Jon and I went to Friday's 1998 Retro Night last Friday. We got to Petco Park at 5 pm so Jon could get his jersey autographed by a few more members of the 1998 team. When we arrived there were two really long lines. We both stood in the shorter of the two, until a guy in front of us suggested that we split up like he and his wife had. "Hey buddy, I'm sorry to hear about your divorce, but mind your own business!" That's when I realized he meant we should both stand in different lines to maximize autograph capacity.
I'm not really interested in autographs, so I agreed to stand in the longer line and then be handed Jon's jersey when he was finished with his. I dreaded standing in line by myself for an hour, until I reached the back of the line and found Gaslamp Baller and dare I say friend, Darklighter standing there. We kept each other company, just focused on getting to the front of the line. We saw the guys from schmoozing with new Padres brass and waved, but they seemed too embarrassed to acknowledge us in front of their new besty PublicDave Holtzman.
As we approached the front we could see the players signing on the other side of a chain link fence. I remember these guys as they were back in 1998. They looked older now, with wrinkles, gray hairs, bald spots and pot bellies. Even the youngsters had aged. Stan Spencer is middle aged now and Ben Davis looks like a present day Steve Garvey. Time is cruel. The only player who hasn't aged is Greg Vaughn, he's forever young.
This was about the time when @crazycharisma cut in line in front of us and tried to steal Jon's jersey. He'd already made it through his line and had his hand-off to me intercepted by her.
When we got within three people of the front of the line we were told that there would be no more autographs. A solid hour of waiting in line and with no warning we were dismissed. It sucked and people were seriously pissed. The only solace I can take is that at least the line cutter didn't get her autograph either. I tweeted my dissatisfaction but was ignored.
Afterward we talked about how much better the 10 year anniversary autograph session had been in 2008. Back then they split up the players into couples and had separate lines for each spread about the Park at the Park. Even if you didn't get Tony Gwynn's you still had a chance to pick up some autographs for some lesser known players. Hopefully the clusterf*ck will be remedied in 2018.
We were left with no choice but to stare longingly at the Padres team in their suite.
Bunch of 98 Padres and families. pic.twitter.com/rFdjdjXpwZ— Gaslamp Ball (@gaslampball) June 15, 2013
The Parade of Padres
Jon and I wanted a good view from above the 1998 pregame ceremonies so we walked up to the Rally Bell. There we watched as 1998 highlights were played on the big screen to really depressing 90's ballads.
"Where have all the cowboys gone?" is my jam.— Gaslamp Ball (@gaslampball) June 15, 2013
We cheered as convertibles were driven around the circumference of the nearly empty ballpark. Each convertible had a Padre passenger perched on the back seat.
Ted Leitner introduced each one to a smattering of applause. These guys deserved better from us. Maybe it's just been too long and no one remembers them anymore. I hope that's not the case. Tony Gwynn was the passenger in the last car. He received more applause than everyone else combined.
After a dinner at Phil's BBQ, Jon and I met up with our friend Jimmy Rector who had driven down from LA to attend the game with us. He'd left LA just after one o'clock and arrived at about 8:30 pm. Seven hours on the road stuck in traffic.
Rector has attended many games with us over the years, including the 1998 playoff game when Sterling Hitchcock bested Randy Johnson. He was also there for the 18 inning game in 2008 and when we traveled to see the Padres play in Chicago.
The first thing he wanted to do was use the restroom and get some food, which is perfectly understandable. The service at the Petco concessions is terribly slow. I'm a man of little patience and the 15 minutes it took to get a cheeseburger made me want to go ape sh_t. Rector however was calm, this was nothing compared to 7 hours in a car.
We went up to our seats in the upper deck, far down the left field line in 320. We didn't want to disturb fans who had already been seated for 2 hours so we went to the next section down that was practically empty. After getting lectured by a Padres representative that we should go to our ticketed seats, we were finally able to enjoy the game.
Fortunately for us, this is where the night took a turn for the better. We summoned the Fox Sports San Diego Girls for a visit. Upon summiting Petco Park Katie asked "The rest of the bloggers are in good seats. What are you guys doing way up here?"
"We're bloggers of the proletariat" I explained.
We chatted with them for a few minutes and became the best of friends.
Nathalie's nickname for me is "Lady Fingers" because of my feminine hands. I hope that catches on. @FSSD_Girls— Gaslamp Ball (@gaslampball) June 15, 2013
As a reward for being charming, we were given a seat upgrade to the Toyota Terrace on the first base line.
@gaslampball hope you mean that, because it means a lot to us! Haha, enjoy the rest of the game. N— FOX Sports SD Girls (@FSSD_Girls) June 15, 2013
There we watched as Eric Stults finished his complete game.
In order to soak up some more nostalgia from1998 and spend more time with Rector, before sending him back to LA, we went to McGregor's in Mission Valley. This is where we had post gamed for many years in the late 90's. The Padres did too. In those days we saw all the Padres greats drink and cavort in the strip mall pub. There was Kevin Brown and Joey Hamilton driving up in Brown's blue Viper. There was Ruben Rivera sneaking in an under aged Pad Squadder. There was Jim Leyritz holding court on the patio with his relatives. There was even one night where a lonely Stan Spencer spent an hour talking to our friend Kev for some reason.
The bouncer at the front door loved Jon's signed jersey. They have a similar one framed inside and said theirs was appraised at $1,500. He guessed Jon's was worth half that due to the stains.
We went inside hoping that maybe, just maybe, some of those old 1998 Padres would show up too, for the same reason that we had. It didn't turn out that way, but it was fun nonetheless.
Fox Sports San Diego
I got home and tuned into the Fox Sports telecast that I had recorded. They had Mel Proctor and Mark Grant together again in the booth. There chemistry was as good as it was 15 years ago. Joining them was sometimes broadcaster Tony Gwynn. How I laughed with them. It was a great broadcast.
Today FSSD announced that they had their highest ratings ever and they had earned it. A splendid salute to our team's past.
Friday night’s San Diego Padres vs. Arizona Diamondbacks game on FOX Sports San Diego set a new record for the network’s highest-rated telecast.
According to Nielsen Media Research, Friday’s 2-1 Padres win over the D-backs produced an overall average rating of 4.37 in the San Diego market, equating to nearly 47,000 households. The previous record was a 4.27 rating set during a Padres vs. Dodgers telecast on April 17 of this year.