Friday, May 9, 2008

There Is No Place Like Home

By Joe Chandler

Yesterday the Padres lost to the Atlanta Braves for their fourth straight loss. They’re 2-8 over their last 10 games, entrenched in last place, and I couldn’t be happier. This is the Padres team that I have come to know and love.

Over the last couple of years the Padres have won the NL West a couple times and raised the hopes of the entire city. Just ask Nick (the ultimate cynic) what he did after we got swept out of the playoffs a couple years ago (answer: he set his t-shirt on fire). I, for one, never really bought it.

Despite record attendance since the opening of the new ballpark, the Padres ownership has demonstrated an unwillingness to spend money on putting together a winning roster. The Padres recent success has been the result of a couple of lucky breaks. Which is fine, but if the ownership is content to field a loser I’m going to wish for a loser. The thing is my youth was spent watching the Padres lose. I don’t think I attended a game that the Padres won until I was 15 or 16. When I graduated college and moved back to San Diego in 2001 the Padres were absolutely dreadful. The period of my life in which I attended the most Padres games were the two years I lived in San Diego after college. This combined with the losses I saw as a child led to my fondest memories of attending Padres games being linked with losses. Horrible, no-chance-in-hell losses were the order of the day. I saw Ruben Rivera bat on a regular basis. Tony Gwynn’s weight was ballooning and the fans were outraged when we traded away Eric Owens. We used to heckle players by telling them that they hit like the home town team (Nick’s joke). Five bucks would sit you in the front row in RF where a man claiming to be Ruben Rivera’s cousin, who called himself Panama, would regale you with stories.

Being the worst team in the league had its advantages, and the main advantage was fun. As we overachieved over the last couple seasons I found myself missing the days when wins and losses didn’t matter. The ballpark became crowded and every pitch counted. Following the Padres started to actually drain energy. The expended energy would’ve been tolerable if the team was ever truly contending. Any discerning fan knew we were never really in it. The Padres were a team built to fail whether it happened in August, September, or October. All a fan’s energies expended over the season were ultimately for naught and for me the experience of winning was negative because of that.

It’s nice to return to the feeling that just attending the game is the true pleasure. Wins and losses are unimportant. Some view this as defeatist or nostalgic, but I believe that this is the way ownership views the team, why should I look at it any different? That being said, it’d be nice to get a win tomorrow.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

the city was brilliant to take a vote on a new stadium right after our fluke world series year. now we have one of the best parks in baseball minus an actual team. and minus a tony gwynn (the only reason they were ever worth watching most of the years). except for maybe bip roberts. what a freaking name.

-reid wise

tkf said...

the city was screwed into building a new stadium.

The Padres should have said thank you to us for building them a new shop with granting us Vlad.

There is nothing wrong with Qualcomm, and it is completely practical to have a multi-sport venue.

I miss the palm trees. I miss the seasons.

Dave H said...

Padres+Petco=Boring

Seriously, I would rather have the Nationals lineup. At least they have Zimmerman and Milledge.

P.S. War Scanlan giving Weisbarth a wedgie live on the air.

tkf said...

The term war is completely acceptable on The Kept Faith.

Rome is God.