Growing up, baseball was like a religion in our house. Just like a volatile, perfectly flawed championship clubhouse, we were not always on the same page, but following baseball collectively was like watching Tony Gwynn wear out a pre-game batting cage. Whatever way we chose to go in our respective lives, we always felt like “Unbelievable” was playing after a Steve Finley miraculous catch and dive.
We would have each other’s backs, watching those extra inning wins filled with tension, but ending with high fives and ass pats. With failed drafts and ownership groups that gave us the proverbial shaft, the wins became an obsession until Tony Gwynn passed. It all became trivial, as our hero was more than winning, but it seemed to bring us closer.
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It was profound when the city came together, as often tragedies can. They remind us of what’s important, and that as precious as life is, it could end as fast as that magic began. I reminisce on dark days, not about what the organization has lacked, but about blessed Hall Of Fame players. How they’ve made such a profound impact.
From Randy Jones throwing up proverbial donut holes, to Caminiti’s diving play behind third base to behind the back — as if you just found some MLB The Show Video game cheat loophole. Did that seriously just happen? How was that possible; Caminiti was a lot of things, but he was a beloved Padre, not a phony “all-about-me” PED imposter. He owned his faults that so many spend their life avoiding.
I will remember him as the kindhearted, snicker-eating legend, Team Mexico is probably still avoiding. The sound of ‘Hells Bells’ only paralleled to a Hollywood movie scene, but it was real. It wasn’t some San Diego pipe-dream. While the years have been difficult, the Fandom is never in question, as we’re in this life together. Watching our Padres has been a blessing. I can’t help but drop a legendary reference; “Baseball is life.”
Closing negative doors and seasons, and coming back with a vengeance — Just like a legendary Hall Of Fame Trevor Hoffman entrance. Oh, my, Nettles to Wiggins, I miss the Colonel, then I look up to the baseball heavens. Now with A.J. Preller’s scouting wizardry presence, we can look forward to easy player grading sevens. Once the new regime plays out their vision, I look forward to the Padres unleashing their annual N.L. West winning Divisions.
I’ll miss those old school days, even the tragic times. That’s kind of like baseball, controllable chaos. Unpredictable outcomes, regardless of talent and promise. So, look up — there’s Jerry hanging a star with our other Padre legends. I’ll never stop believing, and always feel the on-and-off-the-field Hall Of Fame Padre presence.