Chris Cannizzaro, RIP: From Stengelese foil to teaching as winning

Chris Cannizzaro as a young Original Met“The first major league pitch I ever called . . . a curve ball to Wally Moon,” Chris Cannizzaro once said. “I didn’t catch it.” That’s because Moon, then with the Dodgers, hit it far over the infamous Chinese Screen in left field in the old Los Angeles Coliseum, where the Dodgers were shoehorned into playing baseball until Dodger Stadium was ready in 1962.

Cannizzaro was then enjoying one of a couple of cups of coffee with the Cardinals. If he didn’t get to catch his first major league called pitch, he didn’t have any better luck in his first major league at-bat: he grounded out to second base against Sandy Koufax.

Preller, Padres learn the hard way about medical deception

Trying to hide Drew Pomeranz's health record from the Red Sox when trading him got A.J. Preller docked . . .

Trying to hide Drew Pomeranz’s health record from the Red Sox when trading him got A.J. Preller docked . . .

It’s not nice to fool either Mother Nature or your trading partner. The Padres are learning that the hard way. General manager A.J. Preller has been suspended for thirty days without pay for trying to fool the Red Sox at minimum. It may not stop there.

Allowing that docking a GM with a fortnight left in the regular season amounts almost to a slap on the wrist, baseball government has sent a message: Deal straight, or we’ll straighten you out. This after a considerable probe into whether Preller and the Padres played entirely straight when it came to medical information involving players it sought to trade.

Prior knowledge, gained the hard way

Mark Prior, hoping to teach Padres' pitching prospects about the pitfalls he didn't handle well as a Cubs phenom.

Mark Prior, hoping to teach Padres’ pitching prospects about the pitfalls he didn’t handle well as a Cubs phenom.

Three years ago, Mark Prior finally gave up the ghost and retired as a pitcher, with a few words of warning to younger players about taking things for granted in an often unforgiving game. The San Diego native walked off the mound at 32 after what seemed like eternal comeback attempts in several minor league systems and into the Padres’ front office.

The Padres, from nothing special to human rights violators

Kemp, leading the wreckage of the Rockies Saturday.

Kemp, leading the wreckage of the Rockies Saturday.

All good things must come to an end, even baseball games. Not to mention staggering rookie home run streaks and the San Diego Padres’ season-opening, run-scoring futilities. For now, at least. But did the Padres have to rub it in as they did Saturday evening?

Bad enough for the Colorado Rockies: The Padres not only ended their season-opening scoreless streak at their expense Friday night, but they battered them 13-6 while they were at it. Worse: The Padres on Saturday picked up where they left off Friday night, then saw and raised themselves, 16-3 with nineteen hits.

The Dodgers’ opening shutout streak was fun while it lasted . . .

Hunter Pence and Company

Hunter Pence and Company: Joe Panik (12), Denard Span (2) and Angel Pagan (16) greet Pence as he finishes his grand slam circuit . . .

All good things must come to an end, even in baseball. But so must all bad things, in due course. For the San Diego Padres, the latter can’t happen soon enough. For the Los Angeles Dodgers, the former happened a little too soon for comfort.

The Padres at this writing remain in search of their first run of the season. Presumably, they’ll take it any way they can get it when they meet the Colorado Rockies this weekend. Preferably right out of the chute, just to have done with it.

The Dodgers have the Padres in search of a run

Let's be Puigs about it: two triples in two games on the Padres' dimes . . .

Let’s be Puigs about it: two triples in two games on the Padres’ dimes . . .

Leaving spring training, a fair number of observers wondered whether their early crowd on the disabled list would leave the Dodgers in a wee spot of trouble to open 2016 in earnest. Not to mention how the Dodgers lost their last five spring exhibitions, including an embarrassing Freeway Series sweep in which the Angels outscored them 15-3.

Take my advice and don’t ask the Padres what they think, after opening the season against the Dodgers being shut out twice and destroyed once.

The Braves, the Red Sox, get fleeced

Braves fans cringe even further now that the Angels pried Simmons out of them . . .

Braves fans cringe even further now that the Angels pried Simmons out of them . . .

The Braves and the Red Sox got fleeced in broad daylight last week. The Angels and the Padres made out like bandits by comparison.

That’ll teach the Braves. They thought they could swap Andrelton Simmons, maybe the best defensive shortstop in the National League, to the Mets, who could use an upgrade in the middle infield, for either Matt Harvey or Jacob deGrom.

All-Star glory preceded seasons in hell for LaMarr Hoyt

Hoyt, whose lone All-Star gig and glory came in a Padres uniform.

Hoyt, whose lone All-Star gig and glory came in a Padres uniform.

Thirty years ago, LaMarr Hoyt—in the Padres’ silks, following a winter 1984-85 trade that made a White Sox of Ozzie Guillen—became the almost unlikely All-Star Game MVP. A month and a half later, what began as a tiny shoulder twinge had exploded into something making it difficult if not impossible to pitch.

And thus the beginning of the end for a pitcher who’d recently ruled the American League, winning its 1983 Cy Young Award and leading the league in wins in back to back seasons, and who’d become infamous soon enough for a series of drug issues that we know now to have been tied directly to what ended his career somewhat prematurely.

Joe West has game—unfortunately

Torii Hunter and Joe West, who aren't likely to be sitting down to dinner together any time soon . . .

Torii Hunter and Joe West, who aren’t likely to be sitting down to dinner together any time soon . . .

God knows (as does His servant Casey Stengel) that I had better things to write about on the day after Opening Days. Things like Nationals’ shortstop Ian Desmond calling second baseman Dan Uggla (yes, Virginia, that Dan Uggla) off a by-the-book popup, dropping the ball, allowing the Mets first and second, leading to Lucas Duda busting up Max Scherzer’s no-hit bid with the two run single that made the difference in the Mets’ win.

How much bargain IS James Shields for the Padres?

If the Friars accept that Big Game James doesn't live here anymore, if he ever did, Shields should  be a good signing for them.

If the Friars accept that Big Game James doesn’t live here anymore, if he ever did, Shields should be a good signing for them.

James Shields needed just slightly longer to find new employment than Max Scherzer needed. At four years believed in the $75 million total range, the Padres might look to have a bargain on the surface. Look a little deeper, however, and it’s just about what Shields really is worth as compared to what some thought he saw himself as worth.