Friday, November 27, 2009

The Snow is Flying in Alaska!

When it snows in Alaska, it SNOWS!  Piling up at the rate of an inch an hour, its been non stop since about 8am this morning local time.  How snowy is it?  Well the valet guys at the hotel, weren't parking cars, they were doing something more productive with their time today as you'll see below.



So that's what we woke up to this morning.  Pretty cool.  The snow got so bad that Houston had to cancel it's morning practice.  The High School they were supposed to shoot in, is up in the mountains and it snowed almost a foot on that peak.  The Toreros however are going through their pre-game practice right now.  The High School they are working out in, is about 15 minutes on a dry day from the hotel, today it took nearly 30 minutes.

So USD will face the Houston Cougars tonight, 7:30 local, 8:30 Pacific time, for the right to advance to Saturday's championship game of the Great Alaska Shootout.  Houston scored 100 points in their game in a win over Oklahoma last night.  They are a very athletic team, they don't turn it over, but they also don't play much defense.  They scored 100 but gave up 93 to the Sooners.  I'll have the call again tonight, from the Sullivan Arena, starting at 8:15pm PT, and the tip comes your way at 8:30pm PT, on XX1090, and usdtoreros.com.  I hope you'll tune in!

Thanksgiving...
With having yesterday off, the Toreros had a great team Thanksgiving dinner at a local restaurant in Anchorage.  We all were able to eat a great Turkey dinner with all the trimmings, including a delicious apple sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes and vegetables.  It was a great evening and the players and staff really enjoyed being together on the holiday since we were all away from our families.  Glad the schedule worked out that way and glad we took advantage of the time!

Hot Stove time soon...
With the Winter meetings only a few weeks away, teams are starting to finalize their plans heading into the gathering in Indianapolis.  No real concrete information is coming out of Padres camp to this point, but they could be a player in trade talks.   Judging from the informal poll on this blog, you are all as up in the air as I am about whether or not Adrian Gonzalez will be dealt or not.  The yes' and no's were pretty even as of the time voting closed.  I'll get a new poll up there shortly focusing on some other things.

Good links to keep an eye on for all the hot stove league news...
My buddy Corey Brock will be on hand for the meetings in Indy, and will be reporting as he always does for MLB.com, bringing in the latest on the Padres moves, or non moves.  Find his stories on the team's official web site.

The guys over at MLBTraderumors.com do a great job in re-posting some of the latest rumors from around the country, and the site is certainly worth bookmarking and checking back on often.

On occasion I also check out Pro Sports Daily, they also reprint stories from reporters and columnists from around the country...worth a look...

I'll also reprint or at least link to some good stuff when the meetings get started as well.

Final thoughts today...
Read that the legendary PA voice of the New York Yankees, Bob Sheppard, is calling it a career.  He's 99 years old, and has been in poor health for the last couple of years.  He is still heard at Yankee Stadium, because Derek Jeter insists that they play the recorded intro from Sheppard before he bats every time.  That's respect.  Sheppard announced his first game in 1951, and in the lineup that day, batting 8th and playing second base, number 42, Jerry Coleman.  It was a game between the Red Sox and Yankees.  Mickey Mantle was also playing in his first game for the Bronx Bombers.  Pretty cool.

Good call Gaslampball....
The guys at at Gaslampball.com pointed out on my Twitter account (@PadsCast) that the new picture I chose for the blog, was a little gray and ominous and after further review they were correct.  Thanks guys for pointing that out.  There is a new photo up and hopefully this one represents America's Finest City a little better.  By the way, the photos that grace the heading of the blog and most of the other ones you see, are taken by me.  I love photography and try to do the best job I can.  I think I over-photoshopped the first one, and posted a new one!

Alright, that's it for now.  Hope you'll tune in tonight for the Toreros and the Cougars at 8:30!

Andy

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hello from our 49th State...

Greetings all, as I write from Anchorage, Alaska.  I'm here with the USD Hoops team getting ready for the Great Alaska Shootout, which for me begins tomorrow night (first game v. Oklahoma, 10:45 on XX1090).

We landed last night to a mixture of freezing rain and snow, but had a mostly uneventful flight after our first leg, landed us in Seattle.  I think we caught a break weather wise, landing in 35 degree temperatures, as opposed to 8 as had been forecast.

When the sun came up this morning, today it rose at 9:55am, I could get a sense of how beautiful a place this is.  Low clouds, snow capped mountains and a regular suburban type feel to the houses and wide open spaces.  I'll try to include some photos at some point, and I'll let you know where to view them.

Heading off to practice to watch the team prepare for tomorrow night's first game.  Don't forget to stay up late with me, as I'll have the call starting with the Pre-Game show at 10:30pm, and then the game as the Toreros face the Oklahoma Sooners at 10:45pm on XX1090 and www.usdtoreros.com.

Padres news and notes...
All seems pretty quiet on the Padres front ahead of the baseball winter meetings in Indianapolis starting in a couple of weeks.  Lots of rumors about teams interested in Adrian Gonzalez, and of course Jed Hoyer's former team the Boston Red Sox figure prominently in most of the talk.  I'm still not completely convinced that Adrian will be dealt.  It's sometimes a good idea, even for later in the season, to find out what teams are willing to offer at this point, and have that in mind when the trade deadline comes in July.  I'll keep an eye on things and let you know what I hear.

