I had the Mets v. Padres series at Petco Park circled on my calendar as soon as the schedules came out.  There was no way I was missing that series.  I did the same thing last year, but unfortunately due to injury the Met I wanted to see wasn’t able to make the west coast swing due to a broken rib.  It’s no secret on Wax Cracker that my favorite Met is my cousin, Josh Edgin.  For some of the backstory please revisit the interview I did with Josh during Spring Training: MLB Player Feature: Josh Edgin, RP, New York Mets.

Leading up to Josh’s visit I happened upon an Irish pub in the Gaslamp District of San Diego after going downtown for a haircut and straight shave one Sunday afternoon.  It was by shear luck that I walked into the bar, only after having walking passed it to then turnaround out of pure confusion.  The Blarney Stone Pub is back in business?  I thought it had closed and gone away like most other restaurants that have come and gone in the Gaslamp?  At that time I didn’t know how off base my thoughts were.  I decided to walk in and grab a Sunday afternoon beer and then head on my way to get rested up for work the next day. I ended up staying for many hours and enjoying my first trip to the Blarney Stone.

I need to further explain why I went into Blarney.  If you know me, I love empty bars for many reasons.  I like to have a good conversation over a beer.  I appreciate good service and a bartender that makes me feel like I am the only customer in the place whether it is empty or packed.  I’m also taken aback by accents.  Throw into the mix a bar with a connection to sports and that’s a perfect combination for me.  It was on this Sunday that I found a bar that encompassed everything I was looking for, the Blarney Stone, my Blarney.  Many thanks go out to Sara Young for being my bartender my first day at Blarney and for being a big reason for why I go back.  Sara and I hit it off right away and she has been a true help when it comes to introducing me to key baseball contacts in San Diego, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention her keen knowledge of poetry.

The Blarney Stone is a true gem hidden amongst all the tourist attractions on the Gaslamp.  It’s connection to baseball history is unmatched and I can only hope in the future to share those stories with you. For now I need to explain the connection between me attending the Mets games and Petco Park and the Blarney Stone.  In talking with Josh before he got to San Diego, I asked him if he would be willing to do an interview for Wax Cracker, almost as a follow up piece to the Q&A I did with him in Spring Training.  Josh agreed to be interviewed on camera and from there I had my work cut out for me.  It worked out perfectly that I had just found my baseball bar in Blarney, and I knew that would be the perfect backdrop for my interview.  My first peek into the baseball history at Blarney was given to me by Pat Forde, the manager at Blarney.  He went on to introduce me to Peter and Ellie, the owners of the bar.  In talking with everyone there about my interest in baseball and the need to find an interview spot to sit down with Josh, everything came together perfectly and I ended up with a home to do the interview from.

I wanted to be able to share with my readers what it’s like to be a pro baseball player through an entire season.  Josh was gracious enough to give me a peek into the world of a pro athlete and all of the triumphs and challenges that come with it.  From being away from family 81 games a year, to injuries, to contracts, I don’t think fans realize what players go through.  To some of us a player’s name is nothing more than stats.  To some of us an opposing player is just someone to heckle.  However, to some of us the player is more than a guy in uniform on the field, they are family or a friend.  It’s to that end that I am proud to call Josh my cousin first and a pro baseball player second.  Thank you, Josh, for helping get me access to everything behind the scenes that goes on in the park before and after the game!

It was through the challenges and triumphs of a baseball player that I wanted to focus my camera interview with Josh.  I wanted to know the connection he has between pitching in New York to his roots in Three Springs, PA and South Carolina, where he now resides in the offseason with his wife Cari Ellen and two children, Turner and Tenley.  I like to come up with my interview questions last minute, but in advance I do research that will help me shape my eventual questions.  It wasn’t until the day of the interview that I sat down at Blarney, grabbed a Guiness from Sara, and got to work on what I wanted to talk about with Josh.  In doing so, it reminded me of how much I have missed doing player interviews.

Before I could get down to doing the interview I had another event I had to attend to that day; I needed to get over to Petco Park for the game!  Josh had left me family section tickets and I had to go over to the park to pick them up.  Everything that happened once I got to the park to claim the tickets is a story in itself for another day.  For this post I want to focus on the access Josh was able to help me get to the park that day.  Below are some of the many pictures I took on my phone from the games that weekend.  I will have many more pictures taken by Andy Waplinger to share with you all soon.  Also, I will have featured pictures from a baseball fan that attended the game.  Here are some of the best shots I captured:

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Chris Young.
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Bobby Abreu, one of my favorite all time players.
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Mets Manager, Terry Collins.
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Tyson Ross warming up before the game.
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Travis D’Arnuad in the pen before the game.
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Me floating around Petco Park to get different shots of the stadium.
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Josh and I on the field before the game on Sunday.
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On set for the Padres Pregame Show.
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David Wright taking BP.
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D’Arnaud signing.

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I have plenty of more pictures to follow.  Also, as I get unpacked at my new apartment I’ll have some more cards to crack for you all!  Sat tuned!

-Casey