Month: October 2017

Carlo and Hacksaw – TKF Pod #107

This week the guys wrap up on the 2017 Padres. They look at the state of the rebuild and what to expect with the team moving forward. Then they call frenemy Carlo Cecchetto for News 8 San Diego. He’s a Dodgers fan (one of the good ones) and going through what all Padres fans hope to someday experience with his team in NLCS. Will Clayton Kershaw and his squad finally get it done? We hope not! Finally, they check in with Lee Hacksaw Hamilton to see where he’s at with the Padres organization, the Spanos family’s NFL introduction to LA, and the catastrophe that has become US Soccer.

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Losing That Loving Feeling

Being a San Diego sports fan often feels like you’re trapped in a hyper sexualized volleyball game where you’re the only one playing who needs to hide their body with a shirt. On the Saturday night before the LA Chargers lost to the Miami Dolphins in their first home game at the StubHub Center, I went and saw Top Gun at the Ken Cinema. With a few friends and about 40 other people I watched, laughed, and cheered along with the defining pop culture snapshot of San Diego in the mid 1980s. After Tom Cruise (call sign: Maverick) and his sidekick Anthony Edwards (call sign: Goose) get notified that they’re going to the top naval aviation school in the world, a title card comes up on the screen that reads Miramar, Calif. FighterTown, USA. At this moment, everyone in the theater erupted with applause. In the film, San Diego was the place to go if you wanted to prove you were the best.

When the Chargers finally moved to LA, many San Diegans needed to project an angle on how they were going to respond to the pain. Some picked new teams. Others just kept pulling for the Bolts and adjusted to location. After spending more than thirty years of my life rooting for an entertainment product owned by the Spanos family, the person I was, someone who looked at the NFL and needed to believe in the success of any one squad, died. I spun out, hit eject too late, and broke everything. Now I’m a Hate-Watcher. I only really like football when San Diego’s former team loses.

Before the matchup between the LA Chargers and the Denver Broncos on the first Monday night of the season, I started to feel it. Anger and fear grew inside me throughout the day leading towards kickoff. Would Dean Spanos’ plan work out? Would the LA Chargers beat an old rival and force me to defend something about San Diego? The most jarring part of the Chargers final years here and their subsequent departure was the national media glossing over the situation by assuming that San Diegans were bad fans. The narrative many believed was that Spanos had to leave because the character of the city was too aloof to sustain his family business. The Broncos, in front of a sellout crowd in Denver, dismantled LA on national television in the best and most familiar way. The Chargers lost on a blocked kick at the end and it was glorious.

The Anthony Edwards performance in Top Gun is what jumps out the most every time I see it. His character risks his career and life by choosing to fly with a talented but obviously dangerous pilot. However, Goose always stays loyal to the choice he made. The best scenes in Top Gun are when Goose defends Maverick to the other top pilots. Their exchanges are exactly like every conversation I’ve ever had with any true Dodgers or Raiders fan throughout the years. When fellow sidekick Rick Rossovich (Call Sign: Slider) openly talks trash about Maverick, Goose acknowledges the underdog situation he’s in, but doesn’t flinch. He has a snappy comeback every time.

Then Goose dies.

The most harrowing scene in the movie is where Meg Ryan (Call sign: Hot Widow) is consoling Tom Cruise after the accident. She doesn’t blame Maverick and affirms that he will always be family, while sobbing in a chair behind her son, who appears to be 3 or 4. Maverick receives the message, but still internally blames himself, knowing that his dangerous flying finally ended in tragedy as people had predicted. Goose is still gone and his world where he’s invincible has come crashing down. Cruise does all this with his face, solidifying himself as the next great American movie star. In the story, Goose is a side character who had to die to teach Maverick a lesson.

I called my Dad the day after the Miami game. We laughed at the Stub Hub Center crowd and the horrible PR the Chargers had dumped onto the national stage. The relief we both shared was very similar to the elation we would feel if the San Diego Chargers had won in their home opener. This time we didn’t have to defend them. Because of the horrible roll out and beginning of the season for the Chargers, people are starting to see the dysfunction this franchise has consistently had under the Spanos family’s control. They burned their audience and now they have to play their games in front of that hallow reality. Kansas City barbequed LA’s new team in front of a sea of red in Week Three and it was validating to know that even Meg Ryan couldn’t cheer Dean up.

