06/13/17 / Padres360.com / @Padres360
By Wayne McBrayer from Lake Elsinore, CA
June 10 was Star Wars Night at The Diamond. When I arrived at 1:45PM to wait to interview a couple of Storm players, work was already going on inside the ballpark for the big night. Tables were being moved, props were being placed all over the ballpark (Including a display of Han Solo frozen in carbonite) and ushers were wiping down seats. While all of this is going on in the stands, the baseball field was starting to slowly come to life with players preparing for the game against the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes that would start at 6PM. What I was about to witness was a treat that I will not soon forget.
Around 2:15PM, a few players started coming out of the clubhouse and emerged onto the field. Some were walking toward the outdoor batting cages to work on their swing, others came out just to walk around. Storm Pitching Coach Glendon Rusch and his son brought a small race car on the field and were racing it from one side of the field to the other. Manager Edwin Rodriguez walked out of the dugout carrying a bat and started working with his first basemen on fielding drills, starting with catching ground balls while on their knees and finishing with hard ground balls hit to them at first base.
When this drill was over, Edwin announced there would be “no batting cages today” as the players walked over to the trainer to begin their stretching program, which lasted about 10 minutes. Once that was accomplished, the players broke off into 3 groups; Pitchers, outfielders, and infielders. Pitchers were doing some short running and throwing drills, outfielders were working on catching fly balls, and infielders were working on taking grounders and throwing to bases.
Edwin called the players over to the infield and all of them gathered around the mound to listen to him as he talked to the team. From where I was sitting, I couldn’t hear what was being said but I could tell that he was teaching his players on the mound about the game and every man there was listening. When Edwin was done, he had all of the pitchers working on their pickoff moves and player positioning on a rundown. The last few minutes were spent with 1B and 3B catching ground balls and a few hitters took batting practice.
As a fan, I enjoyed watching Manager Edwin Rodriguez work with his players. It gives me confidence that the young talent the Padres have in their system are being taught how to play the game correctly. All of this to a backdrop of Star Wars Night at The Diamond.