Sunday, April 20, 2014

Petco Park Ushers Uncensored

I had the pleasure of going to an alumni group event on Saturday that included meeting boy millionaire Jedd Gyorko, provided all the Bud Heavy I could, and had a rotating cycle of totally awesome ushers.  For a long time, I've viewed ushers as being a thing that the less I dealt with them, the better.  This is probably rooted in being a boy at Jack Murphy and making every effort to sneak past the ushers to better seats.  Since the view from our group seating wasn't the greatest, I chatted up the ushers for well over an hour and learned a lot of interesting things.

1. More than anything, the thing that makes the ushers the sickest is having to look out at center field and see the number 6 retired.  They do not like Steve Garvey the player, and they do not like Steve Garvey the person.  Apparently, on several occasions, Steve Garvey has been a total dick to the ushers, and acts like a total primadonna when he comes to games.  Most of the ushers are long time Padres fans, and they see Steve Garvey for what he is - a Dodger.  I'm sure if you asked Steve, he'd say he was a Dodger too.  One usher said it was just a thing that Joan Kroc was hung up on, retiring his number.  Whatever, two of the ushers agreed that Garvey's number should be taken down and Nate Colbert's number should be retired instead.  I liked this, because it meant I got to chat about the great, forgotten Nate Colbert, the still current Padres all time HR leader.  The level of dislike for Garvey from the ushers was astounding, and awesome.

2.  I never thought about it before, but one usher told me that all the serious baseball fans sit between the mission towers.  Everyone outside of that, excluding the outfield seats, he considered amateur watchers.  A lot of this stems from being posted there for Padres/Dodgers games where tons of fights originate in those outfield upper deck seats.  They also unequivocally agreed that the Dodgers fans were the worst when it comes to unruliness.  One said that he'd been assaulted twice by Dodgers fans while he responded to complaints.  I had no idea that ushers would put themselves into danger like that, I just assumed they got on the radio and called in the Elite Security rent-a-cops.

3.  One usher was very upset that the team got rid of Breakfast at the Park this season.  He said, personally, that his family really enjoyed going, and for many people, it was their only chance to ever set foot on the field.  From the usher standpoint, they liked that it was easy to watch over, didn't require tons of manpower, and the fans all went away happy.  They said they have received many complaints from patrons about this being pulled this year.

4.  The ushers agreed that the team needed to bring back the brown uniforms to build an identity.  They said that at least when you watched the team pre-90's you knew they were the Padres.  One said what we've all noticed, that you can't tell the difference between the Brewers and the Padres when they are on the field.

5.  The ushers have across the board received complaints about the elimination of the free mini program.  Instead, they now give out a roster card.  Personally, I liked reading the articles every month, liked seeing how Chris Denorfia plays with his dog in the Petco player/dogs section, and it was nice when you got to the game early, to be able to flip through some physical media instead of playing on Twitter like usual.  The ushers heard it was a cost saving move.  Boo.

6.  I asked a lot about all of the season ticket holder complaints from last season about cutting usher shifts, moving ushers around, and pretty much changing up the long standing routines.  I remember the first conference calls with fans that were offered were dominated by people complaining about how their section's usher wasn't there anymore.  As someone who doesn't care about ushers in my section, I never understood the complaints.  After all, as a season ticket holder, I know where my seats are.  I sit there 40 times a year, I don't need any usher assistance.  But a lot of people think differently about their ushers.  I confirmed with these ushers that the primary complainants are The Olds demographically.  The ushers felt honored that their sections stood up for them.  Due to the cost cutting move to reduce usher hours and spread them out over several sections, the ushers had their incomes cut greatly.  Many saw reduced shifts.  There is apparently a structure in place that allows the ushers with the most seniority to take on way more shifts, so they did OK with the changes, but all of the other guys suffered.  They were happy to see their shifts come back after the complaints and are thankful people stuck up for them.

