I want to preface this by saying that you should look for Vocal Minority posts on Mondays at Padres Public. Happy Monday, here we are!
Baseball season is just around the corner, friends. You can tell this is the case, thanks to posts that begin in such a hackneyed fashion. I’m not here to wax poetic about the fresh-cut grass, the smell of hot dogs, the sound of gentlemen quarreling over the might of the baseball club from their city vs. the baseball club from another city, and I’m certainly not here to steal Jane Mitchell’s spring training catchphrase “hope springs eternal”.
This week, you’ll probably notice a bit of a theme around here at Padres Public: Padres FanFest. It’s coming up on Saturday, we’re excited about it, and it doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing to all of us.
First, let’s get this out of the way right now: as any well-meaning curmudgeon will tell you, things were definitely better back in the day. That’s why the “San Diego County Fair” is still the “Del Mar Fair”, “Qualcomm Stadium” is still “Jack Murphy Stadium” (willing to hear arguments on the whole “San Diego Stadium” deal), and damn it if “Padres FanFest” isn’t still “Friar Fest” to me.
Friar Fest generally has a lot to offer, but being an aficionado of nonsense, I enjoy the Padres Foundation garage sale more than anything. Used baseball pants? Check. Jason Szuminski uniform (OR locker!) nameplate? Check. Autographed Eric Cyr jerseys that will make you* rattle off an array of inappropriate jokes? Check. That. Where else can you hear a fan gasp as she realizes she’s holding Russell Branyan’s bat? At the garage sale, you realize EVERY Padre has a fan out there.
You also see assholes like me digging for Matt Bush jerseys.
It’s easy to boil down the event as one where you can buy a discount jersey with a shattered dream attached to it (and, as I’ve already said, it’s my favorite part), but I’ve always found the event to be a good way to prime yourself for the baseball season. I’m not one for autographs or Q&A sessions with players, though many of you are and I understand they’re very cool events. I always love the sense of fellowship, pride, and anticipation that comes with Friar Fest. Fellow fans and friends gathering, hanging on a bit of hope, and wondering why Red Ruff won’t leave us alone. It’s the place to break out your #5 “KOOOOOOOOZ” jersey before he’s even played a game for the Padres.
However, what I’m anticipating the most this year is whether or not we’ll be able to see the Padres’ biggest offseason move at the event. That’s right, I’m talking about the fences. Will they be done? Can we run and jump into them like in years past? By “we” I’m talking about children, of course. We’re adults and would never do such a thing.
A word of advice: If you see a jersey you think you need, jump on it. There’s no guarantee it will be around later, and you might regret it. One Friar Fest, I neglected to purchase a Bush jersey because…well, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I regretted it for the next year, and more so when none were available at the following year’s sale. As luck would have it, we found one the next year. Now, of course, Matt’s in a lot of trouble and is generally a tragic human being. Owning this feels a bit like dancing on his grave (so to speak). Consider that, as well.
Most of the Padres Public crew will be there on Saturday, and there will be a specific meet-up at a time TBA. Come meet us, yell at us, subtweet us live! We’ll be glad to meet you.
* – by “you” I mean “my wife”