The Twins wrap up their west coast road trip this week with a short two-game series against the Padres in San Diego. Honestly, I don’t actually think about the Padres very often. When I do think about them, it’s usually because of something to do with my good friend Joe Lanek, who is an editor at SB Nation’s Padres site, Gaslamp Ball.
To get the deets on what the Padres are up to in 2017, I sent Joe a series of questions
and then badgered him to answer the damn questions or else and he graciously provided the answers.
Q: Um... who is a player for the Padres right now? I mean, er, who is the best player on the Padres right now?
A: Ah, crud, I wish you would have asked me my favorite, because that would have been a lot easier to answer. Before this season, the consensus answer would have been Wil Myers, but for some reason he's been butt this year. Really, it's all about the rookies. Center fielder Manuel Margot has been living up to expectations and then some; he's the reigning NL Player of the Week, having gone 14-28 with like a billion extra-base hits after he came back from paternity leave. Hunter Renfroe has been smackin' more dongs than Draymond Green, and all three (!) Rule 5 picks [Editor’s Note: Oh Padres.] have shown signs of brilliance, especially Allen Cordoba, who was in Rookie-league ball last year.
Oh, and of the veterans, I guess I have to make note of lefty reliever Brad Hand, the obligatory sole All-Star, who somehow didn't get traded yesterday.
Q: If the Padres' 2017 season was a movie, what movie would it be and why?
A: Freddie Got Fingered. It's been complete nonsense, but somehow very entertaining.
Q: What's the best thing to happen to the Padres this season?
A: I'm kind of at a loss here. They've been playing a good clip over .500 the past 50 games or so, but, as promising as that is, it derailed the tank we were banking on, which brings me to your next question.
Q: How surprised are you that the Padres are so far ahead of the last-place Giants in the NL West?
A: EXTREMELY. Everything was in place to completely torch this season in order to get the top pick next year, and they've failed at failing.
Q: Are you hopeful about the Padres' future? Why or why not?
A: I hate redundancy, but EXTREMELY. Waves on waves on waves of talent are lined up to hit the shore every season, and they should be absurdly stacked around the turn of the decade. The failure to finish last overall multiplies that optimism, since the first wave is stronger than expected.
Q: Are you bummed you just missed Bartolo Colon facing the Padres at PetCo? He started Sunday?
A: I'm not, because I still have a hard time watching home games since I moved from San Diego before the season. If I knew he was pitching there, I'd probably put myself through a lot of extra self-abuse for being a failure at life and not being able to be there to bear witness to his glory.
Q: Remember when Bartolo Colon hit that home run at Petco?
A: I definitely do. That was the day James Shields died.
Q: What is it like being a Padres fan?
A: I'm not sure which I got more ridicule for while going to school in rural West Virginia in the '90s: being the queer kid or being a Padres fan. These days, both aspects are more accepted than they were then, but in either case I'm still mostly viewed as a humorous curiosity.
To continue the comparison, the advent of the internet becoming ubiquitous was huge for me as far as meeting with people I could identify with who didn't make me feel alone. While finding Gaslamp Ball in 2007 and making my first trip to Petco Park the same year were like the first time in a gay bar, moving to San Diego over eight years later was like becoming a regular at one. San Diego gets a bad, albeit somewhat deserved reputation as a bandwagon city, but lemme tell ya: The die-hards? Oh, they DIE HARD.
Q: What's a question I didn't ask but should have, and your answer? (I ask everyone this question, BTW).
I guess since I alluded to it in my first response, *extremely Myjah voice* Who's your favorite current Padres player?
I'm glad you asked, Myjah. Since they let the most precious player of all time, Alexi Amarista, walk to Colorado, my dude has been Hector Sanchez . Sure, he's a backup catcher who bounces to and from Triple-A, but I'm a backup catcher who bounces to and from Triple-A when it comes to life, so I can relate. Plus, when I got the chance to meet him last year, he complimented me on my tattoos, and this year when I told him his hair was looking good he gave me what has become my catchphrase: "Oh, Papi never forget the pelo." Plus he beats the living hell out of his old team -- the Giants -- and that provides me great joy and much laughter.