DATE                                THEME                                   

 February 3, 2018          Our Heart is in Baseball

 April 14, 2018                From Cactus League to Major League

 May 12, 2018                 Back to the Future!!

 June 2, 2018                  Beach Blanket Baseball

 July 7, 2018                    It's Trevor Time!!

 August 18, 2018             Home Grown Hall of Fame

 September 29, 2018       Seventh Inning Stretch


 All brunches  will be held at the  

        Best Western 7 Seas 411 Hotel Circle South San Diego 92108                                           


New Year, New Friends

By Kris Hardesty. Photos by Rick& Pati Zambori

Our speaker at our February 3rd Madres’ “Opening Day” was Verónica Nogueira Macedo, the Padres’ Manager of Community Relations, Player and Family Relations, and Hispanic Outreach. She is our new Madres’ liaison from the Padres, having taken over for Sue Botos, who retired.

Veronica was born and raised in Mexico City. She grew up around sports, her brothers played baseball and she played softball competitively. At 14 she went to the Softball World Series.

Although her team didn’t win it was a great experience.

She worked in marketing in Mexico. Wanting to get into sports she found a sports management program at SDSU. This program also had connections to the Padres. As part of the program, after the class portion was done an internship was needed to complete the program. The Padres asked her to work for them in their outreach program at and for the area of the Dominican Republic where there baseball academy is. She worked there from 2008- 2012. In 2012 she returned to San Diego working in the Community Relations department where she has now moved into her new position. Verónica has enthusiastically assured us that she’ll be providing speakers for our monthly brunches, drawing from the Padres’ front office staff, administration, ballpark operations, broadcast team, and coaching staff, as well as players and others for us.

APRIL 2018


By Kris Hardesty; Photos by Rick and Pati Zambori

Bryan Mitchell joined us for our April brunch.  Before he came to the mike, Rickie gave us a bit of information on him.  Bryan was drafted in 2009 by the New York Yankees out of high school.  He made his MLB debut in 2014. Bryan married his wife Kara in December of last year and a week later he was traded to the Padres.  (Kara also joined us with Bryan.) Rickie told us of a time when Bryan not only pitched in a game, the 9th inning, but also played 1st base in the 10th so he could return and pitch again in the 10th. (Bryan told us more about it later)    Bryan stepped foot in San Diego for the first time on March 28th, and made his Padres’ debut 5 days later.

Bryan came to the mike and took questions.  Asked what was the difference between pitching in the National League vs the American League? He commented that the one obvious thing is pitching to the pitcher, and some of them can hit. Other than that it’s about the same, they both have the same caliber of hitters.

He told us that high school was the last time he hit regularly.   In the American League he never took batting practice, expect maybe a day or two prior to playing a National League game.  He was then asked his batting average; “it’s currently pretty good, I think its .500, I’m trying to keep it that way”.   Asked where he was from, he told us Reidsville, North Carolina.   He had committed to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) to play college baseball  but he was drafted so he did not attend.  

His wife, Kara, was asked how was it getting adjusted so quickly to San Diego? She said it was very easy “San Diego is a fantastic city and we love it”.   Bryan added that as soon as they got traded, Chase Headley’s wife reached out and helped them with information on the city, where to try to live, etc.  Thank you Bryan and Kara for joining us, best of luck with your future career with Padres, we will be rooting for you!

MAY 2018


By Marcia Mengel; Photos by Rick & Pati Zambori

Rickie introduced us to our Padres’ guest, Tom Seidler, the Padres Senior Vice President of Community & Military Affairs. She told us he had a lot to brag about, especially about how the Padres supported the Rady  Children’s Hospital Celebration of Champions fund raiser. Tom responded that was one of the  coolest events the Padres have done.

