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Week 10 Recap: Chargers @ Jaguars

Or should I say Chargers @ Chargers East… because there were some eerie similarities between these squads. Most notably: neither wanted the game to end. The Chargers out-Chargered the Jags, and Rivers out-Bortled Bortles. Remember that Saints game from last year where the Bolts gave up 2 turnovers in consecutive offensive plays to squander a 2 score lead with 2 min left in the game? It was like that except the Jaguars were also doing the same thing.

What made this game so satisfying wasn’t just that the Bolts blew a must-win game that they had in hand, but that this was the one team they could always count on to dominate each year. They are the Chargers’ Appalachian State. Their tune-up game to boost their confidence and record.  Instead they got a kick in the dick from their former big leg Josh Lambo, who I’m sure laughed about it after the game, as he is wont to do.

The Jags have long been the step-children of the NFL. Small market team short on history and accomplishments outside of consistent top 5 draft picks. A few years ago most would have assumed that if there was a team in LA by 2016, it would have been the Jags. But they somehow also lost in that contest as well. It would have made sense. But nothing makes sense in this league or decade. As a San Diego fan I always pitied Jacksonville. They were the poor kid across the street whose parents always fought. Meanwhile my football parents were secretly plotting to split the whole time and just maintained appearances for the sake of the community. Everything is a lie. God is dead.

As for the gameplay itself, here are some highlights:

  • The Jags scored on a fake punt. Which makes sense because special teams requires discipline and good coaching, of which the Chargers have none.
  • Denzel Perryman is back, and he’s fun to watch.
  • There were not only a bunch of Bortles thrown interceptions, but also dropped interceptions. Bortles. Is. Bad. The Jags should trade for Rivers this off season. Although…
  • Philip Rivers got a concussion. Get well soon Phil. In fact: retire. You’re too good for this team, and your kids miss you. And since you may be seeing double, there are roughly 28 of them. I hope your kids marry all of Antonio Cromartie’s kids and they birth a super-race that will save the planet.

I’m glad the Jags won and I wouldn’t hate it if they moved to San Diego someday.

Jono Zalay is a native San Diegan and co-host of the F*** The Chargers podcast, available on iTunes and all those other places. He now lives in Los Angeles where he can hate the Chargers from close proximity.

On Being a Dodgers Fan

Fandom is a funny thing.

I grew up in Virginia long before baseball returned to the Nation’s Capital. Friends who were baseball fans followed the Baltimore Orioles. This was back when Earl Weaver prowled the dugout and Jim Palmer was on the mound. I remember Palmer appearing in an underwear ad. This probably isn’t the best way to begin an essay on unhealthy obsessions, but there it is.

I tried to convince myself that Al Bumbry was my favorite player. It didn’t stick. I’ve never even been to Camden Yards.

Despite my love of the game, or at least the version of it we played in the sandlot, yes a sandlot, behind my friend’s house up the street, it didn’t translate to an undying devotion to a professional sports franchise. Despite the fact that my dad was born and raised in the Bronx, we were not a baseball family. We had no strong allegiances to one team or another.

I moved to L.A. in the late ‘90s and I became a fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers thanks to the Clash. I’d “discovered” that the Clash’s first album was released in the UK with different songs in a slightly different order than their much inferior American debut. I listened to that tape over and over again in my truck until it wore out and the tape got stuck.

That was the day I turned on the radio. A Dodgers game was playing. Vin Scully was the broadcaster.

That was the day I became a Dodgers fan.

Although I had no great love for baseball, I was a sports fan and sports on the radio is all about numbers. No sport is more obsessed with stats than baseball and no one can spin a narrative out of numbers like Vincent Edward Scully.

I started listening to games on my way home from work. Then I learned that the company I worked for had season tickets to all the Dodgers home games that were only used when clients came to visit.

Whenever I could, I claimed all four ticket and went to games for free with friends who were all too happy to pay for parking and beer. It was a win/win situation.

Even though the Dodgers weren’t very good, it didn’t matter. Dodgers Stadium showed me a different Los Angeles than the one I thought I knew. It was one of the few places, perhaps the only place, where money and status and fame didn’t matter. It felt like the most democratic place one could be on a Friday night in L.A.

Eventually those tickets went away, and then I moved to San Diego, but I kept listening to Vin and the boys in blue.

