Was cleaning out the pictures in my phone this weekend, and realized that I took a lot of pictures from my Spring Training trip that I never posted. Here's a quick rundown.
We went to two games, and here's where we sat for game 1. Great seats that eventually got a little too hot to handle.
My brother Ammon scored a bunch of autographs, he's the one in the brown hat. Here he is with Tommy Medica and Yangervis Solarte.
This was the best/clearest picture I got of a Padre, infielder Cory Spangenberg.
Matt Kemp was pretty close to us for a bit, but he was a bit too big time to make eye contact with any of the fans. At this point, it was still weird to think that he was on the Padres, so it was cool to see. From the last two trips to Peoria, the "biggest name" we ever saw was Chase Headley, so it took some getting used to.
I can't remember the outcome of the game, I think the Padres won. Brandon Morrow pitched and did alright, and Matt Kemp and Tommy Medica both hit some pretty majestic looking home runs. The Kemp homer gave me goosebumps.
That night, we ate at Waffle House in memory of my brother Sam, who wasn't with us (couldn't get out of school, and he's a big Waffle House fan), and watched a basketball game on TV. We woke up early the next day and had a super cheap Denny's meal and headed over to the practice fields.
Oh, I guess I should mention that "we" was me (right), my dad and my brother. I was rocking my Kouzmanoff jersey, which was cool because I ran into a former coach of Kouz's and we chatted about how awesome he was. Ammon was rocking a Mark Kotsay stadium giveaway shirt, which was cool because Kotsay is the current Padres hitting coach and he saw it and said something to him. I can't remember what it was, but it was cool. Kots is rad.
Practice fields were cool, especially talking w/the AAA El Paso coach Murphy. SUPER personable guy, way friendly with fans and family members who came out to watch. Here's a picture of a minor league guy doing some sliding drills. Crazy that a guy who's played most of his life still has to practice sliding. And not just practicing, but the coaches were correcting and fixing techniques. Cool to see.
I feel dumb, but the first two times we went to Peoria, we didn't ever go do the "main" practice field where the big leaguers play. For some reason, we just thought that the four main practice fields were it. Dumb. Anyways, by the time we made it over to the big league field, I think the "bigger" names were gone (Kemp and Upton), but we saw Yonder Alonso, Jedd Gyorko, Alexi Amarista, Yangervis Solarte, Austin Hedges, and Cody Decker. Cool to see Bud Black, the Padres manager, toss the batting practice.
As we were leaving, a few Padres were leaving the field and crossing over to the main facility, and I got a lone autograph. I'm 30, and I think I'm a bit old to be trying to get autographs of every Padre I see, but if there was a guy that I really liked that wasn't busy and available, I'd ask. Nick Vincent is one of my favorite Padres. He's a setup guy (actually just got demoted to AAA El Paso a few days ago) who was raised in San Diego and I've been a big fan of his since he was called up a few years ago. Wish he'd signed it in the sweet spot, but he probably figured he'd be one of the many signing this ball. I left Peoria with just this signature.
After eating lunch, we headed over to the stadium for the game. We learned our lesson from yesterday and got seats in the shade, which was wonderful. Here's James Shields on the mound, with the Padres sporting the green St. Patrick's day hats.
Cameron Maybin (now with the Braves) hit a straight up bomb for the Padres, but that was one of the few highlights of the game. Padres lost to the Brewers, who had basically the same uniforms as the Padres.
Here's me with a few of the crazies from the Right Field Mission at Petco who had made the trip to Peoria. Great guys, VERY passionate about their team.
I decided to treat myself to a shirt to commemorate the trip, and even though I thought these were kind of ugly, they seemed specific enough to the Cactus League that I picked one up. I was trying to decide which player to get, and I decided on Day 1 that I'd get whoever did the best over the two games we saw. Well, I never saw Wil Myers play, and James Shields had a rough outing, so the Kemp home run sealed the deal. Never thought I'd own a Matt Kemp shirsey.
Anyways, yeah, this post is a few months in the making, but I had a great time. Spring training is always fun, though I think I'll probably be taking a few years off - it's a bit of a hassle to make it down there during my Spring Break, along with planning out stuff to do with the three kids. Big thanks to my wife who took care of them while I was gone for a few days - you rock!
More card stuff later. Hope everybody had a great Mother's Day.