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New Padres season brings new hope after difficult year

 March 27, 2024 at 3:15 PM PDT

S1: It's time for Midday Edition on Kpbs. The Padres season opener is tomorrow , so today we'll talk about San Diego's legacy of baseball. I'm Jade Hindman. Here's to conversations that keep you informed , inspired , and make you think. For Padres fans , baseball season brings great memories. Definitely.

S2: Definitely. I always remember my first one , 1987 Padres visiting the Giants , calling my first home run.

S1: And lots of excitement.

S3: We are la juego y Los padres , San Diego , San Diego. Rah rah rah rah rah rah.

S1: We'll walk down memory lane and take a look at what fans can expect this season. That's ahead on Midday Edition. Welcome in San Diego , it's Jade Hindman as the Padres get ready to open their season , we're talking about San Diego's legacy of baseball and just how likely a championship win is this season. This is Midday Edition , connecting our communities through conversation. Over the San Diego Padres season got an early start this year. The team took a historic trip to Korea for an exciting two game series against the rival Los Angeles Dodgers. They ended up splitting that series one game apiece , and now the Padres and their fans are getting ready for their opening home series starting Thursday. The first game starts at 1:10 p.m.. Here to talk more about the upcoming season is Eduardo Ortega. He is the Spanish language broadcaster for the Padres. Eduardo , welcome to Midday Edition.

S2: Thank you very much for having me. Very excited to be in your show. And the baseball season is here. So it's like a holiday for all in sports.

S1: It really is. I mean , you've been with the Padres for many years , since the 1980s.

S2: You know , this will be my 38th season with the Potters calling the games on the radio and television in Spanish. Definitely. I always remember my first one , 1987 Padres visiting the Giants , calling my first home run , Carmelo Martinez from Puerto Rico in the Candlestick Park. You know , not any more existed that home of the San Francisco Giants , but also the opening internationally Padres in 1999 , when we have the international opening Padres and the Colorado Rockies and Monterrey , Mexico , and another couple of games where the Padres won Walk-off. Qualcomm , definitely. And the great season in 1998 probably started the season in Cincinnati. And that was a great , great run.

S1: All right. And as I mentioned before , the Padres and the Dodgers started off the MLB season with two games rather in Korea. Tell me more about that.

S2: They always singing , chanting the walkup music for each player they know , you know the words of the songs. It's like a carnival and it really gets some similar enjoyment. Like Latin America. I call also the Caribbean World Series that for many , many years I can really remember how it is in Dominican Republic , Venezuela , but Korea , they have in their own culture , they love the game , they have passion for the sport , but also they very local and close to the players. But they feel every aspect of the game , what every element was going on in the field.

S1: It's always interesting to observe all that , especially from from another country. Last season the team went to Mexico City.

S2: I feel very , very proud. The Padres , my career , my family. What baseball is doing in that was last April 2023 , visiting official games. First time ever because Mexico City has , you know , they had a host in the past exhibition games , always exhibition unofficial games. Even when Babe Ruth in the 20th century have the visited 100 derbies. The Yankees went to Mexico City for the first time in more than 50 years this past weekend. So through the years exhibition. But that was official game and for me personally , it was very special to be representing the Padres with Trevor Hoffman in the National Palace , having breakfast with the president of Mexico. And he's a you know , he loves baseball. He's a really passionate about the sport. That was something like a we say life experience. Definitely.

S1: Oh yeah. I mean , and as you mentioned , you grew up in Tijuana , a city with strong ties to baseball.

S2: I grew up in the 70s. My brothers at home , they played the sport. They used to take me everywhere to Qualcomm , and that's where my fantasy started to become a broadcaster. That's when I discovered also my vocation in life. To do this , I started on radio when I was 17. I still was still back in school and doing my part time jobs and trying to start my career. That's when I took off , actually , when I got the first opportunity to call baseball on the radio in the franchise , the potholes that Tijuana in the winter baseball back in 1982. Wow.

S1: Wow. So you started your career calling games in Tijuana. That was for the Patrol's. Tijuana has another baseball team now , the Toros. How are games different in Mexico ? Versus the U.S..