I almost never watch the games. I’ve replaced the AM radio in that dusty truck with the MLB radio package, which is the best deal in all of sports. Every game, home and away, in English or Spanish (where available) right on my mobile phone.

I listen in the car, while working at home, even while walking on the beach. In a very real sense, baseball is always with me. And by baseball I mean the Dodgers the team that has given us one of the most amazing World Series ever.

This series had it all: long games and short games, pitching duels and slugfests, great defense and costly errors. It was a spectacle in its purest form. A feast for the senses. There were balls deflected by gloves, hats and slow umpires. Weird beards in every color of the rainbow. Outrageous haircuts. You had bat licking, coach kissing, ball jacking, and long walks around the diamond – and that’s just Yasiel Puig.

You had triumphant veterans and free agent flops. Racist gestures and cultural insensitivity trumped by the magnanimity of the human spirit.

And I soaked in every last inning. Well, almost every inning. Okay, most of the innings because that is a lot of baseball. And because the Dodgers have never gone this deep into October since I started paying attention, it’s the most baseball I’ve ever watched in October.

It was thrilling. It was heart-wrenching. But mostly it was exhausting. In addition to all the baseball I watched and listened to, I consumed almost an equal amount of reportage, criticism, and analysis. Plus, the emotional labor invested in liking posts on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and sending texts to similarly afflicted sports fanatics who will read things like “Someone needs to murder that umpire with a rusty dagger” and not think poorly of you as a person.

And you know something?

Even though the Dodgers lost.

Even though I put on 10 pounds from all that bar food and stress eating.

Even though no one should have to listen to that much Joe Buck…

I’d do it all over again.

Because there may not be another “again.” The Dodgers may not go back to the World Series in my lifetime. Such is the fickle hand of fate for sports fans.

Fandom is stupid.

Love what you want, but be careful what you give your heart to. It might get stomped on by a right-handed outfielder with a ridiculous on-base percentage.

On second thought, maybe I should stick to the Clash.

 

Jim Ruland is the books columnist for San Diego CityBeat and the host of Vermin on the Mount. Follow him @jimvermin. Or don’t.

 

2017 World Series Email Exchange

During the ALCS and NLCS Nicholas Burmeister (AKA @PadresHaiku) and I wrote back and forth between games. We did the same for this amazing World Series that took place between the Astros and Dodgers. It was a lot of fun and, like it often does, brought up feelings about our own San Diego Padres. Enjoy!

NICHOLAS BURMEISTER – Tue, Oct 24, 2017 at 8:04 AM

McCann,

How are you? The World Series starts tonight. Who you got? I’m not 100% sure, but if the LA Dodgers win, its four or five. If the Astros win, I think it goes seven. The Astros hitters are getting hot, but the Dodgers pitchers have been resting for a while. If Houston wins in LA tonight I think they take the series.

Padres Twitter is getting chippy.

Talk soon, Haiku

NICK MCCANN – Tue, Oct 24, 2017 at 3:12 PM

I’m living my worst sports nightmare. The Dodgers are in the World Series and I have them winning.

I was at a wedding in Oakland when Kirk Gibson hit his iconic blast off of Eckersley. I was eight and was blown away that the A’s fan groom insisted on having a TV at his reception to watch the game. It was a big deal then, and having the Dodgers back on the biggest stage, is a big deal now. I hate this about myself. I care about what the Dodgers do and it will never change. Clayton Kershaw has to fail tonight. The universe owes me that.

Also, Padres Twitter is going to be a disaster over the next few days. I might check out.

NICHOLAS BURMEISTER – Tue, Oct 24, 2017 at 5:21 PM

Padres Twitter is eating itself. Remember mid summer when there was all that love? That’s over. It’s weird that some Padre fans don’t understand why they’re supposed to hate the Dodgers.

Bums are already up by one. This is going to be the longest winter.

Dodgers beat the Astros 3-1 in Game 1. Clayton Kershaw dominates in one of the great postseason performances of the modern era.

NICK MCCANN – Wed, Oct 25, 2017 at 1:32 PM

I felt this way after Peyton Manning won his first Super Bowl over the Bears in 2006. We couldn’t say he wasn’t clutch anymore. With Clayton it’s basically the same thing. Sure, he’s had some strong performances in the playoffs, but up until last night he had never shined fully on the biggest stage. That’s over now. Outside of giving up a solo shot, he was virtually flawless in the biggest game of his life. He might never quite reach the heights of Madison Bumgarner in 2014 (probably nobody will), but he is now a clutch postseason performer. He did his part regardless if they win it all or not. This sucks. I’ll miss my old tortured Clayton.

