs are done by then, even the great ones.

All-time NFL rushing leader Emmitt Smith retired after 15 seasons, with the last three being his worst.

Walter Payton, second on the list, retired after 13 years … with his final season not being so good.

No. 3 Barry Sanders played 10 years and retired at the top of his game.

LT is 19th on the career list with 10,543 yards, quite a ways from Smith’s 18,355 yards.

Should Tomlinson not be playing in five years (or not playing effectively), he would only be following the patterns of the best of all time.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Crabbe should bat leadoff for Padres

We all agree it is already a lost season for the Padres.

OK, on to the next step: Since it’s obvious the cheap management isn’t going to do much, what can be done with the players on board?

For starters, how about letting Callix Crabbe bat leadoff?

This is a team that is horribly devoid of speed. Crabbe would offer someone capable of running at the top of the order – unlike Brian Giles.

Maybe Crabbe wouldn’t get on base enough to be effective, but at least it’s time to find out.
Take Sunday’s latest disaster at Florida.

Crabbe laid down a great bunt single, then made it to second base despite falling. But batting eighth, the pitcher was behind him. At the top of the order, his speed could be utilized more effectively.

Where could Crabbe play? Anywhere but pitcher, catcher or first base ... so get him in the lineup somehow. (It’s not like half the lineup shouldn’t be replaced on the spot.)

Catcher Josh Bard had an interesting quote to the Good News, etc. publication this month about Crabbe.

"Callix has been a ray of sunshine around here," Bard said. He is a great kid and really enjoys playing."

So let him play ... and lead off!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Chargers host mini camp this weekend

If you want to check out the Chargers early this year, you can this weekend.
The team’s mini camp will feature practice twice on Saturday (10:45-12:30 and 4-6 p.m.) and once on Sunday (11-1 p.m.) and all three practices are free and open to the public.

Bleacher seating is available and fans will be able to see the entire practice field from the bleachers, although fans are welcome to bring beach chairs. Food and drinks will also be available.

Fans can also bring coolers, snacks, soft drinks and water. Alcoholic beverages, video cameras, pets and weapons of any kind are not allowed.

Fans attending Mini Camp will enter through a gate located at the south end of Chargers Park.

Parking is available in the PS Business Center and on Murphy Canyon Road. It is recommended that fans park in the business center for the easiest access to Mini Camp.

For more information about Mini Camp, go to

Thursday, May 1, 2008

When will Padres get rid of Edmonds?

Sadly, the Padres need to get rid of Jim Edmonds.

He’s only hitting .153 through the first month of the season, but that’s not half the story.

Edmonds, one of the best center fielders of the last generation, isn’t even getting to balls that he used to catch easily.

The Padres have had a recent history of trying to squeeze all they can out of aging veterans. It’s starting to catch up with them … especially in the case of someone like Edmonds.

If they had acquired him five seasons ago, they would have been much better off for it. Not so in 2008.

Don’t be surprised if Chase Headley comes to the majors in late May to play left field, with Scott Hairston moving to center.

The Padres will call up Headley after the time in which he will have to wait another year before being eligible for arbitration (otherwise, he would be in the majors now.)

As the Padres limp into May, their already poor outfield situation is only getting worse.