Sunday was one of those surreal days in the sports world.

The tragic death of Miami Marlins All-Star pitcher Jose Fernandez was bad news to wake up to and then night-time brought us the death of golf legend Arnold Palmer.

LSU football coach Les Miles was fired on Sunday afternoon but I’m sure not wasting much time worrying about him. He’s still alive and will be paid approximately $10 million to go away.

So if you’ve ever wanted me to go away and have $10 million spare dollars, please contact me immediately.

Palmer is the second huge icon to pass away in 2016 — boxer Muhammad Ali died in June.

He died at the age of 87 at a Pittsburgh hospital, reportedly as he awaited cardiac surgery.

The four-time Masters’ champion was an athlete who transcended his sport — he once had more commercial endorsements than Peyton Manning does now — and was also known as a true gentleman.

Heck, he even has a beverage named after him.

In this day and age of spoiled sports figures, it is hard to relate to all the stories you hear about Palmer treating everybody as if they were equally as important as him.

He even had his own gallery of fans called “Arnie’s Army” that followed him around the golf courses.

There is a reason why he is considered the greatest ambassador golf has ever had. He helped golf become viewed as a sport to the general public and his popularity led to the big-time purses that today’s golfers receive at tournaments.

“It is not an exaggeration to say there would be no modern day PGA Tour without Arnold Palmer,” PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem in a statement. “There would be no PGA Tour Champions without Arnold Palmer. There would be no Golf Channel without Arnold Palmer. No one has had a greater impact on those who play our great sport or who are touched by it.”

We know how Palmer lived his life. Sadly, we will never know how Fernandez would have lived his.

Someone dying at the age of 24 never sounds fair. But when it is a big-time sports figure beloved by millions, the death becomes even more shocking.

Fernandez was hugely popular in South Florida. He was already a two-time All-Star who looked destined to be a 10-time All-Star before his career was over.

Instead, his life is already over due to a boating accident and the Marlins are a devastated franchise.

“There’s no words to describe how this organization feels,” Marlins president David Samson said at a press conference. “Jose was someone who we’ve known since he was a drafted young man, and I think when you talk about a tragedy like this, there are no words that come to mind. There’s no playbook, there’s no words of consolation.”

Miami’s scheduled Sunday game against the Atlanta Braves was canceled — the only decision that could be made under the circumstances.

Manager Don Mattingly was among the many people in the organization who couldn’t contain his emotions.

“There was just joy with him when he played,” Mattingly said. “When he pitched, I think that’s what the guys would say, too, as mad as he would make you with some of the stuff he’d do, you’d see that little kid you see when you watch kids play Little League or something like that. That’s the joy that Jose played with and the passion he felt about playing.”

Fernandez had a 38-17 career record and 2.58 ERA and he hadn’t even entered his prime.

His story is well-known as he escaped from Cuba in 2008 as a teenager after three previously failed attempts. On the successful trip, somebody had fallen overboard and Fernandez dove into the water to make the rescue.

He didn’t know who had fallen in — it turned out to be his mother, Maritza.

The 2017 All-Star Game will be at Marlins Park and I’m sure there will be a big ceremony in his honor.

When you think about it — Marlins Park isn’t a name that needs to be kept.

I hope the franchise renames the place Jose Fernandez Memorial Park.

That’s a no-brainer.

It is time to do that new tradition — the weekly links thing.

I had the preview assignment for the San Diego Chargers versus the Indianapolis Colts and I kind of think you Chargers’ fans might be in store for a happy Sunday.

No, you won’t see rookie Joey Bosa in uniform for the first time. His hamstring is too sore — that’s what happens when you put a couple million dollars in your back pocket.

Um, no, I don’t know this from first-hand experience.

But the winless Colts are pretty banged up. Quarterback Andrew Luck has an achy shoulder and I lost count trying to figure out many Indianapolis defensive backs were injured.

OK, I got the abacus out — the number is six.

Philip Rivers has always enjoyed success against the Colts and it won’t surprise me at all to see him walking off the field giddy once again with Indianapolis having allowed a league-worst 73 points.

Here is the stellar preview — http://www.espn.com/nfl/preview?gameId=400874624

 

Did you know Alabama coach Nick Saban attended Kent State? It is a fact.

He is helping his alma mater’s finances by bringing them to town for Saturday’s whipping. The upcoming victory will also be Saban’s 200th as a college coach.

Also saw during the week that Saban was on campus the day of the infamous Kent State shootings in 1970. He and a buddy stopped to eat and that kept them from being in the area when the tragedy unfolded and four college kids lost their lives.

Here is that preview — http://www.usatoday.com/sports/ncaaf/event/2016/52385/preview/top25/

 

Michigan’s all-purpose star Jabrill Peppers is now a Heisman Trophy candidate. How do I know?