Now he is without question the greatest pitcher of his generation and there really isn’t anything more to say. Step it up, Astros. Don’t give up.

Astros beat the Dodgers 7-6 in Game 2. It goes to extra innings, but Houston holds on for the win.

NICHOLAS BURMEISTER – Wed, Oct 25, 2017 at 9:38 PM

You’ve got the wrong Clayton as the best of his generation. Clayton Richard is the GOAT there’s no denying this. Kershaw was great in Game 1, but tonight’s game was a wild one. The Astros really tried to blow it, but eventually pulled it off.

Day off tomorrow. What am I going to do with my life?

NICK MCCANN – Fri, Oct 27, 2017 at 4:19 PM

Padres hired Matt Stairs as their hitting coach. Does that seem odd? My first thought was: Beer League Softball. Tonight should be exciting. The Astros are an amazing team and their city has been thrown through the ringer. I’m falling hard for Jose Altuve.

I want that in my life. He’s almost like if Tony Gwynn and Roberto Alomar had a baby with more power than they ever had. We’re talking about doing a World Series Party edition of the Kept Faith’s Podcast (available on ITunes. Podomatic and GooglePlay). Can you stop by?

Astros beat the Dodgers 5-3 in Game 3.

NICHOLAS BURMEISTER – Sat, Oct 28, 2017 at 12:20 PM

Yeah I’ll be there after work.

Altuve is what’s right with baseball right now. He’s fun to watch & seems to be a good dude. He might end up with more hits than Ichiro. He’d look really good in Brown and Mustard.

This Yuli Gurriel news is a real bummer. I forget sometimes that a lot of these guys are assholes. Yu Darvish seems to be taking a very high road on this which is good. What do you think MLB should do If anything?

Anyway, see you after work.

Dodgers beat the Astros 6-2 in Game 4. The podcast was a blast. Still available on ITunes, Podomatic and GooglePlay!

NICK MCCANN – Sun, Oct 29, 2017 at 3:59 PM

Sorry my son ruined the pod at the end. He’s outside running laps right now. It was a teachable moment. This World Series is blowing my mind. The teams are both beautifully constructed and exciting. Tonight Clayton Kershaw will pitch in the biggest game of his career. His game one was incredible so if he blows this it won’t be completely defining, but it still matters. He has to have a good game to stomp out ammunition for assholes like me. The drama surrounding this game is off the charts. I can’t wait to see what happens to Kershaw tonight. Something will.

Astros beat the Dodgers 13-12 in Game 5. Clayton Kershaw gave up a 4 run lead. The game went 10 innings.

NICHOLAS BURMEISTER – Sun, Oct 29, 2017 at 11:49 PM

Wow, what a game! If juicing balls created baseball this fun, than I suggest playing the next two games at a Fruteri­a (a real one). Kershaw is going to be the best pitcher and the best “yeah, but” target of his generation. You can make the argument from both sides:

“He’s the best pitcher ever!”

“Yeah, but he choked in the post season.”

 Or

“Kershaw was overwhelmed and couldn’t perform on the big stage”

 “Yeah, but his look at his regular season numbers.”

It has shades of the Trevor Hoffman debate and it’s delicious. Your son didn’t ruin the pod. But his takes are scorching white hot and it made the rest of us feel inadequate.

NICK MCCANN – Tue, Oct 31, 2017 at 7:01 AM

I needed a day to regroup after what some people are saying was the greatest game of all time. Yeah, I’m not sure it tops Game 7 of last year. That had everything: Old Testament God, speeches during the rain, that Rizzo guy getting the last out and ending a monster of a curse. Speaking of monsters, it is Halloween and tonight could get really dark in LA. If Justin Verlander crushes it and the Astros win in it all, Clayton Kershaw and the city he plays for are going to spiral. If they lose, every conversation about Kershaw moving forward will start with “except for game 5”. The stakes are high. This is the best overall series I’ve ever seen through 5 games. I want more!

