FriarBall: What every Padres fan should know, Part 1

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

What every Padres fan should know, Part 1

Let me get some housekeeping items out of the way before I start. First, this is not a guide to viewing games at Petco. Truth be told I have never been to Petco Park, I currently live in DC and I haven't seen the Padres in San Diego since 1994. In fact, I think the last game I went to was the first game of the double header in which Tony Gwynn collected his 2,000th hit.

Second, this is not a guide to being a fan in San Diego but is rather the opposite. I have lived among high concentrations of Colorado Rockies fans, Washington Nationals fans and Baltimore Orioles fans since 1994 and as such, your perspective about your team changes when you understand how other fans view your team. That is what I will talk about in this first part so without further delay, here is what fans need to know.
  1. The Adrian Gonzalez rule. The player may change but the general rule still applies, and it applies to most teams, most players are not as popular away from home. Take Gonzalez's case - he is the premier power hitter in the lineup, is a hometown boy and put up numbers comparable to a certain Crime Dog when he played in town. But outside of SD, Gonzalez doesn't compare to the league's other 1B's, or does he? Ducksnorts has a pretty good breakdown showing that Gonzalez has put up some top slugging numbers on the road. Which brings me to my second point:
  2. You will probably never convince opposing fans how good our players are until they see them in person. If you ask people in DC who the next big 3B will be, any Nationals fan is ready to argue that Ryan Zimmerman is a superstar in the making. Ask the same thing on the opposite coast and Kevin Kouzmanoff's name will dominate the conversation. I have seen both play last year in DC and guess what, they both have potential ... and they both have some work to do before they are even in a superstar conversation.
  3. Our pitching staff is overrated by us and underrated by almost everyone else. The knocks against our staff by others, Jake Peavy and Chris Young had career years and aren't that good, Greg Maddux hasn't been an ace in 10 years and Mark Prior and Randy Wolf couldn't stay healthy even if they pitched for a team made up of doctors. Well, Peavy is a perennial Cy Young contender, Young is becoming more consistent, Maddux isn't supposed to be a staff ace and Wolf and Prior don't have to carry the load so whatever innings they turn in are worth the (relatively) small investments we have made in them.
  4. The fan base actually travels well to some places. Maybe the lack of a team in the area for more than 30 years had something to do with it but for the past two years when I have gone to Nationals games against the Padres, there are just as many (if not more) Padres fans in attendance than Nats fans. We are no Red Sox nation but I know you didn't see any Pirates fans a week later when Pittsburgh came to town (but then again that was the Pirates). I can't speak for many other places but I do remember a decent fan base at Rockies games a few years back as well.
Hopefully I haven't rambled too much but these were the first things that came to mind. So now I turn the floor over to you, what are some other things every Padres fan should know? After I get some responses I will add Part 2, and you can bet there will be some info on helping Dodgers fans face reality.

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