Season ticket sales are up for the Padres, based on a few things, a 12 game improvement last year from the 2008 finish, and new lower prices.  My buddy Corey Brock has an interesting story about a couple of season ticket holders and their thoughts...check it out by clicking here...

MVP...
Albert Pujols is the unanimous choice for NL MVP...who else could it really have been?

More later...

Andy

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Spring Training Schedule...

Who's ready for Spring Training??  The Padres are, and the rest of MLB is as well.  Earlier today the Padres March schedule was released, and you can access it by clicking here.

The first game is March 4, 2010 in the annual charity game against the Mariners in Peoria, AZ.  In fact the first four games of the Spring are against Peoria Sports Complex companion Seattle.  The Padres will play each team in the Cactus League twice, with the exception of the Oakland A's.  The Padres and A's meet just once, and it is at the A's training facility in Phoenix.  The Cactus League welcomes a new member this season, the Cincinnati Reds have joined the Indians in Goodyear for the 2010 season.

If you're looking for a weekend to head to Peoria to check out the Padres, there are only 2 Saturday home games, one on March 6 against the Mariners, and one on March 27 in a split squad game against the Reds.  The Padres have a stretch of 3 straight at home, March 14-16, with games against the Indians, a night game against the Giants and then face the Angels.   The Dodgers make their only Peoria visit that same week, March 19 at 7:05.

We'll break camp on March 31, 2010, then travel to Anaheim to face the Angels on April 1 and head to Lake Elsinore to face the Storm on April 2, which will wind up the Spring Training schedule.  The Padres will hold a workout at PETCO Park April 3, and then travel back to Arizona, to get ready to open the 2010 season against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field, April 5.

Gearing up for Alaska...
Ok, as you probably know, I grew up in Chicago, and am pretty used to Winter weather, but even I'm a little wary of what I'm about to face in Alaska!   I'll head there with the USD Toreros Monday for the Great Alaska Shootout.  I've never been to our 49th state, but hear it's a beautiful place.  Now to gear up, I went out and purchased a winter jacket, hat, scarf, gloves and thermal socks.  I hope it snows, since I haven't seen a good snowstorm in a few years.  There's something so peaceful about a steady snow once in a while.  I know many of you readers have never actually seen it snow, trust me it's pretty cool unless you have to fly or drive in it.  Different story there!

Now as far as the schedule in Alaska, join me for our first broadcast as the Toreros (2-1) face Oklahoma, Wednesday November 25.  Air time, is 10:30pm, with the game tipping off at 10:45pm on XX1090 and www.usdtoreros.com.  USD is off on Thanksgiving and will partake in a team Thanksgiving meal.  Friday the Toreros face Houston, that game tips at 8:30pm on XX1090.  The team will play a game against a team TBD (Washington State, Nicholls State or Alaska-Anchorage) either at 2pm, 4:30pm or 7pm on XX.  I hope you'll be able to join me for one or all of the games as you enjoy your holiday with family and friends.

Have a great night!

Andy

Sunday, November 15, 2009

No News Yet...

So far, Adrian Gonzalez fans, the Gold Glove winning first baseman is still a member of the San Diego Padres.  December 7-10 of this year, Indianapolis will be a buzz with baseball front office folks, agents, and maybe even a few players invading the Midwestern town.

It will be interesting to watch along with you to see what the Padres decide to do.  New GM Jed Hoyer will undoubtedly receive many offers for his talented 40 home run guy, but he may hear some inquiries about a few other players as well.  Here's my thoughts on who Mr. Hoyer may be asked about in Indianapolis:

1. Heath Bell, closer.  Heath saved 42 games last year (in 48 opportunities) and stepped into a tough role in San Diego, replacing the great and future hall of famer, Trevor Hoffman.  Bell is due a larger pay day in arbitration, which may not fit alongside what the Padres want to do this upcoming season.  What also makes Bell attractive is he's under team control through 2011, so no free agency for a couple of seasons.  The Padres have some internal candidates that could step into the 9th inning role, like Mike Adams, Ryan Webb, Luke Gregerson and maybe even Edward Mujica, though he projects more as a starter this upcoming season.  Personally, I'd like to see the Padres hang on to Heath, but I understand if a move is made.

2. Chris Young, starter.  CY had an injury plagued year, and had to be shut down with a shoulder injury.  Young is emerging as a top of the rotation type of pitcher and is relatively inexpensive at around 6.2 million dollars.  Young will more likely be a more popular player to other teams later in the summer, perhaps around the July 31 trade deadline, due to the uncertainty of his arm, and how he'll bounce back. But trust me, there will be opposing GM's asking about Young.  My guess, is that Young stays a Padre through the season and that will be a good thing.

3. Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B. Kouz had one of his best overall seasons, since coming to the Padres from the Indians three seasons ago.  Not only did he produce at the plate, he was a legitimate contender for the NL Gold Glove at third base this year.  Kouz is still a young player, and again is a guy under team control and is only arbitration eligible, not a free agent.  He has tremendous upside, and perhaps the Padres think that Chase Headley, is better suited to play third, to make him expendable.  Realizing that with Kyle Blanks waiting to get an opportunity, if Adrian isn't dealt, one of the two, of Kouz or Chase could be dealt to open up left field for the rookie.