Because I said so (or wrote so).

When someone with a national stage writes such a thing, it is out there forever and the legend begins to grow. He won’t win the trophy but he might be the best all-round player in the nation.

Here is the Michigan versus Penn State preview — http://www.upi.com/Sports_News/2016/09/21/Michigan-vs-Penn-State-College-football-game-preview-predictions-score/9261474432584/

 

And how about those Padres? They have won seven of their past eight games against the San Francisco Giants and have even done the unthinkable — beaten Madison Bumgarner in each of last his two starts against them.

Bumgarner will try to beat those rookie-laden Padres and a victory would be the 100th of his career. Hard to believe he has already been around that long, isn’t it?

The 2014 World Series hero has been in a bad mood lately and it probably has to do with his sinking team. The Giants have lost eight of their past 12 games and are in danger of missing the postseason in an even-numbered year (they won the World Series in 2010, 2012 and 2014).

Here is the stellar baseball preview for you — http://www.usatoday.com/sports/mlb/event/2016/399122/preview/

Hey, we really might be starting this tradition after all.

Last week, I put out links to where some of my work ended up. It was a rousing success by the responses.

Those of you who assumed my articles just evaporated into thin air could see that they are actually on the websites of all the major players when it comes to sports content.

And if they want to strip bylines off the copy, no problem. Those days of getting mean emails from sports fans are over — nothing like some anonymous person calling you names because you predicted their school to lose a football game.

In fact, I stumbled on a Colorado football message board ripping ESPN for its “biased” preview of the Colorado at Michigan game on Saturday. Just sat there laughing because nobody employed by ESPN wrote that preview with some type of agenda.

Yours truly – with absolutely no agenda – wrote that preview and I’ve never once received a paycheck from ESPN.

So I guess I should start this week’s links with that preview — and this “biased” guy included that Colorado’s victory over Michigan in 1994 is one of the most famous endings in college football history.

Gee, there are probably Michigan fans everywhere calling my preview biased. LOL.

Here are the links:

Here is the much-discussed (at least by Colorado fans) preview of Saturday’s Colorado-Michigan game. … http://www.espn.com/college-football/preview?gameId=400869111

Did you know Ohio (not to be confused with Ohio State like Brady Hoke does) has never beaten a ranked team in its 122-year history? You will after reading the Ohio-Tennessee preview. … http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2016/09/13/cfb-preview-no-15-tennessee-vs-ohio0.html

Derek Carr is on his way to being an elite NFL quarterback and the Raiders haven’t started a season 2-0 since I had only one nephew (I have three nephews and three nieces now). Here’s the preview for the Falcons-Raiders game and of the dozens of sites you can find it on, I’m linking to upi.com since they didn’t strip my byline. … http://www.upi.com/Sports_News/2016/09/15/Derek-Carr-Oakland-Raiders-eye-2-0-start-vs-Atlanta-Falcons-in-Week-2/6471473916407/

14 of my MLB previews ran in USA Today this week — here’s Friday’s Toronto Blue Jays-Los Angeles Angels preview. … http://www.usatoday.com/sports/mlb/event/2016/397719/preview/

Remember how I said I run into my work everywhere and often unsuspected? The preview for the big tilt between top-ranked Alabama and No. 17 Ole Miss also can be found on the USA Today site. … Alabama has lost to Ole Miss in each of the past two seasons. … http://www.usatoday.com/sports/ncaaf/event/2016/52306/preview/top25/

 

If I had more free time, I’d write about whole 5,000 words telling you how A.J. Preller isn’t so stellar.

But you probably already know that after the San Diego Padres general manager was suspended for 30 games without pay on Thursday for deceptive practices regarding the health of players being discussed in trade talks.

This penalty was for the trade that sent All-Star left-hander Drew Pomeranz to the Boston Red Sox in mid-July.

Personally, I think the punishment is too light. I think Preller should have gotten an 81-game suspension.

The Red Sox weren’t the only team to complain. The Miami Marlins were known to be vehemently upset when they received Colin Rea in a trade with the Padres and he was injured in his first start. The Padres quickly agreed to take Rea back, which I found very interesting at the time.

That tipped me off that the Padres knew Rea was damaged goods when they included him in the deal with Andrew Cashner. Otherwise, you wouldn’t take a player back. You would just say, ‘Hey, he got hurt working for you, not us’ and let the chips fall where they may.

There is even a report out there that the Chicago White Sox are unhappy with information supplied by the Padres about James Shields, who might be the worst pitcher in the majors this season while going 5-17 with a 5.84 ERA.

Yeah, I bet Preller doctored information about Shields, too. I bet his report said something like this:

1 — James Shields is still really, really good. Like All-Star good.

