I love the San Diego Padres because they are so much like the rest of us.
Most of us never go through an entire day without some sort of struggle. We find time while stuck in traffic to learn that our socks don't match, a run in the hose, or discover a coffee stain on that white shirt from our commuter mug. If we are lucky enough to still have a job, we arrive at work to encounter folks who are both better and worse than us at what we do. We have to balance our budget by eating hamburger helper and we moan as that gas meter at the pump is spinning crazily and finally stops at a sum that would have bought you a set of tires twenty years ago!
But we're good, hard working people, with kind hearts and good intentions!
That's the Padres folks. Year end and year out the Pads must compete with the glamorous Dodgers with their movie star fans and bottomless pocketbook, the liberal and effete San Francisco Giants who garner huge funding support from those Silicon Valley millionaires and a ultra-wealthy owner. Hell, for a time, even Jerry Collangelo, with the Diamondbacks, was pumping out $125 million dollar payrolls to buy a World Series Championship!
But our boys try hard! We've been blessed with wise coaches and managers and, for a little while, a deep, deep pocketed owner who made the Big Mac a household name. We've also been cursed by a "fly by night" Hollywood producer who, fueled by profits from Roseanne, bought the Padres, staged a fire sale and allowed said actress to butcher the national anthem on the green fields of baseball. This nightmare was followed by an era of hope; new ownership, a beautiful new ballpark and at least one year when Tony didn't have to carry the team on his back. Never mind that the mighty Yankees sent us home with our tail between our legs; I'll remember always that Tony Gwynn clout to right field! Finally, the Pads are again recovering from the uncertainty of the team's future by the tragedy of divorce.
The Padres struggle, just like us!
And, just like us, the Padres try mightily to make sure they field only "good guys", players of good character and good work ethic, who have a great love for the game. Yeah, we're not perfect; we had a woman beater in our midst and didn't know it and, since we're human, we were tempted by the lure of a great bat; it just happened to belong to a nut job who Bud Black had to take down at first base to keep him from harming an ump. For the most part though, we've tried hard to field guys who you wouldn't mind having a beer with.
Just as we cringe at the gas pump, the Pads cringe when my favorite Adrian rightly asks for $25 million a year. Kinda like your kid, who you dearly love, wants that $300 dollar prom dress and you've got to tell her to settle for the $100 dollar knock-off at T.J. Maxx.
So, I love the Padres. How could I not? The Padres are me! I moved to Phoenix a few years ago; now I have to catch the Pads when they play the Diamondbacks, or during an occasional Saturday afternoon Fox game and listen often on satellite radio. But I still have magic memories of the green fields of Petco and I visualize that scene as I listen to them on Satellite radio.
Yeah, I'll get to see Adrian bouncing them off the green monster on MLB network. The Yanks and Sox are the big and frequent shows on that network. I'll be rooting for Adrian to do well; he's just a too great a guy not to. But I guess my heart will always belong to the Pads.
If it's true that "Americans love an underdog" then Pads fans must be some pretty special Americans. I know they are...I used to rub shoulders with them.