I guess what’s hardest about this is that even though I hate all of the Dodgers, I genuinely feel more connected to them as entertaining personalities than most of the current Padres. When Joc walks up to the plate, I know him and I know why I hate him. Same with Puig, Ethier, Seager, Turner etc. We don’t have that yet here. We don’t really know who the 2020 Padres will be. And we don’t really know if that’s even our year.

Dodgers beat the Astros 3-1 in Game 6. There will be a 7th game.

NICHOLAS BURMEISTER – Wed, Nov 1, 2017 at 1:30 PM

After the baseball fever dream that was Game Five, Game Six seemed boring. Justin Verlander pulled a Kershaw and was less than spectacular and we ended up with a low scoring game that belonged in the middle of June, not the end of October. It’s like I’ve been eating Kit-Kat’s and Reese’s for 10 days and now you just gave me a Hershey’s bar. I mean it’s good, but it’s just a chocolate bar, whatever.

What did you think of Joc’s home run trot? It’s easy to “know” these Dodgers. You’ve been watching them a lot this postseason and for the past regular season. It helps that they’re in a big market on a good team. The national media frames up all these players. Plus they’re going to be around for a while. These Padres are, with a few #Swoon worthy exceptions, temporary. I know exactly why I hate every Dodger too, and really every Giant, D-Back and Rockie, (except Amarista). The Padres lack personality sure, but who cares? These guys aren’t going to be here long, except you know who. I’ve seen Josh Naylor play. He’s got that thing you’ll connect with and so does Tatis Jr. I don’t know about Urias or Gore, but there’s time.

Last game tonight. McCullers vs Darvish. Joe Buck will be his Buckyest. Hold on to your butts!

The Astros beat the Dodgers 5-1 in Game 7. They are the 2017 World Series Champions.

NICK MCCANN – Wed, Nov 1, 2017 at 9:37 PM

The Dodgers are going to be a lot for us to handle for a very long time. Their front office and ownership group is smarter than ours and they can afford to make mistakes. Their core is set and piece will be added. Next year they will be highly motivated to make sure they get to the World Series and dominate. Game 7 was kind of dud after the excitement this series had already brought. Regardless, the Astros are who we want to be. They have the most exciting lineup MLB has seen in a very long time and they came to this point using smart tactics and patience.

This World Series wasn’t technically about the Padres, but everything ends up being about them anyways. It’s time for them to start winning seasons. However, the Astros took their time. Will we build the right way and #EarnHistory? You never know with #ThisTeam.

NICHOLAS BURMEISTER – Thu, Nov 2, 2017 at 10:22 AM

Don’t be so fatalistic, I’m sure there were Houstonians that looked at the Rangers of 2010-2011 and thought that the tank would never work. Not every team with a smart front office and a young core wins a pennant every year ie. Cubs. Be chill. The Padres are building, with direction it seems, and things take time. Doesn’t the Astros success give you some hope?

Preller is smart and he’s dirty. That could be the right combination.

Prepare for bad baseball. Go to games in Lake Elsinore and enjoy the ride.

Now that baseball season is over, all those Dodgers fans can focus on their first love: The Chargers.

<<<

What-ifs and Yeah-buts

A hot stove to keep us warm

Winter upon us

>>> 

 

Follow @Nicholas_McCann and @PadresHaiku

 

 

 

Week 8 recap: Chargers @ Patriots

When I moved to Boston in 2006, I was 24, and used to nothing but Southern California optimism and good vibes. Within a couple months my happy-go-lucky nature almost got me into 4 bar fights. Over the next half a decade Boston stamped out my remaining positive energy and any inclination to approach a stranger as a friend. I had adapted. New England changed me.

 

I wanted to see the Patriots do the same thing to the Bolts Sunday. I was looking forward to the Patriots wiping the smile off the Bolts 3 game win streak with a good old fashioned Brady-Belichik beat down. But for some reason the Pats played down to the Chargers level. Deep incompletions into double coverage, boring check-downs to RBs, missed field goals. It was infuriating. This was the ONE time I could cheer for the best QB and coach of all time, and they were blah. It would be like Luke joining the Dark Side seconds before the Death Star blows up.

 

I watched the game from my old apartment in Southie with my former roommate who commented “The Chargers have played just as well as the Patriots, they’ve just done very stupid things.” So we still have that going for us. And bless Travis Benjamin’s heart. He is the reigning “Special Teams Player of the Week” , and he deserves that award less than OJ deserves his Heisman. Travis Benjamin fielded a punt on the 7 yard line, ran backwards into the end zone where he was immediately tackled for a safety. I’m still laughing about it. Oh Travis you fast dumb goofball.