2 — Don’t look at the win-loss record. James Shields will win a lot of games once he is on a better team than I built.

3 — No, that birth certificate says he’s 34? That’s wrong. James Shields is only 24.

4 — James Shields’ arm? Never ever been sore. None of our pitchers ever get sore arms. Bank on it.

I do know this — Preller and the Padres are in a lot of trouble. When you cheat like this, it stains your reputation and the other 29 teams are going to know Preller can’t be trusted.

It’s going to be really hard for the Padres to get fair value in future trades.

This line in the USA Today story about Preller and the Padres says it best:

“It’s embarrassing enough for the Padres to miss the postseason for the 10th consecutive year, but to actually cheat, and still have a 62-84 record, is deplorable.”

Ouch … but so true … the team known as the “Miserable Failures” has quite a miserable person serving as general manager too.

Yeah, A.J. Preller definitely isn’t stellar.

Donnel Pumphrey may now be San Diego State’s all-time leading rusher but let’s make one thing clear.

The greatest running back in Aztecs’ history will always be Marshall Faulk.

Oh sure, it’s possible that there could be another once-in-a-generation talent who someday chooses to be a San Diego State running back and makes the college football world take notice. I’m just thinking I won’t be alive in 2066 or 2116 or whenever that unlikely feat happens.

If you weren’t around to witness the Faulk era from 1991-93, you missed the most amazing feats ever seen by a person wearing a San Diego State football uniform. Starting with setting the then-NCAA single-game rushing record (386 yards) in his second college game to making USC defenders look like pylons on national television and stunning finishes of second and fourth place in the Heisman Trophy balloting of 1992 and 1993, respectively.

Faulk should have won the Heisman as a sophomore in 1992. But he suffered a season-ending knee injury on his second carry of the next-to-last game (he had 33 yards on those two rushes) and missed out on adding another 300 or so yards to his national-leading rushing total.

There was also ESPN’s Lee Corso lobbying hard against him all year in favor of Miami quarterback Gino Torretta, the eventual winner. The 1992 balloting is now looked back on as one of the worst Heisman snubs in the history of the award.

Of course, it didn’t help that the Aztecs went to just one bowl game — the defunct Freedom Bowl — in three years with such a special player who went on to NFL stardom and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

On Saturday, Faulk (4,589 career yards) was passed as the school’s all-time leading by Pumphrey (4,651) and that rates as a superb accomplishment for Pumphrey.

You can tell by Pumphrey’s postgame comments that he is humbled to have his name mentioned along with Faulk — see this stellar story by someone you know … Pumphrey pushes Faulk from SDSU record books.

That is good to see. I can remember numerous times when I was on the San Diego State beat that I broke the news of a high school running back committing to the school and the name of Faulk would eventually arise.

Several times, I heard a youngster express that they were going to break Faulk’s records. Most of the time, I shook my head (they couldn’t see that over the phone) and laughed about it later.

There was one player named Frederick Collins who was definitely sure he would be the one. He was a high school All-American who chose the Aztecs over Arizona State and Washington.

Shortly after his arrival on campus, another media member and I were discussing him during fall camp and I said I wasn’t all that impressed. The other writer was stunned because he was, well, a little too giddy about the kid.

Then the games started … and I was even less impressed.

Collins lasted all of one season. He had 333 yards – some 4,256 yards shy of Faulk’s record. He was no Faulk. He was definitely no Deacon Turner – the best running back BF (Before Faulk) in Aztecs’ history.

Collins certainly was no Pumphrey for that matter.

Pumphrey holds two of San Diego State’s top four single-season rushing-yardage seasons and certainly has a solid chance of making it three of the top five. He has enjoyed a great career and will someday join Faulk in San Diego State’s athletic Hall of Fame.

He deserves all the accolades. He deserves all the attention. He seems like has a good head on his shoulders. He may even make it to the NFL.

But don’t ever let anyone tell you he’s the best running back in San Diego State history.

He’s not and he never will be.

That title still belongs to a guy named Marshall Faulk.

A question I get asked frequently is this: Where can I find your articles?

The short answer, of course, is everywhere.

The hard part is knowing exactly where they were published.

You can’t just search my name and find them because so many websites strip off the byline because having content – no matter where it comes from – is the name of the game in the online world.

Entities like USA Today, ESPN and Yahoo! Sports are masters of making the content look like it was staff-produced. Easy to do since 98 percent of sports fans could care less who actually wrote the article they are reading.

None of that bothers me here in 2016. It would have pained me when I first started in the business but I learned a long time ago that the amount of the paycheck is much more significant than seeing my name at the top of the story. And the size of the paycheck is also more important than all these fancy awards I have all over the house.

