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It’s Not Your Fault.

A realization of why Padres fans mix eras and colors.

MLB: Kansas City Royals at San Diego Padres Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

I had been mulling this article over for a while now. Many nights were spent staring at the multitude of caps I own and a closet full of jerseys, wondering how I could assemble nouns and verbs together in such a way to avoid patronizing Padres fans.

Perhaps it was a realization I had blindly avoided and marked up only to colorblindness or fan malaise. Maybe Padres fans just don’t care. Maybe I just needed time to arrive to the conclusion on my own. Maybe this is resignation to something that can’t be helped. Maturity works in funny ways.

It’s not your fault.

It’s not your fault, Padres fan. It’s not your fault that you mix a navy cap and brown/yellow jersey together. It’s not your fault that you rock an ‘04 cap with the ‘98 jersey. You just want to support the Padres the best you can and you’ll don whatever you have at your disposal to the games.

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at San Diego Padres
Clayton Richard shows off the 2017 uniform set.
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

It took me this long to realize that not many fans choose to invest their hard-earned dough on a complete matching collection of jerseys and caps. I already figured out I’m insane; the room full of caps and jerseys is a testament to that. The price of caps and jerseys has gone up in recent years. You’d have to drop close to $110-$150 for a matching cap/jersey set, and that’s only for a Cool Base jersey. That kind of money will get you a pair of tickets at field level. Speaking of which, do you really dig the new jersey set to drop some coin on it? I know I haven’t (yet). The prevalence of brown speaks to how popular a choice it is to wear to games, but even I realize now how hard it is to find a proper ‘78 era cap. Even ‘85s aren’t as common as you’d think. You wouldn’t be able to sniff out an ‘84 cap outside of the team store and even those caps within the confines of Petco Park are sold at a juicy premium. The most plentiful brown cap found these days is the Friday Alternate, which is a fair stand-in for the ‘78 era cap. It’s definitely better looking than the plain navy cap.

MLB: Kansas City Royals at San Diego Padres
“I agree Yangervis, the brown looks better.” - Salvy, probably
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not your fault, fellow fan.

The team hasn’t had a consistent direction in uniforms since its inception. Check out the Glaze uniform history page for a visual history. Brown was a constant until 1990 and now the team has officially worn navy (as a primary) longer than brown. Accent colors have come and gone. The amazing mix of navy/yellow only lasted a year. Brown is back, but only on Fridays. Even the amazing ‘98 uniform set which was utilized for 5 games last year is only back for 3 games this year. Among that sea of brown and navy and sand and orange is a hodgepodge of jerseys to choose from and few caps available to properly match.

Tony Gwynn
Many fans prefer the navy/white/orange Mr. Padre wore through most of his career.

It’s not your fault.

It’s not your fault that our favorite team has flip-flopped uniforms and colors over the years. It’s not your fault that some jerseys are easier to find and wear than others. It’s not your fault that matching caps for your older jerseys are scarce and usually cost a premium. It’s not your fault that the new uniform set (save for the brown) doesn’t inspire you enough to get your debit card out.

Among the many arguments I’ve heard among fans regarding the uniform set is lack of consistency and it shows among the crowd that assembles to cheer on our Padres. I don’t blame you for not shelling out cash on new merch (especially if it’s dull). Why spend more than you need to on a team scraping last place and embracing Team Tank? Though it may look a little funny, wear what you have with pride even if it doesn’t exactly mesh. Judge not your fellow fan because they clash yellow, brown, and navy, but appreciate that they’re wearing Padres gear in the first place. One day the Padres may return to a uniform set we’ll all agree on...perhaps the uniform we’ll wear during our return to the World Series.

(and I hope it’s brown)