Originally published August 17, 2009 at 8:55 a.m., updated August 17, 2009 at 10:32 a.m.
A Little League team from Chula Vista is going to the World Series. We're joined on Morning Edition by North County Times Sports Columnist Jay Paris.
Alison St. John: A little league team from Chula Vista is going to the World Series. We are joined by on Morning Edition by North County Times sports columnist, Jay Paris. Good morning, Jay.
Jay Paris: Morning. How we doing?
St. John: So, Jay, the Parkview Little League All-Stars are set to leave this morning for Williamsport, Pennsylvania. So, these kids really know how to hit the long ball.
Paris: Yeah, I think they had 38 homeruns in six tournament games up there in San Bernardino at the Western Regional's. Kiko Garcia, I think he had 12 homeruns over that span. So, these boys can hit. In a summer where baseball is kind of taking a few shots locally, with the Padres and what they are doing. I've been lucky enough to cover two of these. The drama, the swing of emotions and excitement is unbelievable. And that's just watching the parents in the stands during these games. They are in for a heck of a ride, I'll say that.
St. John: So Chargers fans were happy this weekend, they did lose to the Seattle Seahawks in their preseason game, but most fans didn't get to see the loss live on TV. How did they look? Did any of the players securing a starting job, or just a spot on the roster?
Paris: There are a few position battles going on, but I think what the key is currently that the score didn't really mean anything. It's just, you know, the personnel that's out there. Marcus McNeill, the left tackle was out playing. Antonio Gates, their fine tight end was playing. LT even got a few snaps. Shawne Merriman was out there. Most these guys this time last year weren't practicing. Nick Hardwick, their fine center as well. Now these guys are working on their game, instead of working to get better. The Charges want to get off to a good start this year, something they haven't done in the last two years. And by having these key players getting to play in the preseason, it helps. It didn't mean anything, and I don't know if I would have played LT as much as they did, but it's a real boost for these key players to out there playing during parts of these games, getting ready for regular season.
Alan Ray: You know, that's the question. Why would they play LT as much as they did in particularly the first preseason game? It's so far away; it's not even a warm-up.
Paris: Actually, you have to look at it the way these coaches look at it. They figure, while it's the first game, if he does turn an ankle, or if he does stub a toe or something, now he has almost four weeks or so to get ready for that regular season game. It almost tapers off the closer it gets to the first regular season game; starts play less and less. There were a lot of people holding their breath out there when 21 was scampering around with absolutely nothing at stake. But he was very clear that he wanted to play, and he wanted to get into the rhythm. And he wanted to get hit. LT wants to help with that fast start that they are looking for. If he thinks he can do it by getting a few carries on a hot August night, go for it.
St. John: Now, the Washington Nationals have until tonight at midnight to sign San Diego State pitcher Steven Strasburg. Why hasn't the overall number one pick been signed yet?
Paris: Well, it's Washington. So, everything is going to get done right at the deadline I would imagine. He's being represented by Steve Boras, the most powerful agent in not only baseball, but maybe in sports. Those are going to be some heated negotiations. I think it gets done, I think Steven will be pitching for the Nationals as a team and a franchise that certainly needs a boost, and a public relations gem that would go along with getting this. So, I think he gets done and keep an eye of Donovan Tate, that's the Padres first-round pick, who excused himself from practices at University of North Carolina, where he has a letter to play there too. I think both those get done; I wouldn't be surprised if they both get done at one minute before midnight as well.
Ray: Ok, the Padres: Any light at the end of the tunnel?
Paris: Yeah. The kids are playing better, and I really think you're really finding what you do and don't have. Chris Young went down with a shoulder surgery last week. For his team to do anything without contributions from Jake Peavy or Chris Young, that wasn't going to happen.
St. John: Thanks, Jay. That's North County Times sports columnist Jay Paris.