Monday, June 30, 2008

Padres have thrown in the towel

You think things can’t get any worse than the Padres?

Well, maybe they can.

This pathetic team has to play 45 of its last 79 games on the road, which may sound like a good thing after losing eight straight at home.

Then you consider the Padres are 11-25 on the road and start to wonder if they might be better off playing on neutral sites.

Let’s look at a couple of the bad numbers for a second:

Not only have the Padres lost eight straight on a homestand for the first time in 24 years, they also are second-worst than in more than a decade midway through the season.

Consider the team’s record the past 11 years when suffering its 50th loss:
1998: 90-50
1999: 49-50
2000: 39-50
2001: 44-50
2002: 34-50
2003: 23-50
2004: 58-50
2005: 50-50
2006: 55-50
2007: 56-50
2008: 32-50

Since CEO Sandy Alderson won’t fire himself, he may as well start by trading veterans such as Greg Maddux, Brian Giles and Randy Wolf for something.

As for 2008, the Chargers can’t start soon enough!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Welk Resorts: A great San Diego destination

With gas prices and the economy being as they are these days, most of us are looking for ways to spend recreation time near home.

There’s certainly such a location that fits the bill within a one-hour drive of virtually anywhere in San Diego County.

The Welk Resorts San Diego, located in Escondido just off Interstate 15, allows you to enjoy a day or more of relaxation, rejuvenation and quality family time while staying within San Diego County.

If you want to make it a day trip, you can start with a round of golf on either of the two courses at Welk. You can then go to a buffet dinner, take in a show and finally retire for the night in a spacious accommodation.

And the best part of it all is that can all happen on the same premises without even needing to move your vehicle.

Staff members of the Welk Resort like to think of their location as the “best kept secret” in San Diego … but the word is getting out.

“When people come here, some don’t even know we exist,” said Sean Coogan, director of operations for Welk Resort. “They are blown away by the quality of the golf courses, food, theater, accommodations and staff.”

Welk Resorts San Diego now features two 18-hole executive golf courses named Fountains (par 62, 4,031 yards) and Oaks (par 54, 1,764 yards). Both courses are well-maintained and offer an opportunity to play a challenging round of golf without leaving the premises of where you are staying.

After a round of golf, hungry campers don’t have to go very far to enjoy dinner at the Canyon Grille, which is also open for breakfast and lunch. The restaurant features indoor/outdoor patio dining seating. Additional food options are available at Pizza Hut Express and the newly renovated Marketplace convenience store and deli.

“We rotate a seven-menu option at the Canyon Grille,” Coogan said. “We have a lot of people returning. We try to create more variety.”

The Welk Resorts also features a buffet dinner-theater option, whereby you can purchase dinner and a show ticket all in one package.

At the Welk Resorts Theater, “The King and I” is now playing through July 27. Remaining shows this year include “Altar Boyz” (July 31-Sept. 14), “An Irving Berlin Musical” (Sept. 18-Nov. 9) and “Plaid Tidings” (Nov. 13-Dec. 28).

All in all, it’s worth the short drive if you are looking for somewhere close to get away.

For more information, call (760) 749-3000 or visit

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Padres should trade Maddux to Chicago Cubs

The Padres should do Greg Maddux a favor and trade him to a contending team – the Chicago Cubs.

The last-place Padres aren’t doing Maddux any good, but vice versa isn’t necessarily true.

Maddux is winless in eight starts since career victory No. 350 on May 10, yet it isn’t his fault at all.

Since then, Maddux is 0-2 with a 2.70 ERA and has watched the beleaguered Padres’ bullpen blow the lead four times after he left a game while in line for win No. 351.

This has to stop!

The Padres have long coveted Cubs outfielder Matt Murton, so a Maddux-for-Murton trade could certainly be in line at this point since Murton does little more than warm Chicago’s bench.

Plus, sending Maddux to the Cubs could turn out to be one of those Cinderella stories that are few and far between in Major League Baseball.

