On this final day of the 2011 regular season, Channel 4 will be broadcasting its last Padres game. I want to thank the Ch4 crew for being outstanding all these years and making watching the Padres even more enjoyable. Hopefully they will find a home at the new network and continue to give us brilliant and fun Padres broadcasts. I'm certain they won't disappoint us in tonight's season closer.
Wade LeBlanc will try to end the season on a high note as he takes the mound in tonight's finale. He has done well in his last two starts, combining for 13 innings in which he gave up three runs on eight hits, three walks, and 14 strikeouts. He hopes to leave a lasting impression in his final start of the season and help the Padres go out with a victory.
Ryan Dempster will try to do the same for the Cubs. After eight seasons with the team, this may be his last start for them, and in any case he will try to put up a fantastic performance against the Padres tonight. He is under .500 for the season and hasn't won a game in September, but he has been a fairly solid starter for the Cubs over the years.
Tonight we bid farewell to a 2011 season that many consider disappointing and unfulfilling. It's a very bittersweet moment. On one hand, we can finally put this season behind us and look forward to hopefully a better season in 2012. We can take those 91 losses and push them to the back of our minds. However, we must now face the offseason. No more games every night. No more trips to the ballpark this year. No more GLB game threads to make you feel less lonely while watching the game at home by yourself. No, we will have to wait until next Spring when we can get our Padres baseball fix again. We'll count down the days until pitchers and catchers report, then the days until Spring Training games begin, and finally the days until regular season starts. When we can gather once more at Petco Park or watch at home from other cities/states/countries, with the anticipation at an unbearable level, and collectively feel at home again as our Padres take the field in probably some snazzy new uniforms that people will hate, but we won't care because baseball will be back and once again all will be right in the world.
I attended my last game of the season last night. After jbox and I parted, I'm not gonna lie, I got a little emotional. Despite the ups and downs (noticeably more downs than ups) of this season, it was still full of fun and memories. We introduced some new players to the organization and said goodbye to others. We got to see the future of the team come up and give us a taste of the talent that we can look forward to. We watched our team go through early struggles and injuries and losing streaks, but we also watched them battle back after the All Star Break, get some big wins, and have fun right until the very end. We were on the good side of some lopsided victories, won some important series, retired Trevor Hoffman in style, and made things in the NL West a little interesting with some division wins at the end. I also can't remember a year when players interacted more with fans than they did this year, whether it was Orlando Hudson berating boo-ers on Twitter or Heath Bell or Anthony Bass giving away tickets to thank fans for their support. We've complained and moaned and been depressed many times this season, but we had a lot of good times as well. Just try to remember that when you start to get sad about the unfulfilled potential of this 2011 season.
GO FRIARS!! KEEP THE FAITH!! FINISH STRONG!!