DATE                                THEME                                   

February 4, 2017            For the Love of Baseball

April 22, 2017                 Spring Into Action                                                      

May 20, 2017                 The Madres Want YOU!                    

June 24, 2017                The Madres are GR-R-R-R-EAT!!                              

July 29, 2017                  Hawaiian Mahalo Madres

August 19, 2017             Tribute to Tony

September 23, 2017       On Deck for the Madres                               

 All brunches  will be held at the  

        Best Western 7 Seas 411 Hotel Circle South San Diego 92108                                           

For the Love of Baseball

The SD Madres held their first brunch of year on Feb 4th  at our new location for 2017, Best Western 7 Seas in Mission Valley.  Raj Naayanan the General Manager, Partnerships, from the Lake Elsinore Storm was our honored guest.  The Storm is the advanced A minor league team of the San DiegoPadres.  Raj was born in Bombay, India, attended the University of Connecticut and Rutgers University, Majoring in Economics with a background in Finance and Marketing. 

After graduating, Raj worked for Coconuts Music, Toggle Entertainment and Emerald

Financial in the New Jersey/New York area before moving west.  He first worked for Inland Empire 66ers starting 2006 and then joined the Storm in 2009.  Raj has worked in many capacities since joining the Storm.  He started as an Account Executive, then Director of Promotions and Entertainment and then Group Sales before moving into his current role.  He now oversees all Corporate Partner relationships, sponsor promotions and in-game entertainment while assisting with group sales and marketing.  Last year was a very busy one for Raj with the California/Carolina All Star Game and the Midway classic, a home run derby that took place on the USS Midway. 

Raj told us about the upcoming game to be played at the Diamond between the Padres and the Storm.  He also went over the many upgrades that are taking place at the Diamond for 2017. They now have bar top seating at the top of the sections behind home plate; new ADA sections that are more friendly to those in need and a new “green” section.  The green section is an area, with green seats, where Thunder is sure to spend time during the game. 

Speaking of Thunder, he also joined us at the luncheon.  He was his usual fun loving self to the amusement of all those present.  Raj, speaking for Thunder, informed us that Thunder is 17 years old now.  Thunder makes approximately 200 appearances a year.   Raj did also mention that the bunny, Jackpot, and the world’s fastest squirrel will still be at the Diamond along with Thunder.

Thanks for joining us, Raj, at our first luncheon of 2017!


Spring into Action

By Summer Serrano; Photos by Rick and Pati Zambori

The Madres’ April brunch Padres’ guest was Alex Miniak, the Padres PA Announcer. He is the man behind the voice so it was a little nerve wracking since he is used to looking at everyone and this time everyone was looking at him.( he did great!)

Alex started his career in radio and he worked as the Public Address announcer for the Fisher Cats in AA. He was a finalist for the Wrigley Field job as well as a fill in announcer at Fenway Park. A friend sent him the Padres press release looking for an announcer and he was #179 out of 800 tryouts. He said he was sorry if anyone in the audience applied but truly not sorry he got the job. He had to fly back and forth for tryouts for 3 months. Have you ever gotten a job that was announced to you during the 7th inning stretch? That is exactly how his boss Erik Meyer told him. He was in the Final 3 and Mike Dee and Wayne Partello finally said yes to his coming to San Diego. Alex’s first assignment was to announce the winner, “Hey, congratulations to me!” His first major accomplishment was announcing the All Star Game which was hosted at Petco park last Summer.

The Madres asked questions, The first one was which name is hardest to pronounce. He stated it was Adeiny Hechavarria from the Marlins, who happened to be in town.

How much time between innings do you have?  Two min, 20 sec but really only the 2 mins, 20 sec is given to the batter for the walkup song.

Since it is a seasonal job do you do something else for work?  Yes, I started my own marketing agency.

What is the best moment of your career? It was a “live toss” from Joe Buck during the All Star Game at the 7th inning stretch.

Bang Bang Play!
Around the Horn!

Dynamic Duo for Lunch
Story by Kris Hardesty; Photos by Rick and Pati Zambori

Our guests for our August luncheon were Josh Stein and Don Welke. Josh is the Padres Assistant General Manager, a post he has held for 3 seasons. Josh grew up in San Diego, was a Padre fan, and  one of his favorite players was Tony Gywnn. He played baseball until going to college and has been with the Padres for 14 seasons.