He told us about himself. “My career up to now has been working with minor league clubs in lots of  different places. I didn’t care where I lived, I loved going to a ballpark. I especially love going to our ballpark here.” Baseball has been part of Tom’s family for years. “The O’Malleys are my blood. I was proud of the way my grandfather Peter O’Malley ran the Dodgers. The family owned the Dodgers for about 50 years and the Dodgers won 6 World Series during that time. We sold the Dodgers in ’98.”   Tom told us he and his wife have a 10 month old son. “He will be a Padre. He’s been to 6 games this year and the Padres won all of them. Because of his bedtime, he isn’t able to attend many more games.”  When asked what it’ll take to get the Padres into a winning team. “Every winning team starts with a young nucleus that can stay together for a long time. We have the beginning of that now. Everything that happened in the minors the last 2 years has been very promising. The guys are healthy. In a couple of years we will be a winning team, a team that stays together. And, we will be able to do what we did recently: beat the Dodgers 2 out of 3 games.”

Along that line of thought, “Andy and AJ had their contracts extended. They know it’ll take 5 or 6 years to get this right and we are 3 years into that. Other teams have tried short cuts, and that hasn’t worked. We all have a lot of faith in Andy and A.J. They are trying creative things that are leading toward that goal. We are about half way there. So, in 2 or 3 years we should be in the World Series.” 

JUNE 2018
By Kris Hardesty - Photo by Rick and Pati Zambori

Our Player guest for our June brunch was Rafael Lopez, better known as Raffy. Raffy played his college ball at Florida State. He was competing for a second base job when he was told, “we need a catcher; can you catch?”  He said “yeah! If you teach me!”  And he had big shoes to fill as he was replacing Buster Posey who had been drafted by the Giants.    Raffy learned well and was drafted as a catcher by the Cubs in 2011 and made his Major League debut with them in 2014. Then came several trades, in fact in seven professional seasons Raffy has been with four organizations: the Cubs, the Angels, the Reds and the Blue Jays in 2017.  There was also one season of Independent League in there.  In all, between the minor and major leagues, this is his 15th clubhouse since being drafted by the Cubs.  He commented in an interview “I feel that’s what makes me attractive, just plug me in. I’m like a chameleon, I blend in. 

The Padres acquired Raffy in the off season, offering him a minor league deal. In an interview with the UT he explained that he was getting interest from a few teams.  The Cardinals were one of them and he only lives five exits from the Cardinals’ ballpark, but the Padres made a really good push. He stated he kind of went out on a limb and signed here thinking that based on the interest in him there would be an opportunity.   The opportunity worked out as Raffy was named to his ever opening day roster. 

Asked why the number “0” he explained there’s no crazy story behind it, he just really wanted a low number. He was #68 in spring training and when he was asked what number he wanted because it was looking like he was going to be on the opening day roster he said “Man, I want a low number. Last year I wore #1 and really enjoyed it but infield coach Josh Johnson wears #1 and I ain’t buying him a Rolex (as he explained Hosmer did for Glen Hoffman for Hoffman’s’ #30). I’ll take whatever’s lower or any low number and they had zero, so I said I’d wear it”. Raffy is the first Padre to ever wear #0.

Comments from Andy Green on Raffy: "Lopez does a really nice job back there. There's a lot to the game, a lot to the position.  That's a catcher that's doing a great job on the defensive side and that's showing promise on the offensive side.  There's a lot to like there." Raffy is heading up all Major League catchers in "stealing strikes"...that is receiving pitches out of the zone that he frames to get a called strike.  Raffy, the Madres are finding a lot to like about you too!  good luck with the Padres this year and who knows, maybe beyond.


We welcomed longtime friend of the Madres, Jane Mitchell.  Jane, who is an honorary Madre, was with us to talk about Trevor Hoffman and his induction into the Hall of Fame. Jane worked for 14 years with Channel 4. During that time she started her One on One series. After having so many she decided to write a book chronicling all them.

