Diamonds in the Desert: A Baseball Blog from Tucson

Spring Continues…
March 22, 2012, 18:38
Filed under: Uncategorized

Big day tomorrow as I get to see the Dodgers (who are actually sending “real” players down to Tucson:  Dodgers ) play the White Sox here at Tucson’s Kino Stadium.  It’s likely to be a sellout and that’s beautiful for many reasons, not the least of which is because all proceeds will go to the Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Foundation!  After a brief spell of winter weather (fittingly in the final day of the season), the forecast tomorrow calls for temperatures in the mid-80s, with clear, sunny skies and a light wind.  This is bliss!

Last Friday, Mar 16th, was much the same, as I saw the Mariners beat the Brewers at Kino Stadium.  The Brewers sent a number of players off their “non-roster” Spring invitee list (no “names” among them, sadly), while the Mariners sent their outstanding RHP “King Felix” Hernandez (who worked briskly and effectively to earn a Spring win), C Jesus Montero (my Yankee fan friend tells me I should’ve recognized his name as a former Yankee…but my knowledge of AL teams is pretty minimal!), and key prospects 2B Dustin Ackley and 1B Justin Smoak.  Ackley was impressive as a leadoff hitter, getting three doubles in the game (one of which was a run-scorer); but 3B Alex Liddi caught my attention most of all with a two-run homer.  All in all it was a wonderful afternoon of baseball…and I finally felt myself part of the Spring season.  BTW, the Tucson Padres have done a wonderful job returning the field to baseball-ready status after hosting Major League Soccer training there earlier this month.  Well done!

A bit of a disappointment on Mon, Mar 19th…  My Yankee fan friend and I had long ago purchased tickets to attend the Rockies/Angels game at Talking Stick.  We were hugely excited about this game as it would be our first trip to the Diamondbacks/Rockies new Spring home (still some hard feelings in my heart about that, but…) and we were anxious to see 1B Albert Pujols play with the Halos.  Mother Nature conspired against us as our region settled into a period of winter-like weather, beginning on Sunday.  Lots of beautiful rain (you have to love rain in a droughty desert!) and colder weather forecast for game day.  We exchanged a ton of emails throughout the week thinking through what we might do if the conditions were subpar for the game on Monday.  We studied weather forecasts, piled up cold-weather clothing, and at the last possible moment decided not to take the long road trip to the Phoenix area for a game that would be played (we were sure of that:  rain wasn’t a huge factor, just cold…and with sellouts daily at the Park, rescheduling a game would be impossible for the teams).  We consoled ourselves that surely the managers wouldn’t send the big names out to play on a cold day (too much potential for injury).  Surprise!  Everyone played, the Rockies won…and we enjoyed a nice lunch at a new restaurant in town.  Not a bad choice for us (too long to drive up to Phoenix and then be miserable for a couple of hours), but disappointing still.  Two days of bad weather during Spring:  how dare they affect OUR game!  🙂

What’s Up with the Padres?  Well, first of all, as I type this, the Parent Unit has just completed a Spring game here in Tucson.  Originally scheduled for Sunday, they rain-postponed the game until today.  The split-squad Pads trounced on the Rockies, 11 to 6 (SD-Wins).  Well, here’s something interesting:  Jeff Moorad has stepped down as CEO, but will remain as Vice Chair of the SD Padres (Moorad).  I’m wondering if this will impact the Tucson Padres’ future in any way…  But back to what I intended to chat about!  San Diego seemed to start slow this Spring, but have now crawled their way to a winning record in Cactus League play.  They’ve got a 12 (wins) and 9 (losses) record, for .571.  They’re sitting at three games back from League-leading Oakland (the A’s!  Really?!) to date.  Of course, Spring doesn’t mean much once the season begins, but it’s encouraging to see them pull up above 500!   I’ve been checking Transactions in my paper each day, and have been surprised how few moves San Diego has made to this point.  To date the SD website reflects that only these players have been assigned to Tucson from SD:  Blake Tekotte, Josh Spence, and Nick Vincent.  Apparently those three remain on San Diego’s 40-man roster.  Tucson’s current (very thin!) roster is available here:  Roster.  Be patient, Tucson Padres’ fans!  The day is coming when the T-Pads will again field a full roster and commence live play in their 2012 season!  In fact, my countdown counter is now working (apparently it can’t deal with someone who’s so excited that they want a counter to work beyond one month only!):  14+ days to Opening Day on April 5th!  I finally have my tickets in hand and am growing increasingly excited about meeting the 2012 T-Pads.  GM Mike Feder and his staff (which now includes a Director of Hispanic Marketing – what a smart move to reach out to our large Hispanic community here in Tucson!) are working hard to line up special events (promos!), radio broadcast coverage (every game in English on Tejano Radio 1600AM!), and fine-tuning the ballpark experience (this is my favorite post from their FaceBook page yesterday:  “What a perfect partnership for a team called the Padres – we have signed an agreement with the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration to provide their sinfully delicious gourmet popcorn (and kettle corn) at Kino Stadium for the Tucson Padres games. Their popcorn is called Prayerfully Popped. They are also at Hi Corbett for the U of A baseball games. We’ve been promised a few “sisters” will come out early in the season to get us started right. Kino Bambino is excited :-).”).  Can’t you feel the excitement?

Tickets are available now for the Tucson Padres season (schedule here:  2012 ).  I’ll be looking for you on Opening Night!  April 5th…Kino Stadium – oh, and have I mentioned that it’ll be the season’s first Thirsty Thursday, too?  Oh, you gotta be there, friends!   PLAY BALL!!

(Disclaimer – This posting has not been reviewed/approved by Pima County, the City of Tucson, the Tucson Padres, Tucson AAA Baseball, Arizona Diamondbacks, San Diego Padres, PCL, MiLB, MLB, National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, Tucson Baseball LLC, or any other baseball official and represents the views and biases of the author alone)


2 Comments so far
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It was a bummer that we had to “call” the game because of weather, but the Friday hit parade made up for the disappointment, as did seeing many regulars, including Matt Kemp, Adam Dunn, and, of course, Donnie Baseball.

Comment by goalstone

Wasn’t that the greatest! Obviously, I’m behind in posting to my blog, but it was really wonderful that both the Dodgers and the White Sox sent so many of their “A” players. Incredible to see the stadium filled with fans, too. I think a lot of that was to honor the Green family…and it was so gracious of them to acknowledge and thank everyone for their support. Altogether just a perfect day of baseball here in Tucson!

Comment by windersblog

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