TKF Pod #47: Radio Free Baseball

This week Nick is on vacation celebrating the birth of his child, so Dallas and Travis take over and talk insider information on the Padres moving from Mighty 1090 to FM94/9! Is it still about the music, or are major changes on the way – we have actual sources!

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TKF Pod #46: NFL Draft Preview

This week Nick sits down with TKF Nemesis (Dodgers Fan) Robert Pouder to talk about the first #LAvsSD series, the Citizen’s Initiative launch party with Roger Goodell, the NFL Draft, and the 2014 film Draft Day.

Also, on Friday Dallas and Travis will have their response to the Chargers’ picks and thoughts on the downtown stadium situation.

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Pod #45: David Jay (Mad Friars)

This week the guys sit down with David Jay from Mad Friars to talk about the minor leaguers making their way through the Padres’ system. Then they look back at MJ’s attempt at the process in 30for30’s Jordan Rides The Bus.

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TKF Pod #44: Matt Thompson as Ted Williams

This week the guys chat with Matt Thompson, the artistic director of The Point Loma Playhouse. Matt is currently working on a one man play called Ted Williams: A Tip of The Cap. They talk about the first week of the baseball season, Ted Williams’ influence on San Diego, and the 1984 film The Natural!

Check out Matt’s show here!

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30 Innings

By Nicholas McCann

The first Padres home series of the year against the Los Angeles Dodgers was a disaster. As an entertainment product, it was a horrendous roll out. The only thing that could’ve made it worse is if the Padres had ditched Fox Sports SD and forced fans to stream the games on Tidal. San Diego’s team didn’t score at all for three days and wore different uniforms each time out. They looked like a team that didn’t know what they wanted to be.

Then it rained.

Going into Friday’s matchup against the Colorado Rockies, the Padres were a national joke. And after the 30th frame of scoreless hell, they finally exploded and beat the Rockies two games in a row by huge margins. Everyone exhaled, but probably no one more than first year manager Andy Green. Last year at this time the central storyline to the team’s entire package was the emergence of the “Rock Star GM” framing of AJ Preller. It allowed us to believe we had a Bobby Fisher/Steve Jobs character operating three moves ahead of everyone else. We thought we had an edge. This year the focus is on Green and the hope that he can do something remarkable with a team that is building (not rebuilding) to something greater. Sure, it was just the first three games of the year that mirrored the sensation of drowning, but the fact still remains that the 2016 San Diego Padres are a team capable of going 30 straight innings with out scoring a run. There’s no way around that being a significant red flag. And to make matters worse, this truth was revealed to the other first year manager in the division.

The Dodgers’ new skipper Dave Roberts and Andy Green will always be judged against each other. It’s basically a race to see who can stay employed the longest. There’s no other way to look at it. The first franchise to reboot will be the loser. Most Padres fans are fond of Roberts. He played a short stint in San Diego and was a respected coach under Bud Black. More importantly, he has the type of personality that usually works here. He’s non-threatening and always seems like a stoic introvert up until the point when he needs to say the right thing. Then he flashes his million dollar smile and people say, “I like that guy.” Green is different publicly, but all signs point to him being just as savvy. People who are already over the moon on Green are drawn to his personality first. He projects youthful energy with every word that comes out of his mouth and it seems to be winning with those who desperately need a persona opposite of Bud Black’s.

The Padres play the Dodgers in LA at the end of the month and it will be interesting to see how or if Andy Green addresses the first series of the year. The main criticism that always came from Bud Black detractors was that he didn’t project enough fight outwardly in the media when the cameras were on. Green likes to craft sound bites about process and consistency, but we haven’t yet seen him get ejected from a game or clearly direct a pitcher to throw at an opposing batter. Do we need him to feed the rivalry and address the current state of it when the next series comes around? Dave Roberts most likely will not engage in this for two reasons: (A) he already has proven he has our number this year and (B) he comes from the school of Buddy. Black’s role in this dynamic is symbolic, but it still matters. Preller fired him and didn’t give Dave Roberts a real chance to be his replacement. Now the man who was Bud’s right hand man is at the helm of the hated rival and he’s got exponentially more talent than was ever given to Black to work with.