She told us how back in 2010 when she wrote her book One on One she said in it that if/when Trevor Hoffman was named to the Hall of Fame she would be there, whether working or as a fan.  In 2015 Channel 4 replayed some of Jane’s One on One segments for 6 months.  She spoke with Trevor at that time and asked him his thought about getting into the Hall of Fame. She states Trevor acknowledged it could happen but said until you get that call you never know. Trevor reminded Jane that it took Joe DiMaggio 3 ballots before he made it in to the Hall. So he would be ok if it didn’t happen on the first one.  He would never say that he thought  he was going to get in, just that he would consider it a great honor  and if they did decide to, he was all for it. 

As soon as she heard he had made it, she knew she had to be there and made her reservation that same day. She didn’t know in what capacity she would there as, a reporter or a fan, but she was going to be there. This will be her fourth trip to Cooperstown.  She covered it for Channel 4 for Dave Winfield’s induction as well Jerry Coleman’s and of course Tony Gwynn’s.   Working on ideas on how she could be a part of this since she is not working officially with the Padres or Fox, she launched a website, “Countdown to Cooperstown”.  She was very surprised to find the name available since it is such a common term.  Jane has posted tidbits from her extensive collection on both Trevor Hoffman and Alan Trammell (since he is San Diego guy and once a Padre).  

Since he got his notice of induction Jane did have a chance to ask Trevor about his speech.  He told her he would like Jane to help him make sure he doesn’t forget anyone; she will try to make sure he remembers the Madres. Jane is also getting ready to sit down again with Trevor and to get an update on him now that he is a Hall of Famer.

JULY 2018

A Visit from the "COACH"- JOHN KENTERA

By Kris Hardesty

John Kentera, better known by his fans as “Coach” has been a sports broadcaster and fan favorite for over 20 years.  A former athlete, coach and scout, he offers a unique perspective in a way that’s relatable to everyone. He is often referred to as a sports encyclopedia. John found his love for sports at an early age. His father, an immigrant from Yugoslavia who came to the US through Ellis Island played football and boxed. His older brother played football; John would be at his big brothers game in a jersey just like his brothers’ made for him by his mom.   A baseball, basketball and football standout at Torrey Pines High School in Del Mar, CA, he ultimately ended his athletic career at the collegiate level playing baseball and basketball at Mira Costa College, and finishing up with a full ride basketball scholarship to United States International University. An injury to his left knee after his Junior year at USIU shattered  lifelong dreams of going Pro. During his time as a high school athlete Coach earned many awards including All League and All CIF honors in both baseball and basketball. As a basketball player he was recognized as the #2 and #5 leading scorers in San Diego County his Junior and Senior seasons, was Captain of his team and named “Most Outstanding Player.” As a baseball player he received the Golden Glove Award during his Junior season and “Most Inspirational Player” his Senior year. Mira Costa College honors included Honorable Mention All Desert Conference in both baseball and basketball, recipient of the Norm Ness Most Improved Player and Leadership Award, and the coveted Mira Costa College award for Athlete of The Year. 

 After graduating college, Kentera opted out of an 8-5 desk job for a more suitable career as a coach, a title that would later evolve into his on air nickname. He coached baseball for high school, college and  semi-pro.  Coach Kentera got his start in radio at 690 XTRA Gold in 1987. Kentera’s television and radio broadcasting credits include the San  Diego Chargers Football, Los Angeles Kings Hockey, San Diego State  University football and basketball, the University of San Diego football and basketball, and High School CIF championships in both football and basketball. He has also coached high school football, basketball and girls softball. 

 Over the course of Kentera’s professional life he’s been a mentor to  hundreds of student athletes, guiding their careers in many ways  including placing over 100 students at the college level and having 34 players drafted or sign  professional baseball contracts. On a personal level Coach Kentera is known and admired for an “old school” mentality, living life daily with a put your family first, and outwork everyone frame of mind.

 As John talked to us he mentioned the last time he visited us in 2015.  Mike Dee was also to there but showed up over an hour late. When he talked to us that day he really got at the Padres about what they needed to do to improve the team by building the minor league and their need to build up their farm system. Mike Dee got up and agreed with everything Coach was saying. Coach  believes that everything he said that day, we are seeing happening right now with the team. He feels we have many good arms (pitchers) in our system but lack position players.  A couple position players he feels are real quality players are Fernando Tatis, Jr. and Luis Urias. 

