AJ Cassavell – TKF Pod #98

The second half of the Padres 2017 season has started and the guys got together to take the temperature of where they’re at as fans, especially when it comes to the development of the rebuilding organization. Even though the Friars lost the series against Colorado, they’ve been playing well lately and the players are overachieving. Is this a positive that fans should be excited about, or is it dangerously jeopardizing the team’s chances of reloading with top level talent through the draft? They discuss the upcoming trade deadline and the chances of the team getting the haul they want for the players that are catching the eyes of the contending clubs. Then they call AJ Cassavell from mlb.com and talk about the pressure the team is under to come away with good prospects during this complicated period in the schedule, the future of Wil Myers and his contract, and the health of Austin Hedges. SPOILER ALERT: They close out the episode with some dragon chat and talk about the season seven premiere of Game of Thrones.

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Sports Movies – TKF Pod #97

This week Nick is on vacation so we invite the hosts of Life’s A Binge (lifesabinge.com) into the studio to talk about the Cubs, Padres, what it means to be a diehard fan, and how exhausting Cubs fans have always been. We also talk sports movies! The best of all time, the most underrated sports movies of all time and of course the most rewatchable sports movies of all time. We talk Goon, Major League and he merits of Denzel Washington’s career. We look to twitter to get your thoughts and your favorites and finish it off by giving Nick a call while he watches the All-Star Game in Boston.

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Swoon

As feelings go, few are better than when you’re naked with someone for the first time and become pleasantly surprised that they’re bringing more to the table than what was expected. Your initial assessment was slightly off. Their clothes were a lie. When our expectations are exceeded and attached to the possibility of a future, it’s exciting. Austin Hedges emerged through the ranks of the Padres organization with the promise that he would always be a wizard behind the plate. Even though AJ Preller didn’t draft him, his loud tool was always clear. Compounded with his devastating good looks, no matter what happened he would at least be an elite defender. Everything Hedges has done offensively this year beyond that simple baseline of expectation has been thrilling and Padres fans are swooning. It’s not that we merely want to have sex with our new starting catcher. That would be too easy. We want to believe he will stand up to our past with his burgeoning skill set and grow the future that’s been promised.

We want Austin inside us. #SWOON

Last week, Cubs first basemen and former Padre Anthony Rizzo knocked Hedges out of a game in what was clearly an avoidable home plate collision. This sparked a huge debate about old baseball rules, the toughness of Padres manager Andy Green, and overall masculinity on the field and online. The Padres didn’t retaliate and lost the series in Chicago 1-2. Regardless of what the team’s response was, Padres fans felt something that was uniquely heightened in those few days. Anthony Rizzo was traded away from San Diego shortly after coming over from Boston in the Adrian Gonzalez deal during a time of great uncertainty for the franchise. As it turns out, Rizzo is on his way to having a better career than the player he replaced. When he illegally crashed into Hedges, we lost our minds and wanted blood. The Cubs are who we want the Padres to be and the anchor of their undeniably successful rebuild tried to take out the beginning of our foundation.

The ideal narrative for Hedges is that he refines his skills as a major league catcher with this short term veteran staff. Then when Adrian Morejon, Anderson Espinoza, Cal Quantril, and the other waves of pitching talent come to the major league level, their seasoned battery mate will be ready to take them through the maturation process. A confidence-gaining Austin now will make the rebuild go smoothly later. It’s not the same for other young Padres finding their way this year. Hunter Renfroe might be a nice piece in the outfield, but he’s just a baseball player. With the tank in full swing, Austin is a bridge that provides safe passage to somewhere we as fans need to go.

When Careless Whisper, the greatest musical choice a Padre has made since Trevor Hoffman with ACDC’s Hells Bells, pours through the speakers at Petco Park the feeling that it brings is that of knowing there’s hope. Sure, it’s exciting because it’s Austin’s time to hit, but it’s also comforting because he knew it was the perfect walk up song to pick. That was his choice. He saw that we needed a sensual ‘80s sax line to ease us through this process. Austin’s growing connection with fans has always felt very direct. However, recently the team has become keenly aware of the feeling he provides. They’ve pinpointed a response from the public and they’re playing with it. When Hedges returned to the lineup in the Detroit series, the Padres put out a video that was well produced and came from a place of confidence that it was in on the romance. This is all fine if the Padres become the Cubs. If they don’t, this video will be held against us.

As feelings go, few are worse than realizing you’ve seen the person you’re naked with for too long. Their body is exactly what you expect and their jokes aren’t funny anymore. To get through the day you have to focus on whatever good qualities you can make yourself believe they still have and swoon towards them. Austin Hedges is the clearest example that the system the San Diego Padres have in place can do something right. If the organization wants to be in on the fun they should be careful. Even though Austin is dreamy, they can still destroy the Hedges dream. Where it goes from here is up to them.