Josh explained what his job as advanced scouting coordinator involved: watching video on the opposing team and working with the manager (Bruce Bochy when he started) and coaches to help determine how to handle and pitch the different players. After a game he would then go over the game with the managers and coaches to break down the plan to see what worked and what might need changed. He feels the 4 years he spent doing this were vital learning years to help him in his current role of assistant general manager/director of baseball. His duties in his current position include overseeing advanced scouting and baseball systems; how we build scouting report, what information should be gathered from player development division & coaching staff. He states a big part of job is helping the organization communicate; from the GM to the scouts, to manager/coaches to player development and back around to the GM. To do this it means being involved in all needed information gathering on players such as medical reports, scouting report, statistical information, contracts and salary structure.

Josh told us he feels excited about our young position players we have now mentioning rookies Schimpf, Jankowski, Solarte & Dickerson and the veteran Myers. He did note that we need a strong short stop. He admitted it’s not going to easy and he wouldn’t “sugar coat it” with telling us we would up there with the Dodgers or Giants right away.

Next we had the pleasure of having Don Welke speak with us. Don is the V.P. of Scouting Operations. Don has over 50 years of baseball scouting experience and was won numerous awards over this time for scouting. He also worked as an advance scout for the gold medal winning Team USA for the 2000 Olympics and with Team USA in 2003.

One of the first things Don wanted to tell us was how much the likes the Madres for our passion for the game and for sticking with the team through thick and thin. He reiterated what Josh told us, that he feels the current ownership group is stable and on board to be here all the way to produce a winner. Don stated his goal is to help build a championship San Diego Padres team and believes it can happen. He pointed out that our farm system had been ranked near the bottom of all 30 teams but since the draft and money spent internationally and trades we made we are now ranked #2. He feels that is where the strength of an organization comes from. Don explained the first thing you have to have is ability; with the players, managers, coaches & scouts. Second you need stability; where they know they’re going to be here, contribute to something, they’re not going to be gone next year.

We have good people in place, we’re ready to go and now we have a flourishing farm system. He went over how they spent “big” in the international draft. We have also picked up many young players via the regular draft and with trades. Don feels each of these guys are talented and have real major league possibilities. He feels we have the numbers now and numbers are very important. He feels this is our chance against the Giants and the Dodgers; we have to do it through scouting, we have to it through numbers in the farm system. He said we can’t do it by going out and buying free agents like they do. When we get to the point where we’re ready to win with our guys, then if there is one guy that will put us over the top, hopefully we’ll go get him. Don says until then, we’re going to do it our way, through the farm system.

Solamente Béisbol Don and Josh, thanks to you both for joining us!

Bring Down the Rain !
One on One with Jane
Story by Kris Hardesty; Photos by Rick and Pati Zambori

Our guest at our July luncheon was 27 time Emmy Award winner Jane Mitchell. Jane produced and anchored One on One with Jane Mitchell on Channel 4 from 1997-2011. Jane was not a big sports fan but fell in love with Baseball at her first spring training in 1977. She produced one hundred shows that are now available to watch on line. In 2010 Jane turned those 100 stories into a book; One on One-My Journey with Hall of Famers, Fan Favorites and Rising Stars.

When the Padre contract ended with Channel 4 she did speak with Fox Sports but was not hired. She states looking back now, it was for the best; she doesn’t feel she could have had the same success that she had with Channel 4 after having her daughter, Lily. Lily was born in May 2013, two months after Jane turned 50 in March 2013.

In 2015 Channel 4 asked her to revisit 12 of her One on One shows featuring “Legends” to update the stories. For Tony Gwynn, Jerry Coleman and Junior Seau who had passed away she included the public memorial services to pay tribute to their lives.

Jane told us about interviewing her mom just prior to her mom’s 90th birthday. It was an in-depth interview like those she did for her shows. She had also done this for her dad several years prior to his passing at his request. After showing her interview of her mom at the 90th birthday party she thought about all the responses she got from the guests at the party she decided to launch her newest endeavor, Your Story/ Your Legend. If anyone wants to have their story or someone else’s story done, they can hire Jane to do it. She will collect information and then interview the subject in-depth in her own professional way.

She is still open to working on TV or with a team and she hopes to write at least a couple more books.
Asked which of her stories was the hardest and which was her favorite, she had a hard time picking one,
either way. As for the hardest, she went with a few that took the most preparation; Larry Lucchino,
Ted Williams and Khalil Greene. Each for a different reason, but all took lots of extra preparation so the
interview would go smoothly. Some of her favorites were Tony Gwynn, Ken Caminiti, Trevor Hoffman and Ted Williams. Ted Williams was on both sides because she knew of his dislike of the media so she knew she needed to know her stuff; once they started talking he just kept going, no one thought he would talk for one hour and fifteen minutes.

