Preparing for Petco

The end of August is finally upon us and San Diego's boys of summer have slid a tough, powerful trio of ball launching friars into the 3, 4, 5 spots of the line-up. With the added stick dominating ability of Giles, sitting side by side with Nevin and Klesko, opposing pitchers will have no choice but to challenge the heart of the Padres new smack happy swingers.

And what a breath of fresh air to see a new SD native in the line up. Giles grew up watching the Padres and I'm sure dreamed the same, "Bottom of the 9th, bases loaded, down by 3, full count" dream that every young wanna-be dreamed as a kid. He has the ultimate chance to do something great for his home town, and has the class to do it in a humble true to San Diego way. Even though I was sincerely opposed to letting Perez go, I am very happy to see some local blood on our team.

So Perez is a Pirate and Rondell is a Royal. I have been a fan of these to former Friars since the day they put on the blue and orange. Who could forget Rondell's game winning slam in the 9th verses Seattle? And the way good ol' Ollie pumped his fists on the mound after blowin' one by Bonds. These guys were fun to have around and I'm sure Whites maturity and class left a strong, professional impression on our young stars. I wish them both the best of luck as long as they decide to find a slump next time they meet the Pads.

But what else can come from our big league committee this season besides the same Ryan Klesko Boot World commercial and talks of Burroughs in Little League? Shutting down the Dodgers is what! We still have 7 bouts left with LA this season and with that, can crush all their cheesy little hopes of slithering into a wild card spot. With a lot of SD locals, insensitivity is standard when it comes to Tinsel Town or anything that shares its air crusted borders. So, even though the Padres are just about mathematically eliminated, we can still cheer for each Padres vs. Dodgers game like we're in a pennant race.

Now we are on the fast track to Petco and word on the street seems to be, "The Padres are finally, almost, kind of, sort of back". The magical place that is being built smack in the middle of our town is also creating mega sized hopes that will carry us into the forever evading arms of that World Series Trophy. This new architectural marvel, with the freshly laid grass and freshly painted foul poles, is giving all San Diego lovers reasons to shrug off the present and embrace our dog and cat supported future. Anything to help the Padres is a community blessing and Petco Protester, Bruce Henderson, can go find something else to cry about, because America's Finest City has a new diamond holder that will revive this towns heartbeat.

For the remaining of the season us fans can do what we have been doing which, for what has seemed like an eternity; checking to see if Bruce is asleep in the dugout, waiting to see who Kevin Towers will release next and watching Burroughs doing something wacky either on the bag or on the base path. I know entertainment value is scarce with the Pads but we really have a contender for 2004. So prepare yourself for the Sports Center Top 10 because the Friars will be filling those coveted spots many times when Petco is no longer a construction zone.

Go Padres!

Kevin Blakely can be reached at

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