Professional and college sports teams in San Diego haven’t always enjoyed the success that they’re enjoying now. In fact, they have a history of being below average – with few exceptions. The resurgence of San Diego sports teams has contributed to a more spirited and uplifting community.
The San Diego Padres enjoyed some winning teams in the Tony Gwynn days, but since Gwynn’s retirement, it’s been pretty bleak for the most part. Most years resulted in losing records and Padres games weren’t attended nearly as much as they are now.
However, over the past few years, the Padres have had a resurgence of sorts. President of Baseball Operations and General Manager A.J. Preller, who first started working with the Pads in 2014, has acquired a lot of starpower, something the Padres have lacked since Tony Gwynn. Their lineup and rotation have perennial all-stars that consist of Juan Soto, Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr., Xander Bogaerts and Yu Darvish.
The 2020 Padres broke their playoff drought of 14 years thanks to a few of the players just mentioned. Even sweeter for Friar fans was their 2022 season in which they made the National League Championship Series, beating the rival Dodgers in the divisional series to get there. Though they lost in the NLCS, they added Xander Bogaerts and signed important players to extensions during the offseason to make a World Series push in the foreseeable future.
The success of the Padres has certainly had an impact on San Diegans and the overall mood of the city. Aidan Parsons, a first-year open major, grew up in San Diego and has noticed the changes around the aura of the San Diego Padres.
Parsons said, “when the Chargers left San Diego, it was a downtime. But since the Padres flipped the script and are on the up and up, it seems like everyone is all in on the Padres.”
However, the Padres aren’t the only San Diego sports team that has experienced success recently. Just a few weeks ago, the San Diego State University Aztecs basketball team competed in their first national championship. The Aztecs were a No. 5 seed going into the tournament and upset the likes of No. 1 seed Alabama en route to the national championship, in which they faced the University of Connecticut. The San Diego community rallied around the Aztecs throughout the playoff run that resulted in a 76-59 loss to UConn.
SDSU has had a consistently good basketball program over the years, but nothing compares to this 2022-23 team. Though there are a few key pieces of the team graduating this year, a national championship appearance can go a long way in the recruiting process and could set up the Aztecs for future success. This program has already seen Kawhi Leaonard come through; there might be more stars to come for the San Diego State Aztecs in the near future, leading to a packed Viejas Arena.
It seems as if San Diego sports teams have had a fire under their bellies since the departure of the Chargers, and the fans have started to get a taste of success. With the recent signings the Padres have made, it’s safe to say that they want their first World Series title, and they want it badly. And the fans want it, too.
Ryann Avery, a first-year business administration major, said, “fans are more excited now because their teams are performing well for the first time in a good while. Between Padres fans and SDSU fans, I haven’t seen them this enthusiastic in a long time.”
Written By: Cade Michaelson