Sugar walked us up to a suite behind the right field pole. There we dined on ballpark fare, which included hot dogs, sliders, peanuts, Cracker Jacks, soda and brownies. I inhaled a Sprite, a water, three sliders and three bags of Cracker Jacks before Bob Scanlan made his second appearance of the night.
Friarhood asked him a question about Edinson Volquez's composure. Scan said that in his own youth he was a very passionate pitcher and he had to learn to control his emotions. He had to learn to let mistakes go and become 100% focused on making his next pitch. He told us that when Padres pitching coach Darren Balsley is standing behind Volquez in the bullpen he is at his best and a completely different pitcher. Balsley says Volquez has incredible "no hit stuff" and could be a quality starter on any team when he's standing behind him. When Volquez is in a game though, he let's his emotions control him. Scan suggested that Volquez needs to become his own pitching coach by calming himself down and keeping his focus on the next pitch.
Jake Peavy was mentioned as an emotional pitcher who has been successful by one of the bloggers. Scan said there were even times Peavy would get carried away. He recalled a time when Padres teammate Greg Maddux told Peavy to "shut up and pitch".
Scan was also argued very passionately against instant replay in baseball. He doesn't want to change the game and slow it down by reviewing plays. He seems to believe in baseball karma where bad calls will even out over the course of a game and season. He said usually it's not a blown call that costs a team a game, it's a team not executing on the field. I disagree wholeheartedly. Getting the call right is of the utmost importance.
We also learned that his fellow radio broadcaster, Ted Leitner, has seen every episode of The Simpsons.
Padres GM Josh Byrnes entered next. We had been kept in the dark about any possible Padres employees that would visit us. We were told that we might be able to talk to Bud Black, but nothing beyond that. Seeing Byrnes walk into the suite to talk to us was a surprise to all.
He's a really nice guy. He introduced himself, shook our hands and sat down to answer any questions we might have. He just started talking baseball when one of the bloggers placed an iPhone in front of him to record. Byrnes asked "So we're on the record now?"
I kind of lost my composure at this point. I was frustrated. As a blogger and a fan, I've learned over the years that the worst thing you can do is get baseball guys on the record. You'll never learn anything new. You might as well just read Padres.com for your information.
After Byrnes finished his answer, I asked if we could turn off the recorder and get back to just talking. Everyone seemed to agree and the recorder was switched off. It's not that Byrnes was going to start confessing his deepest secrets, but there was a different vibe when you're just talking conversationally. Even though we might not be able to write about something that's off- the-record, it can help with your perspective towards other issues and at least serve as background information when forming an opinion.
I asked if this year's ballpark fence changes has done what the team had hoped. He told us he hadn't looked at the numbers yet, but that he feels they've been a success. He thinks they might have cut down on triples, but that no one in the clubhouse was complaining about hitting in Petco Park anymore. I asked him the tough follow up question, "No one?". He insisted he hadn't heard any grumbling.
The PA system at Petco prior to game made it really difficult to hear his answers from across the room. I asked him to diagnose Chase Headley's problems at the plate. I can only tell you what I heard. I think he said that opposing pitchers are pitching to him differently now, they've adjusted after last year. Also not having Carlos Quentin hitting behind him has given him less good pitches to swing at.
In Part Four we get an advance look at some the new Padres giveaway items.