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Scenes from Spring Training: Yu Darvish Mania

Mar 7, 2012, 12:30 PM EDT

Auxilliary Press Box

I’m not gonna say that there’s a lot of interest in Yu Darvish‘s first start, but the Padres’ PR staff has roped off 100 seats in a section along the third base line as an auxiliary media section.  Yeah, this is not your usual Wednesday morning in the Cactus League.

I got here super early and made my way to the press box to find that every single seat had a name tag on it already, with seats reserved for everyone from Ken Rosenthal on down to the weekend sports reporter of KBFE radio from East Nowhere, Texas. Add to that the usual huge contingent from the Japanese media and we’re talking a really full house.

Indeed, and this is not a joke, here is where I set up in the press box when I got here:


A few minutes later someone from the Padres’ PR staff upgraded me from the folding tray to a folding table. Which they didn’t have to do given that I’m basically squatting, but these guys are really awesome. No joke: other major league PR staffs can take a cue or two from the Padres’ people, because they are on point today.

After I got sorted, I headed over to the Padres’ facility. Because the Peoria Sports Complex is one of those new mega-facilities housing two teams (the Mariners train here too), it was a long walk, But it’s a beautiful morning here. Crisp, a little on the cool side for Arizona, but perfect for anyone who hails from normal climes. I don’t mean to brag about how awesome my job is all the time because I know that can be annoying, but sometimes I have to pinch myself when I realize that I’m getting paid to smell the freshly-cut grass, listen to bats cracking from distant batting cages and take in perfect desert-in-winter weather. It’s beyond words.

When I got to the Padres’ place, I checked out the bulletin board. The lineup was up. As I wrote it down, a man sidled up next to me and said “skip made out a pretty good lineup today, eh?”  I was about to agree when I turned and saw that it was Bud Black who said it. What a jokester. For the record, the lineup facing Darvish today will be Cameron Maybin, Orlando Hudson, Jesus Guzman, Carlos Quentin, Will Venable, Mark Kotsay, James Darnell, John Baker and Everth Cabrera. Not quite an Opening Day lineup, but not bad either.

I made my way over to Orlando Hudson’s locker. He was friendly and accommodating like most veterans are. I was kind of worried that the Padres players would get sick of all of the questions about Darvish, but if Hudson was annoyed he didn’t show it. He said that he was interested in seeing Darvish up close — he has really only seen his World Baseball Classic action — but that it wasn’t that big a deal. It’s still so early in spring training that he’s just trying to get his timing right and all of that, so it really doesn’t matter who he’s facing. Makes sense. I suppose the Darvish stuff is more interesting for the media than it is for those guys.

As for Darvish himself: he won’t be here for another hour and a half or so. When he does get here, he’ll look up and see this, however:


Yep: wind blowing out hard. Since I took that picture it has shifted towards right field a bit, but it’s still blowing out strong. I wish Yonder Alonso or some other real lefty power was in the lineup today.  Wind-aided or not, if Darvish gets taken deep a few times I imagine there would be a full-on media meltdown, and that would be great fun.

I’ll be checking in later with reports of how the most anticipated two innings in recent spring training history go.

  1. phukyouk - Mar 7, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    seriously dude? a dell? come on.. the only thing worse than a dell is a Mac.

    • cur68 - Mar 7, 2012 at 12:48 PM

      Computer nerd baiting, p’youk? Are we above nothing here on HBT? Well, I’m not I guess, because my Macbook and I say: how’s your latest PC crash coming along? Had to reload your OS recently? Are you avoiding Norton AV? If not, is your anti-Virus working ok? All updated on your latest changes with Windows’s 7?

      • El Bravo - Mar 7, 2012 at 12:56 PM

        I conCUR! You know how many friggin’ viruses (viri?) I’d have on my PC if I owned such a dumb thing?

      • Utley's Hair - Mar 7, 2012 at 1:10 PM

        Well, if you’d stay away from THOSE sites, ya might not have a problem….