Over the next few years the Dodgers will be contenders and the Padres will be developing a young core. Roberts will need to get to the World Series and win while Andy Green will be defined by how fast he can get his franchise to the point where Dave is starting from now. They both will say the right things in their own ways. Dave is up three and Andy needs to come home and win. If the Padres need an identity, they can start by never again being what they were out of the gate.

Follow on Twitter: @Nicholas_McCann

 

The Sycuan Sign

By Nicholas Burmeister (AKA Padres Haiku)

My kneejerk reaction was to hate the new Sycuan sign on the batter’s eye. Not so much because I was married to the numbers on top, but because I’m some what opposed to selling every square inch of the ball park as an advertising space. I understand the small market revenue generator system and that the team needs to sell that space in order to make money, and I suppose I’d rather see an ad than have ticket prices go up even more. All this being said I still hate that sign.

Not because of any disdain for having an advertisement up there but because the Padres could have done better. Sycuan Casino has been a major benefactor for the Padres for awhile. They shell out cash when the team is awful, which cannot be said of all park sponsors. For that, fans should be grateful. However, I have to believe that in an All Star Game year, a year when the AL East teams are coming to San Diego, and a year where many of the teams in the NL West will compete until late in the season, the ad space on the batter’s eye would go to a local casino as opposed to a huge multi-national corporation. Again, this is no slight to Sycuan, I’m sure that the casino paid a pretty penny. Considering the inevitable ire Padre Fans would shower upon Mike Dee and the front office, they HAD to have sold/leased that space for a handsome sum just to lessen the consequent PR headaches.

Would InBev have paid more? Probably. They already have large ads around the park. What about a bank or an insurance company? Toyota pays for ads in the park, so does Sony and Wells Fargo. These brands wouldn’t jump on an opportunity to put their logo in such a prominent location?

It sounds strange because I’d rather not have anything up there, but if the team is going to sell it-sell big. Make it worth it.

Maybe I’d feel different if they had sold to a larger company. Fans might have been more upset if that space said Oculto Beer or United Airlines. It might be the case that they preferred to sell to a local group as opposed someone awful like Constellation Brands, or Wal-Mart to make it seem like they care. But if that means losing money to the tune of several million dollars they made a mistake.

Fans either don’t care or care too much. By now, Mike Dee knows anything he does, save for giving away free beer, is going to get a significant amount of the fan base angry (even if he gives away free beer, if it’s not the right beer, fans will be angry). Taking the numbers down would make fans angry. Selling that space would make fans angry. Keeping things the way they were and charging more at the gate would REALLY make fans angry. There’s really nothing that the front office can do to monetize that space and placate the fans, so take the money. The fans that get the angriest aren’t going anywhere. Those fans are locked in, dyed in the wool Padre fans that will complain, but stay loyal. I guarantee no one would be on the fence about getting season tickets, see a giant Michelob Ultra sign and say “Nevermind!” Likewise, no one is so turned off by a Sycuan sign they don’t buy tickets (except the Barona Casino operators, they might get pissed). Might as well sell to the highest bidder, take the money, and run.

Follow Nicholas Burmeister: @padreshaiku

 

TKF #43: Opening Day Party Pod

This week Nick and Dallas had a Padres Opening Day Party with Ghost of Ray Kroc and Padres Haiku. They watched the game together and hit record. The Pads lost 15-0 to the Dodgers. It became a funeral.

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The First Month

By Nicholas McCann

I fly back from Boston to San Diego once or twice a year when we visit my wife’s parents. Logan International Airport is fine. The TSA line is always swift and I’ve learned my way around the Dunkin Donuts breakfast menu. However, there is something that always catches me while I’m waiting to clear the security scan. The people of Boston have hung every banner from each of their professional sports championships in chronological order. It’s a rainbow of accomplishment and it’s something they need you to see on your way out. From the turn of the 20th Century and onto Bill Russell’s Celtics, to the more recent success of the Patriots and Red Sox, a simple fact is inescapable: these people have rings and my people do not.

