The Friar Wire

The San Diego Padres will report to spring training next week and the excitement is building as the team promises to contend in the NL West this year. Meanwhile, the Portland Beavers are in jeopardy of being rescinded. And the Hank Aaron Classic will begin Monday with a familiar award being presented to the MVP. In Elsinore, the promotions are already underway for the Diamond.

The news out west is ripe with good news. A new ballpark, a lineup that is potentially explosive and a solid bullpen. Couple that with a division that has seen the major players have an offseason to forget and the Padres could very well be the favorites to win outright.

The dynamics could change if the Giants somehow acquire Maddux, but the Cubbies appear to be the frontrunners. Maddux recently rejected an offer from the Giants.

Now that the Yankees have agreed in principle on a deal for Alex Rodriguez, it makes fans of other teams wonder if any of this matters...

The PCL league and the city of Portland are trying to reach a new agreement to avoid recision of the Portland franchise. If it is rescinded, the PCL would collectively run the Beavers, and city would continue to operate PGE Park.

Coincidentally, the Beavers released their 19-game spring training schedule Friday, opening March 15th and running through April 4th.

The Hank Aaron Classic will begin Monday, February 16th. The 16-team tournament gives every team a chance to play at least one game at "The Hank", the Mobile BayBears park. The BayBears will be awarding the Jake Peavy MVP Award to this year's most valuable player. The award was named after the former St. Paul's High School, Mobile BayBears', and current San Diego Padres' standout, Jake Peavy. Peavy was the first player from the Hank Aaron Classic to go on to play in the Major Leagues.

Peavy spoke to players and coaches this weekend as they prepare to do battle.

The BayBears also have a new road jersey this season which they will debut on April 16th.

The Lake Elsinore Storm are running a season-long promotion for 2004 - Family Wednesdays. As part of these special nights, kids 14 & under will get two for one tickets, eat for free, get a special kids game program, run the bases after the game and parking is free.

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