Padres bloggin' since 2007

Pitching and defense

September 3rd, 2009 by

*Hello?* *Hello?*

We’ve been gone awhile. A lot of reasons for it. We’ll skip the part where I explain why.

MGL asks if there’s any evidence that building a team based on pitching and defense gives an advantage to a home team in a big ballpark. There’s a good discussion too.

I think what he’s most concerned about is the question of why people (read: Jerry Manuel) think what they think. Lots of “explanations” about life seems like it makes sense when you first hear it, yet reality often has different ideas. The leader of a multi-million dollar organization should have more than a hunch about why a plan should work. I’m not saying Manuel isn’t working off more than just a hunch here, if he does have some evidence he probably isn’t likely to share with the world. But lots of times before these beliefs aren’t any more than pure hunches.

Back to ballparks, there also goes this recent line of thought that PETCO isn’t actually that big of a field, and the atmosphere is what depresses runs. Again, this is why the why is so important. Looking at a problem and throwing the first answer at it that pops in your head isn’t going to get you very far.

Question to think about: if you’ve ever thought the Padres should build a team around pitching and or defense, how did you come to that conclusion?

Posted in petco park | 3 Comments »

The new Mr. Padre is…

August 13th, 2009 by

the old Mr. Padre. And the new old Mr. Padre.

As you might recall, when Petco first opened, it was adorned around the outside with pictures of Padre heroes, like Phil Nevin and Sean Burroughs. As these players made their way out, they were replaced by the new guys, like Jake Peavy and Adrian Gonzalez. But now they’re gone (wait, what?) and Petco has updated accordingly.

Drumroll, please…

Thanks to PadreHomer for the picture

Credit to PadreHomer

So Peavy and Gonzalez have been traded for a bunch of little kids. Wave of the future! But that’s not all, these kids have player jerseys on. Along with the old Tony Gwynn, these kids are representing for the new Tony Gwynn and the only Everth Cabrera.

Update your allegiances accordingly.

Posted in petco park | 4 Comments »

Dear Jeff Moorad: Five things I’d change about the PETCO fan experience

August 5th, 2009 by
Petco Park, photo by surfneng.

Petco Park, photo by surfneng.

Recently, Padres Corporate Operations Officer Tom Garfinkel wined and dined the boys of Gaslamp Ball to an evening of wining and dining. I have to say, I’m more than a little impressed with how Garfinkel handled the whole Breakfast Town thing. A big kudos goes out to him reaching out and turning his critics into sycophants (that’s just a joke).

During the evening, Garfinkle asked the boys if there was anything they would change about the fan experience. Completely uninvited, as is our usual manner of behavior, we at The Sacrifice Bunt would like to offer our own suggestions:

5. Bring back the brown

You hear people say this a lot, and God help me if they aren’t right. Another example of the team’s descent into a bland corporate mechanism. Somehow there are actually 35 teams in a 30 team league with either blue or red as their main color, and no I don’t know how that works either. Blue is boring. We used to be unique. Now we’re the low-rent Brewers.

Our saving grace is the sand color. It is distinctive, and matches well with the blue. Of course, this team’s uniforms are traditionally untraditional, meaning the next in the grand tradition of Padres uniform overhauls is due any day now. Here’s my suggestion.

4. PA Announcing Style: The Voice of God.

Frank Anthony, the Padres current PA announcer, is great at what he does. He’s Family friendly, inviting, and comforting. Nothing against him, but it’s also bland and corporate.

Oakland’s Voice of God, aka Roy Steele is more my taste. I want to feel like the mob will come after me if I dare not participate in the Hat Shuffle Extreme™ jumbotron game. I want to feel like it’s a voice from heaven, booming down and proclaiming to all who dare listen the superiority of Luis Rodriguez’s hitting abilities. Deathly. Serious.

3. Cover up the boring, gray, concrete

It makes the stadium look unfinished. Reminds be of the exterior of every monstrosity built in the 50s and 60s, when they thought concrete was modern.

