Diamonds in the Desert: A Baseball Blog from Tucson

Waiting for the Crack of the Bat!
February 27, 2013, 15:36
Filed under: Uncategorized

It seems to me to be the strangest of springs yet…  Baseball is happening in earnest here in Arizona and in Florida, and yet there’s this empty void where baseball should be in my life right now.  Aside from a daily full-page report on the Spring Leagues in my local paper, it’s almost like baseball isn’t happening this year.  I’ve yet to catch a game on the radio or TV or computer (yes, that’s because I’m too cheap to purchase an MLB viewing plan of some sort) and I’m not totally sure which team I’m supposed to be following right now anyway.  In some ways, I think I’m projecting what it will feel like next year when it’s completely possible that there will be NO professional baseball in Tucson at all.  Baseball already feels distant (no doubt that’s a continuing reaction to our MLB teams abandoning Tucson for pretty digs in the Phoenix metroplex)…  So I’m posting SOMETHING today just to force myself into the groove of Spring ball.  No doubt things will get more real (and happy) for me in March when I get to attend both Spring exhibition games the Tucson Padres will be hosting at Kino Stadium, but until then, let me try to force myself into the zone!

At least for this summer, Tucson will still be hosting the Tucson Padres at Kino Stadium.  The home opener for the season will be Friday, April 12th at 7:05pm.  The T-Pads will kick off a four-game series against the Fresno Grizzlies on that date.  The AAA season officially begins on April 4th, but Tucson will start the season on the road in Salt Lake and then Colorado Springs.  Good news for local baseball fans:  all T-Pad games will again be broadcast on local radio.  This year the team has established a partnership with the flagship for University of Arizona Athletics, radio 1290 AM.  “The Source” will broadcast all T-Pad’s games live, unless there is a conflict with a UofA game, in which case the T-Pad’s games will be tape-delayed.  For those who don’t want to wait out the tape-delay (or who are outside the local range of 1290 AM), all games will be streamed live on the Tucson Padres website, .

So, who will be on the Tucson Padres team this year?  Good question…one which is still in the process of being answered as San Diego works through its spring camp.  In the off-season, San Diego unloaded a fair number of players we came to know in Tucson last year, especially amongst the pitchers from our roster.  One notable departure in the off-season was INF Matt Clark.  In articles I read at the time, Matt expressed some concern about his future in the Padres family, given that he wasn’t called up – even after posting excellent numbers in Tucson – when rosters expanded in The Show during the fall.  Soon after those articles, Matt’s contract was apparently sold to the Japanese Chunichi Dragons.  Many players have used time away in Japan to recreate their careers, and I wish Matt great success in that endeavor!  Other transactions that sent former T-Pads to other teams:

RHP Cory Burns (Rangers)

LHP Josh Spence (Yankees)

CF Blake Tekotte (White Sox)

INF Andy Parrino (A’s)

P Andrew Werner (A’s)

INF Vince Belnome (Rays)

One former T-Pad is making big news in the San Diego camp this Spring!  INF Jedd Gyorko is making a strong case for starting the regular season on the Parent Unit’s roster.  In four games thus far, Jedd has accumulated a substantial .400 batting average, with nine RBIs.  His first home run of the early spring campaign was a grand slam that proved decisive in the game.  It probably wasn’t just a fluke:  Jedd’s already got three home runs to his credit this spring.  If Jedd keeps this up we certainly won’t see HIM in Tucson this year.  Of course, that would be great for Jedd, though I’d miss seeing him at Kino Stadium.

I won’t go into great detail about the legal problems that have enveloped former T-Pad catcher, Yasmani Grandal.  He’s been suspended for using illegal performance enhancing substances…and that story continues to grow stranger with every new revelation.  Disappointing.

With that, I’ll end my first report of the new Spring season.  Don’t forget to save the date for the T-Pad’s home opener on April 12th – I hope to see a ton of people there as we kick off what will surely be the final year of AAA baseball in Tucson.  I’m sure I’ll see you at the ballpark for the March Spring Training games, too!

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


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