Author: Nicholas McCann (page 1 of 8)

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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Shawn Chatfield from Mega 64 – TKF Pod #90

Shawn Chatfield from the gaming website Mega 64 joins the guys this week to talk about his favorite baseball video games and what they’ve meant to him. As early YouTube sensations, Shawn and his friends have built a content empire (videos and podcast) in the gaming world, but he doesn’t usually get to talk about anything related to sports. The guys dig deep into the baseball video games that shaped their formative years and their appreciation for the game in real life. Then they look at the Padres season so far, after playing each division rival twice. Is this tanking season fun for everyone yet? It hasn’t been for Jered Weaver. From the highest levels of team management on down, all signs are indicating that the Weave Era will soon be undone. Lastly, they talk about Matt Bush returning to Petco for the first time as a player since being the most disastrous 1st overall draft pick in team history. The guys explore the feelings that his presence brings up and look at what might have been.

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Geoff Young Returns! – TKF Pod #89

This week the guys sit down to celebrate the San Diego Gulls moving forward in the AHL playoffs with a win over the Ontario Reign. The hockey team that calls this city home doesn’t carry the same baggage that other local teams have and it’s time to get excited. Then they check in with baseball writer Geoff Young (Baseball Prospectus, Duck Snorts, Crooked Scoreboard). They talk about the notable bright spots in the still young 2017 season for the Padres so far. Should Wil Myers, their best hitter, be slotted 2nd or 3rd in the batting order? They discuss the evolving opinions on the significance of batter order throughout baseball’s history, while agreeing that Myers still has room to mature as marquee offensive force for the franchise. Then they look at what’s exciting about watching Manuel Margot’s maturation process, and the mystery that is Ryan Schimpf. What is Travis Jankowski’s role moving forward with the organization’s overall plan? The guys breakdown all the outfield options the Padres have in front of them and try to find comparable players of the past. Then Geoff answers Twitter questions about writing, beer, and Alexi Amarista. Finally, they close with an update on Nick and Geoff’s love affair with Richard Linklater’s possible masterpiece, the 2016 film Everybody Wants Some!!! (Check out this piece by Geoff on the movie)

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Petco Experience – TKF Pod #88

This week the guys talk about the current state of the Petco Park experience. With the team struggling, going Downtown to a game is still a fun time, but there are things that could be better. With guests Andy Keatts of Voice of San Diego (Orioles fan) and Nate Abaurrea from Soccer Nation (Giants fan), they examine the complexities of in-game stadium operations. Are the fun facts provided about the players on the jumbotron actually that fun? Is the jumbotron itself too big and distracting to enjoy the beauty of the game in front of the viewer? These all the important questions that need to be asked. Then they discuss the Padres’ use of Blink 182’s song “San Diego” from their recent album California. The team uses the song when they win, but the lyrics express deeper feelings about the city that might not be exactly celebratory in the way the Friars intend. The guys go deep on other songs used in this way from other markets and try to figure out what the Padres are trying to say with their choice. The one attraction that everyone can agree on is the beauty of rookie sensation catcher Austin Hedges. He has rebounded from his slow start to put up some exciting power numbers, all while maintaining his superb defense. In closing, they talk about the future of the Soccer City SD movement. Nate explains his experience working with youth club teams, the Sockers, the teams on the other side of the border that contribute to this market, and more. What role will SDSU play in the final decisions that the city has to make in November regarding bringing MLS to the city? Time will tell, but it’s looking like another summer of stadium talk headed our way.

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Margot Leading Off

By Nicholas McCann

The night before the official announcement came down that the Chargers were leaving, reports trickled in that it was happening. Immediately, I looked around my house for all my team gear. It felt smart to make a list of things to destroy. The bolt mug my mom found at a church rummage sale was shattered in my alley. My Antonio Gates powder blue home jersey was then used to clean up the mug’s broken glass and became featured in a TKF Instagram video essay. In the midst of dividing up the items into groups for separate methods of destruction (Burn, shatter, or drown), I came across a knitted snow cap that took the shape of the Chargers helmet. A friend of mine gave a bunch of them out as Christmas gifts a few years back. That hat will never be destroyed. It was purchased from a local girl who stitched them by hand, and after going through the application process, she was denied official licensing by the NFL. She now lives in Germany and has a family.

It’s not the Padres job to fix me. They’ve made their choices, and unlike Dean Spanos, I’ve chosen to stay. The only baseball team I’ve ever loved is rebuilding again, and as always, I’m skeptical of ownership’s ability to pull it off. Consequently, I feel the same way about myself. This has to be my last go ’round. I need to be the owner of my own happiness and never let a professional sports team hurt me again. I’m too old for that and I have a son now. If the Padres can’t change themselves into a winner I can’t be an angry San Diego sports fan in front of him.

Outfielder Manuel Margot and three other prospects were traded to the Padres from the Boston Red Sox for Craig Kimbrel before last season. Regardless of what the team was saying publicly, this was the first real step in the direction of the current rebuild. They knew they didn’t need a closer and Boston was getting jammed up with young outfield talent. My son was born a few months after the transaction and now Margot is here.

Did I mention my wife is from Boston? She is.

On Wednesday night Andy Green started Travis Jankowski at lead off in the batting order. It wasn’t a big deal, but not having Margot in the opening slot at the top made me nervous. Green has mostly been using Manuel there and it’s felt reassuring to have him in the position to control the tone of a game from the jump. Travis is just a fast dude who plays hard and might have a career at this level. However, when Manny leads off it’s something different. With him, a tangible feeling of relief enters in that informs the rest of the game no matter what the result ends up being. He represents the start of our future. His smile makes me think about what a parade would feel like in the Gaslamp. When he does something exciting, like opening up San Diego’s offense with a leadoff double or homerun, it feels like we’re collectively throwing a lit cigarette at Dean Spanos’ problematic face. Is it unfair to attach this stuff to a young outfielder at the dawn of his career? Perhaps, but as Padres fans adjust to accepting the team being bad for the next few years, Margot is the most realistic embodiment of a preview for something better to come. He is the lighthouse telling our ship where the land is, and more precisely, he gives us hope that land may actually exist.

Manuel started off hot in the first few series and has slightly come back to earth a bit. If this continues the team will be justified in sending him down to El Paso for a few weeks to preserve his service time and give him a chance to work on some things. This will probably spark some debate from the media and the fans because (A) the rules in place allow for it and (B) we’ll have little else to talk about as the Padres plummet deeper into the reality we all saw coming for 2017.

This is all fine for now. My son will have no memory of this time. Right now he’s as excited about our dryer as I am about Margot. Besides, I don’t even remember falling in love with Tony Gwynn. I was born in 1980 and he was always just there as a constant in my life, becoming the greatest contact hitter of his generation as my brain began to form. The rebuild needs to work so my son and I can have some version of what I had. It starts with Margot. He can’t fail. He will be our favorite player together if the universe or the Padres don’t ruin him.

Baseball changed for me after the fire sale of the early 90s. My dad had to explain to me what the value of a franchise meant and why the owner (and producer of the Cosby show) had to strip the Padres down so he could sell it. After destroying all my licensed Chargers gear, I packed up the handmade snow cap in a box in our garage. I’ll explain it to my son later. Like the Padres, I’ll have to build up to that.

 

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