Maddux pitched his first career game in relief for the Cubs on Sept. 10, 1986; remaining with Chicago until playing for Atlanta (1993-2003) and returning to the Cubs (2004-July 2006).

As the Cubs seek their first World Series title since 1908, Maddux could be the missing piece to the puzzle in their starting rotation.

It would be quite a story if Maddux could go back and help the Cubs win the World Series in likely his final season.

Frankly, it’s the type of story that happens once every 100 years or so on the north side of Chicago.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Kansas City Royals could win NL West

The Kansas City Royals could be the best team in the west.

Make that the NL West.

The Royals now reside in last place in the AL Central. But if they moved to the NL West, it would obviously be a different story.

It’s no coincidence the Royals are on a three-game winning streak … it’s because they are playing teams from the Weak, Weak NL West.

In fact, Kansas City is 5-2 overall against the NL West.

The Royals won two of three against both the Arizona Diamondbacks (on the road) and San Francisco Giants (at home) before Monday night’s home win against the Colorado Rockies.

Luckily for the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres, they don’t have to play the Mighty Royals this season.

Much of Kansas City’s success is due to closer Joakim Soria, who already has 20 saves. Yes, this is the same Soria the Padres let go to Kansas City in the Rule V draft two years ago.

As weak as the Padres’ bullpen has been, couldn’t they use somebody like Soria right about now?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Edmonds key reason Chicago Cubs are winning

The St. Louis Cardinals didn’t want Jim Edmonds back after eight seasons with them.

The Padres didn’t want him around after the first 1 ½ months of the 2008 season.

So what is Edmonds doing these days?

How about helping the Chicago Cubs on their way to a possible first World Series title in 100 years?

The Cubs have Major League Baseball’s best overall record (48-28) and have won 14 straight at home.

In his last 10 games, Edmonds is batting .333 with three home runs and nine RBIs.

In Saturday’s 11-7 win over the Chicago White Sox, Edmonds hit two home runs in the same inning.

“Whenever you get done tying me to the Cardinals, it'll be fine so I can start getting a little bit of Cubs' history in my background,” Edmonds told reporters after Saturday’s game.

It now appears the Padres let Edmonds go too early. Perhaps they/he rushed him back into the lineup too soon after suffering a spring training injury.

For now, it looks like Edmonds is the Cubs’ gain … and a big loss for the Padres and Cardinals.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Interleague play has worn out its welcome

Interleague play needs to go.

So says New York Yankees co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner; so says us.

Steinbrenner says so because his best pitcher got hurt running the bases, National League style.

We say so because interleague play is unfair and unbalanced (sorry Fox News) with the American League teams being so superior.

Here’s what Steinbrenner had to say this week when ace pitcher Chien-Ming Wang hurt himself on the basepaths and will probably be out until September:

“The National League needs to join the 21st century. They need to grow up and join the 21st century. I’ve got my pitchers running the bases, and one of them gets hurt. He’s going to be out. I don’t like that, and it’s about time they address it. That was a rule from the 1800s.”

Well, making pitchers run the bases wasn’t outdated 200 years ago and Steinbrenner’s selfish comments don’t make much sense. But getting rid of interleague play would.

Take the Padres, for instance. They are just 2-7 against the superior AL, following getting swept three games by the Yankees.

Now they come back for a nine-game homestand against the Detroit Tigers, Minnesota Twins and Seattle Mariners. Even though none of those teams are setting the world on fire, don’t be surprised if the Padres have a losing homestand against teams from a better league.

The Los Angeles Dodgers got it right with the schedule-maker this week. They just swept three games from the Cincinnati Reds in a NL vs. NL series.

From now on, too bad all series can’t be intraleague until the World Series.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Are you tired of Boston fans yet?

Remember back when we were all feeling so sorry for Boston Red Sox fans until their team won the World Series in 2004?