S2: Mexican baseball. They have two very special and very unique leagues , and they have the summer league right now. They're going to have 20 teams in the winter. They have ten teams in the winter. Baseball. I still working in winter ball. I call the Mexicali Aguilas , which is the closest to San Diego in the Pacific Coast League in the winter. They hosting the Caribbean Series next February in 2025. Mexican baseball is a tradition. The both lakes are really , really pretty good established. The Summer League is heading for their 100th anniversary. Professionally established in the 20s , and the Winter Bowl they established in 1945. So Tijuana for the first time had winter baseball in 1977 with the Potters. They disappeared in 1991. The winter baseball , the Toros right now , they started first time ever. Tijuana had summer league team in 2004. Carlos Hernandez , former project catcher , was the first manager. He's my colleague now. He's the , you know , my partner in the broadcast with the Padres and this very , very you can say tradition to having professional baseball in Tijuana because the community is so diverse. A lot of community in Tijuana , we're from Tijuana , but also our parents or grandparents. They came the immigrants from the southern Mexico with the love for the sport Sinaloa , Jalisco , Sonora , all those states are famous for baseball. Wow.

S1: Wow. I mean , you've got what a lot of people would really call a dream job.

S2: Dealing with people. Knowing people. Learning from people and connect with people. That's my passion of the profession and my job. You. You say it right. It's a dream job. Is this something you don't feel like you have to do it ? You love to do it. You want to do to do it. And my part of traveling around the major league ballparks calling Padres baseball. And I feel so proud. But also , I really feel with the responsibility to connect the game of the Padres , the brand of the parties and the sport itself , the action with the fans through the or media , radio , television and the success of the broadcaster I consider always will be when you really can excite the fans beyond the distance , through the waves or waves through the televisions , but they really grow their love for the sport in the same way , because based on the style of the broadcaster , based on where you say where you project of the sports , of the player , of the action is the link. And you know what that creates. Uh , also like as a promoter , the broadcaster , we also considered ourselves a promoters of the of the baseball , of the sports. And they make the sports grow. Wow.

S1: Wow. And you know , I know one thing baseball announcers are known for are their home run calls.

S2: You know , as Latinos , uh , we really loud and different from other styles , but everyone has their own style. I have a lot of partners , a lot of respect for all of them , and I learned from a lot of them. Also , I love Jerry Coleman and the Jack black listening when I was growing up in Tijuana. Listen , San Diego radio stations , but I create my own style. Uh , it developed my career that way. And now through almost 40 years calling Major League Baseball the. I did 25 World Series , 20 All-Star games , World Baseball Classic , and all those important big events in baseball. So I just go the way I feel since I started my career. So the home run now to , uh , answering your question , here's one of my calls of homerun. Okay , I would say the Padres want to go in in the ninth inning in Spanish , and I walk off homerun. Do you. Darvish.

S3: Darvish.

S2: For Los Padres en el juego. Inaugural.

S3: Inaugural.

S2: Esta en Fernando.

S3: De San Francisco en.

S2: El opening day.

S3: The park Petco.

S2: Estaba tienda.

S3: San Diego en una carrera in the Los gigantes de San Francisco en el terreno lanza palo profundo por jardin central. Cuidado esta pelota. Le sera sera a la juego ganado Los padres San Diego , San Diego rah rah rah no San Francisco , la primera Victoria Dano.

S1: Hey ! That was fantastic. There's no.

S3: Just had.

S2: The crowd going going crazy in the stands. And that will make it better.

S1: I mean , way to build the hype , you know. So all right. Last season exactly. You know last season , hey , it proved disappointing as the Padres failed to make the playoffs.

S2: Like last year was one of the biggest disappointing for Padres baseball in all areas , especially in the sport. The high expectation everybody had and the what they did. You know , we lost our great leader in Peter Tyler in his dream. His goal always to bring a championship , a World Series championship for this community. That was the biggest disappointment this year. The Padres , I think they will compete and they will really , really be in the top of the division. The goal is , of course , making the postseason. It's baseball is the most unpredictable sport in the world , but making the postseason give you a good chance to go deep and get to the World Series. Last year , uh , the Potters , everybody knows they lost three pictures of the five men rotations , but also the Juan Soto situation traded to the Yankees. But they got a very good pitching in return also. And then let's don't forget about the transition. Tatis matured in Fernando Tatis Jr. The Gold Glove in the right field , the platinum Gold Glove. Machado going to start doing the designated hitter after he recovers from the elbow surgery. He'll be back on the field playing the third base. He's always has. Of course , everybody make the Dodgers the favorite , the team to beat. But you know the Padres they've been the last few years giving also travel to those favorite teams. So I'm really expect the Padres to have a pretty good season. My goal will be 90 wins to compete in five for the wild card , at least.

S1: The Padres first home game. It's coming up.