Heck, in 2013 a newspaper contacted me to see if I would be interested in interviewing for its most important sports beat. I cringed at the salary the managing editor told me and did the math.

I asked myself why would I ever take a pay cut of $15,000-18,000 to go back to newspaper life and I couldn’t come up with even one answer. Since I’ve grown my income another $10,000 since then, it would have been a financial disaster.

Turning down that interview opportunity was a no-brainer – and has turned out to be a genius move.

So yeah, where can you find these articles?

Well, here are a few from this week:

Article on the Basketball Hall of Fame class — http://www.upi.com/Sports_News/2016/09/08/Shaquille-ONeal-Allen-Iverson-head-NBA-Hall-of-Fame-inductees/7061473367728/

Bengals-Jets preview —  http://www.foxsports.com/nfl/story/week-1-preview-bengals-at-jets-090716?cmpid=feed:-sports-CQ-RSS-Feed

Buccaneers-Falcons preview  — http://www.espn.com/nfl/preview?gameId=400874522

Washington State-Boise State preview — http://newsok.sportsdirectinc.com/football/ncaaf-preview.aspx?page=/data/NCAAF/matchups/g8_preview_299.html

That will keep you from searching the Internet to find some of my stories. I will try to remember to do this every once in a while.

Thanks for your interest.

 

The San Diego Chargers reminded everybody on Wednesday that they actually do excel at something.

It is called pettiness.

The Chargers are always a championship organization when you measure them up in that regard.

The Chargers sent out a statement Wednesday designed to make sure everybody on the planet knows Joey Bosa is the bad guy in their testy negotiations with the former Ohio State defensive end.

Bosa was the third overall selection in the draft and the Chargers say he and his representation rejected their “best offer” on Tuesday night and that they are now pulling the offer off the table.

They say this move is necessary because Bosa will no longer be able to contribute in all 16 games.

Got quite a laugh over the sudden concern about whether Bosa will be in the fold prior to the season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sept. 11.

If the Chargers were so worried about this, why didn’t they make their “best offer” two days before training camp started?

Funny how all the other 31 NFL teams know how to get a rookie into training camp.

Here is the Chargers’ statement:

“Our contract discussions and offers to the representatives of Joey Bosa have been both fair and structurally consistent with the contracts of every other Chargers’ player.

“Our offer included:

“An initial signing bonus payment that is larger than any player in the League has received in the last two drafts.

“More money in this calendar year than every player in this year’s draft except one (Philadelphia QB Carson Wentz).

“The largest payment and the highest percentage of signing bonus received in the first calendar year of any Chargers’ first-round selection since the inception of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (2011).

“We gave Joey’s representatives our best offer last night, which was rejected today. The offer that we extended was for Joey to contribute during all 16 games and beyond.

“Joey’s ability to contribute for an entire rookie season has now been jeopardized by the valuable time he has missed with his coaches and his teammates. Since Joey will not report at this time, his ability to produce not just early in the season, but throughout the entire season, has been negatively impacted.

“As a result, we will restructure our offer since Joey will be unable to contribute for the full 16-game season without the adequate time on the practice field, in the classroom, and in preseason games.”

One thing to keep in mind is that NFL teams nearly always keep negotiations quiet and out of the media.

But the Chargers chose to reveal their differences publicly to EVERYBODY on Wednesday.

So you have to try to think like the Chargers — in other words, not rationally — to figure out why they would pull such a maneuver.

We know the two sides disagree on how much of Bosa’s signing bonus is deferred and also over offset language that only comes into play if Bosa is cut and signs with another team before the end of his rookie contract.

Well, if Bosa is indeed cut before the end of his rookie deal, then the Chargers have bigger issues as they must explain how they took a guy with the No. 3 overall pick that couldn’t play. (That will be general manager Tom Telesco ducking under the table).

Pretty soon, some details from Bosa’s side will be leaked out and things will really get messy. That’s because every agent knows an NFL media source or two that will love to write Bosa’s side.

But for now, we have the Chargers’ side and it is hard to understand the club’s rationale.

At face value, this statement was a dumber than usual move for an organization that excels at stupidity — remember the public relations manager telling the fans to take “chill pills?” — and has a history of acrimonious holdout situations with first-round picks.

The team has just assured that its relationship with Bosa will be adversarial and you can expect Bosa’s representatives to dig their heels in deeper after the Chargers’ threat to reduce the offer.

Bosa’s trump card is deciding not to report to the Chargers at all and then putting his name back into the 2017 NFL draft.

If he were to do that, the Chargers look even sillier for wasting the No. 3 overall pick of the draft.

Funny thing is, if the Chargers had just refrained from being petty, it would have been Bosa drawing most of the criticism as the start of the season neared.

