I have tried, since moving back to this side of the world, to become a fan of the Marlins, or the Devil Rays or the Braves. With the Rays, I’ve had some success, because they were the local Major League Baseball whipping boys for so many arrogant know-it-alls who write or report baseball. I AM a fan of the local AA Marlin team, the Jacksonville Suns. It was kinda iffy for me when they were the Tigers AA club, and nearly impossible when they were the Dodgers AA team, believe me. Now, I’m good with them and with cheering for them. When the Suns were Detroit and the Mobile Bay Bears were a Padres farm team, I wanted My Padres to win. Schizzo-multiple-personality in baseball…as it has been, so it shall continue.
See, from 1996 to 2000, we lived in San Diego County. Ballgames were a regular part of our lives. It was not only easy to go catch a game – and was a blast as a date with the ol man (with a Rubio’s conveniently placed AT the stadium) – they also showed the games on Channel 4 tv, and there was no lingering shot of the bleach-blolnd bimbo explosion in the stands with the plastic -sorry, silicone…no, scratch that – saline – boobs (the plastic is in the nose, right?). There were few close-ups of Bruce Bochy or Trevor Hoffman or The Great Gwynn. The camera was focused on the FIELD of PLAY, and far enough back to see who was doing what where. Jerry Coleman and Ted Leitner called the games on radio, and they are still my favorite broadcast team. Miss all that. Used to pull the tv out on the patio, and sit beside the cactus garden in the fading sunset, and just be in love with the world, whether My Padres won or not.
Needless to say, I became a fan. Small market team, perpetual losers, whose scores the Big Experts at the national level barely condescended to mention. For our 20th anniversary, the ol man and I got on a plane and went to a Padres game in their new digs, the beautiful Petco Park. Got to see Trevor pitch again.
Fast forward to me, 13 years later, sitting in NEFL, watching the Marlins and Rays games on tv most times, but ESPECIALLY when they play My Padres. A couple years back they were first in their division – with an even split between wins and losses. Everyone else in the division was WORSE!?!? Including the Dodgers and Giants? HA!
This year, however, with Bruce gone to SanFran, Trevor now a Brewer with 600 saves, and The Great Gwynn retired and rightfully enshrined in Cooperstown, My Padres are kickin‘ some Major League attitude all over the continental United States. Sure, they just had a streak of TEN losses IN A ROW…but I seem to remember a year they had fourteen wins in a row – and finished last (or close to it) in the standings.
I’ve never watched a live game with any of these players. THEY wouldn’t recognize me if they saw me in the stands at Petco Park (Tony Gwynn did at Qualcomm, because I worked at the cleaners he used). But I am still a fan, and it looks like I’m gonna stay a fan. They even have a classmate of Lovely Daughter’s on the roster…and he has a very familiar name.
Makes me wanna hang a star on it, as the Major would say.
I remember Tim Flannery, too: