Month: August 2015

TKF Pod #17: Fantasy Football & Will Venable

This week the guys discuss what Will Venable meant to the Padres, and why we always thought he was 25. The guys also break down James Shields, and if he’s the Ace we thought we were getting. Finally, the guys talk Chargers and Fantasy and how Mike Shanahan ruined it.

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A Series: Padres v. Cardinals

During this weekend’s series I reached out to Sam Wiles, a comedian and writer living in Los Angeles. He also happens to be a big Cardinals fan, and the ‘head writer’ of a long forgotten FOX Sports pilot called ‘Off Base’. He currently performs all over Los Angeles, and hosts a weekly show called ‘Rod Stewart Live‘. 

Dear Sam Wiles,

I’m confused. I’m so very confused. How on Earth do the Cardinals do this every damn season? Mark Reynolds? A 62-year old Yadier Molina, and a pitching staff of question marks and filler. For years people just thought it was the magic of LaRussa that could somehow put together a squad of average talent and make them contenders, but it’s obviously not. Matheny is just as good. Explain it to me, Sam. DO IT!

Another thing that doesn’t make sense – my dislike for the Cardinals. They have a great fan base, two of the greatest players of all time – Ozzie Smith and Stan Musial (Also Dizzy Dean). They make great Baseball decisions, and have superior management and ownership. F*ck them! See, why is it that I want to say that? Why do they feel like the San Antonio Spurs of Baseball? Do you even remember when the Cardinals were bad? Like, can you honestly pinpoint a season in your lifetime when you thought the Cardinals might not go to the playoffs? Also, you’re not from Missouri, so why do you even care? Lastly, they have the best stirrup socks in all of Major League Baseball…so there’s that.

In His Love,

Dallas.

The Padres beat the Cardinals 9-3.

Dear Dallas,

Poor, downtrodden, Matt Kemp watching Dallas,

How do the Cardinals do it every season? More pressingly, how this season, with virtually no offense, down two beefy forearmed guys named Matt (kind of our thing as of late), and yet are arguably the best team in baseball? How are they having a historic pitching season sans their ace? How a team that should be psychologically devastated after the death of OT still keeps it together? Especially after receiving minimal production from his replacement (Heyward)? Not to mention a rash of medium injuries, reliance on rookies, and a suddenly competitive division? How do they do it?

It’s God’s team. The Lord Jesus Christ has forsaken all of baseball, even the San Diego franchise whose mascot is the Father, and has lifted his red birds on high.

Seriously I have no idea. That’s my best guess. That God is a craggy old man who sits at his old Toshiba and watches the Cardinals and yells at his wife from the den.

“God, honey, can you take out the trash or stop this hurricane?”

“Dammit Gladys, this new kid Grichuk is up to bat and I’m not missing it for some damn hurricane!”

Otherwise there’s no explanation and I think that’s at the core of why everyone hates the Cardinals and Cardinal’s fans. Good things keep happening and I couldn’t tell you why. What do you say when you keep getting lucky? What do you say when you win the lottery? What if you won the lottery kind of a lot? You didn’t really do anything to deserve it; it’s essentially random. But you don’t feel bad. You feel good. And you’ll probably be obnoxious on twitter.

-Sam Wiles,

St Louis resident 1987-1995

The Padres beat the Cardinals 8-0.

St. Louis Sam,

First off, I had no idea you were ever a St. Louis resident. I’ll have to chastise our research department, which is really just an old man sleeping in the corner who happens to be sitting in front of a broken iBook and a rotary phone that’s off the hook. Well, good for you! I bet Busch stadium is a delight! A F*#KING DELIGHT! More importantly, this Grichuk kid is good. I picked him up in fantasy and he’s been nothing but solid. I hate it.

You know what? I totally forgot about Heyward, and maybe that’s the magic of the Cards. Someone underperforming? Heyward? Oh yea, but what about this Carlos Martinez! He’s a beaut! The greatest trick that Matheny ever played was lulling us to sleep with Kolten Wong.

I know you’re at the game today and the Padres have already won the series, but I can only imagine the stadium is still a sea of red. What’s it like being a Cardinals fan? Seriously. A team that has had a great run, but is also historically racist.

Barring some kind of complete breakdown, the Cards will either win the division or wind up with a wild card spot, but does it mean anything to you anymore? Are you as jaded as Braves fans were in 2003? Who are you most excited about watching on this team, and are you scared about the surging Cubs, and the fact they have a young team of studs who will contend for the next decade?

Please, never feel bad about me watching Matt Kemp. Not only has he been fantastic the second half, he gave me the opportunity to not watch Carlos Quentin/Will Venable/Seth Smith/Alexi Amarista stumble around and have career years hitting .250.

Dallas.

619/858. 1984-Present.

The Cardinals beat the Padres 10-3.

Hey Dallas,

Sorry to get back to you late,

We went straight from the game back to LA. I had a bar show at 8 and GOOD GOD COULD YOU IMAGINE IF I MISSED IT?

The game was great and the crowd was full of Redbirds. Anytime the Cards show a little offensive pop I breath a little easier and after a series of true garbage I got to see some good stuff live. That Piscotty kid hit 2 homers in consecutive at bats and Jason Heyward almost hit for the cycle. Side note on Heyward, Alexis [Sam’s lady friend] was like “who is that guy? He looks too athletic for baseball.” AND SHE WAS RIGHT. Also, Piscotty is breathing down Grichuk’s neck for title of “exciting rookie who sounds like a play’s by his on rules detective.”

This fall on TNT, one hardboiled cop takes to the streets of St. Louis and no one tells him what to do. Dennis Franz is “Grichuk.” Followed by Piscotty and Isles.

I genuinely don’t think I’d feel terrible if they were the wild card and I wouldn’t be that devastated if they didn’t make the playoffs this year. I wouldn’t be happy but it wouldn’t ruin baseball for me. We have a good young nucleus and good vets so the window is kind of always open. That’s the real luxury. It’s not like KC, my definitive 2nd favorite team, where the mood is like “hurry the f*ck up and win a title because this shit does not last!”

However, if the Cards do advance deep in the playoffs, it would be a good year to win it. The Birds and the city of St. Louis have had a dogshit 12 months or so, and it would be a nice, if temporary salve. Also I have this fantasy of Carlos Martinez pitching a complete game to win the WS and then pointing to Oscar’s ghost in the sky and saying, “this is for you,” in broken English. I would cry like a baby.

And lastly, I’m psyched for the Cubs to be good. If they were good, it would really be a rivalry. The “rivalry” is so empty when one team blows. After I lived in St. Louis as a kid I moved to Iowa, where everyone is arbitrarily a Cubs fan. (I think because it’s such an inoffensive position to take. It fits the mood of the state, which is essentially, “Excuse me sir? You’ve parked on my foot but by all means don’t move your car if it’s a hassle.”) So naturally I built up all of this Cubs resentment over time, but when I was old enough to actually watch a lot of baseball it was like wait, these guys suck! Why are they our rivals?! They blow! So, now I kind of root for them in a weird way. I need someplace for that hate to go. Right now it’s all directed at the Dodgers and that feels empty too.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The show should be called Piscotty & Grichuk starring Timothy Olyphant as Piscotty, and the aforementioned Dennis Franz is still attached to play Grichuk.)

GO PADS!

For more expert sports stuff, and things you probably won’t care about, follow me on Twitter @dallas_mc 

Padres Canon: Will Venable

On Tuesday, Will Venable was traded from the Padres to the Texas Rangers. Nick Burmeister AKA @padreshaiku and I get into it over his legacy and whether or not he should be in the Padres Canon. It’s probably too soon to have this discussion, but we had it anyways. Regardless, we both think Will was a class act during his time in San Diego! Please weigh in and use #PadresCanon.

NICHOLAS MCCANN Tuesday August 18th 4:23pm

Dear Haiku,

Maybe it’s too soon, but we should talk about it. I think Will Venable is totally Padres Canon. He needs to be because I don’t want people to forget The Venable Era. That’s what I’m calling it. It’s that post Bochy through this afternoon time period that needs a name. Sure, there is obviously an overlap with the Preller Era, but you know what I mean. Will Venable was the poster child of a franchise frozen in a cocoon of suck and his significance is important. I have no doubt that at some point Will Venable will be a coach in the minors for San Diego, then he and Nick Hundley will be together on the major league staff in some capacity of authority. It’s going to happen. I believe it. But for now, it’s really weird that Will Venable isn’t a Padre. It feels noteworthy, even though it shouldn’t. This leans me towards Canon.