Ok as those seem pretty obvious choices, I realize that, just wanted to get my thoughts down on "paper" to let you know where I'm coming from.  What about Hoyer's shopping list?  What will he go to Indianapolis looking for?  Here are my early thoughts...

1. Starting Pitcher.  With the emergence of some of the young arms, (Clayton Richard, Wade LeBlanc, Tim Stauffer and Mujica) Hoyer may look for a veteran to help Young and Kevin Correia at the front of the rotation.  There are some options via free agency, but a big money guy is unlikely.   To be honest the free agent list in this category is not that impressive.  Here's the list I looked at, courtesy of MLBTraderumors.com.

2. Catcher.  Nick Hundley really improved both defensively and offensively this season.  Unfortunately for him, the fastball by Chad Billingsley he took off his wrist cost Hundley about 2 months of the season.  Henry Blanco proved to be a low cost, good option, as a back up, but he has filed for free agency. He could be re-signed. Not saying it's a top priority, but getting a good backup in the fold, could be something on Hoyer's list.

3. Outfielder.  This one may not seem as obvious.  No slight intended to Tony Gwynn Jr, but with a flood of young outfielders, Hoyer may choose to bring in a veteran outfielder to provide a little stability out there.  Mike Cameron?

I'll certainly have more about this as the Winter Meetings approach.  It's always fun to guess along at home!

Ok, that's it for today, I'm off to Stockton, CA with the USD Toreros (1-0), for tomorrow night's game at the University of the Pacific.  The Toreros looked good in their season opener, a 77-64 win over Stanford at the JCP.  Brandon Johnson and De'Jon Jackson each scored 18 points.  A couple of other players were key contributors, Chris Lewis got the team off to a quick start, he scored 15 on 7 of 8 from the floor, and Roberto Mafra, went to work late in the game, with 2 key blocked shots and a big basket down the stretch to finish with 9 points and 5 rebounds.

I'll have the call on San Diego 1700 (XX1090's sister station), starting with the pre-game at 6:45, then the game at 7pm.  You can also listen on the web, at www.usdtoreros.com.

Talk to you later...

Andy

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Gold for Gonzo, nothing for Kouz

Adrian Gonzalez won his second consecutive Rawlings Gold Glove at 1B today.  Kevin Kouzmanoff fell short in his attempt to win his first.  Here's the results of the final vote (and my thoughts):

C: Yadier Molina, STL (agree with this selection)
1B: Adrian Gonzalez, SD (agree with this selection)
2B: Orlando Hudson, LAD (I guess)
3B: Ryan Zimmerman, WAS (not sure why)
SS: Jimmy Rollins, PHI (agree with this selection)
OF: Michael Bourn, HOU (agree with this selection)
OF: Matt Kemp, LAD (agree completely with this selection)
OF: Shane Victorino, PHI (agree with this selection)
P: Adam Wainwright, STL (if it's not Maddux, who cares?)

Now as I discussed yesterday, a lot of times this award is based on anything but fielding.  Reputation and even offense start to play a role in decisions to award the highest defensive honor in the game.  Kouz on paper really deserved to take the award.  He did miss some time down the stretch which may have hurt him, but still, the numbers don't lie.  Congratulations to Adrian, and hopefully next year for Kouz!

The Silver Slugger awards are announced tomorrow, then we wait until Monday to find out the Rookie of the Year winners.

CY Ready...
For those asking about how Chris Young is doing, make sure you read this article in the Union Tribune, today, Bill Center gives you an update...and it's a good one.  Think about what a healthy Young does to the emerging rotation for the Padres.  He provides some nice veteran leadership, and a front end guy, combined with Kevin Correia and the rest of the youngsters, could be a good staff.  We'll have to see if there's enough in the budget, or a deal is done by new GM Jed Hoyer to bring in another veteran arm.

Well that was....uneventful...
The GM Meetings have wrapped up in Chicago and there were no trades done in the three days.  Not to say that groundwork hasn't been set for free agent pickups or deals down the road.

Getting UGLY in LA...
Padres fans know all too well about what a divorce can do to a team.  The stage is setting for an ugly divorce between Frank and Jamie McCourt.  Jamie was fired by Frank as the CEO of the team several weeks ago.  She sued to get her job back but was unsuccessful.  Now, she not only wants her job back, she wants to BUY the team.  She claims that she's been running the team since day one.  As she is quoted as saying...
"I was handling everything from catsup dispenser to whether [manager] Joe Torre should be hired," McCourt, 55, told the Los Angeles Times in a column published Wednesday.
This could get very interesting, stay tuned!

Alright off to USD to watch the Toreros practice for the game coming up Friday night against Stanford!

Have a great day!

Andy

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Random Musings...

To this point, there's been no huge news coming out of the GM meetings in Chicago, so I figured, I'd spout off about a few things...

