San Jose to Petco

Donald Miralle

Imagine being a 10 yr old boy who is just discovering the love of baseball. It's the early 80s, so there is no ESPN, MLB network, internet, Facebook, etc to show you every player and every play of the day. Since your parents aren't sports fans, you've never been to a game, much less learned much about it up to this point. You have no local allegiance since you've never been to a big league stadium.

A new kid moves in to the neighborhood, and he's a jock who's obsessed with Steve Garvey. Since he's the only one around your age, you're curious to see what the hubbub is all about. You easily become enamored with Garv's perfectly placed hair, his Popeye forearms, the clutch hits, and his all around great guy persona.

The infatuation strengthens after a World Series win, but then the inevitable happens. Garv's team ships him, along with your other favorites, elsewhere, replacing them with guys you have no interest in. So your allegiance shifts south with him. By this time, you're 13 and baseball has become your world. You are captured by the '84 Pads, the world's best underdog story (in your mind), and as Garv reaches retirement age, you found another all around great guy, and even better player, to idolize: Tony Gwynn. You and Gwynn "grow up together" and, even though you're the only person you know who's ever heard of him, you stubbornly stick to the assertion that he's the best player alive and you can't believe every year that he does't win the MVP. You are at the age of being a true fan, now, and stick with the team through the '87 season, the fire sales of the 90s, and the bittersweet ending of the '98 season.

A few years later, you have a 10 yr old of your own who is discovering baseball himself. You think it might be easier if he roots for his local team, but their best player is not playing by the genetic rules, so you think he might have a chance to like the Pads. You book a flight for two to SD to check out a home game for the first time for both of you. Petco is beautiful, the weather's gorgeous, and you can't believe how awesome it is to be surrounded by fellow Padres fans. Is your son feeling the same way? He looks like he's enjoying himself, but you can't tell with kids this age.

Then the top of the 9th starts with the Pads up by one. The video screens go blank, the crowd hushes, and loud gongs start to peal over the loud speakers. Then the outfield gate opens, Angus Young's guitar starts riffing, the screens light up with fire, and the crowd erupts as #51 starts trotting out. You look down and see the awe and excitement on the boy's face and realize another generation of Padres fans has just started.

This FanPost was written by a member of the Gaslamp Ball community and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Gaslamp Ball staff or SB Nation.