The most intriguing at-bat of 2007 is leaking into 2008. You can sense it by the way a 25-year-old wannabe struts through his February workouts. You can sense it by the way a 40-year-old shoulder shrugs at the line of questioning. You can sense it by the way a Hall of Famer is uncomfortably stuck in the middle. And you can sense it by the way a filthy rich man stares into space.
On Sept. 29, 2007, Tony Gwynn Jr., for all practical purposes, knocked Tony Gwynn Sr.'s team out of the playoffs. But it's much crueler than that. He did it with two outs and two strikes in the bottom of the ninth -- against his Uncle Trevor. He did it with the champagne on ice and the Colorado Rockies on life support. He did it against the franchise that clothed and fed him and against a fan base that, 81 days a year, walks down Tony Gwynn Drive to the turnstiles. He did it as the only son of San Diego's favorite son. And this is how he pays everyone back?
But to understand Sept. 29, 2007, you need to scoot back one day to Sept. 28.
That night, in a corridor of Miller Park in Milwaukee, Tony Gwynn Jr. asked San Diego Padres owner John Moores for a favor.
Wait until you hear it.