My grandparents had owned season tickets to the Padres since the 70s but It wasn’t until 1984 when I first remember going to Padre games; I guess I never realized until recently though how fortuitous a thing it was to have my first recollections of the Friars during their first World Series run. I was born in 1979, which made me 4-5 that year, and I remember certain things pretty vividly. At that age I certainly don’t remember much about the games, other than for a time when a foul ball actually made it to where we sat (which was a rarity because my grandparents’ seats were in the Lodge section behind home plate) or cheering whenever Garvey went up to bat because I freaking loved that guy. Mostly, however, I remember not having to stay at home with our neighborhood babysitter Julie. I would laugh when we drove by her house thinking about how she wasn’t getting any of my grandparents’ money they let me go to the game that night and didn’t make me stay home with that horrible, horrible Julie (from what I can remember now she was actually pretty nice, but she was the object of my disgust when thinking about how the rest of my family was sheering on a possible homerun while shoving more cracker jacks down their throat… all without me). A few years later, my grandparents paid for that weird PPV package that was available then so that you could watch a handful of games, and it was glorious. My grandfather dropped his season ticket package exclaiming “Who needs to go to the games? Now they come to us”
Fast forward a little bit to 5th grade. Life changed, and I no longer lived with the Grandparents who were then divorced. I was living with mom and her… boyfriend? Life was not easy; money was scarce, and apparently jobs were too, at least for that guy. But even so, my Padres were still a constant as I would go to my grandmother’s house to watch them on TV, and so it only seemed right to stay faithful to them despite their struggles. So it went, I stayed faithful to my bellowed Padres, even as most of the other kids in my class did not. I remember forgetting my favorite brown Padres jacket with Orange SD letters at school one day only to come back the next day and find the inside liner drawn all over with marker with phrases such as “Padres Suck, Dodgers Rule!”. They also drew squirting wieners and wrote homophobic phrases all over it so I guess the positive there is that it was more about disliking me and less about hating the Padres. Either way, the perpetrator had seen fit to also rip it in multiple places and really ruined the prized possession of a very impoverished Padres fan. So I did things the Padres way: When various Padres coaches have been given a torn up piece of crap roster at the start of the year by their general manager they don’t throw it away or leave. Instead they take what they have and make due, and sometimes it works out. So that’s what I did. I figured I would give a big F U to the guy who did this by wearing it proudly for the rest of the year. I’m pretty sure that didn’t work, because I usually was made fun of for wearing it, and my mom finally made me get rid of it, but it was 5th grade... what could I expect?
So Its 1997, in between two exciting years. And, while I had watched 1996 Padres on TV, I hadn’t been to a game in ages. Well, a job as a concessions vendor in 97 fixed that. I was able to watch games for free whenever I wanted to work… and I wanted to work whenever there was a Padre game. Sh—was awesome then; a ton of my friends from high school worked there and our school let us out early on day games. I mean, where else could you play hooky, drink free beer that tailgaters in the parking lot provided, meet girls, and get paid for it all at the age of 17? And Trevor Time? I didn’t know the real excitement of Trevor time until opening day when I worked there, and a packed Jack Murphy Stadium was so loud I almost dropped the tray of drinks I was carrying. That was the best summer ever… I couldn’t have thought of a better send off to college. Maybe the only more awesome thing was ending my first year of college with the Padres going on to win the National League pennant.
A pennant later, and as the 2000s went on I continued to pay a whole lot of attention, would buy season ticket packages from time to time, and would almost never miss a game. I damn near wet my pants when Petco was finished, taking a peak at the live camera feed they provided during construction almost every day after it was put up. High definition television came out for Channel 4 and everything looked heavenly. As time went on I even found a blog with all of the information, fun, and snark I’d ever needed in regard to my team in Gaslamp Ball. I couldn’t get enough of my lovable losers, and marveled at the excitement of them being in contention for the first few years at Petco (even if it did always result in being swept by St. Louis). Did I complain about stuff? Every day!! And I was lucky enough to be able to continually post my pissings and moanings on this blog without being banned by any major contributors or anything. It was great.
2012 and things got crazy. The Padres signed this huge deal with Fox Sports and I thought everything would be perfect! No more dealing with the team making nothing from their television deal, and maybe the chance to reap the benefits of cheering for a team with a hugely increased payroll. But then it happened: Nothing. Nothing happened. Because I’m a Time Warner customer. Now, this isn’t a Time Warner FSSD rant, because there are more than enough of those here. But I cancelled Time Warner when they said they wouldn’t carry my Padres, and my Condo HOA won’t allow a dish, so no Padres on TV for me. But no matter, “I’ll just listen to them on the radio like I used to” I told myself. But then life happened: being married, having a job, having to work from home, and realizing that I don’t even own a radio in my home anymore. I haven’t listened to more than 5 minute snippets of Padre games in my car on the radio, haven’t seen them on tv obviously, and have only been to a handful of games this year. I barely even write here to complain or anything this year.
Reflecting on this made me wonder: Am I really a Padres fan, or just a fan of watching the Padres on TV? Because seriously, without them on TV I almost could care less. It happened similarly for me last year. When the Chargers 1st game was blacked out I just decided I didn’t care to watch any more of their games for the year. But, for all those years of being the object of ridicule for being a Padres fan (I’m sure that was only part of it- I was quite the husky kid and my mother wasn’t a fan of buying new clothes so I regularly split my pants in grade school), why did I give up on them so easily now? And, when they finally are available on tv will I ever come back? I don’t know, but I hope so.