Some of you might have come across me before after some tosh I wrote about being a baseball fan in the UK. Some of you might know me from twitter for similar reasons, or from how I hang around Padres fans on there a bit like a lost dog, or a bad smell. Whatever. I wanted to write this post for a couple of reasons, to get feedback, and I guess, to give some perspective.
When you’re not from the States, when you’re not brought up with baseball, things will obviously appear a bit different. One of my pals on my baseball club over here said he thought it was impossible to feel like a proper fan of a baseball team, in the way that we might feel the tribalism that comes with say, being a football fan. When I say football, I mean proper football, as in soccer, as you lot call it. In a way he’s right; the way I feel about Leeds United FC is ingrained, and it always has been, since me and my Dad kicked a ball against a garage door when I was a kid, back in the seventies.
The thing I don’t like about football over here though, is that people have forgotten what it means to be a fan; and what I mean by that is that rule number one is that you’re a football fan. Not a Leeds fan, not a Man United fan, but a football fan. The perspective that loving baseball gives me, is that I’m a fan of a sport, number one.
I’ve watched most of the postseason so far this year, and the team I wanted to do best was the A’s. But then I’ve seen that us Padres aren’t supposed to like the A’s right? I’m sure there are genuine reasons why, but I just wanted the underdog with the shit payroll to win for once. I mean look at that awful stadium they play in, that can’t be easy? Also they wear nice colours, yellow and green, and have a lead off man who’s named after a breakfast cereal.
So why don’t we like the A’s? Similar I guess to why we don’t like the Yankees, although that’s easier to see. Even then though, my first live ballgame was at Yankee Stadium a couple of years ago, and I see the quality of players like Derek Jeter way before I see reasons to hate them.
So there’s my soapbox moment. Love the game folks, first and foremost, and I don’t mean that to sound patronising. I’d also like to add though, something about the effect the Padres have had on me. I’ve never been to SD. I support them because I used to have some family there before they all died. I love my Padres; this year, while you’ve all been sleeping I’ve been watching the game from the night before, hiding away from twitter so that I don’t know the score. It’s been a hard year, but also an interesting one, especially with new players like Grandal coming through. Throughout the entire season, there’s been one thing on my mind, how the Padres have been doing. Sometimes I wake in the middle of the night UK time, and load up my mbltv on my iphone to check how we’re getting on. Thousands of miles away, there’s some bloke taking a leak in the middle of the night in a cold county in the north of England, wanting, and believing.
I guess I just wanted to say this: San Diego, you’ve got under my skin. I love you like I shouldn’t. Despite all that business I said about loving the game first, despite that I have a soft spot for the White Sox, despite that I taught my kid to be a Mets fan just for the rivalry, I’m a Padre, through and bloody through. I’ll make it to San Diego in the next couple of years, and doubtless I’ll ask some of you to take me to a game. I can’t wait to meet you, and you’re buying the beer.