It’s the final countdown
It’s a weird feeling right now. I feel like I might be ready for the season to start, but the minute you think that is the minute you realize you forgot something and you’re completely hosed.
News from TinCapsVille:
- At a meeting between the team and the front office yesterday, everyone in the room said their name and where they were from. It was ripped straight from the script of “D2: Because Everything’s Better When We Can Root for Team USA.”
- Heard around a chilly, windy batting cage yesterday: “Coming from Arizona, it feels like we’re hitting cement baseballs.”
- Jake Blackwood hit one over the retaining fence behind the left-field concourse during batting practice yesterday. It’s only BP, but that’s some pop.
- Here’s the pitching rotation, at least the first time through: RH Keyvius Sampson, RH Zach Cates, RH Matt Branham, RH Adys Portillo, LH Andrew Werner. LH Mark Hardy and RH Matt Jackson will pitch every fourth day as piggyback relievers, meaning the starter will go 5 innings (at most) and the piggyback guy comes in to go 3-4 innings. That’s mostly because there are seven guys the Padres want to develop as starters, but five spots in the rotation. With all the turnover in the minors, the piggyback system keeps these guys ready to step right into the rotation if somebody gets hurt/promoted.
- During the workout yesterday, the team scouted the idiosyncrasies of Parkview Field. Manager Shawn Wooten and the catchers checked out how the ball will bounce (or not bounce) back off the screen behind home plate. The infielders scouted how the ball comes off the fence along the side of Parkview Field (in case of overthrows) and everybody watched the way the ball rolls down each baseline on bunts. That’s heads-up stuff that can pay off big time.
- Last year we had RHP Jerry Sullivan playing pianos like a lounge singer at hotels and LHP Mike Watt bringing his guitar on the road. This year we have Cates playing coffeehouse-style guitar shows in the clubhouse and I’ve heard RHP Adam Dominick can play as well. Maybe we’ll book them for post-game concerts on the amphitheater.
- I told strength coach Reed Wainwright on Monday I’d be in the weight room on a daily basis. I don’t think he believed me until yesterday when I was down there for the second straight day working out for real.
- C Rocky Gale automatically wins entrance song of the year for selecting Ted Nugent’s “Stranglehold.” The plaque for the alternates is down in the ladies’ room.
- According to former Fort Wayne 3B Chase Headley, the ghost of David Eckstein may have helped the Padres win their home opener yesterday. RHP Aaron Harang had a nice start to pick up the win. If you’ve noticed, the Padres won their first series and they won the opener of their next series against the defending champs without their No. 1 starter. I know it’s a small sample size, but have we underestimated the sneakiness again?
- Former TinCaps RHP Mat Latos could be activated from the DL early next week.
- I don’t know how I missed it, but here are some minor-league transactions from Baseball America. Fort Wayne alums RHP Dexter Carter and OF Kellen Kulbacki were released. Carter was re-signed by the White Sox (who drafted him originally, but I think we covered this before).
- Someone asked BA who would win in a battle of Royals minor-leaguers vs. the rest of the top prospects in MiLB. Something tells me the person who asked that question is a relative of Bob Swerski, who once famously asked who would win in a fight between Mike Ditka and a hurricane.
- Two things I saw from watching the Rangers-Mariners game on TV last night: Rangers RHP Alexi Ogando could make everybody forget about the Neftali Feliz starter/closer debate, and Mariners RHP Michael Pineda is strikingly similar to former TinCaps RHP Simon Castro. Tall, wiry build, a slightly harder fastball than Castro, a nice slider and needs to use the changeup more or he’ll get beaten by left-handed batters (which Pineda did). Still, he looked good to me.
- Rockies fans picked Katy Perry’s “Firework” to be SS Troy Tulowitzki’s entrance song. But he slumped, so he changed it to a Justin Beiber song. Because it must’ve been the music.
- How many more losses before Red Sox fans go into full-on meltdown mode?
- Yankees RHP Rafael Soriano got knocked around and then left the clubhouse before reporters could track him down to talk. Which is probably the quickest way to getting hammered by the New York media, not to mention your teammates.
- They might change the rules about college baseball players and agents.
- Mustache Watch? I can handle that.
- That’s enough, Jim Nantz.
- I got an e-mail from former TinCaps video guy Allan Wertheimer this morning euphorically claiming the hot buffet “IS BACK!!!” at the Vikings compound, where he now works. About 45 minutes later, he sent this picture message to my phone, captioned “YES!!!!!!!” Apparently the Vikings are bringing in 30 draft prospects today (many of them 300+ pounds) and somehow the video guy is the one everybody’s staring at for eating too much.
- Speaking of breakfast, my family is coming to town for the first series of the season. I’m not sure why, but I’m pretty excited to make a Wertheimer-size breakfast for us on Friday.
Musical guest… OK Go!