Good as Gold?
Tomorrow we find out about the NL Gold Glove winners, and no doubt the Padres have two and maybe 3 legitimate candidates for the award.  It's hard to figure though, since this award sometimes gets based on reputation, and yes, even offense.  That makes no sense but it's true.  Ok, back to the SD candidates...

Let's start with the obvious, and that's Adrian Gonzalez.  He would win the award at 1B in back to back seasons.  It seems as though, once you break through, you are in real consideration every year.  He has the offensive numbers to back up the award as well.  He fielded .995 this season, which was tied for fourth in the NL.

Now, the guy that should walk away with the Gold Glove at third base, Kevin Kouzmanoff.  The question is will he?  If I had a vote, it would go to Kouz with no questions asked.  Watching him play the field this year was a true pleasure.  Plus I know how hard he works at his craft.  He is out well before batting practice taking grounders from infield coach, Glenn Hoffman, pretty much every day.  Kouz had the highest fielding percentage in the NL, and set a record for a single season, fielding .990 at the hot corner.  Now, will he win it?  I think that the award will somehow elude Kouz, and go to Nationals 3B, Ryan Zimmerman.  I don't like to say that, and certainly hope I'm wrong.  Here's where reputation and offense will come into play.  Ridiculous, I know.  Let's see how it works out.

Also in consideration is Mr. Steady, David Eckstein, who made a league fewest 2 errors all season, and fielded .997.  Will he beat out the rest of the field?  Let's wait and find out.  He should win it though, again having benefit of watching every game he's played as a Padre, his range is underrated, and his saving some of the young pitchers with the ability to turn double plays goes unnoticed too.

Revisit Replay?
Baseball's GM's did not take a vote on a chance to expand the use of instant replay after a season and post-season filled with horrible calls by umpires.  I find this to be a shame.  I realize that it's an uphill fight, since the man in charge, Bud Selig, sees no reason to expand the current replay system, but come on.  Either improve the replay system, or improve the umpiring.  There are guys out there on the field that display the body language, of "why am I here, do I really need to do this" and others look to pick fights and are so confrontational that it's disgusting.  Mr. Selig, please do one or the other, PLEASE!

Will less $ = more deals?
Several teams have already indicated that they will not be big players in the free agent market, due to the economy and some of the big pay days that may be due to some of the top free agents.  My thinking is there will be more trades to try and improve clubs, rather than big money free agent signings.  Of course the big market teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers and others may buck that trend, but for the most part we may be looking at a much busier trade market when the teams get together in Indianapolis for the Winter Meetings next month.  Just a thought.

Scully not silenced...
Dodgers long time play by play announcer Vin Scully may not walk away after next year as previously thought.  Scully turns 82 soon, and made some statements in July that indicated he would be done after 2010.  He immediately regretted those statements saying he still loves what he does and is leaving the door open for 2011 and beyond.  Folks, this is a quality human being, not just a great announcer, but a great person.  Scully is so friendly, and is always in a good mood.  And why not?  He's been with the Dodgers forever and like me, gets paid to watch baseball games for a living.  I hope he keeps going as long as he wants.

USD...
Don't forget, USD opens up it's season against Stanford at the Jenny Craig Pavilion, Friday night.  It's a young team, with a lot of potential, and some more athleticism than last year's team.  Brandon Johnson and De'Jon Jackson are back and will try to lead the youngsters to a great season.  Hope you can join us at the JCP, and if not, I'll have the call on XX1090, starting at 6:45 Friday night.

Alright, have a great day!

Andy

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Turn up the Hot Stove...

I just love that term, "Hot Stove League", but what exactly does it mean? I took the time to look it up for you, and here are some definitions courtesy of Wikipedia...

The Hot Stove League is a baseball-related term, referring to the off-season. Therefore, it is not actually a "league", but the term instead calls up images of baseball fans, anxious for the start of the new season, gathering around a hot stove during the cold winter months discussing their favorite baseball teams. The term has also come to refer to the wave of off-season player transactions (trades, re-signings, free agency, etc.) that occur between seasons, especially during the winter meetings. Since most free agent signings and trades occur during the off-season, this time of significant player transactions (including rumors and speculation about possible trades), is often referred to as the "Hot Stove League" or sometimes more simply "Hot Stove". Essentially, teams continue competing, except it is the team owners and general managers who are doing the playing, with the score being in terms of human resource losses and gains.

Ok, now with that out of the way, it will get underway starting with the GM Meetings in Chicago, starting tomorrow morning. Some deals may get done, but more likely the groundwork for deals to be consummated at the winter meetings will be laid. Padres new GM Jed Hoyer will make his first official appearance representing the team, and it will be interesting to find out who he chats with and what his off season plan is.

Before being let go, Kevin Towers, had reportedly wanted to upgrade in a couple of different spots, including perhaps centerfield. There were also thoughts of trying to get another starter, to go along with a hopefully healthy Chris Young, and Kevin Correia. We'll see what transpires in that department.

Of course the other name that will keep fans on edge this winter, is that of Adrian Gonzalez. His contract is extremely manageable. Adrian is owed $4.75 million in 2010, and there's a club option for 2011 at $5.5 million dollars. This makes him good trade bait, but at the same time, good to keep. I'm not waffling, I just don't know what the plan actually is.