Well, four years later, aren’t you tired of hearing about Boston fans?

Sure, their Celtics won their 17th NBA championship last night. The Red Sox have won two World Series in four years and the Patriots have three titles this millennium.

Frankly, the Boston faithful were much more lovable when their teams were losing.

Who can remember that the Celtics went 22 years before winning their latest title? Or the Red Sox going 86 years between championships? Or the Patriots losing to the Chargers, 51-10, in the 1963 American Football League championship game?

The New Englanders woke up today with one more title; which very well may be one more than San Diego earns in the entire 21st century.

Even so, the New England area is likely in for another miserable, muggy summer. San Diego’s hottest days would be pleasures on the East Coast during the summer.

Boston has the titles; San Diego has the weather. Advantage, living in San Diego.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Yankee Stadium memory: Lou Gehrig

As the Padres begin their final three-game series in the old Yankee Stadium tonight, it’s time to take a look back at the historic jewel of the Bronx.

Who can forget the following speech by Lou Gehrig as he was fighting for his life on July 4, 1939?

Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about a bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. I have been in ballparks for 17 years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans.

Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn't consider it the highlight of his career to associate with them for even one day?

Sure, I'm lucky. Who wouldn't consider it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert - also the builder of baseball's greatest empire, Ed Barrow - to have spent the next nine years with that wonderful little fellow Miller Huggins - then to have spent the next nine years with that outstanding leader, that smart student of psychology - the best manager in baseball today, Joe McCarthy!

Sure, I'm lucky. When the New York Giants, a team you would give your right arm to beat, and vice versa, sends you a gift, that's something! When everybody down to the groundskeepers and those boys in white coats remember you with trophies, that's something.

When you have a wonderful mother-in-law who takes sides with you in squabbles against her own daughter, that's something. When you have a father and mother who work all their lives so that you can have an education and build your body, it's a blessing! When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed, that's the finest I know.

So I close in saying that I might have had a tough break - but I have an awful lot to live for!

Less than two years later, Gehrig died on June 2, 1941. The "Pride of the Yankees" had been dealt a terrible blow, diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (now often called Lou Gehrig's disease), a rare disease that causes spinal paralysis.

Gehrig once played in 2,130 consecutive games from 1925 to 1939, setting a major league record later broken by Cal Ripken. He had a career batting average of .340.

More than anything, he will be remembered for that powerful speech before 60,000 fans on the Fourth of July nearly seven decades ago.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Rocco wins fans; TIger wins U.S. Open

Were you among the majority of us pulling for Rocco Mediate to win the U.S. Open on Monday at Torrey Pines?

Tiger Woods has had his (14) days in the sun; winning 14 major tournaments now.

Rocco was bidding to become the oldest golfer ever at age 45 to win a major. He had not won in 138 starts and was ranked No. 158 in the world before jumping to No. 47 after the U.S. Open.

Even though this will always be remembered as Tiger’s 14th major, some of us will never forget it as the tournament when Rocco became a fan favorite over Tiger.

Here’s more from

It capped a remarkable week for the world's No. 1 player, who had not played since April 15 surgery on his left knee and looked as though every step was a burden. But the knee held up for 91 holes, and the payoff was worth the pain, even if doctors had warned him that he risked further injury by playing the Open.

"I'm glad I'm done," Woods said. "I really don't feel like playing anymore. It's sore."

Woods joins Jack Nicklaus as the only players to capture the career Grand Slam three times over.

Mediate's odyssey began two weeks ago when he had to survive a sudden-death playoff simply to qualify for this U.S. Open. Even more unlikely was going toe-to-toe with Woods -- whom Mediate referred to as a "monster" -- and nearly slaying him.

He had a 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to win, but it slid by on the left.

Mediate struggled to keep his emotions after taking bogey on the first extra hole, but he walked off Torrey Pines with 12,000 new friends who crammed both sides of every fairway for a playoff that was tighter than anyone imagined.

