Why I am rooting for the Padres

October 19, 2022

This post was originally part of Weeknotes 22:31 but I decided to make it into its own singular post.

I have been following the MLB playoffs through social media and the MLB app on my tablet, since I don’t have cable and cannot watch any of the games. I was excited to see that the Padres put away the Dodgers in 4 games to advance to the NLCS.

I was born in San Diego but later relocated to Kansas City. When I was 8 years old, my best friend moved to San Diego. My family took 4-5 vacations to San Diego in the next 9 years and I lived in San Diego for a summer while in college.

I use to play baseball by myself in my backyard and pretended that I played for the Padres along with Brain. I wore a Padres hat with the 1978 All-Star Game logo that Brian had sent to me in the mail after he moved out there. I think I “played for the Padres” for 5 or 6 years. I even made a baseball card of myself as a Padre at one point, which we have been a whole lot easier to do today with computers and digital technology. I made a reproduction of it several years ago with a scanner and PhotoShop.

I have been a fan of the Padres since 1978, the first baseball season after Brian moved. My dad took me to see the Padres play the Cardinals in 1982 (I believe) while we were on vacation in St. Louis. We sat out in the bleachers of the old Busch Stadium with some die-hard Cardinal fans. I was wearing my Padres shirt (probably the one in the picture) and was loud and proud in rooting for the Friars. I remember that some of the fans gave my dad and me a hard time because of it–but unlike today, I think they jested with a smile on their face.

I remember watching the Padres come from behind in the 1984 NLCS to beat the Cubs and get the chance to play in their first World Series. I watched all of the games played in San Diego on TV and was rooting for Steve Garvey, Tony Gwynn, and the rest of the team.

I got to see the Padres play in Jack Murphy Stadium several times while on vacation in San Diego and one game when I lived out there for a summer in 1989. One of my favorite memories was going to the game with my best friend, Brian. We had outfield seats but sat behind home plate for a couple of innings until the people whose seats we were in showed up and the usher chased us away.

I also got to see the Padres play the Rockies multiple times over the years while my wife and I were in Colorado. We spent anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months in Ft. Collins with Campus Crusade for Christ during the bi-annual staff conference, my new staff training summer, and another summer when we took theological classes. We got to see the Padres play the Rockies at Mile High Stadium during the Rockies’ inaugural season in 1993. We also saw them at least one other time at Coor’s Field.

The last time I saw the Padres play was in Tampa. We saw them play the Rays in 2010, the second year we started going over to games from Orlando. That game was the first of many in which we had tickets in the upper deck and then were asked if we would like to sit along the third-base side right behind the visitor bullpen. They wanted to fill the seats for television. They were great seats and the Rays won that day.

One of my favorite stories from that game was when my youngest daughter dropped her water bottle. The water splashed onto Heath Bell, the Padres’ closer, who was sitting right in front of her. He turned around and looked annoyed at first, giving her an angry snarl that turned into a smile. He offered her some chewing tobacco (it was a joke) and then gave her and the rest of my kids bubble gum. We became Heath Bell fans that day.

Heath Bell is the player without a cap on just to the right of my son. This was our view of the game sitting behind the Padre pitchers in the bullpen. The water bottle with the “L” was my daughter’s and it sprayed straight up when she dropped it.

My son and I had planned to see the Padres play the Braves in Atlanta last summer. We walked to the ballpark from our nearby hotel and got soaked by the rain. Unfortunately, it didn’t let up and they ended up canceling the game. We were not able to come back later in the week for the make-up game.

We were hopeful that they would try to play the game last summer when the tarp came off. Some players even came out on the field to warm up. But our hopes were dashed a half hour later when they announced the game was canceled.

I recently started playing a season with the Padres in MLB The Show 20. I made it to July in the schedule.  I did so-so and had a hard time putting together a winning streak. So I eventually decided to not finish the season. It is the only time I have not finished a season that I started in MLB The Show.

I know the San Diego fans have been frustrated by their early exits in the past few years in the postseason so I am glad to see them have some success this year.

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