Petco Park- San Diego, California
There has been a huge drought in the city of San Diego.
For a long time there has been barely any quality baseball to witness in the city of San Diego.
Not that Thursday’s game was an example of how to play the game properly. The Padres committed several errors, made key mistakes all over the diamond and lacked timely hitting until Franmil Reyes‘ mammoth blast in the 13th with two outs. If you look past the bad play, you will see that there is a fire growing in this young core of players.
The majority of the starting staff consists of rookie pitchers. Joey Lucchesi, Eric Lauer, Jacob Nix and Brett Kennedy will all get a long look. With the promotion of 21-year-old Luis Urias this week, there is youth in the everyday lineup as well. With this inexperience comes sporadic play though. The team has shown great ability, but has also fell flat on their face.
If you remain positive and squint your eyes a bit, you can actually see a tremendous future for this team. Could you imagine the energy Fernando Tatis will bring to this team? If not for a season ending thumb injury, he may have been close to a promotion himself.
Fans of the Padres are starting to realize that this team can be special. Walk-offs like the one on Thursday are few and far between, but moments like that go a long ways towards building chemistry on a young team.
I was lucky enough to have an interview scheduled with Franmil on Friday, the day after his solo blast and first career major league walk-off dinger. After a long hug upon meeting, we sat in the dugout and spoke specifically about the night before. His smile was as big as ever, as he relived the moment for me.
“I’m not going to lie to you. It was really, really exciting.” You could still see the joy in his eyes as we spoke behind home plate during pitchers batting practice.
“Andy told me (before the game) to be aware, you are going to be the guy to get a base hit to win the ball game.” Green was right, as Franmil stepped up in the 13th and took care of business. The young manager sees the adjustments that Franmil makes everyday and he recognizes his abilities. He has tremendous value off the bench on days that he does not play.
I asked Franmil if he thought his home run was gone off the bat. “Yes. When I hit the ball, I knew it was gone.”
We started to talk about the clubhouse after the game and how the team celebrated the victory. “We always do a big celebration in the clubhouse after a win. The hero of the game gets to speak to everyone afterwards. I got to say a couple of words so my words to the team were- this is us.” A young team that does not quit. That is the future of the San Diego Padres.
The moment on Thursday was truly special. This team needs more instances like that in the coming weeks to help solidify a foundation for the future.
We can only hope this was a glimpse into something big for the Padres franchise.