Follow on Twitter @Nicholas_McCann

Other 2017 Posts:

Tanking Fun

Margot Leading Off

Our Rizzo Episode – TKF Pod #96

This week the guys weigh in on “The Rizzo Slide”, an unfortunate play that happened last week and tore a hole through every facet of media and fan attention surrounding the Padres. Last Monday, Austin Hedges was taken out by a collision at the plate in a dirty play by the Chicago Cubs First basemen (and former Padre) Anthony Rizzo and a week later fans are questioning the hardness of Padres second year manager Andy Green’s character because he didn’t retaliate with an equal level of baseball violence. Is this crazy? Sure, but there isn’t a whole lot else to talk about with the team in 2017. To help hash out the different sides of the controversy, the guys get soft with friend of the pod David Marver from gwynntelligence.com, who wrote a piece shortly after everything played out. They talk about whether or not the Green criticism is fair or if it even matters if he is or is not a traditional baseball tough guy. Then they look at the overall direction of the franchise and whether or not the tanking philosophy is being implemented correctly.

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Chris Cantore – TKF Pod #95

This week the guys dig into the Padres 2017 Draft. Bringing back an old segment, they each pick one of the new players and enter them into The Kept Faith Prospect Adoption Program #TKFPAP. There were a lot of high school kids picked this year, but the draft is always a crapshoot. Will AJ Preller’s scouting win out and provide waves of talent through this asset resource? It’s impossible to know right now, but that’s what faith is for! Then friend of the pod Chris Cantore from Yew! Media sits down for a fun chat about his career in radio, and his new podcast network venture. Chris explains his experience with his short lived night show on Mighty 1090 and talks about the importance of maintaining an authentic voice on the air.

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Live at The Whistlestop – TKF Pod #94

The Kept Faith recorded their first live podcast in front of real human beings. At the Whistlestop Bar in South Park, they had a fun panel including Steven Woods (Rock 105.3), Craig Elsten (Mighty 1090), and City Councilman Chris Cate. They talked about the Padres rebuild, the Gulls successful season, and the mess that looks like the end for SoccerCity. Then they went deeper into the overall pessimism that has washed over San Diego within the context of sports and tried to understand where it came from and how we can move away from it. It was a fun time had by all! TKF contributor Padres Haiku played hot jams and there were tons of laughs.

Special thanks to the Whistlestop for hosting the event and supporting other great projects in our community!

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Darren Smith – TKF Pod #93

Darren Smith from the Mighty 1090 came down to hang out with the guys and talk about what it’s like covering sports in San Diego now that the Chargers are gone and there’s an all out war taking place to fill the void left behind. With the help of VOSD’s Andy Keatts, they talk about the City Council meeting that took place on Monday and what might be coming down the pike for Mayor Faulconer. Will his legacy be determined by what unfolds in the in the next few weeks? It’s hard to say how it will all play out, but we can all agree that it has very little to do with sports and more to do with the gridlock in our city government. Then they talk about the 2017 Padres and how the front office isn’t hiding the fact that they don’t expect this team to win and are just hoping to build for the future. Will ownership have the patience to stomach several more years of this? Time will tell, but at least it won’t involve a fight with a SDSU (that is, until Aztec Football moves into Petco and overstays their welcome).

Come on down to The Whistle Stop Bar June 13th at 7:30pm for our first live podcast recording! We’ll have special guests Steven Woods, Craig Elsten, and City Councilmember Chris Cate! Also DJ Padres Haiku!

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Tanking Fun

By Nicholas McCann

My earliest experience with tanking was for a brief period in the early ‘90s at Boomers (Family Fun Center) in Clairemont. If you didn’t feel like playing mini-golf or riding the go-carts, there was an attraction available that allowed patrons to simulate a war scenario involving slow moving tanks that shot hard plastic balls. You and a partner had to climb into these puke green non-death machines and decide who would be the gunner and who would drive. If a ball was shot and hit a target censor on the body of your tank, it would stop moving. If a ball struck the censor on the gun cage above, you would lose the ability to shoot. There was no score to keep. The entire object of the game was to force other participants to have less fun.

You just had to keep tanking.

Usually, rooting for a major league baseball team is about wanting them to win from opening day through the last game of their season. Despite whatever the team has said publicly, in the clearest form of communication to their fans, the 2017 San Diego Padres have made it obvious with their roster they aren’t trying to win. Yet this year is different from past seasons that sadly started in the same direction. It’s the first time where the team has made clear its intentions and managed to create a sizable group of people who are embracing it.

