Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Great Expectations...

This post will probably be short and disjointed for a number of reasons, the first of which is I'm starting it at 11:45 pm. Why, you might ask, am I so disorganized as to be starting a post that needs to be published before I sleep approximately 15 minutes after I should already be in bed?

I blame baseball.

I am a San Diego Padres fan. I have been since I was nine years old. If you follow baseball, you probably know that being a San Diego Padres fan has been a largely thankless loyalty. The Padres have been a major league team since 1969. During that time, they won the National League pennant twice. They lost the World Series both times.

The Padres have been a small-market team with a rotating cast of owners, most of whom were determined to run the organization on the cheap. There were frequent fire sales. If I named all of the great baseball players who got their start with the Padres and went on to stardom elsewhere…it would just be sad (Adrian Gonzalez, *mutter, *grumble).

The Padres have had their moments. Any team that could boast of a Tony Gwynn (the best hitter in baseball since Ted Williams) and Trevor Hoffmann (a relief pitcher so good they named an award after him) has some history to be proud of. There have been winning Padres teams that have done it on the baseball equivalent of duct tape and bailing wire. But mostly, they've been the West Coast's Lovable Losers, without the cool ivy-covered wall that the Cubs have.

Tony Gwynn, AKA Mr. Padre, who played his entire career in 
San Diego, 
when he could've made a lot more money elsewhere. 

Then this year in the off-season, something bizarre happened: A new ownership group hired a new GM who aggressively and brilliantly remade the team with a series of trades that brought All-Stars and former Rookies of the Year and somehow managed to do this without a huge payroll to work with. It was like he was picking other team's pockets. I wish I had more time and more expertise to write about this, but I would not be at all surprised if someone writes a book a la "Moneyball" about A.J. Preller and the Padres makeover in a couple of years.

He traded for the best reliever in baseball on Easter Sunday! And man this guy is good

 What does this have to do with my bad organizational and time-management skills that have led me to writing about baseball at 12:20 am for a blog post that I should have at least started thinking about before sunset?

For one thing, yesterday was Opening Day. And for once, Padres fans have great expectations.

"Could this be the year?" 
Note that I am wearing one of my two retro jerseys from the 80s, 
both of which have T. Gwynn's name and number on the back

Baseball, it is often said, has a very long season. It's a pretty punishing schedule for an athlete, 162 games, playing 4 games a week on average. Even the most talented and enthusiastic players get tired sometimes. It's a grind.

Kind of like writing novels.

Every time I start a new book, I take a deep breath. Well, several. And think: OMG, this is going to be a metric crap-ton of work, and it's really complicated, and it's going to take me a long time. Do I have the talent and the stamina to pull this off?

I just started a new book, and it's way too soon to tell how it will turn out. But it's Opening Day, when everything is possible, and a winning season is within reach, no matter what your team.

Lisa..every other Wednesday...


  1. Someday I need to get that game explained to me. Is it like fast cricket without tea or cucumber sandwiches? Or complicated rounders? Why does the bowler chappie not take a good run at it? If somebody will explain it to me, I will explain shinty to them! And pay the bar bill- it might be a long discussion.... , very long.

    1. Well, there aren't any cucumber sandwiches, but at Petco (our ballpark), there are two kinds of great pizza, tacos a plenty, barbecue, sushi, one of the best burger joints in town, and I'm quite sure a variety of vegetarian options (because this IS California after all). Plus craft beer. Oh yeah. More kinds than you can count. And wine. And a tequila bar...basically you are only limited by what you can eat and drink by your budget and your appetite.

      Oh, you wanted to know about baseball? Sorry, I'm hungry. I got a little sidetracked.

  2. The nice thing about being a novelist, though, is that you always get to throw out the first pitch... (and, yes, you can take that several ways :-).

  3. Yep, you're definitely a born Padres fan. Orange really looks good on you! And that comes from a fellow long sufferer of the Black and Gold persuasion.

  4. I'm not a baseball fan, but I AM a Padres fan! And I love the analogy between baseball and writing.