 After telling us his thoughts on the current roster, player by player, he summed it up saying “I do think there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, it’s just…that tunnels been damn long”. He told us the he attended the first game in the history of the San Diego Padres as a kid, his big brother and his brother’s wife, took him to the game. John was so excited to get there he made them take him to the park about 2 hours before the game was to start.

 He was telling us about, as a kid, listening to Jerry Coleman on his transistor radio. As he was telling this he stopped to tell us how in 2009 when John had his heart attack Andy Masur commented to Jerry while on the air “too bad about what happened to Coach Kentera”. Jerry’s response was “yea, he was here yesterday and gone today”, Andy quickly corrected him “he didn’t die Jerry, he didn’t die”. Coach was asked why the Padres tend to rush people up from the minor leagues before they are ready?  Coach replied “probably because the ones in front of them aren’t any good” When asked if he thought Matt Strahm could be a starter he said “absolutely”! Strahm was a piece of that trade and has been a very pleasant surprise.  Another question asked was if the Padres will be doing anything with trade deadline coming.  His response was that he thinks they’ll do something, “I don’t know what but they’ll do something  because AJ likes to make trades”.

 He told about his decision to quit 1090 after the 2015 season. Coach is once again on the air; on 97.3 (the station the Padres games are on) doing Pre & Post game shows for the Padres again.

 Coach, the Madres thank you for joining us and are very glad to be hearing you again on the radio

                                                                            By Kris Hardesty                                                                

Some of the things our guest Matt Balough has had to set up at Petco: a golf course,  rock concert, monster truck rally, moto cross, Davis Cup tennis, soccer, rugby and of course for baseball.   He must do it well because USA Today has ranked Petco Parks’ playing surface the best in MLB baseball.  Matt let us know he was born and raised in San Diego.  He has been with Padres  organization for 28 years, 13 at Qualcomm and 15 at Petco.  On top of keeping the Padres field looking great he has also worked grounds crew for 18 super bowls, 5 international NFL games (3 in London, 1 in Australia and 1 in México City) as well as all the events at Petco.  He has recently resigned from the super bowl crew; he is now strictly working on Petco.  He took over as head grounds keeper 4 years ago. It was always his dream job.  
Because of all of the other events that happen at Petco they do have to put in a new field every year.  It’s a difficult job as it has to be rebuilt from the warning track in.  He said there are 4 full time crew members and 25 part time seasonal.   He was asked what one of the hardest transitions was.  He told us the Taylor Swift concert in 2015. The concert was Saturday and the Padres played on Monday.  He said he and his crew were at the park 3 days straight, very little sleep; someone was doing something on the field 24 hours a day for those 3 days.  At the time of the meeting Comic-Con was in the near future.  He told us about having to protect the field  during this.  Last year there were about 12,000 people allowed on the field during the event.  This year they are limiting  it to 6,000 and shortening the hours for it.  
Asked what game day was like.  He starts on game days at 5am.  If he works the game he doesn’t get home  until midnight.   The first part of the morning is getting paperwork done.  Once the rest of the crew gets there at 7am the work begins.  It takes up to 4 hours to mow the outfield grass.  Someone will work the infield dirt from early morning until batting practice starts.  Someone will repair the mound, which can take 1 ½ hours, and others will spend an 1 ½ repairing the home plate area.  Yet others will spend an hour on each of the two bull pens.  A crew will work the game, the between innings raking and base changing.  They will then clean up after the game and put things to “bed” as he called it.  
Matt told us the story of how the logo on the mound got started, he started it.  Years ago at a game where Jake Peavy was pitching against Roger Clemens, Matt put #44 on the back of the mound with his finger.  Roger got ticked at Jake for, Jake loved that.  So it continued, Matt would put the number of the Padres starting pitcher on the mound with his finger.  After a year or two of this, Chris Young went to Matt and asked that he do  something that would signify the whole team, not just the pitcher.  Matt suggested the SD logo and so it has gone since; although now they use a stencil and water, not Matt’s finger.   Now the whole league has picked up on doing this on their mounds.  
When asked what kind of grass is used he informed us it is Bandera Bermuda.  Also asked about the height of the grass, it is kept at ½ inch, there is no league rule on the height, just a suggestion.   He was also asked what training there is for this type of job and he informed us that there is a 4 year Turf program, which he has a  degree in.  He informed us that during the season there is someone at the park to keep an eye on the field  because of  the possibility of disease that can start in a day if the field is left damp from night air.  



