When I was asked by my editor to do a top moments story for this Padres season, I thought about diverting from the straight and narrow. I thought about writing a “San Diego Padres 2016: the Good the Bad and the Ugly.” There is absolutely plenty of material to fill pages when focusing on each of those three aspects to the season.
I want to be a realist. The Padres are in the midst of a losing season and their GM is currently serving a 30-day suspension for being less than careful with team medical record filing, at best. The thing is, as I began to relive the season in my head today, only the good stuff came to mind.
I’ve said it before in prior stories and I’ll say it again; I’m a willful optimist when it comes to Padres. I love them. When spring training games first started to air this season I went into a little frenzy. I was happy. I was excited. In the months that have followed there have been some ups and some downs. That’s baseball. You’ll get that with 162 games. I’ve decided to write about the great moments because that’s what I daydream about. That’s what keeps me going.
So here’s a top five:
5- The All Star Game
The All-Star Game was a success for San Diego. We showed off our city and we showed the sports world that we can host a world class event. Everything seemed to go off without a hitch and practically everyone loved it. Now just imagine if there was a state of the art football stadium nearby? We would be unstoppable right? Think of the events we could host! Okay, I digress but the All-Star game was great fun. How about our two Padre all-stars?
Wil Myers who participated in the Home Run Derby, also started in the All-Star Game at DH as the cleanup hitter. He went 1-for-3 with a double in his final at bat. Drew Pomeranz had the mound all to himself in the bottom half of the fourth inning. He retired the side in 12 pitches, inducing outs by Salvador Perez, Jose Altuve and Mike Trout. To be very honest, I felt a sense of pride in my hometown boys in a way that I haven’t in quite some time at the All-Star Game. It was a great showing.
4- The Bethancourt Eephus
This one was out of left field. Actually no, he came from behind the dish. On May 31, the Mariners were up on the Padres 16-4 due to a miserable start by James Shields. In order to save arms, Andy Green decided to put catcher Christian Bethancourt on the mound to show off his stuff. Bethancourt has quite a repertoire. Within the 26 pitches that he was allotted, Bethancourt showcased a mighty 96 MPH fastball. He then entertained spectators with his ability to drop that speed down to 53 MPH with a video game-like knuckleball. So he hit a guy and walked two other batters but he also induced two outs and allowed no hits and no runs. That one’s a top moment for all of Major League Baseball this season I would assume.
3- Six Double Plays and a Complete Game for Luis Perdomo
Luis Perdomo is just a top moment in himself. He started out as such a long shot. He was so inexperienced but the club believed that he had some serious potential. As a rule-5 draft pick he had to stay on the 25-man roster all season long and he has. I was at Opening Day. I watched him get shelled in his debut. I figured he had to be going to the chopping block at some point because roster space is so valuable.
No, I was wrong. The pitching staff has been plagued with injury and the arms have been dropping like flies but Perdomo has been there through it all; ready to take the mound whenever he’s called upon. He’s gotten 141.2 innings under his belt this season. He’s really stepped up to the challenge. On August 28 against the Marlins, Perdomo pitched his first career complete game. Not only that but the 23-year-old induced six double plays, setting the franchise all time record for double plays in a nine inning game. I am excited to see how far this kid goes.
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Baseball is the second most beautiful art form in my opinion. The first is what God does with our San Diego sunsets. Football’s pretty exquisite too. I’m Sarah’s husband and a Cal alum. I have been a Padres fan since childhood. My first experiences were at the Q watching Tony and the crew in the 90’s. I love sports and I love San Diego. I hope you enjoy my thoughts!