Tuesday, April 3, 2012

One Day Closer To The Start...

Rip another page off the calendar (at least that's how we did it in the old days) and you'll find we are just 2 days away from Opening Day 2012.   I can already hear the chants of BEAT LA! BEAT LA! BEAT LA!  Music to my ears.  

Went to Petco Park yesterday for the team workout and the ballpark is in great shape.  Had a chat with the Director of landscape and field maintenance Luke Yoder, about some of the things he and his wonderful crew did to get the park in such great shape. He told me that the infield skin (aka the top layer of the dirt) was removed and the field was re-graded (or leveled) to make sure that the dirt and the infield grass are in what I like to call "harmony".  So in other words you won't see any of those crazy "Arizona bad hops" on this infield because it's maintained by one of, if not, the best in the business.  Yoder also explained that after fan fest and the Padres awards dinner, some of the sod in the outfield was replaced and blended into the remaining pieces for a nice smooth playing surface.  After the workout, Luke and the crew went to work on the "Opening Day Logos" that you'll see painted up the first and third base lines. 

Before the media chat with Bud Black, we noticed my partner, the Colonel Jerry Coleman, grab about 4 baseballs from the bin and head out to the pitcher's mound.  It then hit me that he was practicing for throwing out the first pitch on Opening Day.  Coleman grabbed one of third base coach Glenn Hoffman's young sons to catch for him.  After bouncing a few in, the Colonel threw a nice soft rainbow strike and pumped his fists.  Great to see that the team is giving him this honor, as he celebrates his 40th year of calling Padres games!  "OH DOCTOR" indeed. 

Now to the "nuts and bolts" as Bud likes to call the day to day information he gives us...

- Buddy said that they'd be keeping a close eye on the right calf of Mark Kotsay in the next day or two.  A decision on whether or not it is serious enough to cause a DL stint will have to be made by tomorrow afternoon at 2pm PT.  That's when rosters are due into the league office. 

- Tim Stauffer played catch during the workout and he could be on track to pitch one of the games in the second series of the year, when the Diamondbacks come in next Monday. 

- Not a fun time to be a player that really isn't sure if he's on the roster as of yet.  I watched as Brad Brach, Micah Owings, Jeremy Hermida, Everth Cabrera and Andy Parrino each sat by their lockers with a feeling of uneasiness.  None have been informed yet if they've made the team or not.  

- Tonight the Padres will play the first of the final two exhibition games, both will be against the Kansas City Royals.  Tonight the game is at 7:05pm at Petco Park.  It will be on radio and television, with XX 1090 carrying the action with Ted Leitner and Bob Scanlan, and Fox Sports San Diego has the game with Dick Enberg and Mark Grant.   Tomorrow's game will be on radio only, I'll call that game from Lake Elsinore along with Bob Scanlan, at 2pm on ESPN Radio 1700.  

- A special shout out to Lake Elsinore Storm president Dave Oster, who does such a great job up there.  Dave wanted to make sure everything for our broadcast tomorrow was all set and to tell me how excited the staff and fans were to have us come to The Diamond along with the team.  The Storm have continuously packed their ballpark and now with the Padres farm system getting such high marks, the quality of play will be that much better throughout the organization.  Keep up the great work Dave and we'll see you tomorrow! 

Final Thought...

For those that don't know, Bud Black is one heck of a human being.  He is aware of a lot more than people give him credit.  He's great at protecting his players and making no bones about performance all at the same time.  Buddy was asked yesterday about some publications and prognosticators picking his team last in the NL West.  Some managers would say, "we don't look at those things, that's for you guys..." or something like that.  Instead Bud offered this statement: 
"We aren't in a bubble here, we know what's being said.  (But) that's why we play the games.  We hear it, does it bother us?  We all have pride, I'll say that."
Love the fact that he didn't side step the question and gave an honest answer.  Remember 2010?  I'm not saying that there's a great chance of repeating that, but I'm not saying there isn't.  How's that for double speak?  

That's all for now, I'll be heading to the game later...and I'll bring you any updates along the way!

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