 

Oh yeah and Melvin Gordon is also fast. He ran for an 87-yard TD. Whoopdy doo. I was in the bathroom when it happened. Other things, let’s see…

  • Gronk caught a TD. He might break Gates’ career TE record if no one slays him with a sling.
  • Jahleel Addae was super pumped for some reason and continues to be a danger to all around him.
  • Mike Williams is not that good and probably never will be.
  • Tyrell Williams got a couple TDs called back because he’s not a good receiver either.
  • Joey Bosa is a beast and I resent that the Bolts finally have a pass rush and I can’t enjoy it.
  • Brady knows how to avoid sacks and protect his pretty face.
  • Philip Rivers shook his head in disgust at his teammates, and I was like “I know right?”

 

The Bolts have been in every game this year, and none have been fun to watch. Sloppy play. Mental errors. Uninspired offensive schemes. If not for the humiliating losses this whole season would be a waste.

Jono Zalay is a native San Diegan and co-host of the F*** The Chargers podcast, available on iTunes and all those other places. He now lives in Los Angeles where he can hate the Chargers from close proximity.

 

 

 

 

World Series Party – TKF Pod #109

This week the guys got together at Nick’s house to watch Game 4 of the World Series. With a few friends, they talked about all the action that’s happened so far, the Adrian Gonzalez decision to leave the team (kind of), and what the Astros represent to the Padres fanbase. The Dodgers won and we have series!

Download the episode here:

iTunes – Please rate and review!

PodOmatic

Google Play

Follow us on Twitter: @thekeptfaith

A-Gone

A couple of days ago it was reported that Adrian Gonzalez would not be joining his beloved Dodgers during the World Series. Dodgers’ fans were left confused, a little concerned, and some hurt. For Padres fans the reaction was less worry and more joyous. It felt like maybe Adrian was a true Padre after all, and used one of his last Baseball moves to insult our hated rival.

We know that’s not true, but we don’t know for sure that it’s not true.

It’s not.

Regardless, the emotional reason Adrian decided to skip his first World Series seemed to be a mystery, even down to where he’s going. First the LA Times said he’d be traveling to Europe with his family, then Adrian tweeted a picture of himself joining the local Dodger broadcast team on the first night of the Series.

Adrian has since returned to the Dodgers and was on the field with them during batting practice for Game Two. This fact is actually what some writers are blaming LA’s dramatic loss on last night. And, it’s been confirmed the reason for his trip to Italy was to help move his family there for five months while his wife takes a shoe designing class – oh, that LA life.

For a player who is known throughout both leagues as a standup guy and a clubhouse leader, this seems to be an odd choice for a final curtain call.

Back in 2011 when the Padres let Adrian go most fans weren’t surprised. We figured it would happen at some point. All our relationships fail, and all good people leave us. However, with Adrian it almost felt like if Tony had left. A-Gonz was a kid from Eastlake, his career blossomed with the Padres, he became a star with the Padres, and he was the best player on some fairly relevant San Diego squads. His swing was a thing of beauty. He was our guy.

Then he left. To the Red Sox. The fact that in his first year with the Sox he hit .338 with 117 RBI, a league leading 213 hits, and an OPS of .957 didn’t make anything easier to swallow.

In return for Adrian the Pads got Casey Kelly and Anthony Rizzo, plus two other guys. At the time this was a great haul: a top pitching prospect in Kelly, and an elite-hitting prospect in Rizzo. Unfortunately both never came to fruition for the Friars as Kelly only appeared in seven games before needing Tommy John surgery and eventually being traded to the Braves in 2015, and Rizzo…well…shit.

Rizzo was called up in 2011, and everyone viewed him as the savior. He was the great hope to replace the production we lost when Adrian went AL. Rizzo would bring us into the new decade a winner. After only 49 games the Padres traded the scuffling power bat to the Cubs for Kyung-Min Na and fucking Andrew Cashner. For whatever reason we weren’t patient with Rizzo, and while he went off to become a superstar, we watched Cashner do his best to be interesting, and Na…well…shit.

