Last season, the San Diego Padres managed to do something they had not done in 24 years – make it to the Major League Baseball (MLB) National League Championship. Despite losing 4-1 to the Philadelphia Phillies, the team outperformed expectations, and the excitement around the team expanded.
Point Loma Nazarene University has felt the excitement of the success of the local MLB team, with students across campus joining the engagement with the franchise. Cade Michaelson, a first-year journalism major, spoke to the team’s impact on the PLNU community.
“It feels like the most loved professional support team here, and as PLNU is in San Diego, you definitely see students gravitate toward it… It kinda creates a community in a way because it’s a pretty popular thing for students to do on the weekends or even on the weekdays, if you’re free you can just drive 15 minutes to a Padres game,” Michaelson said.
San Diego locals are enjoying the newfound success of the Padres. San Diego resident and PLNU third-year marketing major Brian Hazelwood has cheered for the team for as long as he can remember and is excited about the team’s potential.
“I started watching when I was four, and ever since I have been going to games, watching games and listening to them on the radio,” said Hazelwood. “I’ve known the rosters in and out for the last 10-15 years. There’s a good chance we continue to win in the playoffs and hopefully make the World Series. I like the roster a lot.”
The Padres have excited not only local students, but have also impacted students who have other baseball teams to root for. Ian McKay, second-year organizational communication major, finds himself appreciating the Padres despite rooting for his own home team.
“I am a Rockies fan, but I went to a game last night. I’ve been to five Padres games since I arrived on campus. … It’s the thing to do, and I’ll continue to go to them,” McKay said.
Unsatisfied with the ending of their postseason run, the Padres continued to make moves during the offseason to strengthen their roster further. The team added former Red Sox shortstop Xander Boegarts on an 11-year 280 million-dollar deal. His presence has been felt by fans already.
“I initially did not like the Bogaerts deal, but now it is my favorite signing. He’s been one of our most consistent players so far,” Hazelwood said.
While many PLNU students are Padres fans, there are many fans of their rival team: the Los Angeles Dodgers. Despite being a Dodgers fan, Michaelson has noticed the recent success of the Padres.
“I’m a big-time baseball fan and big-time Dodgers fan – I have been all my life. I have a little resentment for the Padres. … The Padres are on the rise,” he said.
Hazelwood experienced the rivalry firsthand.
“There’s a friendly rivalry,” Hazelwood said. “I’ll wear Padres stuff and my friends who are Dodgers fans will make fun of it, and I’ll make fun of them. It stays pretty successful – it’s kinda nice.”
Even with the competitive nature of a rivalry, students still find ways to enjoy watching competitive baseball together. Michaelson witnessed the communal activities during the Padres’ 2022 playoff run.
“Around playoff time last year, everyone grouped together and rooted for the Padres, even those who weren’t really into them,” Michaelson said.
Regardless of their opinion on the Padres or the sport of baseball as a whole, when the first pitch is thrown out, there will be PLNU students in the stands watching.
“Most people, even if they don’t like baseball, enjoy going to a baseball game, especially in San Diego where it’s typically good weather,” said Michaelson. “The last week of school the Dodgers are in town, so I’ll definitely be going to that.”
Written By: Joshua Scott