Through all and awards and accolades Jane feels her very best production is Lily, we do all have to agree she is a cutie. We thank Jane, her mom and Lily for joining us. We wish Jane all the best in future endeavors and Lily good luck in pre-school.


Batter Up!

June Luncheon

Reporter Kris Hardesty; photos by Rick & Pati Zambori

Our player guest for June was Padres left handed pitcher Christian Friedrich. He was born in

Evanston, IL and attended Eastern Kentucky University. He was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the first round of the 2008 MLB draft. He made his major league debut in May 2012, against the Padres, and he won! The Padres signed him on March 3, 2016 after he was released by the Rockies. He was called up from AAA El Paso Chihuahuas on May 13 and made his debut for the Padres that same day.

After being introduced he admitted talking in front of this group was making his heart faster than starting a game. He was happy to take questions. Asked what was his favorite team growing up he said he was a White Sox fan.

He was asked if he played any other positions growing up: “Left out, Left field”. He did play some other positions but it was back in Little League. Also asked if he played other sports while growing up he said he played ice hockey, basketball and football but his favorite was soccer. He tried to play soccer in college but it didn’t work out. He now feels baseball has definitely worked out better for him.

When asked about his family he informed us his mom, dad and two sisters still live in the Chicago area. He also told us that he still lives in Chicago in the off-season.

When he asked if he was married or had any children it was definite no, and when a member then raised his hand and told Christian that he has single daughter to introduce to him, the whole room laughed and I believe I saw a bit of red on Christian’s face.

He was asked how the Padres helped him get settled when he was called up from El Paso; and if he likes it better here? First comment “I like it WAAAYYY better!” The Padres provide a hotel to stay for the first week or so. They have information on apartments, car services, most anything you might need to help you get settled. He stated the transition to San Diego was one of the easiest he’s ever had, everyone was very welcoming.

 Asked how he gets to the park, does he have “unusual” methods of transportation as some of our players have been known to have? He just walks to the park, he hasn’t taken up with any of the unusual types of transportation some of players have used; ie-skate board, Segway.

 Asked about his normal routine for days he pitches he told he eats a peanut butter, banana and honey sandwich because it’s easy on the stomach. He always listens to same play list and plays MLB video game by himself pitching against the team he is about to face. He plays it on easy so he can win.

 He was asked how he found out he was being called up the first time? At the time he was at AAA Colorado Springs during a game working the radar gun when he got an e-mail saying “Congrats”. He wasn’t sure if he should believe it or not, to call his parents or not. When the manager talked to him he made it seem as though the message was sent in error. He was just playing with Christian, he had in fact been called up. Apparently the traveling secretary had sent the message to Christian before anyone had been able to tell him officially.

When asked what he thinks about pitching coach Darren Balsley he indicated he thought Darren was the best. He explained that Darren works with you to bring out the best of you, he doesn’t try to change you.

 Another question was if he preferred starting or the bull-pen? He said definitely starting. He likes, as the starting pitcher, the cat and mouse game, pitcher vs hitter, trying to out think the hitter.

Thank you Christian for visiting with us and good luck each time you take the mound!

You're Out!!

 Reporter Kris Hardesty;  Photos/Collage by Pati & Rick Zambori

Susie opened the luncheon with one of her quotes. This month’s comes from Hunter Pence of the SF Giants; “Play for each other, not yourself. Win each moment; win each inning, that’s all we have left”.

Next our Little League player Joshua Amador was introduced. We were then entertained by Henk Vigeveno and his pal Rick Chase with stories and quotes by Yogi Berra. Following Henk and Rick our media guest Kirk Kenney spoke.

Then it was time for our Special Luncheon Guest, Madre favorite, Randy Jones. This year is the 40th anniversary of Randy winning the National League Cy Young Award in 1976. To commemorate 1976 many of the Madres donned blonde curly wigs , Randy’s famous hair style during those days. The Cy Young Award is not Randy’s only award or record that he holds in the Padres History. Randy is a two time All-Star; in the 1975 All Star game he got the save and in the 1976 game he was the starter and got the win.