If Goose had lived and raised his family in San Diego, Goose Jr. would’ve grown up in the Spanos Family Era as well. He’d probably have a podcast called Great Bolts of Fire and lived through all of it. I like to think we’d be hate watchers together. Anthony Edwards has never been able to shake Goose his entire career. Each performance he gives feels like a reincarnation of Maverick’s fallen sidekick. In ER he was playing Goose as a doctor. In The Client he was playing Goose as an assistant to Susan Sarandon’s spunky lawyer. However, in David Fincher’s Zodiac he plays a detective trying to solve one of the most complex murder mysteries in American History with his partner Mark Ruffalo, who is exhaustively obsessed with finding the killer. After years and years of failing to solve the crime, Anthony Edwards finally quits the case and his detective job. He explains to Mark Ruffalo that he can’t do it anymore and that he wants to watch his kids grow up. In the most polite and genuine way possible, he essentially says there are more important things to him than going crazy. Edwards leaves the movie and completes another solid performance, but I always see it as closure for Goose. He got another chance to make the smart choice and took it.

I didn’t watch the Eagles game on TV. Instead I took my son to the beach at Mission Bay where Steven Soderbergh filmed Traffic. I put the game on the radio and casually listened from about ten feet away. Someday I’ll explain to the boy why it was important for Don Cheadle to confront Catherine Zeta-Jones at the playground. She was a rich person living in a bubble and he needed to shatter it. I want Dean Spanos to live the rest of his life in that same startled state. Significant public money will likely never again be used to fund a football only stadium in California and a part of my city had to die to make that clear for everyone. While my kid played I listened to the Chargers lose with a smile on my face. It was a beautiful day in FighterTown, USA (Call Sign: San Diego).

 

Follow on Twitter @Nicholas_McCann

Which Former Padre is Going to The World Series?

The end of the season is here. So, it’s time to think about which former Padre is going to lift the Commissioner’s Trophy over their head, and hopefully drop it on themselves. Let’s start with the National League.

The Colorado Rockies, the sure-fire winner of this year’s World Series:

It’s been ten years since the Rockies slipped through the cracks. Matt Holliday missed home plate (undisputed at this point), and Denver had their stupid run to the World Series called Rocktober. I will never forgive them for breaking Milton Bradley, albeit, by extension, ruining Trevor Hoffman, and allowing the Red Sox fans to become the most self-congratulatory group of chowder eaters to crawl from the sea. A pox on them and that purple dinosaur they call a mascot. I hope some robber baron turns him into gasoline.

Bud Black– One time Padres Manager and our current baseball ex-stepdad. It’ll be fun watching Bud manage in the playoffs. He’ll crash and burn, for me that’s fun, heck, that’s baseball.

Alexi Amarista-We called you The Little Ninja. Just like real ninjas, I hope you go unnoticed for as long as possible and make as much big league money as you can.

Pat Neshek– Remember him? No? Just me? Ok. Well he throws crazy side arm. He’s all arms and angles. Pat might be pitching or doing a Martha Graham routine who can say?

The Arizona Diamondbacks, the consensus lock for the title:

There was a time not long ago that Padres fans could look at the team from Arizona and say “At least we’re not run by Tony La Russa.” Those days are over. Well known head-case, and Carlos Quentin tackle dummy, Zach Grienke is the true #1 ace on a team known mostly for hitting, which must really irritate him. Good.

Fernando Rodney-La Fletcha has been closing games for the snakes and launching arrows into the dry desert air, bless his crooked hat wearing heart. The whole arrow thing doesn’t bug me he’s just a goofball. Is this how people feel about Manny Ramirez?

Adam Rosales-Wait, That Adam Rosales? Our Adam Rosales? Yeah, old crazy legs Rosales is sprinting around the bases in Phoenix now. I’d ask how he keeps getting work but then I remember there is a place on a playoff team for Alexi Amarista and I’m reminded that baseball is the weirdest/best sport.

The Cubs of Chicago, the team most likely to repeat for the crown:

You know how when you buy a car and suddenly you start to see that car everywhere? That’s what Cubs gear is like now. I don’t remember seeing all these Cubs shirts before they won the World Series. I suppose they could have been there but I’ve never noticed it, but juuuuust maybe there might be a handful of bandwagon Cubs fans that came out of the wood work once the team kicked the curse.

Jon Jay-He was kind of good for the Padres when he was on the field. He spent the lion’s share of the season on the DL and moved on. He never insulted San Diego or the Padres so locals don’t boo him. That’s how that works FYI.

Rene Rivera-He had his best year playing in San Diego in 2014. He was and is a great pitch framer and was a big part of why the Padres pitching staff was so good that year. Seems like a good dude, like John C. Reilly would play him in a movie. A bad movie but still John C Reilly…pretty good.

That’s it. No one else on the Cubs was ever a Padre; Kris Bryant played at USD but aside from that no one else. Oh, I guess they have some low level 1B journeyman that never gets playing time I think his name is Risso or Rizzuto or something whatever.