Thoughts?

NICK BURMEISTER Tuesday August 19th 9:53am

Sweet Jaded Nick,

Will Venable is not canon. Sure he’s the guy that stayed on the team though all the ownership turmoil and he was the Padres MVP a few years ago, but he’s not canon. If there was a guy that represents the era you mention, it’s Buddy Black. Plus maybe it’s too soon to tell. He had a good year in 2010 when the team was really good. I just remember feeling so frustrated with him over the years. Granted, Buddy had him bunting every time you look but still.

Did his slumps not hurt you? Did his overall blandness not hurt you?

NICHOLAS MCCANN Tuesday August 19th 11:48am

Haiku,

I’m not jaded now like I was when this was all happening. First, Bud Black is Padres Canon. That’s a separate discussion, but I think anyone who manages the team that long is in. That being said, Will Venable is the definitive player of the Bud Black Era. It’s all the same thing. The stats don’t matter. His smile-that “it’s so great that I’m just playing baseball” smile- is the first thing I think about when I remember the ownership insecurity, the loss of stars, and the overall perpetual below average product that whoever was in charge was convinced we would accept. Putting him in is a simple recognition that we were being insulted.

Will Venable made us believe he was a 25 year old player who had potential for 8 years. His youthful exuberance and good teammate nature was the lukewarm cup of coffee that we used to pass the time. His career in San Diego is just one long lost season. It’s part of us. He is Canon!

NICK BURMEISTER August 19th 6:32pm

The “stats don’t matter” and “I’m just glad to play baseball” points are red flags. His career was not significant from a franchise point of view. He was super boring. He had some highlights but so did Paul McAnulty and he’s not canon either.

I’m picking up on what you’re putting down about how Will represents a lost era of Padres potential. But does a boring light hitting platoon outfielder belong in the canon…generally? To me canon includes players, executives, and other phenomena that made serious impacts on the team. I just don’t think he fits that mold.

NICHOLAS MCCANN August 20th 7:16am

If Will isn’t Canon, Tim Flannery isn’t Canon. Are you prepared to say that?

NICK BURMEISTER August 20th 2:43pm

No I’m not. Are their careers that similar? Flan was always a better hitter and played on a pennant winning team. This is part of my argument. Venable is wholly unremarkable in his career save for a few spectacular catches. Guys like Benito and Flan did something of consequence, Venable not so much. Plus did will ever do anything this cool?

flannnann

I definitely see Will coaching the Giants. I think Max Venable played for them. Chris Denorfia will one day be in the Padres coaching staff. Book it. Remember though it’s just too early to have this discussion. People will vote with their heart not their heads and we’re going to end up with a canon full of Jesus Guzmans and Jody Geruts.

NICK MCCANN August 20th 8:08pm

I don’t remember anything Will Venable did outside of a few bright spots this year. He was forgettable in a way I don’t want to forget. Let’s let the readers decide.
 

Follow us on Twitter: @Nicholas_McCann and @padreshaiku

TKF Pod #16: Pouder & The Cycle of Life

This week the guys welcome  Robert Pouder – MLB Inisder and Rock Star GM of Tiger! Tiger! Also he’s a Dodger fan. They talk about Matt Kemp’s cycle, who won “the trade”, and Mattingly’s future. They talk about Matt Kemp’s cycle, who won “the trade”, and Mattingly’s future. They also talk about Philip Rivers’ new deal and the future of Chargers fandom.

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Follow Robert Pouder on Twitter @rpouder

San Diego: A One Team Town

The Chargers are leaving. Save for a last minute miracle or some sort of NFL intervention, San Diego’s football team will bolt for the beautiful post-apocalyptic wasteland of Carson, California. This means that San Diego will only have one major league sports team, the Padres. And while other cities also have just one major league team, San Diego will be the only one to offer just major league baseball. I’m not sure about this, but I think the last baseball-only city was Baltimore after the Colts and the Bullets left, and before the Browns came to town and changed their name to the Ravens. Before that I really don’t know — maybe pre-AFL Cincinnati?

