Last night, kneeling down in front of a makeshift table, we began to eat our dinner. The Pirates and Reds played on the television in the N.L. Wildcard play-in game as we enjoyed a cool cross-breeze that had become noticeably absent during the previous 5 weeks. Fall was here in more than name.
My daughter observed that my eyes stayed fixed on the television as I achieved a delicate balance on my fork – no easy task with a meal of taco salad on the menu.
She asked, “Who’s playing?”
Between bites I said, “Pirates and Reds.”
“There’s a team called the Pirates?”
“Yes. They play in Pittsburgh. They’re the black and yellow team.”, I told her.
She said, “I don’t like watching games that the Padres aren’t playing in.”
It warmed my heart to hear of her unwavering allegiance to the home nine but I felt as though a deeper conversation needed to take place.
I went on to explain that this was the playoffs and it was alright to watch games and enjoy baseball even though our team’s season ended last week.
“So who are we cheering for?”, she asked.
“The Pirates because they’re kind of like the Padres. They haven’t been in the playoffs in a while and it would be neat for their fans to be happy.”
She said, “Oh. OK.”
This is what I told her but it wasn’t the entire truth, only what I thought a six year-old could process and hold on to for the future. The truth was far deeper than that easily digestible excuse.
Padres fans should pull for the Pirates, Rays, and A’s of the world not because of some sense of, “Hey look at the little guy! If he can do it, so can we, good golly!” We should cheer for them because their success eliminates the “small market” excuse that has become a part of this area’s lexicon.
Success by the small market teams this October will hold the Padres front office accountable and positions fans to expect more as we move towards the Hot Stove League.
* My daughter is excited to root against the Dodgers this month. She’s a good kid.
I contribute to Padres Public on Thursday mornings and when I’m feeling particularly inspired. I can also be found on twitter at @AvengingJM. The dusty archives of AJM are located at avengingjm.blogspot.com