For the longest time, the Padres of San Diego have avoided a massive market of Latin fans nestled only half an hour south of their ballpark like a redheaded stepchild. When the organization did pay mind to its proximity to a flavorful culture full of baseball lovers, it was usually in the form of taco Tuesdays and "Fiesta" nights at the park.
Well, finally, in 2016, we get to see a full-fledged effort of the first MLB organization to directly reach into the Mexican market and try to spark some San Diego fandom. While at the Boys & Girls Club in Tijuana, Mike Dee explained this outreach would accumulate over the span of multiple years, with a focused effort of "reorganizing" the Padres' presence in Mexico.
Today's announcements are a continuation of the Padres' renewed commitment to fans in Tijuana and throughout northern Baja California," said Dee. "We know we have passionate baseball fans in this region, and it's a priority for our ownership group to be more consistent in our outreach and to create more access and opportunities to connect with fans here.
Which in English roughly translates to Dee finding out that the Peso can be converted to USD, and that there are fans of Major League Baseball willing to spend those Pesos.
An outreach from the Padres isn't all Mexico will be treated to this year. In addition to the Friars and the Houston Astros playing two spring training games in Mexico City's Fray Nano ballpark, three different cities will see their Boys & Girls Clubs upgraded with help from the MLB All-Star Community Legacy group with new facilities, including but not limited to a wiffle ball field, pitching machines, and batting cages with fresh netting.
Tied in with this announcement is XEMO, the Padres' Spanish radio station, being re-upped for more seasons of covering Padres baseball in español. Eduardo Ortega, the always-classy Spanish voice of the Padres, will be cruising through his 30th year in our organization.
Another thoughtful gesture from the Pads is continuing to strengthen baseball fans from Mexico's access to the "Ve a los Padres con los Padres" bus program, which will help continue to ship Mexicans (probably mostly wearing LA gear) up to more games in Petco Park. The Padres are also hooking up with the Tijuana Toros to help fill more merchandise shops with some new blue and gold SD uniforms and game ticket bundles, while also closing the primary Padres shop in Tijuana by the end of the month.
All in all, this is more of a solid merchandising and brand-spreading move from the Padres organization but is also a healthy first step into fostering a bit more love for the boys in brown, blue, and yellow. It gives the youth of Tijuana some safe places to sport around. We get to move towards connecting to Mexican fans outside of fratty fans wearing sombreros ironically and a one-and-done pregame performance of Mexican artists and musicians, and see more events and festivals celebrating the abundance of local Latin baseball fandom and culture.