Around the end of April my first born son is scheduled to enter the world. He will be a native San Diegan like his father. As expected though, my wife’s friends and family from Boston have subtly made their pitch to have him root for Boston teams. This isn’t upsetting to me. Being a Boston sports fan feels good for these people and they want my son to experience the same thing. I’ll never stop anybody from making that gesture. I want my son to be a Padres and Chargers fan, but I would get it if he went the other way. He shouldn’t have to wait for his teams to figure it out. Regardless, it’s important that he understands that this will in fact be a decision. There will be no “This is my NL team and this is my AL team” in our dynamic. His choice will be simple. He can either be miserable with me or happy against me.

This offseason, after trading closer and Guns N Roses fan Craig Kimbrel to the Red Sox for a haul of prospects, Padres ownership made it clear that an above .500 team would be a successful year. On the surface, this is fine. It’s a reasonable route to take. It will be years before my son will be able to appreciate baseball. They have time to make their case for his future fandom.

The most intriguing player brought over from Boston is Manuel Margot, a 21 year old outfielder from the Dominican Republic who split last season between Class A and Double-A, hitting .276 with 27 doubles, nine triples, six home runs, 50 RBI and 73 runs. At the time of the trade, he was the third highest rated prospect in Boston’s system. If things go as planned, he could be in contention for being my son’s favorite player. They will have the opportunity to rise together.

Margot

On August 22nd, Guns N Roses will play Qualcomm Stadium with the original lineup for the first time since they played there with Metallica and Ice-T in late September of 1992. I will not likely be going (See: Above), but I’m interested in hearing about the moment of their set right before they play the song Patience. GNR fans have had a lot of patience with Axl Rose over the last two decades. For a long time it was mostly cornrows and Buckethead. If they play the ballad from their 1989 Guns N Roses Lies EP that depicts the very basic human virtue, I’m curious to see how Axl handles it. Does he simply thank his fans for being patient and make a joke directed at himself? Does he tell them they should be grateful for the band’s return to the original form? How you handle your fans after they’ve given you their loyalty is the biggest part of the responsibility that comes with having fans. I suppose Axl could just play the song.

Back in 1992, when GNR were still playing stadiums, I was enjoying the last days of innocence as a baseball fan. I was 12 and the Padres had the All Star Game. Gary Sheffield and the rest of the team’s healthy representation in the mid summer classic were blowing my young mind. A year later the fire sale happened. A year after that, the strike hit and it’s never been the same. With the All Star Game returning this year, it’s hard not to look back at all the patience this community has had with the San Diego Padres. In 2016, they’ve asked for it again with the company line being, “We’re not rebuilding, we’re building.” I’m a lifer, so this is nothing new. When you play the same song, you have to deliver it in the best way you see fit.

The baseball card in the photo above will be the first baseball card my son will ever own. When Manuel Margot makes it to the big leagues he will have been developed by the Padres and Red Sox. If things go as planned with my wife’s pregnancy, the first month of the Padres’ young season will basically be over when he arrives and we’ll start our lives as parents. Patience will be tested as we build for the future.

On the day my son is born, after I know everyone is safe (knock on wood), I plan on buying a San Diego Union Tribune in the hospital. This will be something to keep for him, but also it’ll allow me to check the Padres’ record. On that day I’ll need to see it in print. I’ll need to gloss my fingers over the truth of what my baseball team is at that moment. Their opening argument needs to land. It’s not that I need them to have a winning record on my life changing day; it’s that I deserve it. Maybe it’s intellectually irresponsible to have these expectations, but I’m a Padres fan. I’ve used my illusions once or twice before.

Follow on Twitter: @Nicholas_McCann

 

 

MLB Predictions 2016

by Dallas McLaughlin

Well, it’s time for a time-honored, time-sensitive, timeless piece of work known as my 2016 Major League Baseball Predictions! I spend countless time researching and reading and more research and more reading of things, and of course tons of insider information (I know the guy who cleans the Phillie Phanatic costume, so that’s something) that all is equated, tested, and scientifically reworked to provide the closest outcome possible to what might end up being the outcome.

The analysis may sound off, but the picks are always real. And timeless.