The crew got off to a good start painting the wheelchair ramp near the bleachers in right-center field, from dry gray to Padre blue (You can see the ramp post painting on the far left).

Painting all that exposed concrete blue might be a bit much. I suggest a grand shtickel of sandstone, just like the exterior. It doesn’t have to be the fancy stuff from India. Just make it not disgusting. That’s all.

2. Make the between-inning entertainment entertaining

Ray: It’s not that I don’t find the sailboat races and hat shuffle boring but… well, I find them boring. They’re nice, and completely inoffensive, but I can’t remember the last time I participated in one. If it wasn’t for the occasional left fielder playing along, they’d be completely worthless.

I remember back to the good old days of Guess the Pet, when the fans in attendance would get the opportunity to guess which pet belonged to which Padre. Nothing could entertain like finding out David Eckstein owns a Great Dane. Or the Friar Races. Sure, it’s a total rip-off of Milwaukee and their sausages. And it’s not as clever as Washington and its presidents. But it still clears the way for a pratfall or two, and it actually lends itself to creativity (which Friar will it be this time?). These two should be staples at every game.

And you know what else should be? Press gate Bruce*. Petco Park needs more waving.

Melvin: And another thing: can’t the Friar himself be funny? Seems like all he does during the game is take photos with people in the stands, maybe ring a bell tucked away somewhere that may or may not exist, or wave a flag. He should be dancing on the dugouts, checking poor fielding infielders’ gloves for holes, showing eye charts to and leading a group of kids to poop on the umpires and such. I’m sure a lot of that humor came from Ted Giannoulas, but I bet there is at least one funny person in the organization who can come up with some more schtick.

1. If you weren’t a baseball fan, would you know who plays at Petco?

If you were at the ballpark in Philly you would. Right field. Huge Padres sign. Make it hap’n cap’n. I’ll admit, this one is probably the most expensive suggestion. So while we’re spending oodles of other people’s money, lets put a bigger video screen in right as well.

*Wow your friends with this piece of interesting trivia: Press Gate Bruce was the runner-up in our choice of names for this blog.

Posted in dear jeff moorad, petco park | 20 Comments »

Padres behind the scenes: the Cox Chanel 4 broadcast trailer

July 29th, 2009 by
The Cox Channel 4 broadcast trailer

The Cox Channel 4 broadcast trailer. Bottled water only, got it?!

Thanks to Cox Channel 4 Padres video switcher and editor Craig Chatfield, I had the opportunity to visit the Cox production trailer, tucked away off Tony Gwynn drive on the south side of Petco Park.

Cox Channel 4 Padres video editing computer, producer Ed Barnes looks on.

Cox Channel 4 Padres video editing computer, producer Ed Barnes looks on at left.

Inside the trailer is a long, dark, narrow corridor with friendly employees and more video screens than your average dance club. It’s divided into two main rooms, the first of which is seen in the two photos below.

Besides Craig, producer Ed Barnes (left), and Chyron Bob Wehrsdorfer took time from their schedules to explain the details about what goes into a TV broadcast. Unfortunately the room was dark, so I was busy using my girlfriend’s shoulder as a tripod while taking photos to soak in everything they were telling us.

Video screens in Cox Channel 4 Padres trailer, Craig Chatfield on left

Video screens in Cox Channel 4 Padres trailer, Craig Chatfield on left

One challenge they mentioned was working with the multitude of cameras and operators at one time, on many screens, while live on TV. Under normal circumstances the crew has the process down well, but it’s the crazy plays on the field that throws them off from time to time. One challenge was the play where David Eckstein lost a pop fly in the lights, then held the runner close by pretending to field it, letting it drop, and throwing the base runner out at second.

Believe me, I'm familiar with the outlaying technical specification regarding these instruments. However I'm unable to explain them for reasons I don't care to share.

Believe me, I'm familiar with the outlaying technical specification regarding these instruments. However I'm unable to explain them for reasons I don't care to share.