      • Kanonen80 - Mar 7, 2012 at 1:13 PM

        I’m sorry, but my $750 19″ Windows lap-top and I are too busy playing Fallout 3 and Skyrim that we purchased with the money saved from not buying a MacBook to take your bait. 😉

      • phukyouk - Mar 7, 2012 at 1:17 PM

        Cur you are MUCH smarter than your statement. i know this to be a fact. my PC has not been rebooted since Jan 2nd 2011.. yea over ONE YEAR! i have ZERO viruses. i have NEVER HAD A VIRUS. i do not use that crap. i use the FREE MS security essentials. what i would like to know is how your Mac, which cost at least 4 times as much as my PC is doing.

      • cur68 - Mar 7, 2012 at 1:57 PM

        My Mac is terrific. We’re spending our day editing the literature review for my thesis. With that said, I saw “The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo” a few days back (the original, Swedish version, not the James Bond version) and was shocked at all the Mac-Hacking going on. Not feeling that smug about my Mac’s integrity after that. Mind you, all the PC hacking going on was pretty epic, too but we expect that kind of thing with the PC.

        As for gaming, that’s what I have an Xbox, for, duh….

      • badmamainphilliesjamas - Mar 7, 2012 at 2:04 PM

        @phukyouk – that is what’s known in my neck of the woods as a kinehora. Don’t tempt the pc gods.

      • Ben - Mar 7, 2012 at 2:12 PM

        I’m a Mac user and have been for a decade, but Windows 7 is rock solid, and has made Windows legitimately good OS. Not just useable, high-quality.

      • cur68 - Mar 7, 2012 at 2:16 PM

        Ben, man, get with the program: stop invalidating a fellow Mac users’s outlandish claim of W7 being crappy when said user is baiting of a PC user, kay? C’mon, now. This is an art form, not unlike baiting Philly Phans. Don’t be steppin’ on art.

      • Ben - Mar 7, 2012 at 2:39 PM

        Sorry dude, my bad!

    • Gobias Industries - Mar 7, 2012 at 1:02 PM

      You’re lucky I’m in the middle of a game of Donkey Kong Junior on my Coleco Adam, otherwise I’d give you a piece of my mind.

  2. randygnyc - Mar 7, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    You’re in the padres clubhouse? Some LSD in the punchbowl could make for some ESPN clips of Darvish’ debut guaranteed to run on loop for several decades. In fact, they’d still be running for many years after your release from prison. IMMORTALITY!!!

  3. cur68 - Mar 7, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    Whoa. That’s some lil zephyr, there. Kite flyin’ weather, to be sure. I wonder how Yu is with the ground balls?

  4. El Bravo - Mar 7, 2012 at 12:58 PM

    Is Whirling Darvish taken yet?

    • foreverchipper10 - Mar 7, 2012 at 1:13 PM

      It has been mentioned before yes.

      • proudlycanadian - Mar 7, 2012 at 2:07 PM

        I have used Twirling Darvish before.

    • Utley's Hair - Mar 7, 2012 at 1:43 PM

      You’re about a year late and a rum cake short.

      • b7p19 - Mar 7, 2012 at 2:21 PM

        I think what you meant is “You’re about a year late and a rum HAM short.”

  5. nategearhart - Mar 7, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    I had totally lost track of Orlando Hudson…glad to hear he’s still in baseball. It occurs to me that I have known next-to-nothing about the Padres and their doings since 2007 or so.

    • Ben - Mar 7, 2012 at 2:13 PM

      You didn’t miss anything

      • b7p19 - Mar 7, 2012 at 2:25 PM

        They were a game away from the playoffs in 2010 with 90 wins with a $40 mil payroll. I’d say thats something.

  6. rohlo - Mar 8, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    guy could be good? kinda cocky IMO will veneable of the padres rocked a strright to center 400 ft+++ double off him…only reason it was a double is becasue of hte huge wall to straight would have been out of any ballpark in mlb and he squared up on the hit as well… yu’s response- “it was kind of wind aided” LMAO veneable squared up on it clearly!! the wind was blowing to right as well!! what a douche!! i say “FAHK YU”.. cant believe teams would pay so much to negotiate with these overated asian pitchers and hitters.. dice k has been mediocre or injured and foukodome has been average as well!

  7. rohlo - Mar 8, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    guys arm will be toats as throws so hard and the hitters here are more talented than in his home country!!

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