"Obviously, I would have loved to win," he said. "I don't know what else to say. They wanted a show, they got one."

Did they ever.

From the opening tee shot Thursday in a light fog known as "June Gloom," this U.S. Open simply shined.

"This is probably the greatest tournament I've ever had," Woods said.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Greg Maddux: At a loss for decisions

It took Greg Maddux five starts to go from career win No. 349 to No. 350.

In six starts since, he has gone from No. 350 to stuck on No. 350.

Just call him Mr. No-Decision of the Padres ... until Sunday’s 7-3 loss at Cleveland, that is.

Maddux had five straight no-decisions until Sunday, joining a list of frustrated pitchers who had quite a string of consecutive no-decision starts in 2008:

Shawn Chacon, Houston, 9
Adam Eaton, Philadelphia, 6
Scott Baker, Minnesota, 5
Kason Gabbard, Texas, 5
Shawn Hill, Washington, 5
Maddux, 5

Thus far, Maddux is just 3-5 with a 3.31 ERA.

He’s rarely more than a 5 or 6 inning pitcher nowadays, so it doesn’t help that the bullpen always seems to collapse behind him.

Maddux is one of the best decision-makers on the mound; too bad he can’t get a winning decision nowadays.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Tiger takes control at U.S. Open

The U.S. Open went prime time, and so did Tiger Woods.
With unbearable pain and three unforgettable shots, Woods turned in one of his most memorable performances in a major Saturday by holing two long eagle putts, chipping in for birdie and somehow taking a one-shot lead over Lee Westwood.
Right when some 50,000 fans at Torrey Pines thought they had seen it all, Woods knocked in a 30-foot eagle on the 18th for a 1-under 70 and his first 54-hole lead in the U.S. Open since he won at Bethpage Black in 2002.
That he made it to the finish line was nearly as impressive as a magical array of shots.
His tender left knee first buckled on the 15th hole, and Woods used his club as a cane to get down the fairway, limping along while trying to stay in the hunt. He played the final six holes in 4 under - and that included a bogey - and will play in the final group for the sixth time in the last eight majors.
This time he has the lead, and he has never lost a major from the front.
But he has never won a major with a limp, either.
"Is it getting worse? Yes, it is," said Woods, playing for the first time since surgery April 15 to clean out cartilage in his left knee. "Certain shots, I'll feel it. I can't say it's a drive, can't say it's a wedge. I'm not sure what shot it's going to happen on."
Woods was at 3-under 210, one of only three players still under par.
As spectacular as Woods played, Westwood got it done with steady golf so often required at this major. He holed a short birdie putt on the par-5 13th and finished with six straight pars, missing a 4-foot birdie on the last hole for a 70. The 35-year-old from England has never had this good an opportunity in a major.
"It will be nice going out last tomorrow and having a chance," Westwood said.
Rocco Mediate, trying to become the oldest U.S. Open champion at age 45, looked as though he would leave everyone behind when he made an 8-foot birdie putt on No. 10 to reach 4-under and kept putting his shots in the fairway and on the green.
But a three-putt bogey on the 13th was the start of a four-hole stretch that he played 4-over par. That included a chip he bladed over the green and into a bunker for double bogey on the 15th. He had to settle for a 72 and was at 1-under 212.
(courtesy of Associated Press)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tiger on tail of U.S. Open leader

Stuart Appleby birdied the 18th hole to shoot 70 and grab the U.S. Open lead at Torrey Pines on Friday.

But someone is gaining on him. Quickly.

Tiger Woods shot 30 on the front nine at Torrey Pines -- his final nine holes of the day -- to card a 68 and move to within a shot of the lead through 36 holes.
Woods birdied the first, second, fourth, fifth and ninth holes to shoot 30 on the par-35 front nine. Only three players in U.S. Open history have shot 29 for nine holes.

Woods is playing competitively for the first time since The Masters. He had surgery on his left knee two days after that event.

