Remaining Friar Faithful

Petco Park, photo credit to Wikimedia Commons.

Growing up, I’ve always been a Padres fan. I was born in San Diego and was lucky enough to have baseball-loving parents that took me to games and blossomed my love for baseball and the Padres. 

Despite moving to Hawaii at the age of 8, I still remained a faithful Padres fan as the only games broadcasted in Hawaii were Padres games. So I sat and watched failed season after failed season, wondering when they would turn it around. 

But after I moved back to San Diego for college, it seemed like the Padres changed. They were making deep playoff runs and had an exhilarating team that was fun to watch. 

It all led up to Oct. 24, 2022; I was nervously pacing around my room with my phone in my hand. On my phone was the National League Championship Series, and for the first time in my lifetime, the San Diego Padres were playing in it. 

It was the bottom of the eighth inning. The Padres were winning 3-2 but were facing elimination with a loss. The Philadelphia Phillies postseason hero, Bryce Harper, stepped up to the plate. 

“Get out of this inning and we win this game,” I quietly said over and over. 

Then, with one swing of the bat, Bryce Harper killed the 2022 San Diego Padres, ending the game with 4-3 Phillies. I closed my phone and exhaled. 

“I guess there’s always next season,” I reassured myself whenever someone brought up the Bryce Harper home run. 

The fact that I was even saying that was strange. My whole life the Padres have never been good; what will make 2023 different? 

Quite a bit has led up to perhaps the best roster that the Padres have ever assembled. A lot of that occurred in the offseason and within the 2022 season. 

One morning last summer, I groggily reached for my phone on my bedside table and scrolled through my notifications. On the top of the list, I read that the Padres had traded for Washington Nationals All-Star outfielder Juan Soto. 

This trade bewildered me. Usually, it was the Padres on the other side of these types of deals to avoid paying big money to their young superstars. But now, it was the Padres with the super-team lineup. This was a big marker in the Padres’ change of attitude. It meant they were serious about contending. 

However, this team had yet to prove themselves. That was until the 2022 National League Division Series versus the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

The Dodgers-Padres hatred runs deep. Years of torment from the Dodgers have led many San Diego fans to resent anything remotely related to LA. The 2022 Dodgers had the best record in the league and were heavily favored to easily win the World Series, but not so fast. 

Enter the Padres – a team hungry to finally prove to the big brother that they run the league now. The NLDS was their chance to do this. And the Padres did just that, defeating the Dodgers in four games at Petco Park in front of a championship-hungry crowd. 

Despite being defeated by the Phillies in the following series, the Padres had life for the first time since their 1998 World Series appearance. So, the front office decided to fuel that life. 

During the offseason, the Padres signed Boston Red Sox All-Star shortstop Xander Bogaerts to an 11-year $280 million contract, bolstering an already explosive lineup. 

So, now the World Series-favorite 2023 San Diego Padres will have to prove themselves again. The entire city is watching and waiting for a championship. Will the 2023 Padres live up to the hype? Time will tell. 

Written By: Steve Anderson