There are a ton of video clips at their disposal. The photo above and to the left shows a technician looking through Channel 4’s archive. Right after producer Ed Barnes said it would be difficult to describe exactly what his role in the broadcast, the technician pulled up and played video of Barnes describing what he does for the broadcast. Pretty funny.

Our tour then headed towards the back, to Chyron Bob’s lair. Somehow there were even more video monitors and complicated looking gadgets. Let me tell you, when someone who is paid to design websites thinks computer equipment is complicated, he isn’t messing around. Check the last photo for proof.

I’d like to thank the Cox Channel 4 Padres crew, especially Craig, for opening your doors to us.

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Target Field renamed Petco Park North

July 17th, 2009 by

Petco Park North 1
Petco Park North 2Petco Park North 3
These are construction photos of the Minnesota Twins’ new ballpark, aka “Petco Park North.” Can you believe this exterior design? Look familiar?

PadreHomer informs me it was Antoine Predock who designed the exterior of Petco Park.

But check it out: HOK Sport (now Populus) is attached to both the Minnesota and San Diego ballpark projects, as well as being involved in just about every new park design the past two decades.

And HOK is also known for re-using the same ideas. Don’t get me wrong–red brick and green accents looked great. But that was just the first time or three.

Luckily there aren’t too many new ballparks left that need building, so we may only have one Petco clone.

Thanks to dwallick and resedabear for the photos.

Melvin Update 7/20: Twins fans, don’t take this post so seriously. I don’t know anything about Target Field except that one part of the facade looks just like one part of the PETCO facade. I’m sure the rest of the park is different. In fact, us Padre fans think it’s pretty cool that you’ll actually be able to tell what team plays home games at Target Field, while you’d never know who plays in PETCO because there are no signs whatsoever.

And no, I don’t care that one material is “limestone” from 100 miles north of Minnesota, while the other is “sandstone”. That’s all marketing. They look exactly alike. Don’t tell me this doesn’t look just like this. But really, I’m faulting HOK here more than anyone, they have a history of building ballparks that look just like each other.

Posted in gripes, petco park | 13 Comments »

1984 Reunion / Mouthing off to Cubs fans

May 31st, 2009 by

1984 Padres ReunionWe sat in the upper reserved section for the 1984 reunion game. We were promptly met at our seats by one of those guys you see at theme parks entrances forcing you to pose for a picture. They’re paid by number of photos they take, so of course they made us pose. Pretty sure they’re going to be trolling all season long. I’m the kind of guy who will just find the photo on the website and post it on Facebook for free. Actually friend of The Sac Bunt Archi Cianfrocco is the kind of guy who does that.

MC Ted Leitner asked how many were in attendance for the Cubs series in 1984, my parents (Pops donned his Cubs Busters shirt for the game) cheered loudly. Afterwards my dad reminded me I too should have been cheering, since I was there as well. Though at the time I was more concerned with spitting up on myself than watching baseball.

1984 Padres ReunionLots of emotional video montages played before the event, and throughout the night in between innings. Apparently Cubs fans were upset the Padres chose to celebrate the 1984 season, which culminated in a playoff series comeback win against against them. Seems kind of strange to me since the game technically was a Padres home game, why should the consider what Cubs fans might think?

After the 84 team was introduced, a blast of yellow, brown, and orange streamers shot from just behind us along the roof of the stadium. A few streamers got stuck on the support wire for the net behind home plate. That photo shows both the stuck streamers, and just how many Cubs fans invaded that series.

Steve Garvey, Kurt Bevacqua, Dave Dravecky, Greg Harris, Terry Kennedy, Craig Lefferts, Tim Lollar, Kevin McReynolds, Mark Thurmond, Harry Dunlop (the bullpen coach), Norm Sherry (pitching coach) and Ozzie Virgil (third-base coach) were in attendance.
1984 Padres Limo1984 Padres Reunion 21984 Padres Reunion1984 Padres Reunion1984 Padres Reunion

Posted in petco park | 1 Comment »

Padres Phan Day

April 6th, 2009 by

I got down around 12:30, and found surprisingly less parking than I expected. Rocking comfy basketball shorts and a t-shirt,  the warm sunny day had me feeling excited for summer.