Woods, who three-putted his first hole (the 10th) and made two bogeys in his first three holes, electrified the gallery with an eagle on the par-5 13th hole to get back to 1-over par (his first U.S. Open eagle since 2004 at Shinnecock Hills).

(courtesy of

Thursday, June 12, 2008

U.S. Open brings out frontrunners

Did you know the U.S. Open is in San Diego this week, lol?

It’s amazing how everybody, especially the media, comes out of the woodwork for this.

On TV, you see people who don’t know a birdie from a bogey all of a sudden become golf “experts.” Ditto for radio and newspaper divisions.

There is one refreshing thing about having the U.S. Open in town, even if it does bring out the frontrunners who don’t know Sergio Garcia from Sergio Mendes: Golf has replaced the police blotter as the lead story in town.

That’s very refreshing in these days of television sensationalism.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Padres can't catch a cold

When you look at the National League statistics, you will notice the Padres have the league’s top fielding percentage.

Go ahead and laugh.

Two “hits” that were mental errors and don’t show up in the fielding percentages were the Padres’ downfall in a 7-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night.

With one out in the seventh inning, Delwyn Young hit a liner to right that Brian Giles said he lost in the Petco Park lights for a double.

Juan Pierre followed with a fly to left center that left fielder Justin Huber appeared to have all the way, then backed off and said he lost the ball in the lights for what was a single.

Hall of Fame broadcasters Jerry Coleman of the Padres and Vin Scully of the Dodgers both couldn’t emphasize enough that if those two fly balls were caught, the Dodgers would not have scored in the seventh.

But with the two bonuses, the Dodgers went on to score four runs in the seventh.

It figures this all happened in the seventh, because the Padres have been outscored 46-20 in that inning this season.

A couple other stats to chew on:

Khalil Greene is batting .159 with runners in scoring position.

The Padres have lost 21 games in which they led.

Perhaps their five-game winning streak before Tuesday was more a blip on the radar than a sign of things to come.

Monday, June 9, 2008

As injuries get worse, Padres get better

Remember not so long ago when the Padres had the worst record in Major League Baseball?

Then starting pitchers Jake Peavy, Chris Young and Shawn Estes were injured.

Catcher Josh Bard also went down; ditto with second baseman Tadahito Iguchi.

So, with this many people sidelined, what happens?

The Padres are on a five-game winning streak, their longest of the season.

With a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers this Tuesday-Thursday, the Padres could conceivably move into a tie for second place in the NL West.

How do you explain this?

You don’t.

It seems the more Padre players have fallen; the more the Padres make their opponents fall.

When everybody finally comes back (hopefully by the All-Star break), the Padres could be in contention because of their substitutes. More likely, they could have a very difficult time when they begin 15 games of interleague play Friday against the much stronger American League.

During a 162-game season, every team gets hot at some point. It’s interesting that the Padres’ hot streak has come when you would least expect it.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Jockey's son is real horse racing winner

Even if Big Brown had won horse racing’s Triple Crown on Saturday, he would not have been the real winner.

Nor would have the owner, trainer, jockey or anyone else but one young 9-year-old boy.

No matter what happened, the biggest hero at Belmont was Jacob Desormeaux, the son of Big Brown’s jockey Kent Desormeaux.

Check out this story about Kent Desormeaux on

His youngest son was born with a rare genetic disorder called Usher Syndrome. Now nine years old, Jacob Desormeaux is deaf and will probably be blind by adulthood.

But in the Desormeaux "circle of life," the child has taught his parents. "The little things we take for granted, he makes us stop and notice those things because he does it himself,'" mother Sonia Desormeaux said.

"Because of Jacob, I go out there and I give all I got. I give you my best," Kent Desormeaux said.

We can only hope and pray Jacob Desormeaux never loses his sight. In the horse racing circle, he is the biggest winner of all.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

U-T helped Padres make Bush draft move

Does anybody else remember this story from the San Diego Union-Tribune on June 8, 2004?
By Bill Center
Kevin Towers couldn’t hide his delight.

