------------Last March TTG tweeted a 2006 Upper Deck baseball card of Joe Randa. I was inspired and knew that a guest post at Friars on Cardboard was in order. I thank TheThinGwynn for acquiescing.
I know what you’re thinking and I can see the look on your face right now as you think. You are wondering how Joe Randa, the engine of the 2005 Padres, has received so little coverage on this blog. And your face is painted with delight as you slowly scroll down this page savoring the accolades heaped upon the man who the Madres voted as top newcomer in 2005.
I also know that you’re thinking, “Lord, Joe Randa looks glorious in road Sand!”
But here’s what I was thinking on March 11th, 2011: “In which ballpark was this picture of Joe Randa taken and during which game? And which inning?”
I think of those things. Because I’m weird.*
Do you know which park this photo was taken? In hindsight I think I should have known. Any guesses?
After being traded from the Cincinnati Reds on July 23rd, 2005 for Justin Germano and Travis Chick, Joe Randa’s illustrious 58-game Padre tenure officially began on July 24th in Philadelphia’s Citizen’s Bank Park. Was this photo taken during his first weekend as a Padre?
Here’s the rundown for 2005 Padre games played on the road during the Randa Era: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington, Florida, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Colorado, and Arizona. I combed through pictures of each one of these ballparks and determined that . . .
You guessed it; the game was played at the home of the San Francisco Giants, AT&T Park! At least that’s what it was called in 2005.
What gives it away? The corporate branding of Yahoo! on the left centerfield wall makes an abbreviated performance in the Randa card in the form of, “o!”.
This should have been more obvious to me but I think I was a little thrown by the lighting in the card. The billboard comes off as a shade of red in the baseball card whereas we clearly know the Yahoo! sign to be purple, as evidenced by the picture above. The miserable San Francisco fog probably affected the lighting in the card.
Looking at the Randa Card also prompted me to believe I was looking more towards right centerfield (the angle threw me off leading to extra research).
Now that we have narrowed down the ballpark to AT&T, which game was this iconic baseball card captured? The Padres played a three game series in San Francisco from September 12th through September 14th and Joe Randa started and finished all three games.
On a chilly 58 degree Monday evening, with Adam Eaton on the hill, Joe Randa fielded a pop fly from Randy Winn to leadoff the 1st inning. It would be the last time he touched the ball. Unconfirmed reports suggest that he was even left out of the around-the-horn tosses after San Francisco’s 7 strikeouts.
A cold night, indeed as the Padres dropped game one, 4-3.
The next night was equally cold and according to baseball reference, overcast. In the bottom of the 2nd inning Joe Randa would have receive his next chance. After a double by Mike Matheny, Giants pitcher Noah Lowry hit a groundball to Joe Randa, which was fielded and thrown to first baseman, Xavier Nady.
With Brian Lawrence dealing, Randa fielded another pop fly by that man Randy Winn in the bottom of the third and did not touch the ball again until the bottom of the 6th when Clay Hensley coaxed Pedro Feliz into an inning ending 5-4-3 twin killing. The image of Randa leaving his feet to field the ball in the baseball card seems to eliminate this play as it’s unlikely a double play could have been turned on that particular play.
Joe Randa didn’t receive another chance and the Padres fell to the Giants, 5-4.
If Mike Matheny had made it into the photo as a base runner during the 2nd inning play, the experiment would have ended. While this play is still a possibility, we must press on to the Wednesday night game.
On another overcast evening, Woody Williams took the ball in game three of the series and quickly served up an opportunity to Joe Randa in the bottom of the second inning. On a 1-2 count Pedro Feliz grounded to Randa and he threw to first baseman Robert Fick for the second out of the inning. Did he leave his feet for the ball? Baseball-Reference and retro sheet make no note of this.
In the bottom of the fifth, Pedro Feliz led off the inning with a foul pop fly to Randa and he would not have another chance that evening.
Trevor Hoffman saved his 38th game in the 10th inning and the Padres took game three, 5-4.
So did the play happen on September 13th in the 2nd inning when Noah Lowry hit a ground ball to Joe Randa or was it September 14th in the 2nd inning when Pedro Feliz grounded-out to Joltin’ Joe Randa? No notations have been made of whether Randa left his feet to make a play but I’m inclined to believe** that the play probably occurred on the Feliz groundball as Mike Matheny would have appeared as a base runner on the Noah Lowry grounder.
The photograph used by Upper Deck in their 2006 set was taken at AT&T Park on September 14th, 2005 in the 2nd inning when Pedro Feliz struck a ball to Joe Randa at 3rd base.
I feel better now . . .
*In addition to weirdness the idea was also inspired by Larry Granillo of Baseball Prospectus who did something similar with the scene at Wrigley Field in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off .
** I also examined every play to the left side of the field which may have began with a deflection off of Joe Randa’s glove, which baseball-reference would note in their play-by-play section. No play like this appears to have occurred. It’s also worth noting that Joe Randa played this three game series error-free***.
*** It’s Joe Randa. Of course he did!