After only one strange year in Boston, where Adrian told the Boston media that they didn’t make the playoffs because God didn’t want them to, he was traded to the Dodgers in one of the craziest and largest trades in modern day Baseball history. Along with Josh Beckett, Nick Punto, and Carl Crawford, A-Gonz hit Chavez Ravine with a ton of expectations and the pure elation of playing for his favorite team since he was a little kid.

This didn’t make Padres fans any happier. In fact it only made it worse.

While we watched Yonder Alonso hit meaningless doubles, Adrian became one of the most popular players on one of the most popular teams in Baseball. He started appearing in huge playoff games and that sweet swing of his was now featured everywhere. Our little boy was all growns up.

Over the next four seasons his stats slowly declined, but his position in the Dodgers clubhouse increased. He had fun, enjoyed himself, seem to enjoy his teammates, and his smile could be seen from Santa Monica to Diamond Bar. He belonged to Los Angeles now, and everyone south of the 76 knew it. Adrian’s Friar days were long gone and he just became another Dodger to hate; it was like watching Christian Bale’s character in Swing Kids.

Now, after having a terrible 2017 season in which he only appeared in 71 games, and lost his starting job to rookie phenom Cody Bellinger, Adrian took off.

The ultimate clubhouse guy ditched the clubhouse and by all accounts will call it a career before 2018, that is if the Padres don’t inquire about him for one last trip around the diamond.

We know they won’t, but we don’t know for sure that they won’t.

They won’t.

And, I don’t want them to. I can remember season after season I quietly wished Adrian would find his way back home. That we could once again watch him hit one into the gap, and slowly stride into second. As his career with the blue up north continued I could see that he clearly didn’t think about San Diego the way we thought about him. He embraced LA, lives in LA, raises his family in LA, and will more than likely stay in LA no matter where he plays.

That’s why this little disappearing act didn’t make me happy that he shafted the Dodgers, and it didn’t make me sad that it looked like he would miss his only World Series appearance. It just made me feel weird. I felt nothing. It was like watching Kyle Chandler in Bloodline: “Hey! It’s Coach Taylor! I love Coach Taylor! Oh, wait that’s not Coach Taylor; he’s that guy now. This show is fine. I’ll watch the first season. He’s a good actor. Criminally underrated on Friday Night Lights. I miss Coach Taylor.”

Adrian moved on from us and never looked back. Don’t expect him to pull an LT and come back trying to earn a cheap paycheck helping the Padres build a new stadium. He’s not a part of this place anymore. He’s not a part of any place anymore. He’s moved on from Baseball.

He’s gone.

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

2017 MLB Championship Series Email Exchange

The MLB playoffs are an emotional time for all Padres fans. I started emailing with Nicholas Burmeister AKA @PadresHaiku about it. We talked about our feelings through out the entire process. 

NICK MCCANN – Fri, Oct 13, 2017 at 3:54 PM

Dear Haiku,

It’s been a while since my last letter and for that I’m sorry. Not seeing Austin Hedges’ face for a few weeks has left me in shambles. The spells have been rougher than usual. The NL and AL are starting their championship series’ and it’s very exciting. Tonight the Yankees and Astros start it off. The team that swept us away from a ring in 1998 is facing the team we want to be. It feels like the Astros are our spirit animal of sorts. I’ve made me picks.

If Houston wins does our own rebuild feel more legitimate? I hope you’re well. We’ll get to Clayton Kershaw and Cobra Kai later.

Sincerely,

@Nicholas_McCann on Twitter

NICHOLAS BURMEISTER – Fri, Oct 13, 2017 at 4:48 PM

Yeah, I miss Hedges too. I’d text him but you know… restraining order. Hang in there. February is right around the corner. Super excited to see if AJ Preller can vulture some of the Braves international signing players. This Atlanta scandal is a big deal and it seems like only seam heads are really following it. This is a story of two rebuilds.

One team had money and the other didn’t. It’s not like Houston has a small market, but tanking that deep for that long will definitely hurt the bottom line. The Yankees print money so they don’t care.

New York rebuilt quick while Houston took a long time. Fowler wants the Yankee build (not rebuild), but Preller wants the Astro route. The Padres are going to end up in the middle. I think the long time plan might last longer, but we’ll see if Houston can hang on to their free agents in a few years. If Houston wins, it makes the Padres blueprint more clear. I made my picks for these series as well.