If it's me (and the decision is not mine!), I hang on to Adrian Gonzalez. I realize that you might be able to make a slightly lesser "Jake Peavy" type deal, and maybe get some pitching back for him, but I just like what Adrian brings to the team. A pure long ball threat, a walk and OBP machine, plus Gold Glove defense. I know, all of that makes him attractive to other clubs, but can you get equal value for his age (27) and relative cheap price tag? I know that all options will be explored, but I'd like to see the team hang on to Adrian.

I will try as best I can to keep you updated on what is going on at the GM Meetings, so check back during the day tomorrow as well...

How do rumors get started...
I mentioned the name Mike Cameron before, and now that he's expected to become a free agent, the rumor is he may be coming back to SD? Check out this link to mlbtraderumors.com where the writer makes predictions about where the top 50 free agents will wind up. Interesting stuff.

Only in New York...
When the Yankees "ticker tape" parade rolled through the streets of New York, some apparently ran out of confetti, so those in the high rise office buildings took matters into their own hands. They began tossing files and personal financial documents out the windows. Somebody walking around after the parade found sheets of paper that included personal banking documents, pay stubs, court files, and even law firm memos. Isn't the old saying, "Act like you've been there before?" Haven't they?

Football Sunday...Chargers with a Giant win...
What a big win for the Chargers today at the Meadowlands. Phillip Rivers led the game winning drive, hitting Vincent Jackson for the touchdown. Now the debate will always come up, whether or not the Chargers would have been better with Eli Manning or with Rivers. To me, and I know I haven't been in town all that long, I would always side with the guy, that is the warrior. Rivers throws his body around, plays hurt, makes the tough throws and is a leader. I take him. I know Manning has a Superbowl ring, but come on, give me Rivers everyday of the week and 2 times on Sunday.

Sunday bloody Sunday...
Now, the team I grew up rooting for, just didn't show up again. The Bears get blown out at home by the Cardinals and Kurt Warner who threw 5 touchdown passes. Tommie Harris gets kicked out of the game on the 4th play from scrimmage, and it was down hill from there. And to think I rushed to run some errands to get back and watch that game. Ugh.

You all remember the last time the Bears and Cardinals played right? It was in the 2006 season, when the Bears made that crazy come back and then Dennis Green melted down in the post game press conference. Well today, Ken Whisenhunt made light of it. Check out this tweet from my friend Zach Zaidman who is the Bears sideline reporter...

@ZachZaidman "The last thing I'd like to say is, we didn't let them off the hook," Whisenhunt joked at his postgame news conference.

Good stuff Ken.

It's Torero Time...
Stopped by the Jenny Craig Pavilion last night to watch the Toreros in their only exhibition game this year, against Occidental College. The Toreros looked good in a 91-52 win. 5 USD players were in double figures. They are a much more athletic team this season, and are deeper. Coach Bill Grier went 12 deep on the bench, although the regular season rotation may be a bit tighter. Keep an eye on freshman guard Patrick McCollum from Tacoma. He has a ton of energy and just looks like a ballplayer. He could be fun to watch this season.

Along the equal time theory, as I know many of you are Aztec fans and they beat Cal Baptist in an exhibition game as well, 72-57. There was a great article about Aztec freshman Kawhi Leonard in today's Union Tribune. It kind of puts basketball into perspective for a young athlete. I highly recommend checking it out by clicking here.

Alright, that's it for me...have a great night and we hope to have more tomorrow on the GM Meetings!

Andy

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Need Your Help...

From time to time, I'm going to ask for your help here at "Masur's Musings" and I have a couple of questions/favors to ask of you...

1. What are your early thoughts on my blog "Masur's Musings"? What would you like to read more of? Less of? I'm new to this blogging thing, so let me know your thoughts.

2. I'd like you to check out my official web page, located at www.andy-masur.com and let me know your thoughts on the site as well. I'm building it and updating it myself, so realize there are some limitations, but feel free to check it out and give me your thoughts.

Please respond with your comments here on "Masur's Musings" in the "comment" section just below this entry. I want this to be an interactive thing, and make it reader friendly and give you useful information.

Thank you kindly, and enjoy your weekend!

Andy

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Flurry of Activity...

This could be a very busy off-season. We are a weekend away from the GM's meetings in Chicago and already some deals have gone down.

To no real surprise, JJ Hardy was dealt by the Brewers, he heads to Minnesota in exchange for centerfielder Carlos Gomez. Hardy as you recall was demoted to the minors, just as the Padres came to town, and it created a major controversy. The move by the Brewers affected Hardy's arbitration status and the player was not happy. Also interesting to keep an eye on, now that Milwaukee has acquired an every day centerfielder, will Mike Cameron be elsewhere in 2010?

The on again, off again deal between the White Sox and Royals, seems to be on again, and has been completed. The Sox acquire Mark Teahen from the Royals for Chris Getz and Josh Fields. The White Sox plan to play the versatile Teahen at 3B, and move Gordon Beckham to 2B. The White Sox also plan to part ways with 2005 WS MVP, Jermaine Dye and will buy out his 2010 option.

