I was in LA yesterday for work and I started back to San Diego at about 4:00 or so. I called JBox to let him know I was running late for the Padres Awards dinner at 5:30PM.
I will preface by saying that jbox is under the (mistaken) impression that I am "always" late to Padres functions. Also, jbox gets a little bit weird about the timing of things and insists on being 15-20 minutes early if there's something that involves Mentor.
I was driving with my director and one of the VPs of the company as my passengers and I didn't have my earbuds and mic, so I was going to have to use the speakerphone.
Before I dialed, I mentioned to my passengers that the person I was calling (jbox) was probably not going to be happy that I was going to be late. "Why," my director asked. "Does the dinner actually start at 5:30?"
"I don't think so," I said. "But being fashionably late isn't something that he'll be able to play off. I think he might get weird."
So I dialed and I told jbox that I was on the road back to San Diego from LA and jbox proceeded to say the F-word a good dozen times in various forms. "F_CK!" and "f_______ck" and "F_CK you" and "what the f_ck". I kept trying to tell him that I'd be there in time for dinner and that I'd just miss the cocktail hour. I also tried to tell him that he was on speakerphone and that others could hear him, but I don't think he heard any of it over the f-word being said over and over. Finally, I hung up on him.
I apologized to the car and my director said, "He didn't take that well."
"No," I said. "I think he's worried about having to be real social. Like not knowing what to say to some of the people who might be there."
"It's a wonder why," said the VP. "He should just go with the f-word. That's a good ice breaker."
So I ended up arriving ten minutes to seven, which was ten minutes before they actually served dinner. Because jbox had, for whatever reason, told the people up front that I was going to miss the event, they gave my seat to somebody else and I had to rely on Warren (Padres Director of Communications) to rescue me and sit with the writers while jbox and Jonny Dub sat with the bloggers.
Do people really care who the team sponsored awards go to other than the players who receive them? Like, I don't know if it really matters if Heath Bell wins the Fireman award and, as Matt Vasgersian noted, the Favorite Newcomer award has historically gone to guys who haven't stuck around with the team. It's nice to be recognized, but I figure people who didn't go would rather know what it was like as opposed to the most superficial facts about the evening.
So that's what you're getting more of after the jump...
I got introduced to everybody at the table by Warren, but I didn't realize that "Jay" was Jay Paris of the NC Times and "Bill" was Bill Center of the UT, et cetra. I didn't realize it until a bit later when I was sitting uncomfortably and Corey Brock said, "Bill, show the kid here the Magic Eye". And Bill Center guessed, within a buck either way, how much money I had in my pocket, including the silver. That's when I knew I was among the newspapermen.
It was fun sitting with the beat writers. I observed carefully to see if they would or wouldn't applaud as the various awards were presented. I imagined them to be like the Supreme Court and military generals during the State of the Union, impassive to any opinion, not wanting to give even a trace of approval or disapproval.
Instead, they just kinda applauded when they didn't happen to be eating and didn't applaud when they happened to not hear what was going on. I watched carefully and followed their lead, laughing a bellowing laugh whenever they laughed and nodding and snickering knowingly when certain things were said about something or another that caused all of them to snicker and nod.
The food was good and fit reasonably well into my four hour body diet. I ate the salad, the steak and the veggies and had just a taste of the mashed potatoes. I did eat all of the dessert though and punished myself that night with a kettlebell workout.
I also got to talk a bit with "Ish", Josh Ishoo, who works in the Communications department for the Padres. He'd grown a beard since I saw him last. If you didn't know, Josh is a handsome dude. Dates models. Etc. He's also a little bit of a baby face. The beard gave him a rugged older appearance though he admitted that he was locked into it for a while. Shaving it off would be too drastic of a change. He let me run my fingernails through it a few times while we ate dessert.
The event itself was good. It kicked off with an auction. I almost held my camera up to try to take a photo of the crowd from where I was, but I realized that I would probably end up bidding a couple thousand dollars on a jersey. Instead, I held perfectly still.
"Why'd you stop scratching my beard?" Ish asked.
"Shoosh, dude," I said without moving. "That's how they get you. One second you're scratching a luxurious beard and the next second you've paid $30k to sit in Jed Hoyer's lap while he writes the lineup card for a Reds game."
I realize this post is taking a while and jbox is probably going to write something up about Town Hall Meeting soon, so I think I'll just end on that note and continue the story some other time.