OUR SPORTS WORLD
San Diego Padres
100 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA 92101
Dear Mr. Preller and Mr. Fowler:
This past July I wrote a letter to the fictitious MLB Office of Fandom Affairs for my website (SquareUpSports.com) I’ve been a San Diego Padres fan my whole life and grew up during the Ray Kroc ownership days. But after yet another disappointing losing season, I opted out of my lifetime contract and entered fan free agency. Frankly, I was tired of watching other fan bases celebrate a title year after year while I toiled as a Padre fan like a sad combination of Sisyphus and Job.
I was offered two deals. One was from a fellow Southern Californian that showed me the benefits of joining the Los Angeles Angels. I have to say that the idea of watching Mike Trout, the league’s best all around player and Shohei Ohtani, the best two way player since Babe Ruth was intriguing. What also helped that it really wasn’t really Los Angeles. It was Anaheim, the home of Disneyland. I wouldn’t actually have to deal with all the things that the real LA is all about. Namely, the glitz, the glamour, the botox-paralyzed faces, the smog, and the soul-sucking traffic. But ultimately, I passed on the offer and thanked the Angels for their generosity.
I also looked at a long standing offer I’ve had on the table from a member of Red Sox Nation. They had the long history, a beautiful old ballpark, great looking uniforms that I like. But most of all, they’ve been an incredibly successful organization which I love. And I imagine that with players like Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez, and Xander Boeagarts on the roster, that success will continue into the near future. And even though I believe the Red Sox will repeat as champions this October, I tabled the offer from Boston.
This letter is to inform you that I intend to sign a four-year deal to remain a fan of the San Diego Padres. You may think that I signed only after you signed Manny Machado to a 10-year $300M contract. The Padres have been abysmal on offense and his presence can only help players like Eric Hosmer, Franchy Cordero, Hunter Renfroe, and Wil Myers. For the first time since 1998, San Diego has a bat on which opposing pitchers will have to keep an eye. But while signing Machado was an incredible boost to this franchise and to this fan base, I was out of the country when the deal was made. I’d already decided to re-sign with the club back in December.
And that’s because the Padres topped Baseball America, ESPN, and MLB’s list of top farm systems. Fernando Tatis Jr. is being touted as a franchise-changing prospect and could be in the majors as early as May. Chris Paddack has opened eyes this spring with his arm. Luis Urias and Francisco Mejia have spent time in the majors and should make the Opening Day roster. And players like MacKenzie Gore, Adrian Morejon, Logan Allen, Esteury Ruiz, Cal Quantrill, Buddy Reed and Hudson Potts are in the pipeline ready to make the leap to the bigs in the next few years. All of the previous teams ranked with the best farm system in the past few years have all made playoff runs. Some have won World Series titles.
I understand that the whole picture isn’t quite clear. There are still questions with some players and their places on the team. There are holes on the roster that need to be filled. But the future is as bright as the Southern California sun. The Machado and Hosmer signings brought some buzz, but it’s what they’ve done in the minors, namely the baseball academy they built in the Dominican Republic, that showed me that this franchise knows what they want. As great as one title World Series would mean to this city, sustained excellence is how true legacies are made. And that is what draws me back.
However, this is a four-year contract with an option I can exercise at any point. And while I don’t expect immediate success, there needs to be some visible sign of improvement. And eventually, these prospects have to become more than just celebrated prospects.
Our city doesn’t just have to be a great tourist destination that also happens to have a baseball team with a great stadium. After toiling in near obscurity, I want the San Diego Padres to be something they’ve never been, the envy of Major League Baseball.
The Red Sox ended their curse. So did the Cubs. As did the White Sox. Houston won. Arizona did too. Even the dumpster fire that is the Marlins have two titles on their mantel. This season marks the 50th year of the franchise. This drought has gone on long enough, don’t you think?
Yours Truly (at least for the next four years,)
P.S. Bring back the Brown!