For these folks who are all in on the current tank (we’ll call them Tankers), there’s an element of joy that comes out when they talk about it. It’s fun for them to bask in their own patience and rescue non-Tankers from “traditional” fandom. Is purposely bottoming out the right way for the organization to go? In baseball and in life, there are no guarantees. However, you can’t say that to a Tanker. Even though they might not express it directly, they declare with their inner glow that it’s a foregone conclusion everything will be worked out by 2020. And when pressed on this point, Tankers often will fall back on this general statement: I’m just glad the Padres finally have a direction.

With this season, the current ownership group is beginning the third act of a horrible play that could still have a happy ending. The first act started with the Seidlers and Ron Fowler buying the team. They said all the right things, but didn’t do much. The second act started with the Matt Kemp trade and ended the moment he filed his blog on the Players Tribune. In this third act of losing-now-to-win-later, the team has rebranded itself as modern and smart, but the benefit of doing it is broader than just being disciplined and seeing the long view. The team can hide behind the mistakes they made in the second act by allowing people to believe the direction of building fast and spending money was the wrong way to go on a conceptual level. There is a version of the second act that could’ve worked, but if we trash that period and dismiss it as even being a direction at all, the organization gets a pass from the mistakes they made within that frame work. Winning fast is a way to go, but the Padres were bad at it. They failed at trying to be good, and now they’re taking control of their badness. For people unabashedly on board with the new philosophy, they aren’t just adopting something that has worked for the Astros and Cubs; they are also buying a few years of not being upset at the Padres.

Back at Boomers in the early ‘90s, the tank attraction had a third party element. If you didn’t want to participate and ride a tank with a friend, you could buy a bucket of balls and shoot at the tanks from outside the netted playing zone. For a small fee you could snipe from a position of protection and contribute to ruining fun for other people. With the Padres not intending to be competitive for the foreseeable future, fans have to deal with the Tank regardless if they embrace it or not. Our rivals will be able to take shots at us. This being the case, I’ve resorted to rooting for Bud Black’s Rockies to win the NL West. This is my bit. Besides not being in LA or San Francisco, if Black is more successful outside of the Padres universe, it will support my belief that the dismal results of his era in San Diego were more complicated than who was managing the team. People laugh when I say this out loud. They know I’m deep in a tank, taking shots from all sides, and waiting for the fun to begin.

 

Follow on Twitter @Nicholas_McCann

 

SoccerCity, Cubs, and Bryce! – TKF Pod #92

San Diego’s most popular sport is fighting about stadiums. This week the guys unpack as many aspects of the SoccerCity vs SDSU mess as they can with friend of the pod Dike Anyiwo from SoccerNation.com and the Soccer Nation Podcast. They dig into the recent declarations by city council members David Alvarez and Chris Ward that they will not support a special election this November. What kind of blow does this mean for the future of MLS in San Diego? It could be devastating if the city delays the vote to 2018 and operates outside the crucial timetable the MLS has designated for expansion. Then they talk about SDSU’s confusing position in all of this. Was the university naive to think this would all work itself out and things would be fine when the Chargers left? It’s hard to believe this is shaping up to be another summer arguing about what the city should do with Mission Valley and the potential sports options that come with it. The guys also celebrate the Padres sweep of the World Champion Chicago Cubs, make fun of the rest of the country’s obsession with San Diego’s connection with the Will Ferrell film Anchorman, and share their thoughts on the Bryce Harper fight.

The Kept Faith is having its first Live Podcast at The Whistle Stop June 13th at 7:30pm! Be there!

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Andy Keatts and Coach Lew – TKF Pod #91

This week the guys discuss the Petco Park in-game experience with Andy Keatts and Scott Lewis from VoiceofSanDiego.org. Last week the two co-hosts of the VOSD Podcast went to a game together and made certain choices that left one of them cold. Then they discuss the Padres’ $99 “5 Wins in June” deal that has some fans upset. Other organizations have a similar promotion, so are the Padres not handling it well, or are San Diego fans just using it as an excuse to spew vitriol on the Internet? Regardless, the Padres are the worst team in baseball and it’s shaping up to be a complicated summer. Goofy giveaways and some exciting young talent can only go so far to placate a fanbase that is growing tired of “rebuilding.” Later, the guys take a look at Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s legacy when it comes to sports, and the city as a whole. Could he have handled things differently to smooth over the now burgeoning SoccerCitySD vs SDSU blood war? Scott and Andy share their thoughts having covered his entire administration from beginning to end.

The Kept Faith is having its first Live Podcast at The Whistle Stop June 13th at 7:30pm! Be there!

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