Because of this potential displacement, I did get to see the Beavers play. This is my first time to see the Triple-A club and the first live game in a long time for me. It was great to be in PGE Park and if you've never been, it's an experience. The problem is that it's another ballpark in the heart of Portland. Now, being downtown is great for atmosphere but let me tell you (maybe you know this in San Diego already) that as a visitor it's difficult to get to the park and to find parking. Once there you can't get into the park until 6pm for a 7:05pm game. I always like to get there early and watch batting practice, but instead you can do as I did and watch batting practice outside the park, from left field. You can wait for the big hitters and then grab yourself a few balls as they sail over the wall, through the fence and into the street. A lucky youngster was the recipient one ball that I chased down.
Now to the game. It was great. The Beavers dominated the game which saw a nice pitching performance by Brian Sweeney and some great hitting by Ben Johnson (a towering homerun and when the ball finally stopped I think it was out in the street beyond the left field fence) and Josh Barfield. There was also some timely hitting and double plays which helped the Beavers win 6-1 against the Tucson Sidewinders. Within the small confines of PGE Park, every seat seemed great. There's a family feeling to the park and it was great to see some Padres in Triple-A that we've seen at the Major level before and some that are moving up including Adam Hyzdu, Kerry Robinson and others. If you ever get to Portland, it's worth the trip and the prices seemed fairly reasonable.
Back to the Padres. June so far has been 50/50 but overall you have to love where the Pads are sitting. They have been successful despite some key injuries and players on the DL. Playing .500 in June seems like a failure compared to May but they've put the pressure on other teams now and that's a bonus. Being in 1st is better than being anywhere else and the Pads look good from my perspective. Sure, I'd like to see them doing slightly better than .500 for the month because that won't keep them in 1st. They need to beat up teams like the Indians that are below .500 because they may need those extra Wins at the end of the season if they are going to prove my prediction of finishing in 2nd place. The good news is that the Dodgers and the Diamondbacks haven't picked up much ground.
One other thing I'm looking at is the All Star balloting… I guess it's another year of stuffing the ballots. Garciaparra, who's been on the disabled list for a month and was batting .157 is leading for short stops? Pujois over Lee? Piazza over Hernandez? No Klesko or Giles in the outfield and Bonds is on the list? Actually, the whole voting is a shame. Let's look at facts. The Padres are in 1st place last time I looked and yet there aren't any Padre's on the All Star team as of June 2nd. Why? Look where a majority of the players who are on it and what cities they come from: New York and St. Louis. This isn't an All Star Game in my book; it's a "Stuff The Ballot Big City Love-fest". Yes, I know that it's the fans voting for whom they THINK are the best players but really this is just another fan depreciation event. Don't get me wrong, this isn't new news. It happens every year but this year it upsets me more because of what the Padre's are doing on the field. Something should be done to equalize the voting.
What now? Like the Pads I'm at home for a while and while the location of my home may change, I'm still displaced and hoping some day to make it to see some of the players from the Beavers at Petco, back where they and I, both belong.
Kevin can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org