So what does it mean that San Diego will be the nation’s sole baseball-only city? It’s probable that the Padres will absorb some of the money that San Diegans won’t spend on the Chargers. While I think that most San Diegans will maintain their Chargers fandom, it’s not likely that San Diegans will buy as much Chargers gear as they used to. Nor will San Diegans buy as many season tickets to Chargers games. And the corporate executives who used to entertain clients in a luxury NFL box will be seeking a new venue. So that Chargers money has to go somewhere, and it’s likely that much of it will still be devoted to sports.

The Padres are the obvious substitute. The Gulls have returned to San Diego, but as a minor league team, so they are unlikely to be a big source of competition for the Padres. Still, they will likely reap some of the benefit, if on a smaller scale. I suspect Aztec basketball will get a pretty big boost as well – not only because they’re good, but because college basketball season coincides with football season. Even the San Diego Sockers, who were a pretty big part of my youth, may benefit; people may be more interested in indoor soccer if there’s no football team to watch. Overall, however, the major financial beneficiary of the Chargers departure should be the Padres. And a richer Padres team is likely a better Padres team.

But however good the Chargers leaving could be for the Padres and the other teams in San Diego, it will also be a dark time for sports culture as a whole in America’s finest city. San Diego sports media will struggle without consistent Chargers access. I believe that the radio stations will still feature Chargers news and opinions, but will the coverage be as complete if the team has training camp north of San Onofre? Without stadium talk, the Mighty 1090 will have about 20 minutes of programming a day (except for Jim Rome). And minor league hockey isn’t going to fill that gap. I’ve never heard the Loose Cannons or Scott and BR talk hockey in any insightful way. If the sport ever comes up, it’s in a discussion about how they don’t follow it. I’m sure they will dip their toes into Gulls news, but I’m equally sure they will embarrass themselves before too long. Honestly, the only sports talk personality in San Diego that has ever really given hockey any real consideration is Hacksaw. He wants to talk puck; the ladies’ line is also open. The Loose Cannons have a decent handle on the NBA but that’s about it, 1090 struggles with basketball outside of SDSU.

Also, consider the grief your non-local friends give you for being a SD sports fan. Now multiply it by twenty. If your Niners-fan coworker isn’t already insufferable enough, think about how hard it will be to listen to them yammer on and on about how San Diego couldn’t even build a stadium, while Levi’s is the greatest stadium since the Romans fed Christians to lions in the coliseum. And think about the San Diego Super Chargers song — think about how it’s going to disappear. That’s rough. I’m sure Maroon Five will be tasked to create an equally catchy song for the LA Chargers. It’ll end up an international hit.

Truth is we really don’t know what’s going to happen. Perhaps San Diegans completely abandon the Chargers upon their departure, and maybe none of that leftover cash moves to the Padres or any other sports teams. Maybe the Chargers leaving barely moves the needle and locals remain fully committed to the Bolts. Maybe, the loss of one sports team also dooms interest in the other sports teams in San Diego. I think it will be fun to watch.

Follow Nicholas Burmeister on Twitter: @padreshaiku

TKF Podcast #15: Junior Seau

This week the guys get dark. They reminise about Junior Seau’s life, career, and what he meant to San Diego. They also talk about brain injuries and how nothing will stop football until someone dies on the field. They chat about the Padres losing streak, and what 2016 might look like. It’s a sad, depressing episode. ENJOY!

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Padres Canon: Adrian vs. Garvey

This is the second conversation in the important series #PadresCanon by Nicholas Burmeister AKA @padreshaiku and I. Again, we are not trying to decide who should be in the Padres Hall of Fame. This is more of a discussion of who/what represents the most Padresness. It’s a work in progress, like the rest of lives. Help us out and tell us what you think!

NICHOLAS MCCANN (August 3rd 2015 9:30am)

Dear Haiku,

We have a problem. It’s pretty clear Adrian Gonzalez and Steve Garvey are worthy of being in the Padres Canon. However, I can’t have them both in. I won’t allow it. They are both significant Padres, but with the way things are going they will both share a majority of their careers with the Dodgers. They both played five years with the Padres. Adrian, the local boy who couldn’t stay, never had a significant post season moment. Steve Garvey on the other hand did, but we all know that if he were to make the Hall of Fame it would be as a Dodger. I’m torn. Help. This is important.

NICK BURMEISTER (August 3rd 2:39pm)

McCann,

It’s taken me awhile to respond to this both because this match-up gives me strong feelings, and…you know…work and the baby and stuff.

