To start, I’d like to say thank you to all those who inspired me directly, indirectly and inadvertently to write this piece. I dedicate this piece to my children that one day they come to love the game as much as I do.
My name is Nacho Padre. I have been a baseball player since the age of 5, played on teams through college and ended with a high school coaching stint. After I left my hometown at age 12, most of my exposure to the game came in the North County town of Vista. Pony League, High School and Mira Costa were the infields I dug out picks. El Camino High School was the field I gave back a few years transferring any hitting and infield defensive skills I could offer to local aspiring players. It was not until the opening weeks of Petco that I discovered my fan capabilities. The first few games of that inaugural season I quickly noticed visiting fans berating, humiliating and down right verbally blasting our Padre players and their fans. As someone who was baseball cultured, taught, and coached with the hitting and overall game spirit of the late, great Tony Gwynn during the 80’s and 90’s, I simply couldn’t bear it and here I was in our brand new stadium with sparkling new turf and the visiting fans were wasting no time to piss on it. So having just received a Nacho Libre movie promotional mask promotional giveaway, and still possessing my baseball infield loud voice, I instinctively donned the mask and from my new favorite RF/CF spot in section 135/137 began to commit to improving my fan status to a diehard, home town, family respected heckler. After 10 years of watching the Right Field Mission and Petco Park fan base grow, I offer to all, in my opinion, the actions necessary to be a Championship Fan.
Welcome, new Padres fans who used to be
Los Angeles San Diego Los Angeles Chargers fans!
Go ahead and set up your folding chair and enjoy our tailgate party. Here’s a .394 San Diego Pale Ale for you to enjoy. Good, isn’t it?
Oh, wait, you are 21, right? Oh, that’s good. No, no need to check ID. We’re on the honor system here.
So, you’re new to Petco Park, right? I mean, you’ve mostly been spending your hard-earned money on that other team with the lightning logo and that inane “BOLT UP” slogan, I’m guessing.
What gave it away? Well, the brand new Matt Kemp t-shirt that you picked up at Target. Probably last week, right? You likely have that Derek Norris one too, am I correct in assuming? Of course I am.
That’s okay, though! I’m glad you have come into the Padres fold. I’ve watched for far too long as Chargers fans looked down on Padres fans as lesser beings.
“How can you support those losers?”
“I prefer my money & support go to a winning organization. When was the last time the Padres made the playoffs?”
Now you guys will be coming over from the dark side in droves. But that’s okay. We don’t mind.
FAN on FAN Action: Sermon from The Mission
by Corey Menotti
I am always struck by the manner in which American fans brand themselves with sporting swag. I myself wear Padres gear in some form everyday. I have some personal rules that I abide by; part style, part shibboleth, part superstition. For example; I do not purchase a jersey with a Friar’s name on it unless they have retired. But for the most part I don these togs because I identify with my club, my squad or my town in a very real and tangible way.
Recent discussions with similarly situated individuals have made me ponder the entire hierarchy of fandom and idolatry as it relates to the 2015 Season.
I get why we identify with players, teams and regions towards which we gravitate; proximity, admiration, even a dabble of mild envy i suspect. Like most humans we have a need to identify with champions, so we seek them out in our choice of teams or players.
But why do we also foster animosity towards other devotees of the same ilk?
What would posses us to look at other club fanatics and enthusiasts in a harsh or even disagreeable light? What is the purpose of fabricating a hierarchy amongst ourselves, the fanbase?
I am baffled.
Watching and rooting for the Padres from a relatively safe distance of two time zones away provides a unique perspective. Think of it as gaining an appreciation for details best examined from afar while suppressing or even muting the anguish associated with the less geographically challenged Padres fan. Trade the level of emotional investment for additional clarity.
Granted, I’m a lifelong Cardinals fan, so one might consider the emotional investment on my part to be slightly hedged. Maybe it is. Maybe putting the vast majority of one’s eggs in a completely different basket has its advantages. I can often take solace in a place where most Padres fans cannot. Temporary immunity from visceral reactions has certain privileges.
That’s not to say that I don’t find myself envisioning Bud Black being bludgeoned by baseball bats when the lineup is announced. I can neither confirm nor deny that, but hearing the collective cries of the more vocal portions of the fan base (bloggers) keeps me honest. When they suffer, I find myself thinking “There but for the grace of the baseball gods go I.”