Diamonds in the Desert: A Baseball Blog from Tucson

Happy Trails to You…Until We Meet Again!
August 27, 2012, 16:36
Filed under: Uncategorized

I think it was in the eighth inning last night that I finally, fully realized the 2012 minor league baseball season was quickly drawing to its end.  As the Tucson Padres and Colorado Springs Sky Sox battled it out in the final home game for the Pads, I was struck by that sense of sadness that comes to me in all endings.  In the late innings, I noticed that game day staff folks were seeking out fans to share goodbye hugs with and I remembered doing that myself, some years ago, during final Tucson Sidewinder home games.  There’d be a moment when we’d realized this was IT for the year and we’d desperately race through the stands to wish those special “regulars” of ours a good off-season (in many cases, I didn’t know their names…but still HAD to give them a farewell hug).  In some ways it was the best night of the season to be an usher:  you’d connected with fans and they with you and our farewells were always genuine and heartfelt.  I missed that last night.  I haven’t attended games (or sat in one spot) as often as most “regulars” and so don’t have the same connection I once felt on the final home game of the season.  Too bad, really, because saying farewells would’ve been a nice distraction from the game on the field and from the mosquitoes that were eating me alive!  Still…I enjoyed visiting with other fans and was entertained by a conversation with Bear Bay’s adorable and friendly daughter…had a wonderful meal…got a tee shirt from a kind Kino Crew member…and got to run the bases after the game!  Who could ask for anything more?  Well…okay…a better baseball game/season.  Yeah, that would’ve been nice.  Doesn’t matter though: in spite of their season, I STILL like these Tucson Padres!

The Sky Sox very nearly shutout the T-Pads in last night’s home finale.  That was NOT the fault of Tucson’s starting pitcher.  Tucson sent SD starter, Andrew Cashner, to the mound for his second rehab stint with us and he did a fabulous job!  In three complete innings, Cashner allowed only two hits and one walk – no runs.  He struck out four.  Solid work!  But then he was done before his first at-bat (the Sox starter, Cory Riordan, was also dealing and faced the minimum in the first two innings…Tucson sent Bear Bay in to pinch hit for Cashner in the third) and we got to see Eddie Kunz again.  Eddie started the season with Tucson, but has spent most of the recent weeks in San Antonio.  Kunz just flamed out in the fourth inning, his first of the evening.  He allowed three singles before getting his first out in the inning, then tossed a “sure” double-play ball to absolutely no one on the infield (E1), saw a successful sacrifice bunt executed, allowed a double, hit a batter, and finally got a fielder’s choice to end the inning.  Four runs scored (only two were earned – but since the error was on the pitcher, he sorta got “credit” for them anyway) on four hits.  Ouch!  A totally different Kunz pitched the next three innings:  he allowed no more runs, no more hits, and only one walk.  Amazing turnaround!  Neil Wagner took the final two innings for Tucson and allowed another two runs on three hits in the ninth (he shut down the side in order in the eighth).  Kunz suffered the loss (his second in AAA); Riordan took the win for COS after six scoreless innings of four-hit ball.  After Riordan left, the Sox relievers allowed another five hits to the Pads so we were able to accumulate a grand total of nine hits (matching the Springs).  And of those, three were credited to Matt Clark (the only guy who really seemed comfortable at the plate in last night’s contest) and two to Daniel Robertson.  Pretty much everyone else was struggling, with one exception: Tucson used three pinch hitters in the game, and of those, two got hits.  In fact, Jonathan Roof got a pinch-hit single with two out in the seventh and ended up scoring the Pad’s only run of the game…an error assisted bringing him home, so no one got credit for an RBI.  Blake Tekotte might be coming out of his funk:  in his pinch-hitting AB in the ninth he slugged out a leadoff double!  Sadly, he was left stranded as the ninth inning whimpered to a close…and the game with it.   Final Score: Tucson 1; Colorado Springs 6. 

Grounds Crew – Exceptional!  I just wanted to take a moment to give a shout out to Andy Beggs and his grounds crew for their outstanding work keeping the field at Kino Stadium absolutely gorgeous and safe for play.  I’ve watched AAA baseball for a lot of years here in Tucson, and Andy and his crew have kept the field in absolutely pristine condition throughout our long, hot summers.  I used to laugh about how quickly the field deteriorated after Spring Training…but Andy has kept the grounds looking like March, clear through August.  Kudos to him, and the Padres family, for making care of the field a priority.  His efforts clearly paid off!  Well done!

Transactions and Injury Report.   San Diego made a couple of moves affecting Tucson today.  They have optioned both Josh Spence and Brad Boxberger back to Tucson.  They also called up starting pitcher, Casey Kelly, to take the start for San Diego today!  As you may remember, Casey started the year with Tucson, but went on the DL early in the season.  When activated from the DL, Casey was assigned to San Antonio.  So he is being called up from San Antonio for his major league debut tonight versus the Braves at Petco Park (article) .  Good luck, Casey!

Tucson Ends the Season on the Road.   Tonight Tucson kicks off a four-game series at the Salt Lake Bees (LA Angels AAA affiliate).  All four games will start at 6:05pm Tucson local time.  The Pads will then head to Reno to end the 2012 season with four games against the Aces (DBack AAA affiliate).  The first two of those games will be at 7:05pm; Sunday’s game will be at 6:05pm; Monday/Labor Day game at 12:05pm.  Remember: you can follow all the Tucson Padres games LIVE on Tejano 1600 AM or off the Tucson Padres home page on the internet!

Save the Date!  The Tucson Padres will kick off their 2013 home season with a game at Kino Stadium on April 21, 2013.  Mark your calendars now!

(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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Thank you for all of the kind words you’ve said about Bear and our family this season. I’m glad I got to meet you, although it wasn’t until the last game. Thank you also for your kind words on the silent auction us wives/gfs hosted 🙂

-Kelly Bay

Comment by Kelly

Kelly – Thank YOU for your kind words and for tracking down my blog to comment! I also enjoyed meeting you folks…chatting with your daughter was a highlight of that final home game! Best of luck to you and Bear in the off-season. Maybe we’ll meet again in 2013!

Comment by windersblog

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