7.  On the whole, the ushers liked Tom Garfinkel and his work with the team.  They all saw the game experience get better, and felt that Garfinkel really pushed customer service.  The also acknowledged what many of us talk about, that the improvement in fan service was likely far cheaper than it would be to improve the on-field performance.  But at least they improved something, it was better than previous regimes double whammy of crappy team and crappy gameday experience.  They also said they liked the new ownership, and the current Padres management staff has good direction and is pushing the fan experience and customer service as well.  Good for us fans.

8.  They don't like Enberg, and they LOVE Ted Leitner.  They think Enberg is a publicity stunt and prefer when there's a real San Diegan like Bob Chandler or Ted Leitner on the air.  They also love Matt Vasgersian, and thought he was the only non-San Diegan that could really do it well.  

I thought talking with these guys was incredibly interesting.  They all love Nate Colbert and recounted his bombs over the 17 foot wall at Jack Murphy.  It was nice to hear a little inside baseball stuff from them.  It was even nicer that the Padres won and a had an encouraging homestand. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Jedd Gyorko Night in San Diego

In a stroke of marketing genius, the Padres and Wayne Partello have designated tonight Jedd Gyorko Replica Jersey Night, which CONVENIENTLY coincides with Jedd being signed to a long term contract.  On a personal note, I'm going to a group event that the man himself, Jedd Gyorko, will be stopping by at before the game, so I'm pumped.  I hope he shakes me hand and I never wash that hand again and it ends up giving my baby some type of illness.  It'll be totally worth it and I'll tell her someday that I passed along Gyorkoitis to her and she'll laugh and laugh about the good old days.

With any luck, the Cashner Replica Jersey Night will also CONVENIENTLY coincide with a Cashner long term contract.  We will see.  For now, we are facing the hated Giants and I am [not] looking forward to a Petco Park full of SF Giants simpleton fans. 

To celebrate the occasion, here's a SCLUSIE photo of Jedd literally dropping logs on noted human garbage disposal and sperm whale impersonator, Pablo Sandoval.  Knowing Pablo, he'll mistake the logs for Snickers bars and exclaim "YUMMY NUMMY IN MY TUMMY!".  What a rube.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Man, Do I Hate Those Giants - A Rebuke of the Stupid San Francisco Giants and Their Stupid Stadium

So yesterday didn't go according to plan for the Padres.  Needing one win to get back to .500, the team blew it.  The Padres new/old BIG BAT, Xavier Nady, cleanup hitter extraordinaire, hit a bomb, and that was about it for the offense.  Ian Kennedy threw 6 great innings, and then coinciding with me reaching the black zone, started to implode and gave up 3 runs and that was that.

Now the stupid Giants are in town.  That means stupid Giants fans are in town also.  A lot of people hate the Dogers the most, but call me a non-conformist, I kind of hate the Giants the most.  They are managed by ol' Big Head McGee Bochy, a man that could take losing Padres baseball better than anyone, easing into a simple "gotta tip your cap to them" quote after every terrible loss.  Their stadium is OK and all, but I will go to the grave saying that Petco is about equal to AT&T.  You walk in and are met with a hot pink glowing escalator to Virgin America level at AT&T with bumping, lame club music and neon.  Ha ha, key word: virgins.  Meanwhile us Padres fans are knee deep in poon, pounding slit left and right, AMIRITE GUYS?!?!?  Especially us bloggers!  Sure CF is cool with all the food and crap, but it's not a great place to watch the game.  And WOW, you can kayak in the frigid waters off RF that's named for former Padres great Willie McCovey.  GET YOUR OWN LEGENDS TO NAME STUFF AFTER, GIANTS!  Next thing you know, they'll be naming their left field bleachers the Kevin Mitchell Porch.  HE'S OUR KEVIN MITCHELL!  I had the pleasure/horror of sitting in their RF upper deck last season.  You feel so much further from the field there than you do in similar seats at Petco.  The food wasn't as good, the beer wasn't nearly as good.  Anchor Steam is available in every grocery store from here to Augusta, Maine.  It's not a special microbrew you can only get in San Francisco, yet it's pushed everywhere.  Get back to me when you have something of the quality of Speedway Stout on tap at your stupid park. 

