You know what grinds my gears?
Well I’m about to tell you.
Two weeks ago, @SDAztecsFan asked an innocuous question about Padres merchandise:
— Aztec 4 Life (@SDAztecsFan) April 13, 2014
Several reputable Padres fans chimed in, leaving the overall impression this clothing was not carried at the main Padres store but available elsewhere in the ballpark. I decided to investigate for myself.
On 14 April I managed to escape work early. Despite having better things to do I headed down to the ballpark, arriving just after the gates opened. In an attempt to ascertain what happened to the military logo gear, three different kiosks were questioned – one on the Toyota Terrace level, one right behind home plate, one down the RF line. The goal was to see what they knew about this merchandise. Ultimately I would end up in the Padres Team Store.
Basically I asked ‘Are you selling the military logo apparel?’ and waited to see where the conversation went.
At each kiosk, the sales ladies gave the same answer. No, the Padres aren’t selling the logo attire anymore. When pressed, one location thought they were still for sale in the team store; the other two said they weren’t for sale anymore anywhere in the ballpark. When asked if they knew why, most didn’t want to venture an answer; but there were hints of ‘the Padres decided to go in a new direction’.
Becoming more and more convinced this stuff was gone for good, I headed to the Team Store. There the sales associate confirmed the military logo attire is gone. It seemed they did sell some in the ballpark during the first 3-game home stand, but since then it’s been taken off shelves and ‘given away’. He implied that because the logo was a Tom Garfinkel initiative it had fallen out of favor. Note: That is an unofficial statement; interpret it any way you like.
It is sad to see the logo go. Personally I’d like the Padres to reconsider. Although San Diego is less dependent on the Navy economically than it was, say, 30 years ago, the military/defense complex is still a huge source of revenue for the region. I thought the club’s previously stated intent to be the ‘team of the military’ was a good one, even though that’s a lofty goal and a difficult challenge; service members tend accentuate where they’re from when in unfamiliar circumstances. The Department of the Navy includes both the Navy (duh) and the US Marine Corps. Camouflage jerseys mimicking the USMC pattern are a great way to honor that service; why not continue the hat tip to the Navy with this logo?
Frankly the best part of the logo was its intended similarity to markings on Naval (and Army Air Corps, to be completely accurate) aircraft during the early part of World War II. The military is about sacrifice, and service. We are who we are today as a Nation thanks to the service and sacrifice of those who fought – and won – the Second World War. What a great way to remember our WWII veterans, while honoring our current active duty and retired service members.
I get it – there’s a new standard in place, and with change, a desire to bring new ideas and new direction to the organization. I’ve seen it before in the military, and I’m sure its not unique to the uniformed services. We’re seeing it this year from the Padres, as they change food vendors, sell more craft beer, and bring other more subtle changes to the ballpark.
The changes in the ballpark are a definite hit. Eliminating this logo and its marketing line was a miss. And that’s what grinds my gears.
I insist on two spaces after a period. I post on Tuesdays, except when I don’t.