I wandered in the entrance at 10th and Park, and meandered semi aim-fully to the Padres garage sale, pretty much the only reason I was there. While waiting in the long ass line to get in, I saw a couple dudes walk by, one with a Gaslamp Ball shirt on, but didn’t know who they were. Turns out it was jbox and Jon, I should spend more time at GLB so that never happens again.

My highlight of the day, besides Jbox and Jon, was finding an authentic game used Melvin Nieves jersey.

The lowlight was it nowhere near fitting me, so I dropped $65 this gorgeous Eric Nolte away jersey the team sported from ’85 to ’90.

Late 1980s Padres jerseyLate 1980s Eric Nolte jersey

Most of what they had for sale were newer style jerseys of random players no longer with the organization, and they were all the same $65. That’s a good deal for buying a jersey from the official shop. But if you look hard enough you can grab new, authentic jerseys on eBay for less than $50. Though the eBay ones are blank on the black, names that aren’t Justin Leone or Freddy Guzman can be sewn on for a reasonable price.

I picked up a ridiculously tall Adrian Gonzalez “experience it!” banner for $10. It’s going next to my “Lets go Padres, let’s have some baseball fun!” CD.

Plus I scored a fitted Padres away hat, the newish kind with the black bill and polyester blend. Most of what was there were the old models that magically shrunk and became gross and worthless after about a year. I flipped over entire rows at a time looking for the good stuff.

I was reminded of summer again on my way home as the 8 west was packed with beach traffic. “Get out of my way, I just want to go home!” I yelled, pompously.

Posted in petco park | 3 Comments »

Petco Fences Moving In?

October 25th, 2008 by

Petco Park Fence ChangesAn astute poster on the Sign On San Diego Padres forums has posted photos from an event in which fans play on the Petco Park field. Sections of the right field alley are marked off with rope on the ground, presumably to aid a decision on a new outfield fence. I took the liberty of drawing an overhead view of the possible changes based on my interpretation of the photos. Anything for your viewing pleasure from your old pal Melvin.

The yellow line is the original fence. The blue, green, and sand lines represent a possible change. The most interesting proposed fence line looks to be the sand colored mark. It would create a new nook from the left of the Cox sign, jutting straight in towards home plate, then changing direction and moving across to cut out the rear porch recess.

To me, the green proposed choice looks the best. It cuts off the most field in the deepest part of the park, without going crazy in wierdness. I’m not a fan of those intentional nooks that have become popular in new ballparks. The “quirkyness” in them just seems so contrived. To me you can’t plan and execute that kind of charm, it has to come about for an actual reason.

Either way, it’s good to improve the absurd pitcher’s advantage of the ballpark. As Ray showed us, Petco isn’t just a normal run of the mill pitcher’s park, it’s one helluva pitcher’s park. It’s time things get a little more fair.

Room for a new Padres bullpen?

Posted in petco park | 13 Comments »

Padres 101: Park Factors

October 9th, 2008 by

Introduction: Padres 101
Part 1: Rebuilding Through the Draft

Padres101A proper discussion on the misconceptions surrounding the San Diego Padres has to begin with their hitting. At the end of the 2008 season, the Padres ranked dead last in the league in runs. Since moving into Petco, the team has been consistently at the bottom of the league in this category.

From this information alone, it would be safe to assume any number of things, from the players on the team are poor to the management has no idea of how to put together a team to compete in this ballpark. What needs to be considered is that the Padres are not the only team that plays in Petco.

What are park factors?

Simply, park factors indicate the difference between runs scored in a team’s home and road games. As the same hitters and the same pitchers are doing the playing, the difference in runs scored is dependent on the park the game is played in.

