After an off-day yesterday, the Marlins are back out west this weekend - farther west than they've been all year actually. They're back in San Diego for a three game set with the Padres, which is, of course, one of Jack McKeon's old stomping grounds. This gave us a chance to sit down with the Padres' Swinging Friar.
: Friar, before we get into this, I have to ask you about your name. "Swinging Friar" seems to be a name laced with innuendo. I mean, it seems to conflict with what you're supposed to represent. Is there something we should know?
: Um, not really. I'm a Friar and baseball players, like the ones on the team I represent, swing bats. Get it?
: I guess. But we all saw this video over at Gaslamp Ball (if you're not patient enough to watch the whole video, skip ahead to when Anna's on the mound, about 45 seconds in). Your reaction to Anna Kournikova is a little odd for a man of the cloth, don't you think?
: Have you ever been that close to Anna Kournikova?
: No, sir.
: Well, let's talk some baseball. Will there be any runs scored this weekend?
: I'm sure there will be a few, but I'm guessing not too many. We're going to see some nice pitching matchups: Beckett and Eaton tonight, Leiter and Peavy tomorrow, and Burnett and Lawrence on Sunday.
: We try to predict the outcome of things over here with ichthyomancy. Do you get any advance knowledge of what's going to happen from the Lord?
: No. I'm pretty sure he's more concerned with other things. Besides, if I got advance notice of anything, I'd probably want it to be of non-baseball stuff.
: Tell us a little about the Padres new park - Petco Park. I hear your big boppers complain about the spacious outfield.
: They certainly did last year. Unlike most of the new parks, which are bandboxes, I think Petco is a pretty "fair" park. But the numbers say that it's a pitchers park. So far this year it's 24th in runs and 26th in homers - which is also almost exactly where things shook out last year.
: You know, many of us are not all that familiar with the Padres. Guys like Klesko, Nevin, and Giles are pretty well known - but who else should we know about?
: Mark Loretta is probably the most under-rated guy in the National League. His power hasn't come around yet this year, but he's still getting on base about 40% of the time, which is just what you want from a #2 hitter. It wouldn't surprise me to see him as the starting second baseman on the USA's World Cup team next spring.
: What about Trevor Hoffman? Is that dude still alive?
: Yes, very much so. And he's still pitching well too. He just recently notched his 400th career save. That got some good publicity, but what probably should have been more noted was Tervor's charity work.
: What about Sean Burroughs? Is he ever going to hit for power?
: Well, he's off to a decent start this year. He can sure hit for average. I'm not sold on the power coming around though. It's starting to look like his career highlight will be the postgame interview he gave in the Little League World Series.
: Woah - let's not get into that! This is a somewhat family oriented site.
: What does that mean - that you couldn't Google a transcript of the interview?
: Pretty much.
Well, it's been great talking to you Friar. I'm going to let you go now because I have to get a nap in before tonight's game. Looks like I'm going to have a late night. Oh, and if the Mermaids (and someone needs to work with the Marlins/Mermaids on their placement in a Google search...) traveled with the Marlins for this trip... well, you'd better behave.