By Kris Hardesty, Photos by Rick and Pati Zambori

Our guest in August was Don Orsillio, sometimes known as Don Diego. To start things off Rickie introduced him and did some bragging for him.  Don joined us in 2016, working part time during Dick Enberg’s’ last year at the mike, and then taking over full time in 2017. Don made his debut with the Boston Red Sox play-by-play on the same night Hideo Nomo made his Red Sox debut, and threw a no-hitter!  Don also called four other no hitters, so Rickie challenged him to call one for the Padres!  Don also called Cal Ripkin Jr’s final game. Also turns out Don, working for TBS for playoff games, called the Padre vs. Rockies wild card tie breaker game.  He agrees, Holliday still hasn’t touched the plate!  Don has won many awards, including New England Sports Best Play-byPlay twice, Massachusetts Sportscaster of the Year, and two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Sports Play-byPlay. He has also been in several movies. 

Don told us how growing up in New Hampshire he would listen to baseball on the radio and at about age 12 he knew that was what he wanted to be, a sportscaster. It seemed like such a great job, you got to go to every game and everyone was your friend.  Don’s family moved to southern California in his teens but he returned to Northeastern University, earning a degree in Communication Studies. He also wanted to return to southern California someday. While at Northeastern, he interned under Red Sox radio voice Joe Castiglione.  Before doing Major League Baseball games, he worked in the minor leagues, announcing Pawtucket Red Sox games on the radio from 1996 to 2000, having previously done games for some of the New York Mets minor league affiliates. Don started with the Pittsfield Mets of the New York–Penn League for the 1991 and 1992  season and then moved up within the organization.  

He wanted to move up through the minors as players had to, so he would know what it was like.  Don explained that he had given himself a deadline to be in the “big Leagues” in 10 years. He would be 30.  As this deadline approached he was still in the minors so he took stock, and it occurred to him he couldn’t anything else.  It all worked though, because just as that 10th year was ending it turned out the Red Sox were going to have an opening on the TV side, which he jumped on.  He then told us about what Rickie told us about, the no-hitter. He could not believe that on his very first TV broadcast he had to deal with a no-hitter. He added to make things harder, in the 9th he got word that ESPN was joining in on his broadcast.  

During 2015 Don was informed by NESN that he wouldn’t be brought back in 2016.  At that same time the Padres and Fox were aware Dick Enberg was planning on retiring after ’16.  The Padres/Fox executives visited Don when he was doing a game in Baltimore. Don said it took no thinking when they asked if he would be interested in replacing Dick. It was “yes”, with no hesitation, as he had always wanted to return to the west coast, and even better, San Diego.  And after thinking for a few seconds after saying “yes” his thought was, “Isn’t Mud there?”  He was excited to work with Mud (Mark Grant, Don always called him Mud).   Don answered questions from the group, but his answers/stories are too much to detail in the space I have.    Needless to say he did throw Mud under the bus a few times telling how Mud hits him with a baseball to make him feel what a big leager feels when he is hit by a pitch or foul tip.  How sometimes there is “too much Mud”.  How Mud has so much junk at the desk Don had to put tape down the middle so he could have his half, and how when Mud goes to visit the other broadcast booth he calls it a “Mud free zone”.  His favorite is the story of getting Mud with his own pointer after getting Mud to admit he couldn’t fly with the Blue Angels due to not passing the weight limit.  The Madres thank you for joining us, Don and keeping us laughing with your stories. We wish you good fishing, and don’t get bit again. 