Let us start with Alexander Cartwright’s National League:

NL EAST:

Philadelphia Phillies: This season the Phillies try something new – and kill Ryan Howard. Not for anything specific, just because. Unfortunately, no one knew that Howard had a direwolf named “Subway”, which goes on a rampage and attacks any Phillie under 25 years old. They play bandaged and bloody, but play well and finish in 3rd.

New York Mets*: Add eight more stud pitchers to the team while forgetting about 1st Base, 2nd Base, 3rd Base, Shortstop, Catcher, and all three outfield spots, but, man that rotation is sweet!

Montreal Nationals: Trade Daniel Murphy after he hits six homeruns in the first week, and no homeruns for the next two months. This opens a spot for Trea Turner who immediately becomes the best second baseman in the history of the game and the Nationals still can’t make the playoffs.

Florida Marlins of Miami: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fof40yqaW1U

Atlanta Braves: Atlanta does everything it can to garner interest in a team that is fielding…Freddie Freeman! They introduce “So, There’s That Night” where any fan who can name the starting outfield wins Freddie Freeman for a day.

NL CENTRAL:

Pittsburgh Pirates: Continue to tease fans like your 10th Grade English teacher. Sure, she made it seem like there was a chance, but you knew deep down it would never happen. I mean it might. It totally could, but won’t. Ever. Not until she’s 45 and your 23 and by that time it won’t even be worth it.

St. Louis Cardinals: Who gives a shit?

Chicago Cubs*: The Cubs begin season two of The Riz Goes Mads, and it’s a mess. Anthony Rizzo has left the show due to creative differences (socks), and is replaced by Kris Bryant. However, The Bry Goes Mads never catches on, and the show is cancelled three episodes in. Joe Maddon resigns, Rizzo is busted for steroids, and Kris Bryant gets engaged to Tila Tequila. This leads to a new reality show called The Bry Digs the Hard Stuff, and it runs for eighteen seasons. Somewhere along the way the Cubs do not win the World Series.

Milwaukee Brewers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJzF8_df1R8

Cincinnati Reds: Realize that Brandon Phillips was always on the team, and will always be on the team. He’ll never play anywhere else, and he will never retire. He is the beginning and the end. Genesis and Revelation. He is. Jay Bruce is murdered.

NL WEST:

San Francisco Giants* (guest written by Sean O’Donnell): The Giants buy into the “even-year” theory so hard that they declare themselves World Series Champions on Opening Day. They don’t show up to any games, and go 0-162. Somehow they still come in 3rd in the NL West.

Colorado Rockies: Totally forgot they had Jose Reyes. When they remember why he was gone everybody kinda gets the heebie jeebies. Like, ehhhh. You know? Gross. They finish last in the division and DESERVE IT FOR NOT RELEASING HIM WHO CARES ABOUT THE ALLEGATIONS AND RESULTS GROW A FREAKING SPINE HE IS NOT WORTH IT!

Arizona Diamondbacks: Despite the high profile acquisitions and “go for it” attitude, nothing seems to work out right. Goldy breaks his leg in May. Greinke goes into hiding after a fan calls him “incendiary” and he doesn’t know how he’s supposed to take it. AJ Pollock starts making weird splatter paintings with spit in the outfield grass. They lose 83 games, and Pollock doesn’t sell one piece at his first art show “Grass Works”.

San Diego Padres: Andy Green brings a new attitude into the clubhouse, and surprisingly the team finishes in second place in the West. The celebration is cut short when in a ‘happy rage’ Mark Maguire eats Andy Green whole, and all the ghosts that Fernando Rodney has been shooting all these years with ghost arrows enact their revenge on the unsuspecting San Diego public.

Los Angeles Dodgers of Anaheim (guest written by Q): Hit with so many injuries that they sparked a M.A.S.H. reboot—delighting white people everywhere! The Dodgers decided to just go with Kershaw, A-Gonz, and Puig in the field. Unfortunately, Puig was injured riding an actual bull in from right field and Adrian left to model Doublemint gum.  So Kershaw played on. Alone. Somehow, the Dodgers still finished 13 games ahead of the Padres.