Other random notes on a busy Friday: (from MLB.com's, Steve Gilbert) The Diamondbacks picked up the 2010 option on Brandon Webb. It's for $8.5 million.

The Phillies exercised the option on post-season hero Cliff Lee. It's a $9 million option. According to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki, the Phillies would like to engage Lee in long term extension talks. That's a no brainer.

That's a quick look at some of the moves, and again, I'll try to stay on top of any Padres moves at the GM meetings in Chicago Monday. Haven't met the new GM, Jed Hoyer yet, obviously he's been a bit busy, getting to know the organization and preparing for his first big event as the GM. He does have some experience in this realm, since he represented the Red Sox at the GM and Winter Meetings when Theo Epstein walked away from the team briefly several years ago.

Some Padres news/notes...
According to the Union Tribune today, Nick Hundley underwent surgery for a sports hernia. He tells the paper he first was injured in May and played through the pain receiving treatment for the hernia.

Also in Padres news today, Brian Giles and Henry Blanco officially filed for free agency. There had been talk before Kevin Towers was dismissed as GM, that Blanco was a guy the Padres wanted to bring back. We'll see if that has changed now that there's a new guy in charge.

USD 6th Man Dinner, a big success...
It was my pleasure once again to serve as the emcee for USD's annual fund raiser, the 6th Man Dinner last night. The staff and crew of the Jenny Craig Pavilion make the building over, and turn it into an elegant banquet hall. It's hard to believe every year that we are doing this event in a basketball arena. Kudos to them.

This year the committee brought in a guest speaker, and Steve Lavin, the former coach at UCLA and now college hoops analyst for ABC/ESPN was the guy. Lavin watched practice yesterday and offered his thoughts, he addressed the team, and spoke about the importance of being a student/athlete. A very good talk from Lavin. He also talked extensively about Bill Grier's ability to coach, and how he is able to adjust during games to what is going on. He also mentioned that Grier felt that San Diego is a place he'd like to lay down roots, and not be a "one hit wonder". Let's hope that's the case. Grier is not only a good coach, but a great person to be around. He certainly makes my job as the play by play voice much easier, allowing me access to the team and it's practices.

Also coach Grier addressed the gathered crowd, and introduced his 2009-10 team on stage. Fans, from first glance, it's a young team, with a good mix of some veteran leadership. This team has some speed and can get up and down the floor. Grier made it known that it is great to have Brandon Johnson back in the fold after his season ending injury of last year, but that BJ is only operating at about 75 percent. It will just be good to have him on the floor, as he's one of the fiercest competitors I've seen. All you have to do is look back to the game in the 2007-08 season, at the WCC Tournament, playing all 50 minutes in the come from behind, double overtime win over St Mary's. Amazing.

The Toreros only exhibition game is tomorrow night, at the JCP, 6pm against Occidental College. Then it tips off for real, a week from today, against Stanford in the home/season opener at 7pm.

Alright, a lot to digest, perhaps more later...

Andy

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Bouncing In The Bronx...

New stadium, same old result, the Yankees are the champions of baseball again. For the 27th time in the storied history of the franchise, the Yankees celebrate as World Champions. It's an unprecedented number, the most titles in American and for that matter North American sports.

The Yankees didn't hide the fact that they were going to throw money at this team, and go for broke. It PAID off in a big way. Bringing in CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett and Mark Teixeira cost plenty, ($423.5 million to be exact) but I'm sure that there is not a Steinbrenner alive that even cares a bit tonight. Combine the big money spent with the big game players this team has, like Andy Pettitte and his 18 playoff wins, Derek Jeter and his 170+ hits in post season, and 5 WS titles and Mariano Rivera, the greatest "post season" closer (Trevor is still the all time greatest and there's not an argument here) ever, is it really a surprise that this team won it all? I didn't even mention A-Rod, Jorge Posada and Johnny Damon.

Let's talk about Joe Girardi for a minute. He won 3 titles as a Yankee catcher, now he gets his first as a manager. I couldn't be happier for a classy guy, who deserves to win it all. Girardi took his lumps last year, and even this year there was plenty of second guessing, but now, #27 helped the Yankees to #27 and has another ring to celebrate. Girardi was able to win the title with a 3 man rotation. Give the former catcher a little credit for being able to get his pitchers ready to go on short rest and in big games. He actually started to think about a 3 man rotation in September when the Yanks had several off days in the month and a comfortable lead in the division. He rested starters in the regular season, to get them ready for the big stage. Congratulations Joe on a job well done.

Hideki Matsui was named the World Series MVP. He solidified his hold on the trophy with a 6 RBI game tonight, joining Bobby Richardson another Yankee, who did it in the 1960 WS against the Pirates. Matsui could be one of the first MVP's of a World Series, not to be back with the team in which he won the award. He's a free agent, and it's not likely that the Yankees will bring him back.

Random series musings...
George Steinbrenner must be in really bad shape, he was noticeably absent in New York tonight. Love him, or hate him, it's the 7th title for the Yankees since he bought the team in 1973.

Couldn't help but chuckle a little, when I saw former Padre Chad Gaudin on the field celebrating a title with the Yankees. Think about his 2009...cut by the Cubs in spring training, signed by the Padres, sent to the minors to build arm strength, in the rotation, then traded to New York. Congrats Chad!

