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San Diego Padres Not Attracting Record Crowds At Petco Park


The San Diego Padres are still in first place in the National League West. But the team hasn't been attracting record crowds at Petco Park. Joining us on Morning Edition is North County Times sports columnist Jay Paris.

The San Diego Padres are still in first place in the National League West. But the team hasn't been attracting record crowds at Petco Park. Joining us on Morning Edition is North County Times sports columnist Jay Paris.

Brown: The Padres won two games out of three games in Houston over the weekend. How would you describe the team’s pitching?

PARIS: Off the charts, unbelievable, awesome and go from there. The bats aren’t quite doing it. There are four or five guys – especially in the outfield—who are struggling at the plate, even Adrian Gonzales is going through a little funk right now. But pitching always carries the day in baseball, that’s true at any level and the Padres are certainly proving that as they lean on those arms to stay in first place and get ready for those Giants.

BROWN: The team hasn’t been attracting many fans at Petco Park as of late, how might the weekend series against the hated LA Dodgers change that?

PARIS: Well that should change it drastically. The attendance has been down 5,000 or 6,000 per game compared to this time last year. If you got up really early this morning in the East Village, owner Jeff Moorad was running through the streets on a horse saying “the Dodgers are coming, the Dodgers are coming.” Whenever the Dodgers come to San Diego the attendance swells and it’s a lot easier for some of the LA folks to come down here to watch their favorite team. If they keep winning, San Diego sports fans have proven they’ll come out. The Dodgers coming in for three and the Giants for two more. So that attendance ought to get a spike.

BROWN: There was a big history-making game in Northern California over the weekend. Oakland As pitcher Dallas Braden threw the 19th perfect game in the Major Leagues before a Mother’s Day crowd, including his grandmother. And he had this to say after the game last night and how the Central Valley has kept him grounded.

BRADEN: I feel too many times, people get so far removed from where they came from that they lose sight of who they are and who they can actually become. And if you remove yourself from that atmosphere, you become a different person, and that’s not a person I want to become.

BROWN: Jay, your take on Braden?

BRADEN: Good for him. It was a heart-warming story on Mother’s Day as well. He lost his mother to cancer as a high school student. And that’s really what much of yesterday was about – was the guys using pink bats and pink wrist bands, and raising awareness of breast cancer. His grandmother was there, and that long hug they had, on the highlights on TV -- if that didn’t get you a little misty eyed, you don’t have a pulse.

DAVIS: Jay, the North County Times says the Padres and Cal State San Marcos have started discussions about bringing the team’s top minor league team to the college campus. Why is this significant?

PARIS: They’re not exactly putting the shovel to the dirt yet, but they are kicking the tires and talking about it. Significant in that the Padres’ Triple A stadium up in Portland is being converted to a soccer stadium. So they’re out of Portland after this year. Cal State San Marcos athletic department and academically, the university continues to mature over there. And if they can maybe partner a new baseball program and a new baseball stadium with the Padres to have their top Triple A team here, it might be a win, win situation. There’s always other ramifications and the guys up in Lake Elsinore that do a great job with the Single A Padres team “The Storm,” they might have some reservations about that. Certainly in the preliminary stages, but whenever they’re talking about it, you’ve got to report it, and hats off to John Matthew for getting that story.

BROWN: Speaking about talking, Chargers rookies are in mini camp this weekend. How are the guys shaping up?

PARIS: Shaping up pretty good, although it’s hard to tell when they’re basically playing touch football, and running around in t-shirts and shorts. That’s not really the true mark of a football player. That said, unlike years past, these rookies are going to get a real shot, Ryan Matthews taking over for Tomlinson, Darrell Stuckey maybe for safety, Thomas for defensive tackle. These guys are going to get long, significant looks to get significant playing time this year. That hasn’t always been the case for the young guys. So a lot riding on these guys who are just learning to shave so they can contribute to the Chargers.

DAVIS: The LA Lakers are looking to close out the Utah Jazz in game four of the Western Conference Semi-Finals tonight. What do you think, Jay, are we set to see a Laker’s-Suns series?

PARIS: Boy, sure looks that way. The Lakers, they’ve got great history -- they’ve won 15 titles, but they fail to sweep anybody. Maybe they like that extra revenue up in LA. But if they can finish off the Jazz tonight and then focus their attention to the Suns who amazed everyone by sweeping the Spurs. It’s a good match-up. Looking forward to it, it should be a good series.

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