Padres' 32-player ping pong tournament had a 'championship game atmosphere' from the start
Imagine Duke and Kentucky squaring off in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Evidently the Padres clubhouse reached that level of intensity during Monday's team meeting.
Earlier in the day, manager Andy Green unveiled a 32-player ping pong tournament set to take place in the Padres clubhouse. Matchups are drawn at random with one game per day until a champion is crowned.
Green began the festivities by reaching into a hat and drawing No. 27, the number for the newest Padre, right-hander Jered Weaver. Seconds later, Green pulled a "4," belonging, of course, to All-Star first baseman Wil Myers.
Baseball pedigrees aside, Myers and Weaver were considered throughout the clubhouse as favorites to win the entire tournament. Yet there they were, with the entirety of the Padres' roster watching in earnest, squaring off in the first game.
"It was crazy -- like a championship game atmosphere on day one," said second baseman Cory Spangenberg.
Ultimately, Weaver came out on top in a hotly contested match to 15. On Tuesday, Hunter Renfroe took down Allen Cordoba in a showdown between a pair of rookies.
But the results aren't exactly the point. Afterward, the Padres resumed their team meetings in high spirits, before heading to their workout with a spring in their step.
"It's great," said Spangenberg. "Any time you can put some fun competition in the locker room it's better for the team, to see everyone cheering like they're 10-year-old kids."
Even in defeat, Myers praised the event -- though he wasn't appreciative of the pitching staff vociferously cheering on Weaver.
"It's good for the whole team to be in one room, having fun, pulling for two different sides," Myers said. "It's good team chemistry to have something like that and take some shots at each other all in good fun."
Last week, Green hinted at a few team-bonding exercises this spring, and this appears to be the first.
"What we have in that clubhouse is a lot of really good people," Green said. "And really good people tend to bond really quickly. I feel good about the culture that's being created, that I've been charged with safeguarding."
Why ping pong? Well, Green himself is a known ace.
"I might challenge the winner at the end," he said.
One reporter pointed out that it might not be fair for Green to give himself a five-round bye.
"When you make the rules, you can do whatever you want," he quipped.