The Washington Nationals the smart money pick for the crown: 

You’d think the Nationals caught a case of the Padres with as many injuries as they’ve had this season. They’ve managed to stay competitive because the Mets have been equally snake bitten and everyone else in the NL East stinks out loud. Plus, having Max Scherzer’s arm and Bryce Harper’s hair doesnt hurt.

Trea Turner– I’m not sure if he counts as being a former Padre but he certainly feels like one. Anyway, I never learned how to pronounce his name. Now I never will.

Edwin Jackson– Thought I’d forget about him? Nope. Dude pitched in 16 games for the Friars last year so that counts. Bonus, his Baseball Reference page has him in the 2016 Padres blue and yellow. I hope it stays that way for-ev-er.

Finally, The LA dodgers, the Long Shot:

If you thought putting up with your friend the Giants fan was a harrowing experience these past few years, just wait until the dodgers win the World Series.

Adrian Gonzalez: El Titan has been sidelined much of the season which has given Bellinger a chance to play first and he’s done so well that he’s stolen the spot from Adrian. There’s not going to be a chance for AGon to ground into an inning ending double play in this year’s postseason because he’s out with back issues. Whatever team picks him up this off season will enjoy his non-presence in the locker room and 8 home runs.

Yasmani Grandal– The Ex-Padres clubhouse cancer has somehow managed to avoid getting suspended for PEDs and is still on the roster in LA.

Logan Forsythe-His career really seemed to take off in Tampa, and I was glad he found success until he came back west. I hope he falls into the La Brea Tar Pits. Sorry.

Brandon Morrow– Of course who can forget about Brandon Morrow HAHAHA JK we’re all trying to forget about Brandon Morrow.

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Moving on to the Junior Circuit-The American League

 

The Boston Red Sox, the safe bet for the belt:

Boston hasn’t won a championship in like seven or eight months so they’re due. This might be the year New England finally has something to cheer for. Think of the long suffering New Englanders huddled in their one room cabins in the woods, don’t THEY deserve happiness?

Craig Kimbrel-Man, I hated that whole falconer arm thing. Then I loved that whole falconer arm thing. Now I hate that whole falconer arm thing. Life comes at you fast sometimes.

Drew Pomeranz-He’s been better than David Price but I’m sure Dombrowski is still whining somewhere about Advil or something.

The New York Yankees, a little team looking to make a name for themselves:

Never count out the evil empire. Just as the original Evil Empire from Star Wars was destroyed by a small band of rebels but came back as the First Order the once tanking Yankees have evolved into a “smart” team that uses analytics and stuff. Also, they rely heavily on pure power and intimidation and will eventually lose.

Chase Headley– Oh Savior. Oh Savior. Wherefore art thou savior? Chase had a scorching hot month near the end of his time in San Diego that got him traded to NY. San Diego got Solarte, I still think the Yankees would rather have not paid Chase to disappoint them this much. Too Bad, So Sad.

The Cleveland Indians, the Prohibitive Favorite:

Cleveland set records for winning. Yes, Cleveland. I get to make that joke because I have Cleveland roots.

 Cory Kluber: Again, I’m not sure he counts because the Padres traded him while still in the minors but every time I hear his name I see Ludwick grounding out to second and it makes me see red.

Abraham Almonte: The padres picked him up from Seattle and traded him to Cleveland. The only thing I remember about him is that Bud Black asked him what the name of the 16th president was. I guess he got it right because he started that night. That’s baseball.

The Houston Astros, the assured victors:

Look I had this whole thing planned where I was going to make fun of Paul Wall and the lack of zoning restrictions in the city of Houston but then a Hurricane hit the city so I’ll just say if Houston makes it to the World Series most of the country will be rooting for them.

Luke Gregerson: he was a key part of the stellar 2010 bullpen. Gregerson Adams and Bell. That was a fun year until …well things got dark.

Camron Maybin– It must suck to be one of the finest defensive outfielders out there and be rendered superfluous by Mike Trout. Well lucky for him he’s an Astro now. Hey, when did Maybin get dreads? Lookin’ good Cam! For reals.

The Minnesota Twins, the dark horse candidate:

Wasn’t this team selling at the deadline? These guys were done but now we’re here watching the Twins use Padres pitching like batting practice. Huh…Well the Twinkies really are the dark horse because as we know you can’t win the world series without a former Padre on your team and they don’t have one so they’re out.

In the absence of a former Padre on their roster let’s adopt Adalberto Mejia as a former Friar. I’ve eaten at Adalberto’s a million times and I honestly never thought anyone has ever been named Adalberto so Adalberto, welcome to San Diego, kinda.

There you have it. I might have missed one or two. If I did miss one put it in the comments.

 

Follow Nicholas Burmeister on Twitter @PadresHaiku

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