On to the off-season...
Now starts the season that a lot of baseball fans really enjoy, the off season, and the start of the Hot Stove League. Baseball's GM's including the newest among them Padres GM, Jed Hoyer will be meeting in Chicago next week. Trades sometimes happen there, but more often groundwork for possible deals are set up, and then consummated at the Winter Meetings.

1 Gonzalez Gone...
It appears that we've seen the last of Edgar Gonzalez in a Padres uniform. The older brother of Adrian Gonzalez was outrighted to Triple A Portland today, and will likely choose free agency instead of his minor league assignment. He talked to the Union Tribune today...
“I think this is the end of my run here,” Gonzalez said. “I love San Diego. And the Padres gave me an opportunity that I'm thankful for. But my future is probably elsewhere.”
Edgar hit a total of 11 homers in just under 500 total at bats with the Padres. He made his big league debut with his hometown team in May of 2008. Gonzalez missed 46 games after being beaned by Colorado's Jason Hammel. The next day the Padres acquired Oscar Salazar. I'm going to miss Edgar. He is a great person, and a lot of fun to talk to on a daily basis. Edgar really appreciated every day in the big leagues, and it showed. Good luck Edgar.

Other notes...
Dodgers' pitcher Vicente Padilla was accidentally shot today at a target range in Nicaragua. He's recovering from a gunshot wound to the leg after the instructor shot him after Padilla's gun jammed. He went 4-0 with the Dodgers over the final 2 months of the season.

Getting there is NOT half the fun...
Ok, as promised the story of my long night in the air and on the road. I boarded a plane at Chicago's Midway Airport, bound for San Diego at 7:30 central time. The flight was supposed to land at Lindbergh Field at 10:00 pacific time. The key words are supposed to. We were informed before leaving that there was fog rolling in and that we could be delayed on the ground. Nope. The flight took off and with about 25 minutes left in it, the captain came over the speakers saying, that the fog was too thick in San Diego, and since Lindbergh has only one runway, more visibility is needed to land there than anywhere. Ok. With that we were off to lovely (no offense to anyone from there...) Ontario, California. After landing we were given bright green boarding passes, our "ticket" for the bus ride home to San Diego. After retrieving my luggage (from the wrong carousel) it was outside to wait in a long, long, long, long line to get on the bus.

I find that you learn a lot about human's in general when the chips are down. Me being the social sort, befriended a couple of people in line. We tried to rent a car, but the airport terminals closed and we couldn't. So we waited. Finally it was our turn to get on the bus and begin the 2 plus hour journey down the 15. Thankfully the two people I met were great. We passed the time talking about a bunch of different subjects, including the World Series, world travel, the internet and it's affect on society, and how SLOWLY the bus driver was going! I want to thank those two folks, for being so cool, and making a bad situation tolerable.

Again to revisit, supposed arrival time in San Diego, 10pm, actual arrival time, 1:27am. Ouch.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Have a great night, and stay tuned to this blog for all the latest on the Padres off-season news and the latest on the USD Toreros!

Andy

Game 6...

It's all on the line for the Phillies again tonight, as the Yankees can close out championship #27 with a win tonight. Philadelphia forced the series back to NYC with an 8-6 win in Philly Monday night. Tonight's pitching matchup is one for the ages, two veterans, with tons of post season experience, Andy Pettitte on three day's rest for the Yankees, against Pedro Martinez for the Phils.

Chase Utley has had himself quite a series, he's blasted 5 home runs, to tie Reggie Jackson for the most ever hit in a single World Series.

Late breaking news from @Philaphillies (the official team twitter), Shane Victorino is in the Phillies starting lineup. It reads as follows: Rollins, Victorino, Utley, Howard, Werth, Ibanez, Feliz, Francisco, and Ruiz. Ibanez is the DH.

From @Yankees (the official team twitter) here's the Yankees lineup tonight: Jeter, Damon, Teixeira, Rodriguez, Matsui (DH), Posada, Cano, Swisher, Gardner.

More after the game. And some details on my crazy adventure of a flight back to San Diego last night. I wound up in Ontario.


Monday, November 2, 2009

Incredib-LEE the Phillies are still alive...

Cliff Lee once again proved he was the best pick up of the season before the trade deadline. Lee pitched into the 8th and gave his team a chance, and they cashed in, with a hard fought 8-6 win in game 5 of the World Series. It's heading back to New York now, with the Yankees in front 3-2. You knew that the defending champs would not go quietly into that goodnight (nice obscure "Back to School reference there for all you Rodney Dangerfield fans), and that was the case in their final home game of 2009.

Once again it was Chase to the rescue, and I'm not talking about the bank. The only deposits being made were balls off the bat of Chase Utley into the stands. The Phillies 2B hit two more in game 5 giving him 5 for the World Series tying "Mr. October" Reggie Jackson for the most in a single World Series. The Phillies certainly needed both of his HR's, and got another homer off the bat of Raul Ibanez to force a Game 6.

AJ Burnett pitching on 3 days rest, looked like he needed some more. He only made it into the third inning before being lifted by manager Joe Girardi. It's a shame for the Yankees too, because with their offense they are rarely out of games. They made a valiant come back but fell just short.

