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Top 5 Most Polarizing Topics for Padres Fans

Garvey isn't number 1 in this list of most polarizing issues, but it's his number 6 that is number 4.
Garvey isn't number 1 in this list of most polarizing issues, but it's his number 6 that is number 4.

1.  The "Promise" of Petco Park

Since the ballpark was first proposed sometime in 1997, many San Diego citizens were under the false assumption that there was an implied agreement between the Padres and the city.  The voters would approve the funds to build the ballpark and the Padres would in turn fill their roster with the most talented free agents that money could buy. 

Many San Diegans were obviously upset when the Padres reneged on their "promise".  The Padres never promised a specific payroll but they also didn't try to temper fan's expectations before Prop C passed.  They mostly talked in vague generalities about being able to afford upper tier players and making baseball prosperous in the new millennium. 

The Padres also worked under the false assumption that building a new ballpark assured sellout crowds for hundreds of consecutive days, as was the pattern of the day.  In San Diego, however, we may have strung together two sellouts in 2004 before the new ballpark's luster wore off. 

To this day you will still hear from many fans who feel cheated that the ballpark didn't allow the Padres to sign the likes of Adrian Gonzalez, Jake Peavy and Phil Nevin to lifetime deals.  The snarkiest among them will insist that they would have preferred a city library be built in the ballpark's place.  The Padres in turn will use the economy as an excuse for one of the leagues smallest payrolls.

Gaslamp Ball Opinion:

Dex: The Padres payroll in relation to Petco Park is what happens when you have assholes on both sides of the table. You end up with a deal that tries to cater to the lowest common denominator, which in the case of the Padres means you're catering a baseball park, real estate deals and local taxes to fairweather baseball fans, homeless people and tourists.

jbox: I can see both sides of this issue.  I thought there was a good faith agreement between the Padres and the voters.  In my youth I thought a ballpark meant that we'd sign big name players, not invest in scouting but I've mostly outgrown that... mostly.  I'd still trade it all for a good library. 

2.  The Size of Petco Park's Field

It was never the Padres intention to create the worst offensive ballpark in the modern era, but factors unbeknownst to them made it a black hole for any offensive production except maybe the sacrifice fly.  Whether the reasons were the deep fences, the damp night air, psychological disorders of the team's power hitters or just ineffective Padres teams we may never know. 

Fans used to seeing home runs fly out of a Qualcomm Stadium at an average rate were bored by the low scoring and defensive driven games.  Almost immediately  fans and players alike proposed moving in the fences to bring back offense. Other fans tried unsuccessfully to convince the majority that pitcher's duels were much more exciting to watch than actual scoring.

The Padres considered changes and eventually moved in the fence in deepest part of centerfield a few feet.  The change allowed a few more home runs a year and did nothing to satisfy the fan base.  The Padres decided to not make any further changes instead building their team to fit the ballpark rather than changing the ballpark to fit the team.  Now the company line is that the ballpark will create a competitive advantage.

Gaslamp Ball Opinion:

Dex: Petco Park's fences are exactly where they should be.

jbox: I'm slowly starting to accept Petco Park the way it is, but I still prefer a more balanced ballpark.


3.  Uniform Colors

The Padres started their life as a Major League team in 1969 wearing Brown and Athletic Gold.  In 1978 they added orange to their pallet.  In 1985 they did away with gold, wearing only brown and orange.  In 1991 they replaced brown with blue.  In 2001 they mostly did away with orange.  In 2004 they removed orange all together and added  the color sand.  In 2011 sand was retired leaving the team draped in a dull blue and gray.

Today a good portion of fans still would like to see the Padres move back to their original and distinctive colors of Brown and Athletic Gold. In fact the Padres retro jerseys are still best sellers.  Padres management is willing to showcase the old uniforms sporadically when paying tribute to past teams but clearly favors the current colors for everyday use.

Gaslamp Ball Opinion:

Dex: The one consistency in the uniforms of the Padres is their inconsistency. 1969 was the expansion that both closed the door on the last of the teams with uniform uniform colors (the Kansas City Royals) and introduced the era of changing uniform colors when you change your underwears.

jbox: If I could make one change to the Padres organization it would be to return Brown and Gold uniforms to the field... forever.

4.  Steve Garvey's Retired Number

Steve Garvey hit a two-run walk-off home run in the 9th inning of Game 4 of the 1984 National League Championship Series.  The Padres went on to beat the Cubs and win the National League pennant for the first time. To this day it might be the greatest moment in franchise history.

Garvey's number was painted on the wall of Jack Murphy Stadium in the spot where he hit his momentous home run.  For a few years it was unclear if Garvey's number was just being displayed to acknowledge his home run or whether his number was truly retired.  In 1989 his number was officially retired. 

Today there is still discussion about whether Garvey deserved to have his number retired for one hit, no matter how important it was to the organization.  The most impassioned of those debating want Garvey's number removed from it's display on top of the batter's eye and unretired.

Gaslamp Ball Opinion:

Dex: Steve Garvey's retired number is the perfect representation of the Padres. To have team history marked by the accidental retiring the number of a Dodger sums up what it is to be the San Diego Padres.

jbox: I believe very strongly that once you retire a number you never un-retire it for any reason.

5.  Ted Leitner as Padres Broadcaster

If you're a Padres fan it's a very real possibility that you either love Ted Leitner or hate him with a the intensity of a thousand suns.  His ego and style are either endearing or very annoying depending on who you are.  He's known for calling the team "Your Padres" when they're losing and "My Padres" when they're winning, leading some fans to think he promotes a fairweather mentality. He's been broadcasting Padres games for 32 years and still hasn't managed to be fully welcomed into the Padres family.  He hasn't been inducted into the Padres Hall of Fame and every year he negotiates and signs a one year contract with the team.  It's like the Padres don't want to make a commitment to someone so swarthy.

Gaslamp Ball Opinion:

Dex: Ted Leitner is the most distinctive voice in baseball. You can never be sure if your volume control is properly working with the way that Leitner exercises has varying ranges.

jbox: I love Ted Leitner.  He belongs in the Padres Hall of Fame, but they probably won't induct him until after he's dead so that they don't have to listen to his acceptance speech.