Bosa’s mother was recently ripped for making a Facebook comment about how her son should have pulled an Eli Manning — remember that fiasco, San Diego fans? — and not become part of the Chargers.

Plus, the public typically doesn’t approve of a rookie holdout – you know, unproven player wanting millions of dollars — once a season commences. So Bosa’s desire to play football — and his intelligence — would have been greatly scrutinized.

But not anymore.

Fans of the Chargers and the public in general got a first-hand look at why the organization is considered one of the worst in the NFL.

So while the organization isn’t good at winning football games, you can just picture all the buffoons on the second level of Chargers Park congratulating themselves and high-fiving each other over their “best offer” statement.

Because making Bosa look bad and shaming him is somehow more important than resolving the situation and getting him on the field.

So congratulations to the Chargers, you won Wednesday with your petty statement.

But your fans wish you could learn to do more winning on the field on Sundays.

The Rio de Janeiro Olympics concluded on Sunday and all the medalists and fantastic performances were overshadowed by one big buffoon.

If you just learned in 2016 that Ryan Lochte is a buffoon, you are four years behind most of us.

But the stellar swimmer overdid himself this time with his silly “over-exaggerating” tale about how he and three other swimmers were held up at gunpoint and robbed.

Over-exaggerating is slang for … lying a lot.

Athletes like the 32-year-old Lochte are used to having officials and public relations’ bobos help get them out of trouble and then spin a story that is nowhere close to the truth.

So it stands to reason that the 12-time medalist felt he could over-exaggerate (um, fib like crazy) and make the Rio de Janeiro police sound like gun-happy militants when the real truth was that he acted like a immature teenager and vandalized a gas station bathroom.

Do you know anyone who has vandalized a gas station bathroom? I know I don’t.

The fact that four U.S. Olympic swimmers think that rates as a fun time is pretty despicable.

In fact, Lochte isn’t the only buffoon in this episode. Let’s get those other names out there too — James Feigen, Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz.

Lochte, Feigen, Conger and Bentz — also known as America’s Four Buffoons.

Keeping alcohol away from this foursome is probably a good thing. Lochte is now claiming that he was still under the influence of alcohol the following day when he was first told his tale to the media. Pretty sure that means he was drunker than Jim Morrison in concert.

Translation: Fill up the Olympic swimming pool with alcohol and Lochte can and will drink it all.

Too bad there isn’t an Olympic drinking competition. Lochte would be a shoo-in for another gold medal.

Lochte did win one gold medal in swimming in these Olympics but his out-of-the-pool exploits and dishonesty overshadowed the stellar performances of some other Americans.

Namely fellow swimmers Michael Phelps (five gold, one silver) and Katie Ledecky (four gold, one silver) as well as gymnast Simone Biles (four gold, one bronze).

The United States won 46 golds overall. Biles became a household name with some stunning performances. Jamaica sprinter Usain Bolt once again proved there is nobody in the world who can keep up with him.

But what people will remember more than anything is that Ryan Lochte is a gigantic dummkopf.

Know this: U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun didn’t find anything funny about Lochte’s act. Blackmun says disciplinary action is forthcoming for Lochte and his three partners in drunken buffoonery.

“They let down our athletes,” Blackmun said. “They let down Americans. And they really let down our hosts in Rio who did such a wonderful job, and we feel very badly about that.

“I think we ended up in the right place in terms of being able to shine a light on what really happened there.”

Whatever discipline comes down is more than deserved. And the best thing about this silly caper is that Lochte wrecked his own endorsement value.

Any company that chooses to line up with Lochte is misguided. So I say no chance you will have to see his silly, smug mug on any television commercials.

One thing about the Olympics is that these athletes pretty much disappear for four years. Nobody will pay much attention to athletes like Ledecky or Biles over the next 3 1/2 years but everyone will be back on board when the 2020 Olympics arrive.

Oh yeah, 2020. Lochte, who will then be 36, plans to compete in Tokyo.

At that point, there won’t be anybody learning for the first time that Lochte is a buffoon.

He has cemented that crown and it is forever part of his lore.

I see Lochte is from North Carolina. The state infamous for the misguided bathroom gender law.

He can brag about that his “buffoon crown” the next time he vandalizes a gas station bathroom.

The latest vacation home to San Diego was nicknamed #AllStarVacay the night before I departed and it sure became a fitting name.

San Diego was playing host to the baseball All-Star Game for the third time. I had attended the previous two but had no aspirations of being at Petco Park for the 2016 midsummer classic.

But a big sporting event in San Diego can’t go on without me inside the venue. I believe it is a rule if you are bored enough to sift through the City Charter.

Less than 48 hours before the start of the game, there was my mother on her computer buying two tickets.

One for her … one for me.

She requested I buy her a ballpark soda.

