"Matt Kemp is a Padre."
How does that sound? Weird? Unnatural? Crazy?
Having Matt on the team brings me mixed emotions. He is a Dodger. He has been a member of the team I hate the most for his entire career. However, he also easily becomes the Padres best hitter and biggest power threat, and (gulp)… the face of the franchise?
Maybe my Netflix history is doing this to me, but when I think of the Padres relationship with the Matt Kemp and the Dodgers, I think of one of the greatest sports movies of all time:
All right, hear me out. If you haven't seen the movie, 1) WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? and 2) Sorry, this will make even less sense for you than the ones who have seen it.
1. Padres = District 5/The Ducks
Safe to say that even when District 5's hockey team got Gordon Bombay to coach their team (as a punishment for getting a DWI?), they were a wreck. Laughingstock of the league, ugly uniforms, no good players. The Padres have most of those in spades.
2. Dodgers = The Hawks
Evil team, great uniforms, long history of winning, seems like they come from a richer area. The Hawks embody everything that is wrong with youth sports, with their mantra being "It's not worth winning if you can't win big." While I guess I'll stop short of calling the Dodgers total jerks (Kershaw seems like a great guy, and Vin Scully wouldn't associate himself with an evil team, right?), in my eyes the Dodgers have always been the Hawks personified. I know that this is probably an unfair statement, but I can't help how I feel.
Do the Ducks hate the Hawks? Yes. Do the Hawks hate the Ducks? Sort of, I guess, but the relationship is more annoying little brother than "bitter rival". This fits the Padres/Dodgers relationship to a T.
3. Adam Banks = Matt Kemp
One of the best Hawks, Adam Banks dominates the Pee Wee League on the Hawks until it is discovered that he actually lives in District 5's area. While he as at first very hesitant to join District 5, he eventually shows up saying "I just want to play hockey." He is ill received by his new teammates, but then Emilio Estevez works his Disney magic and soon everybody is a cohesive unit. I'm not sure how Kemp feels about being on the Padres now, but I'd be willing to bet that he'd rather feel wanted in LA than wanted in San Diego. I'm pretty sure that the Padres are happier about having him on their team than D5 was, so here's hoping that Bud Black can work some magic of his own and beat the
Hawks Dodgers on Opening Day.
There are a few other parallels that I might try to draw, but those are the main ones. I might try again later using Will Venable as Charlie Conway, the guy that everybody likes but isn't actually that good but miraculously comes through at the end. Maybe Carlos Quentin as Fulton, the guy who hits the puck hard enough to bruise a goalie's hand and is the "enforcer" probably works even better. Plus hit difficulties skating remind hime of CQ's problems lumbering around the bases. More than likely though, the Padres have a roster full of Averman's and Carp's.
Troy Patton was what the Padres got from the Orioles in exchange for catcher Nick Hundley. He's no longer with the Padres, after getting a second (I think?) suspension for drug violation. Rene Rivera, however, is a good one to get, since he'll be getting the lion's share of the catching duties now that Yasmani Grandal is gone. He was sent to the Dodgers in the Kemp deal.
All told, there were nine Padres in the Update set (ten, if you count the Yangervis Solarte photo variation out there, which I don't, though I did pick it up). A motley crew, if ever there was one. Tyson Ross, the lone remaining All Star on the team, got a card in the set despite not playing in the All Star Game. Jeff Francoeur only played ten games for San Diego in 2014, but I guess it's kinda cool that he got included. Seth Smith and Joaquin Beniot are the biggest stars on the team outside of the rotation. Jace Peterson will be competing for a spot on the Opening Day roster, while Solarte will most likely be the Opening Day third baseman, barring injury or a move outside the organization. Oh, and don't sleep on Alexi Amarista. Seriously, watch out for him, he's small, it's happened before.
Glad to finally put the nail in the coffin of the 2014 Update Padres set. I was probably the only person in the world who was on the look out for that Patton card.
Anyways, welcome to the Padres, Matt. I'll go ahead and show off my Matt Kemp collection real quick:
Yeah right. Like that's happening.
Oh, and here's the third card that Jimmy included in the PWE. This was easily the best one:
Not sure which is weirder, seeing Deno in a M's uniform or the first time that I'll see Kemp with an SD on his hat.