World Serious...
Ryan Howard, is mired in a terrible offensive slump, he's 3 for 19 (.158) with 12 strikeouts, tying the WS record held by Kansas City's Willie Wilson in 1980...

Eric Hinske got a pinch hit at bat tonight, he has now appeared in 3 consecutive WS, with 3 different teams. 2007, Boston, 2008 Tampa Bay (homered against Phillies) and 2009 Yankees. He joins Don Baylor (1986-88) as the only players to accomplish this feat...

Lee gave up five runs in his 7 innings, but remained perfect this post-season, he's now 4-0...

The series now shifts back to New York, for game 6, on Wednesday. Pedro Martinez will start for the Phillies, facing Andy Pettitte for the Yankees.

Random Musings...
I'll be the emcee for the USD Toreros 6th Man Night on Thursday as we get ready to lift the curtain on the 2009-10 season. Steve Lavin, the former coach of the UCLA Bruins will be the guest speaker for the event. Lavin was the only analyst to correctly predict that the Toreros would upset UCONN in the NCAA's two years ago. I'll have a full report on the events of the night later in the week. Toreros start the season at home against Stanford, Friday November 13. Hope to see you there. Or hope you listen starting at 6:45 on XX 1090!

I will not have a blog (at least not planning on it, but you never know!) tomorrow. It's a travel day for yours truly. Heading back to San Diego after a relaxing few weeks in the Windy City with my family and friends. It was great catching up, but now it's time to get back and get ready for hoops!!

Have a great night!

Andy

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Advantage Yankees...

Nick Swisher? The same Nick Swisher the White Sox got rid of? The Nick Swisher that was benched by manager Joe Girardi in game 2? Yes, it was that Nick Swisher who came back to help the Yankees, win game 3 and take a 2-1 lead in the World Series. A crushing blow to the Phillies, who give up a game at home, and now will have to hope they can force the series back to New York. Cole Hamels last year's MVP has looked like anything but that this post-season, while Andy Pettitte looked like the solid veteran pitcher he is, in helping his team to a win.

It wasn't only Swisher (2-4, HR, RBI), it was replay to the rescue in a critical part of the game. The Phillies had a 3-0 lead, as the top of the 4th began. Mark Teixeira drew a walk, and then Alex Rodriguez drove a ball to the right field corner, it looked to have hit off the wall, for what was ruled a double. But after further review...the ball hit the TV camera down the line and over the wall, and was ruled a 2 run homer, and the Yankees were rolling after that.

Tonight, the Yankees and Phillies go in game 4...Joe Blanton will take the ball for Philadelphia and CC Sabathia will throw for the Yankees, on 3 days rest.

After further review...my thoughts on replay...
REPLAY. It's the dreaded "R" word for baseball and its umpires. This was the first time the video was used in a world series game, EVER. Is it a sign of things to come in the regular season? It very well could be. To me, you can't slow the game of baseball down anymore than it already is (not a bad thing to me, love the drama and no clock), but something needs to be done. I realize the human element has been in place since the game began, but these humans make critical mistakes and cost teams games. Something like the NFL plan can be put into place. Allow team's managers to "challenge" 2 plays a game. Here's the way to regulate it though. If you lose your first challenge, you lose your second challenge as well. This way, team's will have to be absolutely certain of their challenge or they could lose both.

Balls and strikes would not be a situation allowed to be challenged. Fair/Foul, HR/no HR, catch/no catch, and perhaps those bang-bang plays on the bases would be challengeable. Wonder if baseball will agree with me? Wonder if you agree with me? Comment!

Random musings on a Sunday...
I still don't get this daylight savings time thing. Why do we insist on being miserable in the winter time with less light? I know that there were reasons for it way back when, farmers and the like needed earlier sunrise in the fall/winter to harvest crops, but now we have portable lighting systems and other technology. Hmmm.

Just in case you didn't know. Brett Favre is returning to Lambeau Field as a Viking today to play his former team the Packers. Not sure if you heard that enough.

I predict that the Chargers will roll over the Raiders today at the Q. The Raiders are playing better lately, but their QB JaMarcus Russell looks lost at times. Ron Rivera will have to get his troops to the QB, not just to sack him, but to hit him, make him uncomfortable and he'll throw picks a plenty.

Personal Note...
It was 10 years ago today that a childhood hero of mine passed away, much too soon. Walter Payton, the man they called "Sweetness" died of complications due to liver cancer on this date in 1999. Two of the toughest things I've ever covered in my career as a sportscaster were Payton's announcement that he had the disease. He broke down on the podium and it was a surreal feeling to be there. Payton passed just before a Bears/Packers game at Lambeau Field. I covered his funeral from a distance, and then the game in Green Bay. The Bears had a 14-13 lead with :05 left in the 4th quarter. Ryan Longwell was setting up for a chip shot field goal to win the game. Somehow, Bears lineman Mike Wells, reached up and blocked the kick. It was an amazing scene on the field. Everybody knew that #34 had something to do with it and who am I to disagree. Rest in peace Sweetness.

That's it for me...enjoy the game tonight and football today....

Andy