The San Diego Padres are about to unveil new uniforms. Again? Yes, again. So, before the front office sets up another disappointing unveiling for the “Bring Back The Brown” movement this week, I thought I would share my two cents. From everything I’m hearing, the new uni’s will have bolder lettering, the older font that was tested with their triple-A affiliate in Tucson last season. The font goes back many moons and will remind many avid, long-time and diehard Padre fans of the 1984 triumphant season. A season that still resonates with fans to this day because of its magic and its unique uniforms.
The new ownership group is led by CEO Jeff Moorad and his team, “The Brain Trust,” — a phrase that makes me a little uneasy seeing as the former regime is getting harder these days to keep up with than the former former regime. Moorad, when he was CEO of the Diamondbacks, was involved in another uniform change in Arizona. While they had a dramatic makeover in Arizona — one I believe was aesthetically pleasing and accepted by fans — that doesn’t mean I have the same faith when it comes to making decisions for the Padres by those who are somewhat “outsiders.” As a long-time fan, hearing the initial rumblings when the new ownership group came into town, I was a little concerned about some of their ideas. One of the first I can remember was getting rid of the Swinging Friar. Really? The iconic logo has essentially been demoted like a castoff player to triple-A Tucson — it was odd to see such a tradition trashed so quickly.
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It’s hard for me as a long-time fan to see a new ownership group stride into town and make changes as if they’ve been part of the franchise for decades. They seem to be concerned with what fans want and express they will “listen to fans,” but are they doing that at all? Hey, I am not really hung up on the Swinging Friar by any means, but what I do not like is a new partnership group changing strong traditions that are very important, and have been for decades, to people in San Diego. I understand that the uniform changes from brown to blue were made under another group after the 1990 season, but does that mean a new regime should continue to sweep tradition under the rug? While I am not personally a fan of the “Bring Back The Brown” uniform movement, I do wonder why the new ownership group is so quick to take away frequent retro days. In 2010, the Padres had Throwback Thursdays,which I thought was pretty awesome. Retro days for me have always been very exciting, because, while I do not fancy the brown uni’s as a mainstay color scheme, I do realize how important it is for the older generation that remembers it and the new generation learning about the history of this wonderful franchise, if not for nostalgia purposes alone.
Change for the sake of change is tough for the many loyal fans who spent countless dollars on merchandise, trips to Yuma or Peoria spring training facilities with their families watching our beloved Pads. Seeing the revolving door of player jerseys is a harsh and expensive reality of this business. I almost feel like now the fan uniforms should come with “do-it-yourself” removable patches of lettering to keep up with your favorite players. Hey, maybe they could include a small “bedazzle kit” to really “bling” out your Padres gear. The Padre fans who have lived throughout the good and bad days at Jack Murphy or “The Q” (Qualcom Stadium) know this harsh reality too much. I realize it’s a business, and every time a new regime in any corporation takes over, you see the bias of the new people rolling into town. They prefer the people whom they are comfortable with and turnover is high. We are seeing that now, with what is being tagged by some fans in the blogosphere as the “San Diego Diamondbacks.”
Getting back to the uniforms, while my preference is not brown, I dig the home 1984 jerseys very much. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I think I could deal with watching a bit more brown on a uniform. I mean, the Padres play so much better on the road anyway (where the road jersey’s brown is more prevalent) thanks to PETCO’s spacious confines and unique atmospheric conditions. So, maybe, aesthetically speaking, that wouldn’t bother me as much. I am not as concerned with being as unique as some are when it comes to finding the Padres “identity” of the ball club. I’m more concerned about the look of the club, the product on the field, the entertainment value, keeping the the diehard fans and casual fans happy, as well as maintaining a sense of San Diego tradition. I guess one could argue that the front office is trying to do that with the new font. Are you buying that? What I do not want is a new ownership group that does not understand the history of the Padres, or what that history means to both the diehard and casual fans.
I have heard people say “give up, it’s never going to happen” to those who love the idea of brown being implemented in some way. I have also heard a similar take on those who say they would love to see a modification to PETCO Park because of the way affects the makeup of the team. It’s us, the fans, who support the team, so we should have our say. I also find it insulting when the new ownership group tells the fans to “keep the faith” or come out and support the club when the payroll is so low. How about proving your worth before you tell me what to do as a fan? “Show me the money!” We, the fans, are the ones who buy the merchandise, who spend money on concession stands and who long for an entertaining and winning product.
Some fans have labeled PETCO games as “boring baseball.” Would making changes to the park’s configuration create a different style of baseball? If so, should it be considered if it creates a better entertainment value, not to mention a competitive advantage? Again, we hear “give up, the front office is never going to move in the fences.” Seriously? I hope the Padres front office is taking notes, because this city is a baseball town, a town with rich baseball tradition. While people want to label San Diego as having fair-weather fans, that’s not what I see or hear. While the plea for park modifications or uniform color scheme have no correlation, per se, what it shows is how loyal and passionate San Diego Padre fans really are. I hope the “Bring Back The Brown” movement continues, and I applaud them for getting the front office’s attention. I just hope the current front office is truly listening to fans in earnest rather than approaching baseball solely as “business as usual.”