S2: We have a great , great baseball man and the leader in the field , the manager that debuted of Mike shield. Very successful men in baseball. He is really done that in the Saint Louis Cardinals for 18 season. He's been in the party organization the last few years. So he understands the culture. He brings his talent , his skills , his a leadership. Everybody really respect myself. I want to see him now in the official game like he did in Korea. But , uh , starting on opening day in Petco Park , that will be loud. And also , I will like to also talk about what Gallagher's Square will be , the experience for the fans , the remodeling of the Petco Park facilities , and again , was voted the number one ballpark in America. And that's something that we may really feel proud of. All the parties , baseball in the community. So I can't wait to start the season then. Call the first win at Petco Park and going through the attendance record again.

S1: Man , something a lot of us are looking forward to. Eduardo Ortega is the Spanish language voice of the San Diego Padres. Eduardo , so good to speak with you and have a great season.

S3: Thank you very much.

S2: Hope to see you at Petco Park during the season. Okay. Gracias.

S1: Up next , the man whose legacy shaped the Padres , the late Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn.

S4: And you know what ? It's so important for me and my family to carry on the legacy along with our supporters. As the Padres and all of the fans. It's up to us to keep his legacy going here.

S1: From Alicia Gwynn after the break. You're listening to Kpbs Midday Edition. You're listening to Kpbs Midday Edition. I'm Jade Hindman. On today's show , we are celebrating the start of the San Diego Padres season , who will host their home opener at beautiful Petco Park tomorrow afternoon. If you ask most Padres fans what their favorite Opening Day memories are , you would hear one name in most of them , and it's Tony Gwynn. No player means as much to the team and its fans than Mr. Padre himself. For nearly 20 years , he dazzled fans with his Hall of Fame play on the field. But Padres fans also loved him for his kindness and character off the field as well. And we'd be remiss if we didn't talk about Tony and his legacy. Nearly ten years since his passing. I'm joined now by Tony Gwynn's widow , Alicia Gwynn. Alicia , it is so great to have you here.

S4: It's nice to be here. Thank you for having me.

S1: So on Monday , the Padres unveiled a newly renovated part of Petco Park called Gallagher Square. And overlooking it all is is a statue of Mr. Padre himself , Tony Gwynn , and a new viewing deck.

S4: We kept seeing the renderings , but you can't really tell by the renderings. And I was so amazed. I didn't expect what I saw , but they really did an excellent job. And just raising the statue up where you could see it from the ballpark. I think every city could see it from the ballpark now. And , you know , just the surroundings of the kids playground , the little , uh , pickleball court , the little baseball court. It was it's just amazing. And they did a beautiful job with the bricks and everything and kept the old bricks in there. And so I just thought Eric and his team and the city of San Diego and the mayor , they've done a wonderful job. Wow.

S1: And there's a lot of , like , memorabilia around there too , as well , right ? Yeah.

S4: So they have a lot of there's a tunnel under there and , uh , has a lot of Tony's pictures and he's talking and I teared up , you know , just hearing his voice as you walk through the tunnel. So people are really going to enjoy that. So I just was so taken back just to see what was going on and how they really put it together.

S1: Well , wow. You know , so the Padres opening day it is tomorrow.

S4: Everybody coming together , the fans , you know , um , you know , of course , always watching Tony Gwynn. I'm a I was always a big Tony Gwynn fan because I love watching him hit. I love watching him interact with the fans before the game , signing the autographs. And , you know , it's always just like so much excitement , you know , to see everybody come together and everybody's so excited to see that first pitch. Uh , you know. So those are my , uh , memories of , you know , always the excitement of it all. Yeah.

S1: Yeah. So what was Tony like right before a new season began ? Did he get excited and nervous or.

S4: He was always excited ? I think as the years went on , he didn't get too nervous , but he was always anxious to get to the ballpark on opening day.

S1: Oh my goodness. And what's so special about Tony ? Um , Tony's impact , at least on the on the Padres and the greater San Diego community really is that it's really all about family for him. You know , um , your son , Tony Gwynn Jr , another former Padre , is one of the radio voices for the Padres. At Monday's unveiling at Gallagher Square. I saw you shout out Tony Gwynn the third.

S4: And , um , I wanted to recognize Tony Gwynn the third because he never got to meet Tony. And so I , uh , gift him with all of Tony's books , and he read those books , and he had questions , and he was like , I didn't know Papa did this , and I didn't know Papa did that. And you know it. It's so important for me and my family to carry on the legacy along with our supporters. As the Padres and all of the fans. It's it's it's up to us to keep his legacy going. Right.

S1: And the Major League Baseball season is 162 games long. Half of those road games , of course. How did you and your family navigate that ? I imagine that was a challenge.

