SAN DIEGO, CA - APRIL 24: Will Venable #25 of the San Diego Padres misses a ball hit by Wilson Ramos #3 of the Washington Nationals during the eighth inning of a baseball game at Petco Park on April 24, 2012 in San Diego, California. Venable was charged with an error on the play. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Will Venable was asked about Petco Park being filled with opposing team's fans yesterday on XX1090.
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You know personally to be honest it does bother me because we take a lot of pride in Petco Park and playing at home, and having Padres on our chests and that's something that we want to share with fans. We want to come out and win for them. We have so much support out in San Diego and I know that sometimes since there's so much to do that it doesn't show up as far as attendance goes. Sometimes it is a little disappointing that you have a sea of orange and black out there when you have a home game.
I was actually thinking about the attendance issues yesterday. I don't buy the excuse that San Diegans have so many alternative forms of entertainment that watching a baseball team 14 games out of 1st place can't be a priority. The beach is always made to be the scapegoat and then the zoo. I've been at the beach at 7pm on weeknights and there aren't a lot of people there. I used to work at the Night Zoo and it was mostly German Tourists who aren't generally interested in baseball.
I think the seeds of fandom were never allowed to properly take root. With Bavasi doing a favor for his former employer Walter O'Malley and throwing the expansion draft, the Padres suffered a good portion of their first decade. Whenever they were just on the cusp of greatness something terrible happened. In 1984 Ray Kroc died leaving the team to Joan. In the early 90's there was the baseball strike and fire sale. In the late 90's the focus became the ballpark instead of the team. In the late 2000's John Moores had an affair and a subsequent divorce. A culture of Padres fandom hasn't really had a chance to be passed down through the generations. Each time the fan base was built up it was swiftly cut down.
Maybe it's just that San Diegans don't identify with their sports teams the way that other cities do. They identify more with the beach culture, so while other cities are pressured by their peers to support their hometown team they don't get that here. Here they're pressured to wear flip flops and to stay tan.