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Why I’m a fan of the Padres: A solitary experience

I don’t think I have a choice these days...

San Diego Padres 9/11 Memorial Cap 2016 SD Hat Guy

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I used to field these questions a lot while acting as a manager at my local cap retailer:

“So why do you wear Padres hats? Are you really a fan? The Dodgers are better. The Padres will never win a World Series. No one else around here is a Padres fan.”

I’m a bit different from the average Padres fan in that I reside in the Imperial Valley. I wrote about my home a while back in my Doubling Down on the Padres article; the snippet here relates:

The Imperial Valley is a collection of towns and cities within a 10-20 minute drive of each other, smack in the middle of the desert. We’re most known for our agriculture and are generally referred to as a “small border town” in your evening news. Growing up, many of my classmates saw San Diego as the city of opportunity. San Diego was the city you aim for to get out of the Valley and to start your life, only to end up back in the Valley 2 years later when you either A) wash out of college or B) find out you can’t rent a shoebox in El Cajon on a part time job without 4 other roommates. San Diego always represents that enduring hope that there is something bigger and better than the Imperial Valley, even if that hope is (usually) blind and disregards the Valley for all the simple pleasantries and ease of living it offers. The Valley is also a bandwagon paradise; Raiders, Cowboys, Panthers, 49ers, Dodgers, Giants, Yankees, Red Sox, you name it, there’s a fan of it here. Being a Padres fan here is a solitary existence; a Chargers fan slightly less so. San Diego is where my teams were, just over the mountains.

Being a Padres fan here in the Imperial Valley is indeed a solitary experience. Finding a fellow fan (let alone one who knew more than cursory news) of the Padres is a rare occurrence.

I was raised a Padres fan through my father, who always had a Padres or REDACTED game on in the house. I’ll always have the memory of my dad begging Tony Gwynn to collect his 3,000th hit on my dad’s birthday (he would, of course, the next day) and of the ‘98 World Series playing on every set in the house. I lost track of the Padres during my high school years, instead focusing on a burgeoning musical career. The beginning of my hat collecting days reconnected me to the Padres. The first caps I ever purchased were Padres caps. Over 500 caps later, I haven’t looked back. Collecting Padres caps has brought me back to the fanhood of my youth and grown a love for baseball I wouldn’t have had otherwise. Having the opportunity to write about hats and baseball at large for Gaslamp Ball has further cemented my love for the Padres.

I’m a fan of the Padres because they’re my team. I grew up with the fanhood embedded into me by my father and have rediscovered a love for the Padres and baseball through my journey collecting Padres hats. Meeting and interacting with so many other fans who share my passion for the Padres and enjoy reading my stuff about Padres hats has been an absolute privilege.

That’s how I answer those who question why I support the Padres in the middle of the desert 120 miles away from San Diego. They’re my team. And it’ll be all the sweeter when they hoist the World Series trophy in the (hopefully very near) future.

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