On Saturday morning at 11 am, "Fast" Eddie, the driver of the Fox Sports San Diego's Fan Express Bus, picked us up our hotel in Glendale and delivered us to the Peoria Sports Complex. With two hours to kill before the Padres game started, Dex, Rick (RJ's Fro) and I decided to separate from the rest of the group and walk to the back fields in search of Dex's brother-in-law Brooks Conrad.
If all goes according to plan Brooks will be starting at 3B for the AAA El Paso Chihuahuas. Although with news that fellow ASU grad and one-time top infield prospect Brandon Wood was just released by the team nothing is for certain.
On field 4 we took shelter from the sun and watched the grounds crew work as we waited for the players to take the field and start their warm-ups. After about 20 minutes we decided to leave and grab a bite to eat before returning. On our way towards the main complex we ran smack dab into Brooks and Travis Buck exiting the clubhouse. They were on their way, as they said, "to kick the Mariners out of the home dugout".
Brooks was super chill, as always. If he was starstruck or nervous from seeing two of the bloggers from the prior night's #BloggersTakeOver segment on FSSD, he didn't show it. Brooks looked ruggedly strong. It's probably different for Dex because he sees him more often, but I still think of Brooks as a middle school kid, so it's always a bit of a surprise to see him all growns up in a man size body. He told us that he was having a good Spring so far and would be starting at 3B in the game at 1 pm. We told him we'd be there to cheer him on, after we feasted on ballpark food.
After our brief meeting we entered the main stadium and bought pulled pork sandwiches and kettle corn with discretionary food money graciously provided by FSSD. Dex didn't know it then, but he was destined to carry that bag of kettle corn with him the rest of the trip and all the way back to San Diego. He offered me some every 15 minutes, like clockwork.
Watching games on the back fields is a different kind of experience. The bullpen pitchers were literally sitting behind us in the bleachers. I, in turn, was sitting directly behind Rick. He was easily annoyed by how loud I chewed the kettle corn just a few inches away from his ear. I tried to tell him that it's part of the fan experience, but he wasn't buying it.
I recorded all three of Brooks' at bats, but for some reason I deleted all but the one where he struck out. Unfortunately he went 0-3 from what we saw. He did pull one down the right field line, but it was juuuust foul.
Here's a video of Brooks being interviewed after the game. Weird that he didn't give us a shout out.