Tonight, noted penis-eater Matt Cain takes the hill for the putrid Giants.  Future All Star Tyson Ross is on the hill for the Padres and I've got a real feeling we are looking at the first no-hitter in Padres history.  What, you think human garbage disposal Pablo Sandoval is going to hit Ross' unfair slider?  Doubtful, he hasn't been able to see his penis when looking down for going on 13 years now.  Hunter Pence?  Not even worth a half pence (CURRENCY HUMOR!).  So everyone sit back, and let's watch the Giants get totally dismantled before our FEARSOME offense (Mike Dee said today, if we are just patient enough, the team will come alive offensively.  Huston Street also said verbatim "we don't have an outstanding offense".  CONFIDENCE!). 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Staring .500 in the Face - BEAT THE SUPER LAME ROCKIES

After an all around crushing victory by the Padres last night, led by totally awesome Andrew Cashner, future mayor of San Diego, the Padres have clawed to within one win from the vaunted .500 mark.  This means big things for the team.  Mainly the people that jumped off the tiny bandwagon at the start of the season may start trying to jump back on.  We'll make room, it's fine.  If they win today, it's like the season is starting all over again this weekend against the stupid Giants.  Son of Troy Ian Kennedy is on the mound today, let's hope he doesn't keep up his weakest link act and shuts down the Rockies.  CarGo hasn't really gotten going and hopefully they can keep it that way.  The Padres face complete nobody Franklin Morales who seems much more interested in satisfying his base instincts than throwing dominating pitches (see above!).  I fully expect Jedd Gyorko to have 5 RBIs today as he is just getting warmed up for his RBI night on his jersey night Saturday. 

Here at Padres Jagoff HQ, we are looking at debuting a new mythological rally animal, IF NEEDED for today.  We will also be at the game after several hours of downtown binge drinking.  Come join, I have a Southpaw Social Livingsocial voucher to burn today.  Go Padres!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Padres To Keep the Roll Going Versus Stupid Rockies and Buttface Troy Tulowitzki

After a riveting and hilarious victory last night over the putrid Rockies, the Padres are set to keep the roll going against their hated rivals tonight.  Led by Rowdy Robbie Erlin, I really can't see any way they'll lose.  They are slowly clawing their way towards .500 and have a firm grasp on the coveted 3rd place spot in the standings.  Things are really coming up Padres!  The only real problem is Bud Black's continued insistence on putting Alexi Amarista into CF, and worse, 2nd in the lineup.  I'm sure ol' sabermetric Bud is all like, HEY, Lil' Ninja is 2nd on the team in OPS (After NICK HUNDLEY), I'm just using the math.  Let's face it, we all love him because he's the Tyrion Lannister of the team.  But even Tywin knows not to put Tyrion 2nd in his jousting lineup.  Alexi is a great end of the bench option that can play a lot of positions.  He's not a batting star, and really embodies jack of many, expert at none.  At this point, I think it's fair to argue that Will Venable in CF is a superior option with some combination of Tommy Medica, Kyle Blanks and even Jeff Francoeur in RF.  Francoeur might be kind of washed up, but he can still field the position and there's more upside to his hitting than there is for Alexi.  So come on Bud, Ghost of Ray Kroc is going to have a coronary if you don't do something about this.  Do it for him. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Are the Padres Bloggers Shills for the Team?

