Take Me Out with the Crowd
By Tanya T. Nguyen
The 2021 baseball season is now in full swing! Petco Park has thrown open their gates for max capacity and the Padres are hoping to make it to the World Series (hold your laughter, please). It definitely looks “batter” on the other side as we start loosening business restrictions across California and no one is more ecstatic than the local Padres fanatic, yours truly.
My favorite thing about growing up in San Diego has always been going to Padres game. I remember the feeling of pure exhilaration and delight stepping into Qualcomm Stadium for my first baseball game. I was sitting high in the nosebleeds and did not understand a single rule at the time or what the funny little men on the grass were doing, but I understood this was a place where you could eat mounds of cotton candy and drink all the blue Kool-Aid you wanted without your mom finding out (at least until you get home and she can clearly see the evidence on your face). With countless games and seasons etched into my memory, I can finally explain what those funny men are doing, and that nosebleed section is less than a pile of rubble, but the thrill of going to a baseball game has not changed since my first time at Qualcomm. When Petco Park opened in 2004, it was like having Disneyland in my backyard— with better food and better music.
It is almost impossible to keep a smile off your face as you enter Petco Park. The energy of the stadium spills out on the streets of downtown and you are immediately surrounded by fellow San Diegans who are out to have a good time and are in high spirits. I am sure everyone holds their home team in their heart no matter the sport, but the way the Padres play baseball usually highlights the best things about America’s favorite pastime. In baseball, a game that does not have a time constraint and requires a minimum of 27 outs by each team, you can make a comeback at any time. The Padres constantly play nail biting games that keep you engaged even if the game drags through 3 extra innings. Recently, the Padres played the Astros in Texas on May 29 and were losing 1-6 in the bottom of the 7th inning. In true Padres fashion, they came back quite spectacularly to tie the game by the end of the 9th and force the game into extra innings. About five hours after the Padres started against the Astros, they beat them in the 12th inning 11-8 with more highlights than you can count. Are you not entertained?
While the Padres are definitely not the first team that comes to mind when you think of a “good” Major League Baseball team, you can never call them boring. The Padres have had a history of playing engaging and fun baseball since their inception as an expansion team that inspires loyalty not only within their fans but their players as well. Tony Gwynn, “Mr. Padre”, who is one of the most consistent batters in MLB history, played in every World Series the Padres made it to (all two of them!), and committed to a pay cut to stay with the Padres for his entire career of 20 seasons. Since Tony Gwynn’s retirement, we have had several outstanding players grace our roster, but the 2021 roster is filled to the brim with young and enthusiastic athletes with something to prove. Fernando Tatis Jr., who is not yet old enough to rent a car, has obviously made a name for himself since he first joined the Padres in 2019, quickly became a fan favorite to be a shoo-in for the 2021 All-Stars. Shortly after San Diego acquired Joe Musgrove from the Pirates, Musgrove pitched the first no-hitter game in Padres history against the Texas Rangers. Manny Machado, who needs no introduction, makes defensive plays an art form with a golden glove that continues to blow us away with every double play. Without mentioning my favorite player, the boys are looking nothing but promising with a pool of heavy hitters, an impressive pitching rotation, and that electric bullpen chemistry.
So as life returns to normal and we can finally go out with the crowd, you can “catch” me at the ballgame.
I will be the one screaming at the top of my lungs with Seaside Market’s tri tip nachos in both hands.