Wednesday, April 18, 2012
PROUDLY BEING PADRES FANS: THE UNEXPLAINABLE EXPLAINED
GENERATIONAL THING--Today, I’ll be at San Diego’s Petco Park, watching a major league baseball game with sons Zac and Mike. We try to make it a dad and sons event once a year to enjoy some time together. This year we’re catching a game with the dreaded LA Dodgers on Easter.
Both sons were born in San Diego and have been lifelong Padres fans. Zac, a marketing exec with Simpson, a Bay-Area based industrial products manufacturer caught a flight to join us. Mike, founded, a monthly tabloid newspaper, West Coaster (www.westcoastersd.com) that is quickly becoming the bible of the craft beer industry put aside a deadline and joined in.
As both are in mid-careers, rare is the time I get to spend time with them as a trio. It’s a treat every dad understands. As we watch the game in person, back at Zac’s home two young sons will be cheering the Padres on. Cole and Jackson weren’t born in San Diego, but they remain diehard fans of San Diego’s often last place team.
Funny how fan loyalty to sporting teams seem to be DNA based. The grandkids often have to explain to a street full of San Francisco Giant fans, why they’re Padres fans. But just as the winter turns to spring, the boys will cheer loudly for San Diego, when they come visit, which I’m forever grateful is often.
The brand loyalty mystery isn’t that deep, however, because boys tend to follow dad’s lead and if Dad happens to be a Padres fan for whatever stretch of inbred insanity exists, then that’s good enough for them.
And, Zac has taken it a step farther.
He’s a little league coach at the youngest level (T-ball). Both his boys were on his teams. And as the coach can name the team, they played for the Pleasant Hill Padres for many seasons.
Zac, too has to explain why his team’s are Padres and not the Giants or A’s. I’ve heard him explain to team parents that they’re the Padres because he’s the coach and that’s that. Of course, I smiled and gave him my best “that’s my boy” grin.
Something’s are simply meant to be.
And, all three generations have attended Padres games together since the team entered the major leagues. Four of them caught their first games as infants.
As many games as we’ve sat watching, no one remembers the score of any one game. Obviously, being a Padres fan isn’t about winning. The slow pace of the game lends itself beautifully for conversation. And, we do talk, but when questioned; we can’t recall a single topic.
One game at Qualcomm Stadium, Zac and I were in a middle tier front row seat when Padres batter Roberto Alomar fouled off a pitch in our direction. As we watched the arching flight of the ball coming toward us, time stood still. Zac reached for the ball and being taller the ball hit his hands but bounced off. The ricocheting ball was heading for the lower decks below but not before I was able to snatch it out of mid-air. Joy in Mudville!
We replayed that treasured moment many times over the year, and I guess too many times for the lady sitting behind us at the game, who yelled “would you guys shut up, already.”
Like most dads, I have a lot of baseball joys to recall. Visiting Chicago’s Wrigley Field with Zac and Fenway Park in Boston with Mike.
And, the three of us were there opening day of Petco Park. And, we’ve made promises to be there when the Padres play at Petco for the first time in a World Series.
And, more baseball moments are in the wings. Years earlier, grandson Cole had a baseball autographed by Padres Kyle Blanks to go with one from Ryan Klesko. When he visits San Diego this summer, he and his brother have set sights on nabbing autographs from the Pad Squad cheer girls.
Yep, as winter turns to spring, something’s are meant to be.
Image: Zac, Mike and Tom, Petco Park 2010.