"This is a great story," the Padres general manager said yesterday after introducing Mission Bay High shortstop/pitcher Matt Bush as the No. 1 pick of baseball's 2004 draft.

And the story started with a report in this newspaper Friday.

At the time, Padres director of scouting Bill Gayton was assessing the three collegiate frontrunners for the Padres' No. 1 pick in the draft – right-handed pitchers Jered Weaver of Long Beach State and Jeff Niemann of Rice and Florida State shortstop Stephen Drew. Gayton was asked about Matt Bush.

"We've talked about Bush," said Gayton. "We love him." When Bush read that quote Friday morning, a light went on. "I've always loved the Padres," said Bush. "If they love me . . . "

Bush put in a call to one of his advisers, Ken Felder. "I asked Ken that, off what I read in the newspaper, would it be OK if I called the Padres and told them I wanted to play for them," said Bush.

OK, so now we know why the Padres took Bush – instead of three players ranked way ahead of him – as the first pick in the 2004 Major League Baseball draft.It all comes back to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

They’re the culprits who started this whole mess with Bush! We all know how Bush got into an altercation soon after joining the Padres minor leaguers … and how he has been a monumental failure.

Who do we have to thank for this horrible failure? Sounds like “credit” is due to none other than the Union-Tribune!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Chicago Cubs just keep on pounding

How about those Chicago Cubs?

After watching the Cubs pound the Padres the last two nights, it’s obvious this is a team with legitimate high hopes in 2008.

The Cubs are flat-out beating the Padres; rather than having the Padres beat themselves as they do so often.

What’s most impressive about the Cubs is how they just seem to hit line drive after line drive after line drive.

Padres’ catcher Michael Barrett, who played for the Cubs until last June, is certainly aware of his former team’s offensive prowess.

“One thing that’s impressive about them is that they have such a high on base percentage,” Barrett told the Associated Press. “The biggest thing about that lineup is that they really forced us to come to them. You don't see them making too many quick outs.”

Speaking of, it’s hard to get quick outs when you don’t throw strikes.

Padres starting pitcher Wil Ledezma threw 100 pitches in 4 2/3 innings Tuesday night, including 61 to the last 12 batters he faced (averaging more than five pitches per batter.) Ledezma walked five and went to full counts on eight of 21 batters; a terribly high percentage.

But that’s the way the Cubs play, forcing pitchers to get behind in the count because they’re evidently afraid to throw strikes.

Of course, the Padres are an easy target this season. But considering the Cubs have won nine straight and boast the best record in baseball, don’t be surprised if/when they play deep into October this season.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Can Cubs win it all this year?

Go Cubs go,
Go Cubs go,
Hey Chicago, whaddya say,
The Cubs are gonna win today!

Back in 1984, that was the theme song for the best Chicago Cubs team in decades.

Of course, that team made it all the way to the National League Championship Series; only to win the first two games and lose three straight to the Padres … who went on to lose the World Series to Detroit.

As the Cubs begin a three-game series in San Diego tonight at Petco Park, this is arguably their best team in a century. And, yes, it has been a century since the Cubs won their last World Series in 1908.

It’s interesting that the Cubs have won seven straight games, all against the Weak Weak West of the NL (three vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers; four vs. the Colorado Rockies.)

Alfonso Soriano is certainly playing like a Most Valuable Player … but we can’t call him an MVP candidate since every player is technically a candidate for the award.

Derrek Lee is having a great year, Japanese import Kosuke Fukudome is off to a hot start, and Jim Edmonds is playing 10 times better than he did for the Padres.

The pitching staff is again led by Carlos Zambrano, who gets the start in the series opener vs. the Padres.

Are the Cubs good enough to win the World Series for the first time in 100 years?

We say “yes” from this vantage point.