I love my mom. pic.twitter.com/eLEe7KDzbt— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) July 27, 2014
I. Can’t. Stop. Laughing!
|Left field and the train from our seats|
|From our seats|
|Biggio to Bagwell|
I’m still in shock that Mr. Padre – Mr. San Diego as far as I’m concerned – is gone. Tony Gwynn, the best player the San Diego Padres ever had, died yesterday after a long battle with cancer of the salivary gland. He was 54 years old.
Losing Tony so young hasn’t just been devastating for me, but for everyone that calls the San Diego area home as well as those who once lived here. We didn’t lose the face of the local MLB franchise. We lost an icon.
Tony was the best hitter in my lifetime, and I was around when Rod Carew, Pete Rose and Bill Madlock were the dominant hitters in their eras. But Gwynn was much more than that. Tony became the pillar of our community. He gave his time and money to local charities, did local advertising for businesses, and made many appearances on television and radio to talk baseball.
There are too many favorite Tony Gwynn moments to mention. There was the Captain Video nickname he picked up early in his career when it became known he used game tape to study his hitting technique and opposing pitchers. There was the time Gwynn appeared on The Jim Rome Show, back when Romey was only on radio, and he did a funny imitation of Rickey Henderson talking in the third person that made us instant fans of Rickey upon his arrival in San Diego. Who can forget the ground ball he hit to Ryne Sandberg that turned the tide in the 1984 National League Championship Series? Or that bomb he hit to right field in Yankee Stadium off David Wells in the 1998 World Series?
In an era when major league baseball stars had bodies built by performance enhancing drugs, Gwynn had one built by Betty Crocker. He gave hope to pudgy men that they too could play professional sports at a high level yet not look like the stereotypical athlete.
Or as Jim Rome has said many times over the years, “Fat guys with skill rule!”
Tony Gwynn was special. He could have left San Diego whenever his contract came up, but chose to stay even when the money offered by the Padres wasn’t as much as what he could have made in larger markets. Gwynn could have rode off quietly into the sunset when he retired after the 2001 season, but he became the head coach at San Diego State University and continued to preach baseball gospel to his students as well as fans of both the Padres and Aztecs.
San Diegans will never forget Tony Gwynn for all the wonderful things he did for our community, and we were lucky to have him.
This isn't a beating. It's The Red Wedding, NBA style. #GoSpursGo— The Huntress (@HuntressInSoCal) June 16, 2014
There is no other way for me to put it. Tonight’s title-clinching game was the most brutal ending of a season since The Red Wedding on Game of Thrones. It wasn’t just another 20+ victory for the San Antonio Spurs. It was the annihilation of a Miami Heat team that was not only overhyped, but could only go as far as LeBron James could carry them. We remember how that worked out in 2007, don’t we?
Five titles in fifteen years is an amazing accomplishment in the modern era of the NBA. Even more amazing is that head coach Gregg Popovich has reworked his game plan over the years to adapt to the times. Once upon a time, the offense ran through David Robinson. Then it was The Big Three – Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili – and a commitment to team defense that carried the team to an NBA title what seemed like every other year. Now The Big Three are considered role players, and youngsters like Patty Mills and Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard will lead the team through the rest of this decade with an offense that is reminiscent of Showtime in L.A..
What’s scary about the Spurs isn’t their scoring or their commitment to play together as a team. It’s that after nearly two decades of winning basketball, they have kicked the NBA title window back open years after many people thought it was closed forever.
Will this team be back for a third straight NBA Finals appearance in 2015? A repeat title? If The Big Three and Coach Pop come back, I’m betting on it.