Yeah, no problem … might even twist my arm enough to get me to buy two … so yeah, thanks mom!

Being in attendance certainly became the highlight of the vacation. The American League won the game and Kansas City first baseman Eric Hosmer was the MVP. It was a terrific evening at the ballpark.

Oh yeah, can’t forget that the Padres were 0-9 against the San Francisco Giants this season before I arrived in town.

I show up to the ballpark and the fortunes reversed — the Padres beat Madison Bumgarner the first night I attended and won on a walk-off balk the next night.

There are many other highlights to share so now it’s time to get to the latest edition of vacation by tweets:

 

JULY 7

–Been so busy & never got around to naming this year’s vacation. Starts tomorrow. Let’s go with #AllStarVacay since a little game is in SD.

 

JULY 8

–Security checkpoint totally empty at #Boise airport. Sorry, not taking photos of TSA. #AllStarVacay

–Am I back on an #NFL beat? Flight delay … Will miss connection & sit in #Seattle airport for four-plus hours. Bad start to #AllStarVacay

–Wow, @AlaskaAir has rude baggage worker on tarmac at #SeaTac. Now I hang in airport for four hours due to missed connection. #AllStarVacay

–Have passed more people in #SeaTac over past hour than I have seen in #Boise all year long. Not Boise airport, but whole city. #AllStarVacay

–Not a single sighting of a #Mariners hat yet at this airport. Perhaps I’m in Tucson airport & not Tacoma. #AllStarVacay

–OK, old-school #Mariners T-shirt from Mark Langston era spotted. Or Alvin Davis if you prefer. #AllStarVacay

–Actually made it to #SanDiego … Doesn’t seem real … #AllStarVacay

 

JULY 9

–Famous Belmont Park roller coaster. #AllStarVacay

–Sunset at Famous Mission Beach #AllStarVacay

 

JULY 10

–Apparently, I’m going to All-Star FanFest for free. And, um, to the All-Star Game for the price of a ballpark soda. #AllStarVacay

–A must visit on #AllStarVacay — my dad’s grave site.

–Delicious pizza at famous Mona Lisa … #AllStarVacay

 

JULY 11

–Nutty woman yelling all kinds of stuff on trolley. Not sure what her deal is. Just yelled about sodomy with a child. #AllStarVacay

–At Fan Fest … Sure there will be some cool things to see #AllStarVacay

–Apparently I’m suiting up. Might be playing in the game. #AllStarVacay

–Hey, Jim Leyland & Tony La Russa. Should I ask for the microphone & throw out some steroid questions?

–Met another sports trophy. Not as famous as the Stanley Cup. #AllStarVacay

–Rollie Fingers & Gaylord Perry.

–Here is why #MLB teams can pay players $25 mil a year. Fans paying $40 for caps. #CanBeHadFor20BucksOnFriday

–Tim Raines … A couple baseball fans just said “Who?” #ummmmmm

–Wish I could unhear Berman saying “Let’s get ready to Trumbo.”

–Love all the replay shots where people sitting close at the #HomeRunDerby aren’t watching. One brunette seen texting multiple times. #Weak

–Pretty sure Pokemon Go is as dumb as The Macarena & as bad as the Philadelphia 76ers. And I won’t Google to see if I’m wrong. #PokemonGoAway

 

JULY 12

–On trolley. This #AllStarGame thing is really happening. For price of ballpark soda.

–Proof you can get into the #AllStarGame for the price of a ballpark soda!

–View from the outfield where Giancarlo Stanton was launching homers last night. #AllStarGame

–Joe Paterno lies! Duh. All college football & basketball coaches lie. And ADs. The hire the stakes, the greater the level of deception.

–My view at #AllStarGame#AllStarVacay

–Randy Jones still has better control than most current MLB pitchers. #AllStarVacay

–Looks like Miguel Cabrera was only person in ballpark not holding up a #StandUpForCancer sign. Not surprised. #AllStarVacay

–Fans in #SanDiego got really excited last inning because… They were doing The Wave … HELP … #AllStarVacay

 

JULY 13

–Wow, really bad error by @USATODAYsports “Cubs All-Star third baseman Kris Bryant, who grew up in San Diego …” #RealAnswerIsLasVegas

–The highlight of every trip home — first In-N-Out burger of the year. #AllStarVacay

–Oh #Deflategate is back in the news? Sooo thankful to be on vacation & not having to waste carpal tunnel energy on that junk. #AllStarVacay

 

JULY 14

–Kept streak of not watching #ESPYs alive. So proud. Swimming in pool & watching The Lion King (Go Simba) with 9-year-old niece much better.

–No longer see #Chargers gear at the #Target in Murrieta. All #Rams now.