Remember when we had a great bullpen? One of the best I can remember was 2010, Gregorson, Adams, and Bell made a nine inning game a six inning game which kept the Padres in contention until the last game of that year. The Padres lost that game to the Giants who would eventually win the World Series. (The Padres owned the Giants that year but couldn’t win when it mattered) I remember that game really well, I remember Adrian Gonzalez not getting too many chances to be a hero, but not having a stand out moment either. For me, that’s the game that cemented what Adrian was for the Padres. He couldn’t be a scapegoat, but he wasn’t a hero. Let’s be real, if he wasn’t from south bay and TJ we’d be having this conversation about Garvey and Nevin. I know he’s number two in home runs for the Padres behind Colbert (100% Canon) but does Adrian have anything but a bunch of homers on his Padres resume? I’m a hard no to Adrian.

Garvey is a Dodger.

Choosing between the two is hard for me but if I have to pick one it would be Garv. “Home Run Garvey! And there will be tomorrow!” is one of the most exciting calls in Padre history. I’d say number two. He made that happen, he was the hero, and San Diegans loved him for it. He was our guy, if but for a little while. I’m not sure about his number on the batters eye, but he’s canon. If he’s not canon, I’d like to nominate Steve Garvey’s tree trunk forearms! Honestly, they’re huge, like Popeye size.

NICHOLAS MCCANN (August 4th 1:32pm)

I agree with you. There really isn’t any way around it. It seems that if things play out as they are now, Garvey has to be in over Adrian. If Adrian makes a few more postseasons with the Dodgers (assuming Kershaw doesn’t keep choking) this conversation will drift away from even being close to in play. However, the only chance Adrian has to take the Padres Canon away from Steve Garvey is if he ever came back to the Padres later in his 30s and was part of some kind of magical run. I could see this happening. It’s actually something that I think about a lot. The We Get Adrian Back When He’s Busted narrative is still in play.

Garvey has the moment but Adrian has the significance of the trade that sent him away and what that meant at the time. Steve just finished his career here, had some fun times, and got a bunch of people pregnant. Adrian’s departure meant we were going nowhere. If he ever came back he might have a chance. And there will be tomorrow.

NICK BURMEISTER (August 4th 5:54pm)

I’d rather not put either in the Canon really. That Gonzo/Rizzo trade was so bad for the Padres.

That Hoyer-Byrnes era really devastated the team… a team that can’t really have devastation like that. It’s one thing when the Yankees blow a quarter billion on some bust or when the Dodgers went through the McCourt divorce. Those are big cities with plenty of money, they can recover quick. The Padres don’t have that luxury.

NICHOLAS MCCANN (August 5th 10:01am)

The Adrian trade was the pinnacle of misery that has come this way since 1998. It was dark because it wasn’t surprising in the least and it had nothing to do with the fans. I think he still has a shot at the Canon because historically the Padres sign over the hill players that they can sell to the fanbase. Adrian is still local and it would mean something if he returned.

But for me, Garvey is in. I don’t really remember anything before 1984. When I started to get interested in baseball, Garv was the guy. Tony was just starting out and Goose was dark and cool, but Steve was the guy all the kids on my block in Clairemont wanted to be.

Both of these guys are Dodgers and the bulk of their importance in the overall baseball historical landscape might support that, but Garvey had the home run and Adrian never did.

NICK BURMEISTER (August 5th 8:52pm)

I think you hit the nail on the head with at least one aspect of this discussion. I loved Garv because he represented the pure love and enthusiasm that a 4 or 5 year old has for a baseball team. When you’re a kid the business of baseball means little more than “can I get dad to buy me nachos in a helmet at the game?” Every year I thought we were going to win the World Series and every year I was shocked that we had lost 100 games. I knew Adrian was leaving because by the time we got him from the Rangers I was already a Padres cynic and conspiracy theorist. Perhaps nostalgia clouds reason.

Follow on Twitter: @Nicholas_McCann and @padreshaiku and give us your response and use #PadresCanon

TKF Podcast #14: Trade Deadline Aftermath

This week the guys break down why the Padres doing nothing at the trade deadline was actually doing a lot. They also draft the official Kept Faith Minor League Prospects for 2015, and talk about how classless the Mets are. Of course they also talk about the Chargers and the fact that Malcolm Floyd might have let some information slip that he wasn’t supposed to.

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