Arizona Daily Star: Having fun translates into wins for Padres



From Daniel Berk of the Arizona Daily Star:


Tucson Padres: Having fun translates to wins for Padres’

A little more than a week ago, with his team flying from Reno, Nev., to Colorado Springs, Tucson Padres shortstop Dean Anna did what most ballplayers do on an early-morning flight – he took a nap.

When he woke up, Anna quickly realized all the travel clothes that he had stored in the overhead compartment were missing. After a few minutes, he figured out what happened. Five teammates had taken Anna’s nicest shirts and put them on themselves.

Anna marveled at the pranksters’ creativity, pictures were taken and fun was had all around.

It may sound like a meaningless practical joke, and maybe it was, but it’s also speaks to one of the reasons why the Padres entered Thursday night’s game 47-40 and in first place in the Pacific Coast League Pacific Southern Division.

“We’re having so much fun together,” said Cody Decker, one of the players to steal Anna’s clothes. “I was here for about a month last year and it’s so easy for guys to get that salty, bitter feeling in Triple-A, thinking they should be in the big leagues. This team, you don’t really get that.

“Last year, there was a little bit of that, now everyone is having a blast and we’re a real tight-knit group.”

Decker says the loose, fun atmosphere is a credit to first-year manager Pat Murphy.

And fun and loose equals wins for this group.

“If anyone says he’s not a massive reason why we’re winning, just look at Tucson’s record the past two years,” said Decker before Tucson’s 6-5 win over Las Vegas in front of a season-high 10,950 fans at Kino Stadium. “Now in his first year, the team is doing things we’ve never done before and we’re having a blast.

“We look forward to playing every night.”

As of July 8th, Murphy’s Padres are 50-42, standing 1.5 games ahead in first place in the Pacific Southern division.

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