San Diego Chargers Get Mini-Camp Underway
The San Diego Chargers get mini-camp underway this week. Joining us now on Morning Edition is North County Times sports columnist Jay Paris.
ALISON ST JOHN: Good morning, Jay.
JAY PARIS: Good morning, how we doing?
ST JOHN: So it's offseason, so what's the importance of these workouts?
PARIS: Well, it's kind of -- just another step as the team moves forward to training camp in July, and the season opener in September, but they've had a few offseason workouts but this kind of brings it up another notch. One of the news parts of it for the key players won't be participating, Shawne Merriman included among them as they work through some contract issues. But it's just another step to that season opener.
PAMELA DAVIS: Jay, the team released a rendering of a proposed $800 million stadium near PETCO Park. Do you think this is really the Chargers' last best chance for a site in San Diego County?
PARIS: I don't know if last would be correct. It's certainly the latest, and it certainly seems to be where they're pointing -- where they're putting their eggs in their basket for that site. It segways beautifully into PETCO Park, it'd be great for the Gaslamp district, and it would develop East Village more. But the monkey in the wrench is who's going to pay for it, and the Chargers have said they can pony up $200 million toward an $800-million complex. Now we'll find out at some point whether the public has the appetite to pitch in some money, or structure it in a way where they have to issue bonds or such. But this -- this seems to be where they want to go, with the infrastructure already there, and maybe tied into even more redevelopment in the East Village. But, you know, it's going to be the cost, and before that money was going to be spread out otherwise, and it looks like the taxpayers are going to have to pay some now.
ST JOHN: And of course the taxpayers will get to vote on it before anything happens, yeah. So the Padres took two or three games in Seattle over the weekend. Do you think they'll continue to hang on to first place?
PARIS: Hey, they're there now, and any time you can go out on the road and stay in first place it's a good sign. Even more of a good sign is Mat Latos, as he continues his development. Another win yesterday, that's five straight starts where he's allowed two or fewer runs. The key there is not his phenomenal right arm. It's what's between his ears this season. There were some doubts about Mat coming back this year, and his maturity level, and whether he got it, what it meant to be a pro at the age of 22. Well, he didn't have his best stuff yesterday, he had a headache and just didn't feel right, and that's really where you go from being a thrower to a pitcher. He was able to get by without feeling a hundred percent and the Padres, they're ecstatic about how this guy has grown so far this year.
DAVIS: Hey, and we have another number one San Diego baseball team. Number one ranked U.C. San Diego won their first college world series game this weekend. What's next for the Tritons?
PARIS: Uh, Tritons, Division 1 team, number one ranked in the nation, and these guys are no fluke now. They're 52-7 under Dan O'Brien over there, in the shadow of Scripps Hospital. They beat Georgia College in the opening game and now they have Central MIssouri today. So that's a dynamite program over there, and kind of a sleeping giant. Keep an eye on them cause they want to jump up to Division 1 ranked in the next three to five years.
ST JOHN: Okay, and then we have the Los Angeles Lakers who dropped game three to the Phoenix Suns in the western conference finals. How does that change the dynamic of the series?
PARIS: Oh, we've got a series now. The Lakers would have shot up to a 3-0 lead, that's a pretty tall mountain for the Suns to climb, but 2-1 now, and the Suns are reenergized, their fans are fired up again, and they play again over there in Phoenix on Tuesday night. So the key is going to be if the Lakers can go to their big men again. Andrew Bynum kind of hurting with that knee, Odom was inconsistent, and the Suns show they can play down low, too, with Amare Stoudemire getting 42 points. So, we've got a series now, which you always want unless you're a big Laker fan, not wanting them to be taxed too much. But it should be interesting from here on out.
DAVIS: North County Times sports columnist Jay Paris. Jay, thanks so much for joining us this morning.
PARIS: Alrighty, cheers.