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Padres Host Inaugural “Bloggers Night” 

bloggers night

There are few things in life that people strive to achieve having aside from a job that they enjoy doing. Perhaps better than doing rewarding work that you find pleasure in would be the idea of being rewarded for such work. The San Diego Padres organization certainly made such fantasies become a reality Thursday night as they hosted their first ever “Bloggers Night” – a night where the sports writers and bloggers around San Diego county were brought in for a night of interviews, swag, and overall VIP treatment. Fortunately, yours truly and Mr. Richard Dorsa of the Friarhood were brought in for this wonderful event.

The night began around 3:45pm where Richard and I met with a few new and familiar faces from the San Diego Padres blog scene – RJ’s Fro, Gaslamp Ball, and a few other members of Padres Public – outside the front gates to Petco Park. After a few minutes of standing around and awkwardly rubbing elbows, we were escorted onto the field for an early VIP batting practice viewing. Already on the field was infielder Logan Forsythe, who broke his bat on a big swing that sent a ball into left field, and outfielder Kyle Blanks who seemed to be progressing nicely in his rehab. While the bloggers were instructed to stay on one part of the field during BP, it didn’t stop a few members of the field coming to us.

The first individual that graced our presence was none other than Bob Scanlan of the Mighty 1090. Scanlan was kind enough to stick around for a while and get to know us, while also offering to field any questions we may have had. While Scanlan was with us, it was hard to not be distracted by the familiar faces walking along the concourse; Mark Grant would playfully scream down at Mark Sweeney on the field from the broadcasting booth, and Andrew Cashner would continuously peer over at our blogger’s corral wondering why we were there.

Before getting a chance to call out to the players getting their swings in, a familiar voice came from my right side and I was greeted by the smiling eyes of manager Bud Black. Buddy offered his hand out to shake mine and already I felt a comforting glow from the man who was elected the 2010 National League Manager of the Year. After learning our names and patting a few shoulders, Black asked us what we would like to know and what we were curious about. Bud talked about the young players that had been added onto the team and the approach that he takes as a manager when the clutch hit just isn’t coming through – look for an article by Mr. Richard Dorsa on our Q&A with Buddy coming up real soon.

Buddy spoke with all of us for a little bit longer before taking off to take a few throws across the diamond from Chase Headley. After taking a ball deep into the second deck in left field, Cashner came over to speak with us about his time as a pitcher and where he liked to hunt in the off season. Before you wonder, his dressing wound is doing just fine. Cash hopes to become a number one pitcher and potentially an ace, but knows he’s a ways off from that. And in regards to his power with a bat and athletic prowess, Andrew believes the entire pitching staff is capable of such power; just some days are better than others.

Oh, In case you were wondering, Scanlan is taller than Cashner, edging out the 6’6” pitcher by an inch and a half. Here I was in a land of giants, and I stand at a modest 6’ 1”. Go figure.

After Cashner, the Padres front office staff grabbed OF Jaff Decker to come speak with us. Decker talked about the wonderful experience he had in Colorado as he collected his first Major League hit and Homerun on the same swing. Jaff also spoke about how first baseman Yonder Alonso had taken him under his wing and helped him adjust to the fast pace of Major League baseball. When asked when he would be getting a haircut, Decker laughed and eluded to it not coming anytime soon, noting also that pitcher Casey Kelly had also begun to grow out his head and facial hair.

Decker joined the rest of the club as the team ran off the field to get ready for the game in the clubhouse downstairs. Before taking the steps down, however, a few players – Chase Headley, Will Venable, Casey Kelly, Andrew Cashner, newly called-up Chris Robinson and coach Glenn Hoffman – all stopped at a nearby section of Make-A-Wish VIP’s who were allowed early entrance to BP as well. The Padres provided the children and their families with baseballs to-be-signed by the aforementioned players and a couple of them had new jackets with the Padres logo shining on their chest. Not only was the organization looking to give the Bloggers the VIP treatment, but the community outreach that the club provided was evident in more ways than one with the Make-A-Wish children on the field.

After bumping into broadcaster Jerry Coleman in the tunnels behind home plate, we were led up to the Toyota Terrace Deck where a suite specifically for Blogger’s Night was set up. Free food and an amazing view was provided for us, as well as another visit from good ole’ Bob Scanlan. After Scanlan discussed the importance of the Padres Blogging scene for the fan base, a surprise visit from General Manager Josh Byrnes graced us just before the national anthem – fear not as Byrnes was asked many questions by everyone involved and an article regarding our conversation will be coming out soon.

After Byrnes discussed the Padres prospects in the farm system and in the 2014 divisional race, Josh took off to the Fox Sports Broadcasting Booth where he made it just in time to be mic’d up for first pitch. The wonderful staff that had been with us all night then had another surprise in store when they brought in upcoming Padres promotional items for us to snap pictures of and show off to the Congregation and other Friar Faithful. Hats, shopping bags, flip flops and even a Luchador Wrestling Mask were brought out for us to inspect and admire. Certainly, the Padres staff had scored some big points with the bloggers that night.

While the game didn’t end as we had hoped with a 4-1 loss to the New York Mets, the evening was a wonderful experience that neither Richard nor myself will soon forget. The attentiveness and eagerness of Shana Wilson and Nicky Patriarca, along with the assistance of Harrison Boyd (all Padres marketing staff) certainly made it appear that the Padres organization is faithful to its fans and hopes to encourage the promotion of the club on and off the field. The community outreach through Blogger’s Night left a huge impression and shows that the San Diego Padres are really in touch with Social Media and understand the importance of the club’s independent writing collective. Overall, their efforts were extremely successful.

With all the VIP treatment and wonderful memories that Richard and I took away, all we can say is that we hope the Padres continue to reach out to the writers outside the Stadium and that we appreciated everything we experienced that night. And with that final note, there’s nothing left to say other than #GoPadres.

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About the author: Ian Edward Russell Smith

Ian is a former writer for the San Diego Padres, having worked as the Padres' "In-Season Blogger" during the 2015 season. Ian wrote as a member of the Friarhood's writing staff between parts of 2013-2015, writing over 100 articles over that span. In addition to being a writer, Ian is also a recent graduate of California Western School of Law in San Diego, having earned a Juris Doctor, as well as his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science/Law & Society from the University of California, Riverside. Be sure to follow Ian on Twitter (@SDRedBull8) to see what other ramblings he's posted about the Padres, San Diego, and baseball in general!