There was a debate on the Tweeters last week about whether the Padres were just lavishing food, booze, tickets and access to selected Padres blogs to curry favor and ensure positive coverage.  Some on the Tweeter, Nacho Padre to be specific, blew up the issue and stated that the Padres were more concerned with getting good social media coverage than they were in fielding a team that will win THE RING (tm), and that bloggers were playing right into their hands - that discussing new food and beer at Petco was trumping potential coverage of the lackluster offseason and seeming acceptance of the front office of merely "being competitive" rather than fielding a World Series caliber team. 

I think an important distinction needs to be made between the Padres bloggers and journalists.  I really don't see Gaslamp Ball, the Friarhood, Padres Public or really any blog out there as journalism.  Let's get real, Gaslamp Ball has discussions of magical win-bringing unicorns and Padres Public regularly focuses on poop and binge drinking.  Nothing wrong with that, I totally embrace that here at Padres Jagoff.  And yeah, they cover news out of the Padres, but if anything, they are like the opinion section in the newspaper.  As a result, you can't really expect the blogs to maintain the same level of journalistic ethics as the Washington Post.  Most bloggers are just fans, and as super fans, when the team comes offering free front row tix and food, you take it.  When they offer you a chance to take batting practice every season at media night, you take it.  Because they're fans.

Ghost of Ray Kroc took particular offense to Nacho Padres' comments and offered him a chance to have something published unedited on Padres Public, which Nacho Padres responded to by blabbering about meeting in person and guaranteeing GoRK's safety or something.  I don't think there's any doubt that the Padres providing access, tix and food is going to influence their coverage.  Sac Bunt Chris stated that they have written negative coverage of the team, which is true.  But I think it will become harder and harder for them to openly criticize anything done by noted blog briber and Padres executive Wayne Partello, lest they lose their access and FSSD appearances.  Wayne Partello on Twitter even stated that of course they were treating the bloggers to free food, it provides positive coverage of the team.  I don't want to say it's a quid pro quo, but I also think it's pretty clear that it becomes harder and harder to be objective about a team when they are continually throwing out perks for the bloggers.  I also can't imagine a scenario where someone like RJs Fro would be comfortable openly criticizing Jesse Eagler, for instance, as they are now TV colleagues (and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Rick on FSSD more and more, he's great on it). 

Anyways, what I'm basically saying is yeah, if the Padres keep offering up free stuff, access, experiences and tickets to bloggers, it totally ruins their objectivity and in all likelihood will lead to more positive coverage and much more measured criticism.  At the same time, I'd like to say that yes, I am open to also providing ample positive coverage in exchange for free tickets, access, food, beer, and on-field batting practices.  My ethics are fuzzy at best, call me Wayne! (he won't, he doesn't even bother to follow@padresjagoff)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Ignore the Negative Nancys - Padres to Literally Eviscerate Tigers Tonight

A lot of Fatalist Friedas out there pretty much assumed the Padres would get swept by the Tigers this weekend.  After all, they can't hit and Chase Headley is the worst 3B since Mike Pagliarulo, right?!  I mean, who could even imagine them beating up on the vaunted RICK PORCELLO.  The same Rick Porcello that was rumored last season to be on the chopping block, the same one who a lot thought was going to be traded here for Luke Gregerson (who?!).  Anyways, the Padres totally clubbed Porcello and Andrew Cashner has really endeared himself as San Diego's hot new sweetheart.  STEP ASIDE DAGMAR MIDCAP!!!

More than that, last night's game gave the Padres fans hope.  It's one of those games that at least for the next month, fans can say they totally can't hit and they kind of suck, but just think... they've got the potential to play as well as that one game where Cash threw a 1 hitter and they won 6-0.  That means something when you're sitting in Petco with 14,000 other fans and it's cold and it's a 1-0 game with no offense. 

Anyways, Justin Verlander is pitching tonight.  I was going to draw a picture of him swallowing a dong, but he's dating Kate Upton.  So I guess he gets a pass tonight.  UNLIKE STUPID MIGUEL CABRERA.  I'm also hearing that the Rally Unicorn is getting testy in his stable for tonight's game.