–If you start to become good & you’re on the #Padres, you must be traded. #MiserableFailures #PomeranzGiveaway

–Who the heck is Mike Pence? … Related to Hunter Pence? Bassist for SixPence None the Richer? Someone involved in SusPenseful marble games?

 

JULY 15

–If you fall off a cliff playing silly Pokemon Go, I sure hope you are wearing a helmet. Just sayin’.

–Glad to reveal I survived 70 miles of driving chaos on I-15. One woman cut me off & returned to her lane just in time to avoid contact.

–Hard to believe I used to drive in that junk daily. Don’t ever see real traffic where I live now. What they call traffic isn’t traffic.

–Got email from @SouthwestAir about $59 one-way #SanDiego sale. Um, this is like SIX one-ways. LOL Trip Total $344.45

@MrSportsBlog Hey, Mike. We fight tooth-and-nail to have the lowest fares. But due to demand, it can’t be every seat, every time.

Except it is every seat, every time NOT for sale from #SanDiego to #Boise. Every single flight. #NotFightingForBoise

#Deflategate is over? Like really over? Not pretend over? Not Brady faking us over? Like over over OVER? Now let’s end #PokemonGO

Live at #PetcoPark … Could see my third no-hitter … Madison Bumgarner vs #Padres … Aka #MiserableFailures

–Fan sitting next to my friend asked who is #Giants pitcher. My pal said Bumgarner. Fan asked “Is he good?” Ummmm, kinda sir. Kinda.

–Read the “Fun Fact” for Christian Bethancourt. Would rank as embarrassing fact for most MLB teams. #Padres

–Not making this up — Brandon Maurer is the #Padres closer. No grand entrance necessary.

–Yangervis Solarte dives into stands to catch foul pop. Ball had nacho cheese on it when he emerged. #Padres

#Padres win … 1-9 vs #Giants this season.

–This was awesome. Great play and even better emergence from stands. #ThirdBasemanInMyNachos

 

JULY 16

–@TerryBlas If you’re sick of hearing about Pokemon Go for the past week let me tell you what hearing about sports is like for the past three decades.

Wait? This person doesn’t like sports? Ummmmm.

–They somehow still let me on the #SanDiegoState campus. #SchoolLegend

–My college geology teacher used to insist “Earthquakes don’t kill people. Buildings do.” I think he works for NRA. #ApplyNRALogicToAnything

–Back at Petco Park with the much-appreciated free tickets & preferred parking. Can #Padres beat #Giants again?

–Some guy named Schimpf owns Samardzija … SCHIMPF … Might have been found in a rec baseball league. #Padres #Giants

–Pitching isn’t working out for this Villanueva guy. Serving up BP homers. #Padres #Giants

–Buster Posey just homered in 10th & I realized I actually went to a game in #SanFrancisco tonight, not #SanDiego. #Padres #Giants

–Walk-off balk. Seen it all. #Padres beat #Giants again.

–Dang, my research displays #Dodgers won on walkoff balk just last season. Would’ve thought a longer span since it happened. #Padres #Giants

 

JULY 17

–Police killed in #BatonRouge? Night of Dallas shooting I saw dude on #CNN saying, “Why Dallas? Why not Baton Rouge?” Got your way, sir.

–Nearing the point where people in this country who want to live will never again go outside — except the folks playing #PokemonGO.

–Starting to sink in that #AllStarVacay ends tomorrow. Will miss highs of 72 & lows of 64 every day. Not ready to get back in mid-90s furnace.

–Not watching #Obama speech. More entertaining just to type in Obama in Twitter search & watch people go nutso in both directions. #FreeFun

–The #Padres have never thrown a no-hitter. Nobody anywhere wants that first guy to be Edwin Jackson. Nobody.

–Getting exercise at #LakeMurray. Gal just stopped a guy & asked if he was playing #Pokemon. She then told him where one is located. #Absurd

–Whoa! I just witnessed two people who didn’t know each other talking in SoCal. Used to go months without someone exchanging hellos. #Pokemon

–Dear Lake Murray, want to move to #Boise? The Idaho natives are threatened by Californians but they would like you.

–People at Lake Murray all have the Madison Bumgarner look going — lot of glares, no smiles or friendliness. #AllStarVacay

–OMG … Just passed a DAD & 20ish son & Dad said “Do you see that #Pokemon over there?” Both had faces in phones & we’re in sheer delight.

–3.51 miles of exercise at #LakeMurray … Matched a personal record with 0 hello exchanges. Exchanged eye contact with 1 person (20ish gal)

–Vacation ends tomorrow. Seems like it just started. Why does it have to go so quick? Then football starts & boom, year over. #AllStarVacay

 

JULY 18

–I hope I don’t accidentally find out what Kardashian/Kanye/Taylor Swift junk is about. Pretty sure I’d rather get run over by a bus Monday.

