ESPN The Magazine author Andrew Kamenetzky asked us some questions recently for his feature on MLB franchise rankings . Our answers are in bold:
How's it going?
I'm a writer with ESPN The Magazine working on our annual franchise rankings issue, where we rank professional sports teams based purely on fan polling data. ESPN's personal opinion plays no role in how a team is scored. I'm doing the Padres writeup and was hoping to get your feedback about a few questions stemming from the research.
1) The biggest dissatisfaction among Padres fans, according to our data, is in cost. Whether concession, tickets, parking, etc. What's interesting, however, is that San Diego's prices come in mostly at the average or below compared to other teams and they actually cut the overall cost of going to a game by 7%. Does this reflect, in your mind, more dissatisfaction with Petco? Fans feeling like if they're going to pay, they better get a playoff appearance? San Diego fans just being reluctant to spend in general?
When you live in San Diego, everything is about cost. I don't think that there's a dissatisfaction with the Petco, as opposed to there just being less of a fairweather mentality than people might realize. In Philadelphia, when people are upset about the team, they act more crazy than usual. In San Diego, people like to complain about how much stuff costs.
2) What is the general feeling towards ownership, in your opinion? Is there any sentiment that they're more willing to charge fans than pony up their own money?
We know that John Moores is the owner, but we don't really know who is in charge. Is John Moores in charge? Is it his daughter Jennifer? We're told that Jennifer is the most active of the Moores family in the front office. There are other questions as well. Is John Moores divorce because of us? Who gets the Padres in the divorce John or his wife Becky? Is the club going to be split and we'll have to take sides. John Moores rarely makes any comments to the press or makes appearances in person. Moores is rich for a reason, he knows not to spend his own money. It feels like Moores just sets the budget and then lets Sandy Alderson take care of the rest, which isn't a bad thing.
3) The Pads also did well in many categories, so what is it that you think pleases Padres fans the most? Players (whether on or off the field, or both)? The atmosphere at Petco? Vibe at the game?
People really like this team's personality. We're regularly seen as the underdog and when players commonly talk about how much they love playing for the team and being in San Diego, it really touches on the San Diego mentality of being the big city that nobody thinks much of. It's an inferiority complex to be sure, but fans buy into it. The Padres are also extremely active in the community, and basically defined how teams should show their appreciation for our troops. In a military town, that sort of thing buys a lot of good will.
4) There has only been one playoff win since Petco opened, but the team itself has been competitive. Are fans still optimistic about the team's shot at a WS title anytime soon? Do they the team getting over that hump reasonably soon?
Being realistic, the Padres will probably never have a team that is stacked for a World Series win. Their goal should be to continually make the playoffs and we all know that anything can happen at that point. Explaining that to some fans is difficult though. There will always be a group of people that point to our payroll and complain that it's the reason we haven't seen the WS since '98. What's strange is the fact that you can point to the Dodgers about 100 miles north of San Diego to show that a big payroll doesn't mean playoffs, but there's no satisfying some people.
Any other thoughts you think would be relevant from the fan's perspective would be great to learn. You can email me back if that works for you. If you'd rather talk by phone, that can also work. Thanks so much for the help. I really appreciate it. Let me know if you have questions or concerns.