During Spring Training if you had asked any of the experts what they thought the Padres chances were to get to the playoffs would be, you be luck to get more then a laugh. Most everyone figured the Padres would be sellers by the trade deadline and that Adrian Gonzales would be shipped off in exchange for prospects. Now the Padres who nobody considered a contender are leading the N.L. West by 6 games and pretty much a lock for the Postseason.
One of the strengthens of this Padres team has to be their Bullpen. If you ask them they will honestly tell you that they have found strength in their new secret weapon. Star Wars’ Yoda has joined the So-Cal crew and has been providing wisdom and luck since sometime in June. Yoda’s wisdom isn’t just for Jedi. The Padres seem to have adopted an unofficial new green mascot, which can’t hurt gaming odds.
It all started with actress Ashley Eckstein who voices Jedi Ahsoka Tano in The Clone Wars animated series and created a new fashion line for female Star Wars fans called Her Universe, Ashley is married to Padres’ infielder David Eckstein.
If you go to the ballpark early enough to see the relief pitchers
walking from the dugout to the bullpen, you’ll notice Ryan Webb carrying some
extra baggage: a backpack that looks like Yoda,
another backpack that looks like Chewbacca and a black bag containing
provisions for the relief pitchers who spend the game in the bullpen.
It’s all part of being the low man on the totem pole.
“One day Heath Bell showed up with Yoda here, and I wore him out and
ever since then, we’ve won a bunch of games in a row so he’s kind of
become a good luck charm.
“Now we’re just adding more and more. We’ve got Chewbacca now. We took
three in a row with Chewbacca so he’s kind of part of the crew now.”
Webb said that Yoda joined the bullpen while on a six-game road trip in
Florida the week of June 22nd. Immediately, the responsibility for
Yoda’s care went to the 24 year-old righthander.
“It’s pretty embarrassing at times,” Webb admitted.
But he went on to say that everyone in the bullpen embraces Yoda and
Chewbacca. “Whenever we score runs, we give each other high fives and
make sure we include Yoda in on that,” Webb said. “Sometimes if we’re
not scoring runs, we have to shake him and wake him up a little bit
because he’s our good luck charm.”
Watch for shots of the Bullpen today and tomorrow you’ll see that the Star Wars characters have actual seats on the bench. Pretty funny stuff. Not as original as Jobu but pretty close.