Before I get to the San Diego trip recap, let me school you in some personal Crew-Pads history. The first time I tried to explain my unnatural obsession to Posh, it was rounds about Valentine’s Day. The Four Lettered Leader had just posted a story about Tony Gwynn Jr. It was a very good story — compelling and rich. It was full of interesting details, such as: his nickname, “Little T,” and the story of his friendship with all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman, which I assume continued despite TGJR’s role in unraveling the Padres’ playoff hopes last year, and Tony Gwynn Sr., who I remember from my childhood as a classy dude who never hit below .300 for the season screaming “Ahhhhhhhhhhhh! Your son tied the gaaaaaaame! He tied the gaaaaaaame!” It’s really a must-read. It’s shorter than this post and much more interesting. Tasha agreed.
“Oooh, he is cute!”
Look at that smile. Look at that mug. You gotta love Tony Gwynn Jr.
Little T is not currently on the active roster, I would say because the team’s bench is better overall with players such as Gabe Kapler and Ray Durham. But he will be back, presumably on Sept. 1 when teams are allowed to expand their rosters from 25 players to 40.
As proof that not everything you want is available on the Internet, I’ve never found the five-second clip of a Sportscenter Top 10 list in which Little T threw out a runner at home plate from near the warning track in right field. I’m not usually a sucker for the zippy punchlines anchors assign to the top plays, but I loved this one:
“Tony Gwynn Jr., like Tony Soprano… woke up this morning and got himself a gun!!!”
If you have this video clip, send it to me and I will embed it in every single Viva Cerveceros post. So that’s a pro for Little T — he’s got an amazing arm, and speed on the base paths. I guess he doesn’t yet have the patience at the plate as his dad. Here’s a story about Big T I heard third hand from a high school literature teacher, who heard it from a former MLB ump who was giving a lecture.
The ump was calling this game and got distracted for a second, because I don’t know, it was sunny and he was sweating or he was hungover or something. He had been giving the pitcher a little wiggle room with the outside part of the plate. Tony Gwynn Sr., who only struck out 434 times in 9,288 career at-bats according to Wiki’a, was at the plate.
The opposing pitcher threw a pitch that the umpire just did not see. The ump panicked for a second having not seen it, and with a 50-50 chance of getting the call correct, yelped out a weak “Strike!”
Tony Gwynn Sr., one of the most consistent hitters ever, called time and stepped out of the batter’s box.
“Where was that call at?” he asked.
The ump, embarrassed and trying to cover his ass, thought of a quick response.
“My wife is an English teacher, and she tells her students you should never end a sentence with a preposition.”
“All right,” Big T said as he settled into his batting stance. “Where was that call at, asshole?”
And he ripped a single.
My other Padres memory prior to the start of our trip on Thursday was of the 1998 team, which was swept in the World Series by those damnable New York Yankees. When I visited relatives in Switzerland in 2001, I met my grandpa’s late brother’s ex-daughter-in-law Jaclyn’s boyfriend, Kristoph. Don’t think to hard about that one. The point is he had a brother who lived in Zurich half the year and San Diego the other (which, having been to both cities, is probably the fucking sweetest living situation of any human being). When we met Kristoph, he was wearing white cutoff denims shorts, flip-flops and a white T-shirt with a cartoon caricature of the 1998 NL Champions, your San Diego Padres. He even had a San Diego Padres toilet lid! Kristoph and Jaclyn were very kind and invited us to a dinner on the roof of their apartment building which ranks somewhere in my top five dinners of all time.
I wouldn’t know such hospitality — or much more about America’s Finest City — until last weekend.