–Just saw this brouhaha about the Salt Lake soccer team & a columnist nobody outside of Utah knows. It reminds me M in #MLS stands for minor.

–Suitcase packed. #AllStarVacay nearly over. Going to be hard to leave the land of 72-high, 64-low every day for the #Boise furnace.

–@mshusa New post: “Astros hacker sentenced to 46 months in prison”

He got a much stiffer sentence than those female school teachers get for having sex with 14-year-old boys.

–Three people in front of me at TSA at SanDiego airport – repeat THREE – instead of the usual 300. This doesn’t even seem real. #AllStarVacay

–Hey, my flight isn’t going to depart on time. Knew there would be price to pay for there being only three people at TSA.

–Know I am back in #Boise. Copper Toyota LP 1A 7831G swerved to right four times in less than a mile on Chinden. Drunk, texting or #PokemonGo

The All-Star teams are on the field prior to the American League's 4-2 victory over the National League at San Diego's Petco Park.

The All-Star teams are on the field prior to the American League’s 4-2 victory over the National League at San Diego’s Petco Park on July 12, 2016.

Attended my third baseball All-Star Game on Tuesday night and it certainly was a memorable time.

San Diego’s Petco Park doesn’t receive opportunities to get all dressed up too often due to the Padres’ mostly woeful campaigns – you might have heard the man that runs the team recently referred to the squad as “Miserable Failures” – but the ballpark looked fabulous on this occasion.

The American League won the contest 4-2 for its 11th victory in the last 14 years and Kansas City Royals star Eric Hosmer deservedly won MVP honors with a solo homer and an RBI single.

But the biggest moment for San Diegans occurred prior to the game when it was announced that the National League batting title is being named after Padres icon Tony Gwynn.

Even with the announcement being tipped off – the naming of the American League batting crown after Rod Carew was announced first – it was an emotional moment for nearly everyone in the ballpark and it promoted the crowd to break into a “Tony, Tony, Tony” chant for the Hall of Famer who died in 2014.

“Rod is one of the most highly decorated players in American League history, who made 18 straight All-Star appearances in his Hall of Fame career,” baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “Tony is considered one of the greatest hitters in the history of the National League and there is no better place to honor him than in San Diego.

“Major League Baseball is pleased to recognize their extraordinary careers by naming our batting crowns in their honor.”

The two players combined for 15 batting titles – eight for Gwynn, seven for Carew – and it certainly was a smart idea for MLB to come up with this method to recognize two of the sport’s best-ever hitters.

Another big deal for San Diegans was seeing former Padres closer Trevor Hoffman delivering the game ball from the bullpen. His signature entry song “Hells Bells” by AC/DC blared in the background as Hoffman soaked in the moment.

Former Padres Cy Young award winner Randy Jones threw out the first ball and it looked like he still possesses better control than most of today’s hurlers.

Former University of San Diego standout Kris Bryant, a star for the Chicago Cubs, added to the local flavor by smacking a first-inning homer off Chris Sale of the Chicago White Sox.

Rancho Bernardo High alumnus Cole Hamels of the Texas Rangers pitched out of a third-inning jam for the AL, Padres pitcher Drew Pomeranz pitched a scoreless inning in the fourth for the NL, and emerging San Diego star Wil Myers batted clean-up and had a double in three at-bats.

It was such a fun night at the ballpark that we’re going to pretend we didn’t see the silly fans doing “The Wave.” (Pretend I didn’t mention it too). Or the singer guy changing the words of the Canadian National Anthem.

A few other highlights worth filing away in the memories’ folder:

–Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz played in his final All-Star game and walked in his final at-bat. Edwin Encarnacion of the Toronto Blue Jays entered to pinch run for him and every player on the AL team exited the dugout to congratulate Ortiz.

–Royals catcher Salvador Perez joined Hosmer in homering for the American League and it was a familiar face that both players took deep. San Francisco Giants starter Johnny Cueto was a teammate of both players last fall when Kansas City won its first World Series title in 30 years.

–The National League threatened in the eighth inning and had the bases loaded. St. Louis Cardinals rookie shortstop Aledmys Diaz came up as a pinch hitter and Houston Astros reliever Will Harris came in from the bullpen. Harris won the battle by retiring Diaz on a full-count called strike.

–Cleveland pitcher Corey Kluber picked up the victory with a perfect inning of relief. Kluber could have been pitching regularly at Petco Park if not for a blunder by the Padres as the franchise dealt him to Cleveland in a three-team trade that brought fading outfielder Ryan Ludwick to San Diego in 2010. Kluber went from minor-league afterthought with the Padres to 2014 AL Cy Young Award winner and now will always be remembered as the winning pitcher of the 2016 All-Star Game.