Hint: they don't like it. At least not on their home pitch...err....field. Yes, the world's most popular sport is coming back to Petco Park, only this time, it's in the midst of a pennant race.
"Asinine," closer Heath Bell said, and that was before he learned the pitcher's mound would be scraped off and rebuilt so the infield could be sodded for the Sept. 14 friendly between famed Mexican club Chivas of Guadalajara and its Major League Soccer spin-off, Chivas USA. Tickets for the "ChivaClasico" go on sale Saturday and start at $20.
"Let's see, they held a concert during Comic-Con and killed the grass in left (field)," Bell said. "OK, so let's go to a soccer match. We're in a pennant race. Much of the nation will probably be seeing us for the first time. Shouldn't we be trying to put our best foot forward?
"They're not worried about the field looking good. They're just trying to make a profit. Very interesting ... I'm sure Luke (Yoder) and his (grounds) crew will make it right, but we have the best pitching staff in the major leagues and that mound is our office. It should not be messed with at this time of the season."
The Padres, owners of the best record in the National League and the title of best team story in 2010, surely do not want to see their well-maintained grounds torn up just before the home stretch towards October begins. Coincidentally, it's the field they most want to preserve; if they keep the best league record on October 1st, they'll get home-field advantage.
Perhaps the players' concerns are not so much about the quality of the grounds but rather superstitious in nature. For years, the Padres shared a stadium with the Chargers and the grounds crew spent every September removing and rebuilding the mound to support two different sports. Heath Bell, citing a little bit of Dallas Braden-inspired territorial markings, just doesn't want to see his mound disappear and reappear. It'll mess with his mojo!
But soccer games can't possibly be as bad as the aforementioned Comic Con convention, where stages were dragged through the outfield and left burnt swaths of grass last month. I can only wonder if the same thing will happen in September at Yankee Stadium, when Jay-Z and Eminem will play two concerts in two nights. The stage for those shows is planned for center field and there is even going to be seating across the entire outfield. If you hear about Curtis Granderson tripping over strange plants growing in the left field gap in late September, don't be surprised.
(via the cool dudes at Gaslamp Ball)