WILD CARDS: Dodgers, Pirates

NL CHAMPION: Giants

Now, on to Ban Johnson’s load of bull, American League:

AL EAST:

New York Yankees: On “Old Timers” Day, the team tries to bring Yogi Berra back to life using jumper cables. Amazingly it doesn’t work, and the results are horrifying. The whole fiasco curses the Pinstripes and they lose a record 145 games. They still finish in 2nd place.

Baltimore Orioles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLaM1d383eg

Boston Red Sox: In the grand tradition of not letting the Yankees outdo them, they try to bring Curt Schilling back to life. Everything was going smoothly until someone realized he wasn’t dead. This caused the Red Sox brass to claim the experiment a success, and that they are once again better than the Yankees. David Ortiz explodes from all the steroids.

Toronto Blue Jays*: At the beginning of the season John Gibbons brings a life-size cardboard cut out of Goose Gossage into the locker room. It’s covered, and every time the Blue Jays win, a piece of the cover is removed revealing more and more of Gossage. The strategy works and the Blue Jays win 120 games. When all the pieces are removed, the Toronto Blue Jays become 35 of now only 63 people who know why Gossage got the nickname “Goose”.

Tampa Bay Rays: Evan Longoria is still playing on this team.

AL CENTRAL:

Cleveland Indians: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpZ3LODBK7E

Chicago White Sox: After a very strange Spring Training, to regain the love of his players, Jerry Reinsdorf decides to sign Drake LaRoche to DH in his father’s place. Surprisingly he hits for a better average, but unsurprisingly he’s a little brat. They immediately release him, and sign the pop star Drake to pitch relief. Unsurprisingly he is booed during every appearance.

Kansas City Royals: Chasing the dragon, they start the season by winning 45 games in a row! However, it all comes to a screeching halt on ‘Mike Moustakas Bobble Head’ night when George Brett brings an actual moose to the stadium and it tramples Sal Perez to death.

Detroit Tigers*: Verlander almost makes a comeback. Miggy hits 36 homeruns. Upton has a great year. JD Martinez strikes out a lot. That’s all.

Minnesota Twins: If you listen hard enough, you can hear the faint sounds of every fan in Minnesota softly chanting, “Kumite, Kimute, Kumite…”

AL WEST:

Anaheim Angels of Dodgers: Completely shocked he still manages the team; Mike Scioscia decides its time to test the limits. He benches Pujols and starts CJ Cron, trades Garrett Richards and Huston Street to the A’s for Eric Sogard and Josh Phegley, starts Trout at Catcher, and re-signs Josh Hamilton to do absolutely nothing. They win 64 games and he signs a contract extension for $30 million over seven years.

Oakland Athletics*: With Richards and Street now on the roster, they win the division and lose in the first round of the playoffs.

Houston Astros: Springer gets hurt in the first week, Gattis retires after they make him shave his beard, and oddly, Doug Fister does not work out. They still show a ton of effort, and everyone is just really very proud of them.

Seattle Mariners: The Mariners re-sign Ichiro for one more victory lap, and he amazingly hits .320 for the season and the team begins to compete for a wild card birth. This ignites the city, and all the fans that claimed to always be Seahawks fans, have once again shifted back and now always claim to have been Mariners fans. Marshawn Lynch sings the National Anthem on opening day.

Texas Rangers: The Rangers are forced to trade Joey Gallo and Jurickson Profar when all the other teams enact a long forgotten rule called the “But, It’s Not Fair” rule. They trade Gallo for Steven Matz from the Mets, and Profar for more sunflower seeds.

WILD CARD: Astros, Yankees

AL CHAMPION: Blue Jays

WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS: San Francisco Giants (in 6)

That’s it! That’s the prediction. I wish I could have picked some fancy winner, but it’s an even year and what do you want? I was the only one who picked the Giants to win back in 2012, and hot damn I’ll do it again!

Thanks for reading, now go watch some Baseball you idiot!

For more expert analysis and things you won’t like follow me onTwitter @dallas_mc

TKF Pod #42: Allie Wagner KUSI

This week the guys sit down with Allie Wagner from KUSI News. They talk about how all of their brackets are busted, the upcoming Padres season, and what it’s like to work in professional sports locker rooms. Then they take a look back at the 1993 classic film The Sandlot.

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