His 1974 year was not a very good year for him, but he turned it around so much in 1975 he was named Comeback Player of the Year by Sporting News. That year he led the National League in ERA. He followed that up by leading MLB in wins in 1976, the year he won the Cy Young.Randy, often called the crafty lefty, didn’t throw “heat”; he frustrated batters with a steady flow of slow moving sinkers that would normally end with a ground out. Although it’s been 36 years since Randy last threw a pitch for the Padres he still holds 13 Padre Franchise records.

After being introduced Randy, helped the Madres celebrate Dorothy Yonemitsu’s birthday. When  hearing it was her 98th birthday his comment was “talk about watching a lot of bad Padre Baseball”.

Randy started by thanking the Madres for their support, both of the Padres and the youth of San Diego. He said “you must really like it, or you sure are fooling me”. Randy told us that he really feels excited about the direction the team is going, he hasn’t been able to say that in several years The Padres are not going to acquire championship team, they will need to develop it, and they seem to be headed in that direction. Randy said that if the players would stop pulling hamstrings maybe they’d win a few more. Went on to say “ we never used to do that when I played….we probably didn’t run as fast”

He made reference to the Yogi Berra stories told earlier by Henk Vigeveno and Rick Chase who  pointed out that Dale Berra, was Yogi’s son. In 1983 Randy went to spring training with the Pirates. He was in camp with Gene Tenace and   Dale Berra. Dale’s locker was between Randy’s and Gene’s. Just as Randy and Gene were about to leave they heard a reporter ask Dale “compare yourself to your dad”. Dale’s response was “most of our similarities are different”. Randy said he and Gene were rolling, Dale always said he  was nothing like his dad and this is the first thing out of his mouth.

Randy reflected on the 1976 All Star game, how great it was to represent the Padres and the city of San Diego. He said he stood on the mound and looked around him; Johnny Bench behind the plate, Steve Garvey on 1st, Joe Morgan on 2nd, Dave Concepcion at Short and Pete Rose on 3rd. When someone asked Randy about the outfield, he replied “who cares, I’m going to get a bunch of ground balls, it’s not going out there!”

Randy then opened it to the floor for questions. After answering a number of questions, Randy was asked for one of his favorite Jerry Colman stories- his first response was; “there are so many”. A quick one he decided to tell us was about the end of the 1979 season. After the last game, they had flown home from San Francisco and were walking to their cars when Randy asked Jerry who the manager was going to be in 1980. Jerry at first would not answer him, finally after much nagging Jerry said “I am”. Randy's response was “come on Jerry, quit screwing with me, who is it?” Again Jerry said “me”. Randy said it was a long ride home to Poway for him,  and he was not too sure about the information he had just gotten.

Thank you for your time and stories Randy, we look forward to seeing you around the Park!                 

 Reporter Summer Serrano;  Photo by Pati & Rick Zambori



Kirk Kenny, has been with the San Diego Union-Tribune for over thirty years covering sports on all levels: high school, college and professional. Kirk is now writing a daily countdown to the All-Star game feature for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

He wrote the book “100 things Padres Fans Should Know.” Kirk has firsthand experience to write this book since he was born and raised here in San Diego, La Mesa to be specific. He has also known about the Madres for a long time.

Kirk told a story of Topps Baseball cards and when Ray Kroc bought the team; Topps had a deadline and they thought the team was moving to Washington so they put Washington Padres on the cards. When Kroc stepped in and bought the team they had to scrap the whole run and redo the cards. He had an example with him, a small card and a blown up version.

The card just happened to be Randy Jones. One of his favorite memories is of Willie McCovey when they had the Big Mac Sunday promotions at McDonalds after Ray Kroc bought the team.

Kirk used to track all the foul balls and how it was easy to get one back at Qualcomm. One of the ways he did this by being a vendor, though he didn't like being a vendor when Randy was pitching because Randy pitched too fast; he didn't make enough money either. If you get a chance be sure to get Kirk’s book, it is a fun read.


Let the Games Begin!

 Reporter Summer Serrano; Photos/Collage by Pati & Rick Zambori

The Madres Choir opened our Luncheon season and the April Luncheon with our National Anthem followed by a rousing rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame", inviting attendees to join in.  President Susie Butcher welcomed everyone and gave us a prospective look at the Madres 2016 Season.

Program Director, Rickie Sevadjian introduced our Special Guest,  Andy Strasburg.

