"Hey, do you have a copy of that worksheet? Can I have it?" "That's a great idea for a lesson, I'm totally going to do that!" "Where did you get those? I want some just like it."
I try my best to put my own "spin" on things. Lots of activities/games/stuff we do in class I'm able to pull off because of the combination between a good idea (borrowed or original) and my own personality/enthusiasm/charisma. I try not to be a total copycat in every area (although there are of course things that I do according to best practices, etc.)
As I close in on my second year of writing about baseball cards and the Padres, I've adapted a lot of good ideas and come up with some of my own as well. There was at least one idea that I completely plagiarized and didn't really change in the slightest: the "Give 'em the Game Ball" column on the side of the blog.
This was blatantly ripped from Night Owl. I gave him credit when I first introduced it, but if you missed that post, you're probably thinking, "Hey, that guy's a total ripoff!" It's true.
I tried to think of a way to improve it/change it, and the only things that I tried that worked to make it different were a) not giving it the same name, and b) doing it for the Padres instead of the Dodgers.
Well, tonight the 2014 season begins for my Padres, so it's time to take it down and start over again. Here's the final listing for "Game Balls", given to the player who I believe was most integral to the win for that game (no game balls given for games lost).
12 players tied with 1 - Burch Smith, Chase Headley, Chris Robinson, Huston Street, Ian Kennedy, Jesus Guzman, John Baker, Logan Forsythe, Luke Gregerson, Pedro Ciriaco, Rene Rivera, and Ronny Cedeño
In 2013, Chase Headley got MVP votes. As in "Most Valuable Player". He led the NL in RBI. This year, that fell drastically, and the unofficial measurement of "GB" (game balls) is a good measurement of this. Of course, you could also look at other stats, like 65 less RBI or 18 fewer homers.
Headley is the only starter on the "1" list, and the rest are mostly bench guys. The exceptions are bullpen guys Huston Street and Luke Gregerson. Hard to really be an "integral" part of the win if your only job is to keep the team from losing (if that makes sense). Still, they were able to scrape together a pair of GB's for the bullpen, the only two that the bullpen would get.
3 players tied with 2 - Carlos Quentin, Robbie Erlin, and Tommy Medica
A sharp decline from the number of players with 1 to the number of players with 2. None of these players spent much time with the big league club. CQ has a time share on the disabled list, while Robbie Erlin bounced back and forth between AAA and San Diego. Tommy Medica was a late season call up who had a few clutch hits with the big club. Both Medica and Erlin will begin the season in San Diego, while Quentin will start… on the DL.
4 players tied with 3 - Alexi Amarista, Edinson Volquez, Jason Marquis, and Tyson Ross
Of the four players with three GB's, Alexi Amarista is the only one that is a position player. Volquez and Marquis are (thankfully) no longer with the Padres. Volquez is a disaster, and while I like the bulldog mentality that Marquis brings, it's nice to have better options than him. I predict that Ross will have more than three this year, I think he'll surprise a lot of people.
4 players tied with 4 - Eric Stults, Everth Cabrera, Nick Hundley, and Yonder Alonso
Eric Stults is the only player that played a role on the team the whole season. Cabrera was suspended after the All Star break for PED use, while Alonso spent time on the DL with a hand injury that made him less than dependable as the year went on. I think this will be his breakout year - while he might not hit a ton of homers, he'll be a doubles machine and hit for a high average.
2 players tied with 5 - Jedd Gyorko and Kyle Blanks
Two of my favorite current Padres here, even though Blanks will start this season in AAA. Gyorko had a really good, though not great rookie season. He could stand to cut down on strikeouts and raise his average a bit, but he showed that he had power and led the team in homers. Blanks is less injury prone than CQ, but still not a reliable guy, as far as health goes. TONS of potential, but we may never see it fully realized. The guy is a beast, though, and can hit the ball a long way.
2 players tied with 6 - Andrew Cashner and Chris Denorfia
Ok, so I really like Blanks and Gyorko, but I love Cashner and Denorfia. Easily my two favorite current players. The Padres had some injury bugs bite during Spring Training, and while losing Cameron Maybin is (probably?) not good, it will give Denorfia more playing time, so I'm excited for that. As far as Cashner goes, I really hope that I'm not getting my expectations too high, but I see him as a Cy Young caliber pitcher. We'll see how he does tonight, as he is the Padres Opening
Day Night starter.
Oh, and as if I needed any more reason to love these guys…
Deno with the walk off...
and Ca$h with the dive to score a run… as a pinch runner.
Most on the team - Will Venable, with 8.
Alright, so I have a lot of love for the previous four guys, but I just don't have as much for Venable. Solid player, who was named the team MVP last year (I would've gone with Cashner), but for an everyday player, I dunno, he just doesn't do it for me. Had a "breakout" year last year and had 22 homers, but only a .268 average and 53 RBI. It's not his fault that he hit a bunch of solo home runs, but it seems like he couldn't come through in the clutch as much. Still, I'll give it to him, he did lead the team in GB's. Gotta be worth something.
So there it is, a few hours before the 2014 season, the 2013 season wrap up. The Padres finished '13 with the same record as 2012 (76-86). I predict that they will improve on that this season and finish second in the NL West, behind the Dodgers. I think that they will contend for a Wild Card spot, but will probably come up short (wouldn't mind being wrong about that one, though).
Every discussion about the Padres performance this year is filled with "if they stay healthy" projections (valid, since CQ, Cameron Maybin, Josh Johnson, and a bunch of other guys are DL regulars), but I think that even with some injuries, they'll still make a pretty good team.