The Great American Baseball Trip

Game 22

New York Mets vs. San Diego Padres

Friday, July 25, 1997 - 7:05pm

Jack Murphy Stadium

San Diego, California

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Pre-Game Report
 Tony Gwynn is still chasing the illusive .400 batting average. The Padres are still chasing the Giants for the NL West division lead. And, the Mets were probably chased out of the City of Angels. Should be a pretty good contest -- I hope the weather is nice.

Stadium Stats - Jack Murphy Stadium

Surface: Grass
Capacity: 48,639
Dimensions: Left Field: 327 feet, Center Field: 405 feet, Right Field: 330 feet

baseball diamond image

Team Profiles
Mets Logo

New York Mets

 The New York Mets have the worst luck of any team in the majors. They have been in a perennial state of rebuilding, shuffling young talent in and out of their lineup since a league worst 103 losses in 1993. And, when they finally compile a strong pitching staff to lead them through the very tough National League East, the team loses one pitcher to depression and another with tuberculosis. Fortunately, Manager Bobby Valentine has a firm grasp of baseball's fundamentals and knows what repairs can be made on this team.

 Valentine has a strong starting rotation to build on including Mark Clark, Pete Harnsich and Bobby Jones. If Jason Isringhausen can stave of injury, he has the talent to be an all-star. And, a strong bullpen including Toby Borland, Greg McMichael and Ricardo Jordan (all acquired during a three-day span in November) should be able to nail down some key wins in the face of low run support.

 As far as offensive production goes, the Mets lack considerable power in their lineup, even with the addition of John Olerud, and shouldn't be expected to produce a lot of runs. Young stars Rey Ordonez and Edgardo Alfonzo provide strong defense but have yet to find their major league swing. And, the Mets are left to hope that veterans Carlos Baerga and Bernard Gilkey provide the leadership needed to gel this team into a contender.

Padres Logo

San Diego Padres

 The Padres finished off their most successful season in franchise history by sweeping a three game series in Los Angeles and winning the National League West. So, when the Padres took the field for the 1997 season, they knew two things: First, they didn't have to make many changes to field a strong defense of their title, and second, the Dodgers would be searching for revenge, and would stop at nothing to win the NL West. If that isn't enough to motivate a team for a run at a division title, I don't know what is.

 Andy Ashby and Joey Hamilton will lead the Padres starting rotation, hoping to correct many of the weaknesses shown during the '96 playoffs. Sterling Hitchcock, a durable left-hander who won 13 games last season with the Seattle Mariners should fill the three spot while veteran lefty Fernando Valenzuela fills out the rotation. Last year, the Padres bullpen led the majors in ERA and opponents' batting average. Trying to repeat that effort will be Doug Botchler in long relief and Tim Worrell, assuming he isn't moved to the starting rotation, as set-up man. Trevor Hoffman, building on 42 saves last season, will again be the Padres closer.

 The Padres have balance and depth between the infield and outfield. Combining veteran leadership with young power and strong defense, the Padres have one of the best lineups in baseball. Ken Caminit and Archi Cianfraco will join Wally Joyner as the leaders in the infield. Caminiti hit a league leading 28 homers following the all-star break and is hoping to start with the same intensity he finished with. And, powerful Greg Vaughn, and lead-off hitter Rickey Henderson will join the perennial NL batting champion Tony Gwynn in the outfield.

Post-Game Report
 A little tremor in the 4th inning and some interesting scoring in the eighth were the highlights of the game at Qualcomm Stadium.

Check out all the details here, including my impressions of the stadium, batting practice, the team management I met, being up in the press box, the food, and the game and the fans

Highlights from the City of Infinite Possiblities

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