Andy Strasburg, an Honorary Madre,  has been a friend to the Madres for many  years. He acknowledged this and said he wanted to share some of his credentials with us as he saw many new faces and he figured a lot of people were wondering who he was. It has been 20 years since he worked for the Padres. Andy has many amazing baseball stories. Andy started his love affair with the Madres since their inception year in 1972. He would emcee many events especially the Madres/Padres Fashion Show we used to do.

He grew up in the shadows of Yankee Stadium. He went to school at PS105 where a chatty kid was a grade ahead of him; that kid was our very own Ted Leitner. (It really is a small world especially in the baseball world).

Andy was 14 years old when he attended the Ted Williams baseball camp. He went on to play a little baseball but realized it wasn’t his thing when he had 4 errors in 1 inning making a high school record.

On May 9, 1967 he caught Roger Maris’s 1st National League homerun. Roger Maris was Andy’s idol and they soon became good and life-long friends with Roger’s family.

Ozzie Smith and Andy were friends in 1978 when he convinced him to do his famous back flip. He also asked him to do it for the 1979 Opening Day. Andy was with Ozzie in Cooperstown in 2002 where he asked Ozzie to do a flip for old times’ sake. He did it and then unfortunately proceeded to break his foot. This would be the very last one Ozzie ever did.

In 1981 Andy produced TV Commercials and he used the SDSU baseball players to play the Padres; a player named Tony Gwynn portrayed our first basemen at the time, Broderick Perkins. Andy was the executive producer for a video called “19 Summers”. He was a movie consultant on the Billy Crystal movie “61” and had a cameo appearance in it. He did a one act, one man play called “That’s Baseball”, which many Madres attended.

I told you earlier that Roger Maris and Andy were the best of friends, well on 8/3/90, Roger’s son Randy had a son and he named him Andrew, after Andy. Andy is the Godfather to Roger Maris’ grandson.

In the 22 years Andy worked for the Padres he felt the need to know every job so he volunteered to do each one of them for a day. He umpired a game, was a ticket seller, a vendor, an usher, the PA announcer, a gift shop employee and worked as a member of the grounds crew

Andy has served on the Advisory committee for the Baseball Hall of Fame. He has assisted in writing the Hall of Fame speeches for Rollie Fingers, Doug Harvey, and Ozzie Smith. He met every living HOF player up until 2010.

Baseball was the love of Andy’s life besides his wife. In 2008 he talked the US Postmaster into creating a “Take me out to the Ballgame” stamp and was invited to the White House for the unveiling of the stamp.

The All Star game has so many memories for Andy. He has attended 24 All Star Games.

Padres staff did such a wonderful job putting the 1978 All Star Game together, Ray Kroc treated them all to the All Star Game the next year. There were only 16 members of the front office at that time. Now it takes hundreds of people to do this task.

I want to close this article with a quote from Andy’s mother that she would always say. “If Andrew only knew his school work as well as he knows baseball because baseball isn’t going to help him later on in life to get a job.” Not only did Andy find a life in baseball, he found lifelong friends and has so many baseball stories people would envy. We are lucky to call him our friend!

Mike Janela, the new Padres Social Hour host was introduced as  our Media Guest. He is from Sayreville, New Jersey,  100% Portuguese, and he has lived in many places, eventually moving to New York to work for the Guinness Book of World Records. Mike met many personalities over his years with Guinness including: NFL Hall of Fame Member Jim Brown and Wheel of Fortune hostess, Vanna White, who holds the World’s Record for clapping.

Mike had an interesting experience being hired as the Social Media host, including doing his interview on Skype. Leaving his former home in New Jersey with 3 inches of snow on the ground and arriving for Spring Training in Peoria with 97 degree weather provided him with what would be only the beginning of the great time getting to know the guys and as they got to know him. Then the Padres antics started. Mike  would be in the middle of an interview when Trevor Hoff-man would suddenly be behind him “casually” walking by; then come back in the picture over & over again. Mike didn’t waiver, he would get his interview done. The new Padres hitting coach, Alan Zinter also terrorized his interviews. Mike said it is harder to get to know the marquee players as there are so many demands on their time but the more they see you, the more they appreciate you. The question was asked, who are some of the more engaging players and he said Jabari Blash, Jemile Weeks and Adam Rosales. He was asked how he likes Andy Green (the Padres new manager) and he said “Andy is awesome!” Andy remembers you, how you met and most of the time your name. He was also asked about the hire of Mark Mc Gwire and he said he is a perfect fit.

It was a pleasure having Mike at our luncheon and we look forward to having our President, Susie Butcher,  on his show.


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