Park factors do tend to vary some from year to year. That’s why I have compiled the combined park factors for every stadium from 2004 through 2007, save the two Nationals and Cardinals parks. I used a basic version of the park factor equation: (home runs for + home runs against) / (road runs for + road runs against). And the numbers are:

1. Coors Field [Rockies] 1.251
2. Chase Field [Diamondbacks] 1.101
3. Wrigley Field [Cubs] 1.101
4. Rangers Ballpark [Rangers] 1.085
5. Fenway Park [Red Sox] 1.085
6. U.S. Cellular Field [White Sox] 1.083
7. Citizen Bank Park [Phillies] 1.066
8. Great American Ballpark [Reds] 1.049
9. Rogers Centre [Blue Jays] 1.047
10. Kauffman Stadium [Royals] 1.039
11. Miller Park [Brewers] 1.016
12. AT&T Park [Giants] 1.015
13. Camden Yards [Orioles] 1.011
14. Yankee Stadium [Yankees] 0.983
15. Turner Field [Braves] 0.980
16. Comerica Park [Tigers] 0.978
17. Dodger Stadium [Dodgers] 0.977
18. Metrodome [Twins] 0.971
19. PNC Park [Pirates] 0.097
20. Angels Stadium [Angels] 0.970
21. Minute Maid Park [Astros] 0.968
22. McAfee Coliseum [Athletics] 0.952
23. Progressive Field [Indians] 0.951
24. Tropicana Field [Rays] 0.950
25. Shea Stadium [Mets] 0.938
26. Dolphin Stadium [Marlins] 0.934
27. Safeco Field [Mariners] 0.919
28. Petco Park [Padres] 0.810

(And, as you should’ve assumed, Petco Park this year was again last in the league at 0.796. First in the league for 2008 was Rangers Ballpark, at 1.142.)

What does this mean? In layman’s terms, Petco is the hardest stadium in baseball to hit in. Not just by a little, but a lot.

The Padres don’t just play in a pitcher’s park, they play in an extreme pitcher’s park.

This is the lens under which the Padres low run totals should be viewed. Nineteen percent less runs scored in Petco than in the average park. The next toughest stadium, Safeco Field, is more than half that distance away at 8% less. The only gap greater than the 11% between Petco and Safeco is the 15% between Coors Field and Chase Field. You may know Coors Field as the place that kept baseballs in a humidor to try to even the odds between sides.

From 04-07, the two most productive Padres were Adrian Gonzalez and Brian Giles. In their most productive seasons, their home and away OPS splits were:

Year Home Away
Adrian Gonzalez 2007 .760 .928
Brian Giles 2005 .795 1.008

And then this season:

Year Home Away
Adrian Gonzalez 2008 .788 .946
Brian Giles 2008 .817 .891

(More of the same from Gonzalez, although Giles’ numbers aren’t so bad. Another good reason to resign him, but that’s a discussion for another day.)

When the stadium built, it was said to be Bonds-proof. Barry’s response:

“It’s not Bonds-proof. It’s baseball-proof.”

While it’s not quite baseball-proof, it’s close. The home stadium puts hitters at a ridiculous disadvantage, and there’s no easy solution.

The fences are too far and the air’s too thick and it’s just too drat hard. On the plus side, the fences were brought  in before the 06 season, albeit barely (thanks wrveres), and the front office likes to drop little teases that they could be moved in farther (thank you, Jody Gerut). On the less plus side, Sean Connery from The Avengers hasn’t been called to do something about the thick marine air.

Until (read: if) something is done to neutralize Petco Park, the 25 Padres taking the field are going to have to make due with what they’ve got. And so will all of us sitting in the stands.

Posted in Padres 101, petco park | 14 Comments »

Petco Park Wallpaper HDR

August 25th, 2008 by

Petco Park Wallpaper HDR
[1280 x 1024] [1024 x 768]

I mean, as much as I love endless complaining, the reality is life is what you make of it.  I’ve learned that when I focus my energy on something positive, or at least something else, I’m a happier person.

Yes, drinking counts.  By all means, focus on booze.

Anyway, this is a Melvin Nieves Original Photo © 200Abillion. It’s HDR, so the real photographers out there will probably thumb their noses.  I’m used to it, the real baseball bloggers do the same thing.

I hope you like the photo.

Posted in petco park | 3 Comments »

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