A Learning Experience

“Grace: A disposition to be generous or helpful; goodwill.  Mercy; clemency.”

In October, I was given the opportunity to attend the 2012 Padres Fantasy Camp thanks to my friend Rebecca Herman.  I arrived at 2PM and walked into the visitor clubhouse and sat down at one of the lockers in the room.  We were led out of the locker room onto the field, and asked to warm up.  After playing catch for 10 minutes, we were grouped based on the color wristbands we were given when we first walked in (I was yellow) and our journey began.

The first drill we had were in the batting cages, where we took our BP and showed several Padres staff and players how well we could hit.  After we all had 2 turns in the cage, we walked out to take infield.  What amazed me was how long of a throw it is from first base to third base and I immediately thought of how Chase Headley makes this throw day in and day out.  This thought went through my mind as I fielded each position during the drills.

Upon completing infield drills, we walked out to the bullpen to work with Randy Jones.  Now, I’ve played baseball and softball almost all of my life, but standing on the mound next to Randy Jones in front of a group of guys I didn’t know caused me to be nervous.  My first pitch missed the catcher completely, but Randy showed me what I was mechanically doing wrong.  He didn’t try to insult me, he told me what to do, and helped me relax with his own brand of humor and my last few pitches were over the plate.

The last part was the drill I was waiting for; outfield practice.  We were told to use 2 hands when we caught the ball and to go have fun.  When my turn came, I caught all but one ball hit to me.  The only bummer is we were not allowed to make throws after catching the ball, but all in all, it was fun to run in the outfield.

When all was done, we were led to the back and served sandwiches, chatted baseball with people we spend the last few hours with and see the Nationals vs. Cardinals game on TV.  Watching that game after practicing at Petco Park gave me a new appreciation for what players do.  It’s not easy to hit a ball pitched to you. It’s difficult to catch and throw across the infield perfectly every time.  It’s REALLY hard to stand on the rubber 60 feet away and throw strikes, much less throw pitches to fool major league hitters and it’s hard to run and catch balls in the outfield.  I went home that night and committed that I would cheer for my Padres and try not to heckle them, because it’s not an easy game.

“Wisdom: The quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight.”

All that I wrote above came back to mind when I saw an article on Friday stating that several local bloggers, including members of  Padres Public, would be “taking over” Fox Sports.  In the 5th and 7th inning of today’s game, they will be given an opportunity to talk about the Padres and give a “fans” perspective of the game. I wonder now if these bloggers will have a new respect for on-the-air people like Jerry Coleman and Dick Enberg, the latter being someone who is critiqued by people that don’t like his style or the way he does his job. I wonder how those stepping in front of the camera today representing the blogging community will take it if they hear terms like “bloggisms” or “he dresses like a blogger” or many other cruel insults that could be potentially lobbed in their direction. I will be one that will watch today to see how it goes.  I wish none of them ill will at all, I just hope they come to understand what I learned on the field of Petco Park: it’s not as easy as it looks.

“Respect: Admire (someone or something) deeply, as a result of their abilities, qualities, or achievements.”

The Casual Fan-Writing About the Game I Love


One comment

  1. Mark

    What a great experience. I know because I’ve had similar. But now think how much greater that experience would be if you got to spend not just an afternoon but a whole week with Randy and other former Padres like, Garry Templeton, Derrel Thomas not to mention Angels’ Hall of Famer Rod Carew, Clyde Wright, Tim Salmon and Dodgers’ greats Bill Russell, Steve Yeager, Rick Monday, Tommy Davis and Jeff Torborg. This is what LADABC’s camp offers you at its 2014 camp in Tucson. Learn from the coaches, play games managed by the coaches and even play against the coaches. Then spend evenings hearing their stories and getting to know them as friends.

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