Get Ready

According to multiple reports the Chargers will announce today they are bolting (sorry) for Los Angeles.  Dean Spanos will meet with his staff shortly, ostensibly to inform them of this decision.

It’s probably too late to start a petition to keep the team name and colors here (al la what Cleveland did when the first Browns left).  I’d absolutely support that initiative, by the way.

Dean Spanos leaving town will have a profound impact on the Padres.  I wonder how they will react today.  I hope they have thought it through and have an actionable plan in place.  They’ve had two years to prepare.  Their world is different starting at 8am this morning.

The Padres have been the second banana in San Diego for as long as Major League Baseball has been played here.  Even during their brief forays into baseball respectability, and the occasional playoff appearance, the Chargers dominated the narrative.  Now, I know using local sports talk-radio as a barometer isn’t the best idea, but for the last two years those who listen have been treated to incessant conversations about the stadium issue, new developments, theories, recriminations, speculation, and so on.  It didn’t matter how well or poorly the Padres were playing, or what stupid thing the Padres did, San Diego Charger stadium discussions dominated.  Only when a story became national news (like the medical file flapex) did some lip service get paid to the Padres and what they were doing; it was then rapidly swamped by more stadium discussion.

The Padres had the perfect cover.  Now that cover is gone.

Although the Chargers are moving barely 150 miles up the road I can’t imagine news about that football team will continue to be the top story for the local media.  All eyes should shift to the one Major-League franchise left. The Gulls will get some additional coverage, sure, but hockey is a niche sport (which is too bad, because it’s awesome).  The Padres have sucked for the past six years and only the diehard fans really complained and discussed it.  Now the casual sports fan will be paying more attention because there’s really nothing else to talk about.

Get ready, Padres.  You’re front and center on the San Diego Sports Stage.  If we ever needed our baseball team to both play well and have a realistic chance for a playoff appearance, it’s right now.

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  • ballybunion

    I don’t think the Chargers were cover for the Padres. The Padres attendance has topped 2 million for 20 of the last 21 years (14 years with losing records, five with 90-plus losses), while the Chargers, with 8 home games, two exhibitions, and at most two home playoff games, couldn’t reach 1 million even with all sellouts. The local newspaper has given the lion’s share of coverage to the Chargers since they moved here. Now maybe they’ll notice there’s a major league baseball team in town.

    • Thanks for the comment.

      You’re comparing apples and oranges with attendance. I took a cursory look at home attendance figures from 2010-2015 for both teams. During the regular season, the Padres drew (on average) 4 times as many fans as the Chargers did a year, true – but they had 10 times as many home dates. The average attendance for a single Padres game was less than half that of a Chargers game. The average Chargers home game over those six years drew 64.5K people; the Padres drew 27.2K per game. I think there are a lot of factors driving that disparity beyond local media coverage of each team.

      That said, I agree with your newspaper comment. It will be refreshing to read more Padres coverage in the UT. It will be refreshing to see more Padres coverage in general. Maybe a ‘Padres Power Hour’ show will start. Who knows.

  • ballybunion

    Well, let me make a SWAG method prediction: The Oakland Raiders will replace the Chargers at Qualcomm within a year.

    When Al Davis’ son Mark started talking to Las Vegas, his lease ran out, and Oakland took advantage, sticking the Raiders with a $3.5 million year-to-year lease. The new stadium the Chargers will move into just broke ground last November and won’t be ready until just before the 2019 season. The Las Vegas proposal doesn’t have all the financing settled or a finished design, so it’s at least 4 years away.

    The Chargers lease was $2.5 million, but was offset be so many credits that they in effect paid no rent at all. The City could offer a much cheaper lease to the Raiders and still come out ahead of the terrible Chargers deal, while Mark Davis can put his team in a better stadium – fewer luxury boxes, but 8,000 more seats, and the locker rooms don’t get backed up with sewage. And – it’s in San Diego, not Oakland.

    Plus, there are plenty of Raiders fans in LA willing to come down to fill the seats, and a number of former Chargers fans willing to embrace the Chargers’ division rival. The NFL may object, but a Qualcomm deal would be much better than the Oakland lease, and the owners didn’t want to abandon San Diego, they just didn’t want the Raiders in LA. If the Las Vegas deal falls through, the Raiders are still better off than staying in Oakland.

    Davis has only to wait until the Chargers’ local leases are up in June, making the Chargers’ move official, and then he can make his move.