Houston seems special and the Yankees shouldn’t have beat Cleveland.

The Houston Astros beat the Yankees 2-1 in Game 1. Then on Saturday Houston beat the Yankees 2-1 again in Game 2 and the Dodgers beat the Cubs 5-2 in Game 1.

NICK MCCANN – Sun, Oct 15, 2017 at 9:03 AM

Corey Seager not starting worked out for Dave Roberts. Taking out Clayton Kershaw when he did was also the right decision. The Dodgers look great and their manager is clearly avoiding landmines that usually destroy managers in the postseason. While Joe Maddon was busy getting ejected, Roberts looked like he had everything under control. Maybe we should’ve given him an interview.

The Astros broke the Yankees. I don’t see New York coming back from that. The Correa hit to score Altuve was thrilling and made me wonder if the Padres will ever land that level of talent during this build (not rebuild). It is possible Mackenzie Gore could be the pitching version of that, but he just went to prom. Correa is now a clutch postseason performer. The Houston dream is being fulfilled.

P.S. Kershaw doesn’t have it anymore. He’s done.

NICHOLAS BURMEISTER – Sun, Oct 15, 2017 at 11:20 AM

It helps that the Cubs bullpen is a heaping pile of Elephant dung. They should have traded for Brad Hand.

How’d you feel when the Posey rule came back to bite the Cubs? I want to know how Austin Hedges celebrated. I thought they could have left Kershaw in but Roberts didn’t have to. Dave looks like a good manager, but he’s got a lot of great weapons. It’s probably a little of both: his managing ability and just having good players. I’d like to watch him manage a bad team and see how he does without a net.

The Yankees are just happy to be here. Like Michelle Williams and Meryl Streep both being nominated. However, this Houston team seems special. They’ve never won the World Series and until now I always wanted the Padres to win the title before anyone else got their first, but this year is different.

Dodgers beat the Cubs 4-1 in Game 2.

NICK MCCANN – Mon, Oct 16, 2017 at 3:10 PM

I’ve been struggling all day with last night’s Dodgers game two win. These guys might not actually lose a game this postseason. That probably won’t happen, but right now it feels completely on the table. Justin Turner created a big memory for the LA fan base with his walk off home run. If this is the team Dodgers fans have been waiting for, that home run will live on for ever.

Despite the obvious geographic proximity, LA’s nightmare with Frank McCourt ended roughly at the same time as our own Moores/Moorad/Moores cycle of uncertainty was supposed to be over. They were given all the money in the world and a competent front office. We were given a loud mouth, two wet noodle brothers, and a socially awkward scouting wizard GM who may or may not know what he’s doing. We get to wonder if Brad Hand will get moved and they get to watch Justin Turner round the bases and essentially break the World Series Champion Cubs.

NICHOLAS BURMEISTER – Mon, Oct 16, 2017 at 6:05 PM

Nick…Nick!! Come off the ledge, Nick! Breathe, just breathe. The Doyers are a very good team with a young nucleus to be sure, but not all of them will be this good forever. Remember when we thought Joc Pederson was supposed to be the next Mike Trout? Same thing with Puig…

This team is likely winning the pennant but we’ll see from there. Last night was special for them. Just wait a couple days for the NBA to start. Then we can forget all about baseball and focus on that soap opera.

Yankees beat the Astros 8-1 in Game 3

NICHOLAS BURMEISTER – Tue, Oct 17, 2017 at 8:14 AM

Look, no one would care about Cobra Kai if they were the little dojo that could. They’re little entitled blond headed brats that only know winning. That’s why everyone roots against them in the All Valley Championship.

The Dodgers are cementing their place as the heel.

NICHOLAS MCCANN – Tue, Oct 17, 2017 at 1:03 PM

The Yankees would come back hard in game three. It kinda felt like one of the earlier seasons of Game of Thrones where the showrunners remind the audience that winter is coming. This isn’t the Yankees team that starts a run of championships, but that seems around the corner. Now that they are a “smart team” who is putting together a core, it’s totally inevitable they will start throwing money around. I had Astros in 6. I still feel really good about that.

NICHOLAS BURMEISTER – Tue, Oct 17, 2017 at 5:36 PM

CC pitched well enough at home. The Yankees are like the Cubs: they have enough money to support home grown players if they land them. I think every team is “smart” now at least to some extent. The difference between the teams going forward is going to be money and exploiting some area of the game that no else has gotten to yet. Whether it’s pitch framing, pitch tunnels or pitching yeast, when the Yankees sign Mike Trout for a quadrillion dollars they’ll be ready for several deep playoff runs in a row. I think Houston pulls it together and rips off two in a row to end it. Hendricks vs. Darvish should be good.

Yankees beat the Astros 6-4 in Game 4. Dodgers beat the Cubs 6-1 in Game 3.

NICK MCCANN – Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 2:18 PM

Bob Manfred just must be tickled at the potential of the Dodgers vs Yankees World Series. Maybe it’s best for baseball to have this play out a few times for each generation. If those two teams- coupled with the Red Sox, and Cubs are always in the mix- it clearly will strengthen the league’s leverage in the next media rights negotiations. That being said, Houston deserves a World Series. Expansion teams unite!

P.S. We’re doing a pod with Craig Elsten tonight. I need to talk some puck to distract myself from the Dodgers success.

NICHOLAS BURMEISTER – Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 11:52 PM

I’ve never been more wrong in my life. Jeez the Astros look like garbage. Houston is such a feel good story that casual fans might tune in to support them. Houston is also the fourth biggest city in the US so ratings would still be pretty good. The nightmare scenario for the MLB is a Tampa/San Diego World Series. I hope it happens sooner than later. Yankees/Dodgers is the perfect match-up for Trump’s America. No matter who wins we all lose.

The Dodgers lost tonight 3-2, so we get at least one more chance to see Maddon get tossed from a game and the Skankees are doing the damn thing. I don’t like the idea of a top heavy MLB. It’s fine in basketball to have a few superteams, but having like six power teams in baseball just seems wrong.

Baseball needs underdogs to succeed.

Dodgers lost Game 4 and then closed the Cubs out in Game 5. Yankees beat the Astros 5-0 in Game 5.

NICK MCCANN – Fri, Oct 20, 2017 at 1:52 PM

I can’t believe they actually did it. The Dodgers are back in the World Series. I did my part. I said mean things about Clayton Kershaw and it did nothing.

I hate this world (series).

This is my Dad and I calling the Gibson HR at 1992 All Star Fan Fest.

I post that video probably twice a year. Also, I hate myself.

NICHOLAS BURMEISTER – Fri, Oct 20, 2017 at 6:44 PM

This is the worst.

Astros beat the Yankees 7-1 in Game 6.

NICHOLAS MCCANN – Sat, Oct 21, 2017 at 4:56 PM

Jose Altuve is the light of the world. I don’t believe the Yankees will be able to destroy it with their darkness. This has become some Old Testament shit.

Even though Altuve isn’t technically part of Houston’s tanking strategy, his smile represents the hope that our patience will pay off.

The Yankees can’t be back. Not yet.

Astros close out the Yankees 4-0 in Game 7.

 NICHOLAS BURMEISTER – Sun, Oct 22, 2017 at 1:31 PM

 Just got back from Mexico. I missed the game, but an Astro fan at the wedding I was at said the Astros won, staving off what could have been a national nightmare. I wonder if we’ll see shots of Paul Wall, Beyonce’, or Hillary Duff in luxury boxes. Who gets more screen time: Magic Johnson or J.J. Watt? Gonna, set the line at Magic +1. Seeing Lonzo Ball in a Dodgers jersey pretty much cemented my hate for him. This is a shame because I grew up loving the Lakers. I guess nothing gold can stay, Ponyboy.

The Autumn Classic

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Craig Elsten and Zoltan Kaszas – TKF Pod #108

This week the guys talk about the beginning of The San Diego Gulls season with Gulls announcer Craig Elsten and comedian Zoltan Kaszas. Craig talks about the opening weekend and the players to watch as they navigate their way through the Anaheim Ducks system. Then Zoltan and Craig trade road stories in some of the most boring towns in the country. Finally, they kick off The Kept Faith Hockey Film Series #TKFHFS with a discussion about Ice Guardians, a documentary on hockey enforcers.

Download the episode here:

iTunes – Please rate and review!

PodOmatic

Google Play

Follow us on Twitter: @thekeptfaith

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.

Download the episode here:

iTunes – Please rate and review!

PodOmatic

Google Play

Follow us on Twitter: @thekeptfaith

Also check out the show Dallas is doing American Hero!

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

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