Angelo Dominic Cianfrocco (aka Archi)

By Kris Hardesty; photos by Pati & Rick Zambori

Archi is from upstate New York.  He was drafted by Pittsburgh Pirates in1986 draft, but he elected not to sign but to play baseball at Purdue.   He was named MVP that year at Purdue University.  He was then drafted by the Montreal Expos 1987.   He made his MLB debut with the Expos in 1992. The Expos traded him to the San Diego Padres in 1993 for pitcher Tim Scott.  Archi also played a season in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) for the Seibu Lions. 

 While playing for the Padres, he had multiple fan clubs, including "Archi's Army" and the "CianfrocCrew". On Hall of Fame Weekend August 4, 1997, he won the Home Run Derby in Cooperstown.  Archi and his wife put  together the reunion of the 1998 team for Trevor Hoffman’s Hall of Fame induction. 

 He admitted that prior to this visit with us he really did not realize how much the Madres do for the  community, he knew of us but not how much we do. 

 He told us the story of how he got started in baseball just by chance.  He was playing catch with his sister. They were throwing the ball high as they could, like it was a pop fly.  As they were playing a fellow that was watching them asked Archi if he played baseball and if he would like to play in the “Farm League”.  At this point in the story he did admit that at that time his favorite sport was basketball and if the guy had been a basketball coach he would have been all over his offer.  He did decide to go play baseball.  

When he was asked how he felt in the dugout during the ’98 World Series when Tony hit his home run his comment was “I was sizing up my world series ring”. He spoke about that ’98 team, how they came together and how they still keep in contact with each other.

Thank you Archi for visiting with us, join us again sometime.

By Kris Hardesty; photos by Rick and Pati Zambori

Robert Stock grew up in the Thousand Oaks area.  He is part of a young up and coming bull pen. He said one day his mom decided to sign him up for Little League, and so his career was started.   Baseball America rated Stock as the best baseball player of his age in the country when he was 13, 14, and 15 years old.  He was named Baseball America's 2005 Youth Player of the Year at 15 years of age.  He attended and played baseball for the USC Trojans, starting college at 16.  He played both catcher and pitcher.   The St. Louis Cardinals selected him in the second round of the 2009 MLB draft as a catcher. In 2009 he was both a Topps Short-Season/Rookie All-Star and an Appalachian League All-Star at catcher. In 2012, the Cardinals  transitioned Stock into a full-time pitcher. He spent time with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, Can-Am League, an independent baseball league and the Cincinnati Reds organization, but he never played above AA level. 

 The Padres signed him before the 2018 season with a non-roster invitation to spring training. In spring training, his fastball reached 100 mph. Stock began the 2018 season playing for the San Antonio Missions of the Class AA Texas League, and received a midseason promotion to the El Paso Chihuahuas of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League.  He made his MLB debut with the Padres on June 24th, 2018.  Robert was asked what his favorite pitch was, “the one that he’s going to swing and miss at” (meaning the batter) was his answer.  He went on to say  he likes to throw his fast ball, “fast” and then look back at the scoreboard and see 99 or 100 pitch speed.  He was asked what he would be doing if he wasn’t playing ball?  He really doesn’t know, he was so focused on making it in baseball he never really thought about doing anything else.  When asked he told us his favorite team growing up was the Angels. He was asked about his velocity and he explained how he has worked hard to increase his velocity. He also works hard to pay attention to his body to avoid getting hurt from throwing that fast.  Robert talked about how good Craig Stamen and Kirby Yates have been great leaders in the bull pen helping the young member such as Colten Brewer, Trey Wingenter and himself since they came up from the minors.  Asked what his plans for the off season were he told us he would spend some time with family and head over to Arizona to work with his strength coach during the off season. He was asked if he would like to be a starting pitcher he said yes because it’s more fun to pitch more innings.  The Madres thank Robert for his visit and look forward to cheering him on in 2019!


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