Diamonds in the Desert: A Baseball Blog from Tucson


Off-Season Notes #2
September 17, 2012, 16:10
Filed under: Uncategorized

Chasing the Diamondbacks.  I had the distinct pleasure of joining some friends for a big league game up at Chase Field in Phoenix yesterday afternoon.  This is only the third time, ever, that I’d been to a Diamondback’s home game – it’s still a big thrill to actually be in one of those monster professional stadiums, seeing the big-name players right in front of my own eyes!  Yes, it’s fun to do once in awhile, even while I remain committed to the minor league game with its more intimate parks, cheaper prices, and players who are clearly giving the game everything they’ve got as they strive to impress and one day reach “The Show.”  But yesterday’s showdown between the Diamondbacks and the San Fran Giants was a real treat for a number of reasons.  First of all, the DBacks have underperformed this season.  Everyone expected they’d top the NL West and here we are in mid-September and they’re in third place in the Division.  They’d lost the first two to the NL West Division-leading Giants, as well, and we weren’t particularly optimistic that they would take game three.  But they DID – and in resounding fashion, as well!  Secondly, several of the current DBack starters were fairly recently blasting away at the Tucson Padres in AAA ball at Reno, including leadoff hitter, Adam Eaton (who looks like he’s been in the Bigs for his whole life, he’s so confident up there), and starting pitcher, Patrick Corbin.  This is Corbin’s second stint with the DBacks.  In his first go, he struggled enough to earn a “demotion” back to Reno – since his return, he’s improved tremendously.  And yesterday’s game was ALL about Patrick Corbin!  Although he allowed the Giants a run in the top of the first, he settled in and allowed only one more SF run to score in the eight innings he pitched.  It was the deepest he’d gone into a game in his career and was in sharp contrast to the meltdown that was occurring with Giant pitching throughout the game.  While Corbin took eight, San Fran USED eight to cover eight innings!  To this point, Corbin hadn’t really been known as a hitting pitcher, either.  So when the Giants walked Gerardo Parra to load the bases and get to Corbin in the fourth, you felt sure that Giant Manager Bruce Bochy’s plan was a sound one.  And so the Giants did creep in at the corners, leaving the baselines exposed…and what did young Patrick do?  Smacked a ball right along the first base line – fair – into the far right field corner for a base-clearing, three RBI, TRIPLE!!  If you were a DBack fan (and there were plenty at Chase who did NOT fit into that category), yesterday’s game was an absolute joy to behold!  Corbin could practically do no wrong as the DBs prevented a sweep, winning the final game in the series, 10 to 2.  So much fun!  More info here . 

The Reno Aces Win PCL Playoffs.  The Reno Aces put an end to the Omaha Storm Chaser’s quest to win back-to-back PCL Championships, taking the Royal’s affiliate down in four games.  This is the first time that the Reno affiliate has won the PCL championship.  The last time the Diamondback’s AAA club won was in 2006 when the team was here in Tucson playing as my Sidewinders!  Here’s a quick article on Reno’s accomplishment:  Aces .  I admit, it makes that final four-game sweep of the Aces over our T-Pads a little more palpable.  Tucson gave them some good battles in those final four…looking pretty good against the team that would be crowned Champion!  The final playoff game at the AAA level will take place tomorrow night, as the Reno Aces face the winner of the Governor’s Cup Title (in the International League), the Pawtucket Red Sox (or PawSox).  That game will be played at 7pm ET at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham NC.  You can watch the game live on the NBC Sports Network.  For a closer look at the match up, see this article.  Good luck to the Aces!

The 2012 Reno Aces: Pacific Coast League Champions

Meanwhile…back in Tucson…                                                                                          

Shake Up in T-Pads Staff.  On Sep 14th, Randy Smith, the San Diego Padres Vice President of Player Development & International Scouting, made the following coaching staff announcement:

“We have notified both TK (Terry Kennedy) and Webby (Steve Webber) that their contracts will not be renewed next year. TK and Webby were both dedicated hard workers but we felt we needed to change the environment in Tucson.”

Terry Kennedy was the manager of the Tucson Padres from 2011-2012 and Steve Webber served as the pitching coach during the same time span.

“We have enjoyed working with Terry and Steve. We wish them well in the future,” said Mike Feder, Tucson Padres Vice President & General Manager.

While the changes are not totally unexpected, given the records the Tucson Padres have amassed over their 2 years here in Tucson, it is hard to see these two baseball professionals go.  I will especially miss TK, who was always personable and friendly to the fans at Kino Stadium.  I wish both of them the very best where ever they may land next.

Our Jedd Honored!  Baseball America announced its All-Star teams for every minor league classification Friday, Sep 14th, and Tucson Padres infielder Jedd Gyorko was named the Triple-A All-Star at third base. In 92 Pacific Coast League games, Gyorko hit .328 with a team-leading 24 home runs and 83 RBIs. Gyorko began the season at Double-A San Antonio, posting a .262 batting average in 34 games for the Missions.  Congratulations, Jedd!  This honor was well-earned, indeed!

Fall Ball at Kino!  The Tucson Padres, Metropolitan Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau and Desert Diamond Casinos and Entertainment are bringing the Vamos a Tucson Mexican Baseball Fiesta back to Tucson on October 4-7 at Kino Stadium.  The tournament has expanded this year to include teams from the states of Sonora and Sinaloa. The two returning teams are the Naranjeros de Hermosillo and Yaquis de Ciudad Obregon. New this year are the Venados de Mazatlan and Tomateros de Culiacan. The tournament also includes the San Diego Padres Future Stars and Los Angeles Dodgers Future Stars (also new this year!), with both the Padres and Dodgers sending young minor league prospects to Tucson for the event.  Tickets are now available by visiting the Kino Stadium Box office, calling (520) 434-1367 or by logging onto www.tucsonpadres.com.  A full schedule for the 4-day Fiesta is also available on the T-Pads website.

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)

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