S4: You know what it was. But you know a lot the first few years we took the kids with us. Tony always wanted us to be with him. So we took the kids and the tutors. And so we were on the road a lot until the kids was like , mom , we've been to every ball. We don't want to go again. So I got a chance to leave them with my mother. But I traveled a lot with Tony , so that was fun. I don't know about ever doing that again. I can't imagine , you know. Right. So it's a lot , you know , so. And especially because of who he was. But I think the greatest part about Tony was the man. He was off the field.

S5: Right , right.

S1: I mean , and he was all about family. And on that , you know , you extend that family to so many others. You've you've done that and including me. I mean , when I first got here to San Diego , you welcomed me. And I will forever be grateful for that and your cooking , too. I'm gonna throw that on in there. So which I know is something that Tony loved as well. Yeah.

S4: So it is actually part of his or his legacy too , because he loved cooking. You know , where soon to come as Tony grim smoking crab and meats. That's coming along smoking crab and fried chicken. So that'll be coming soon. But you know , these are part of the legacies that we keep. You know , you have the Hall of Family coming soon and you know that documentary. And so , you know , we keep his legacy alive by doing many things. And , you know , one of the things he said before he passed that week , before he passed , don't let the people forget about me. And we are not going to let anyone forget about Tony Gwynn.

S1: I don't think anybody will. I mean , you know , and on that , you mentioned the importance of Tony's life off the field. Can you tell us more about how he was off the field ? He did so. Much.

S4: Much. He was all about character. And , you know , he loved working with young people. He wanted to teach them the importance of being great human beings. And , you know , when he went to San Diego State to coach , that was one of the best times of his life because he loved those kids. And , you know , he said , you know , they're not always going to play baseball. But he said one of the main things and the important things was teach them how to be great human beings by having great character. And he was all about character. He was all about the attitude , the behavior , the communication and the discipline , which we call the A , B , C , D's. And so he was all about that. And , you know , he cherished , you know , knowing people off the field , knowing the fans , that was his life he loved. He was a people person and he loved the people of San Diego. Yeah.

S1: Also , one lesser known fact about Tony is that in addition to being a legendary baseball player , he also played basketball and played in college for San Diego State. And the Aztecs also have a big game tomorrow. They are in the sweet 16 and will be playing Connecticut , the team they lost to in last year's championship game. We won't mention it.

S4: You know , people don't realize how much he was his love for basketball. He went to San Diego State on a basketball scholarship , not a baseball. And I remember the first year they wouldn't let him play baseball. But , you know , people forget that he was drafted by the San Diego Clippers on the same day the San Diego Padres was. So , you know , his love for basketball was , you know , beyond anybody could imagine. But he followed the team all the time.

S1: He was like the first athlete to be drafted in two leagues on the same day , right ? Yes. I don't think people realize just how gifted , uh , Tony was. And it wasn't even it wasn't even just an athleticism. Exactly.

S4: Exactly. He was very , very , uh , academically inclined. You know , I remember when he was in school and they put him up one grade because he was very , very , uh , intelligent , very smart , um , young man. And so he , uh , really , he enjoyed life. He really enjoyed how. And he also appreciated how blessed he was. Wow.

S1: Wow. I mean , and we are nearing the 10th anniversary of his passing.

S4: And , you know , I never want anyone to forget the man who he was on the field and off the field because I cherished the time that I spent with him , too. Yeah.

S5: Yeah.

S1: And his legacy certainly lives on. Um , you know , this weekend , the Padres held a celebration of life for Padres owner Peter Seidler , who passed away in November. You two were great friends.

S4: They were so much alike. Love the community. Always there to help someone. Didn't matter who you were. The I remember Peter , he would we would walk and he would stop and talk to the fans. It didn't matter who they were. He would go sometimes outside and talk to the homeless people. And , you know , he really wanted to fix that problem. And he was working. He was working hard. He worked tirelessly to do it. And but he was always that man that was available for you , you know , never complained about anything , even through a sickness. He he was always that. He always had a smile on his face. He always was a positive person. And , you know , that's how we shared our families together , our pictures and , you know , holidays. That was the greatest thing. We would send each other pictures on the holidays. And , you know , I mean , he was a great family man. He loved Shield and the kids and , you know , little Harry being born on his birthday , I can remember how excited he was. So , you know , he's a man that we must never forget. And to carry on what he started to. Wow.

S5: Wow.


S4: Because I think , you know , everybody's used to us with , uh , you know , free agency with the stars and stuff. And , you know , A.J. Preller does a good job. He knows what he's doing. He's been in this game for a long time. And , you know , he goes and gets those kids that you know , no one thinks of. But he knows they could be gems for the team. But I think the team is going to be good I really do.

S1: All right. Alicia Gwynn , thank you so much for coming in. It's always good to have you in studio and go , Padres.

S4: Go , Padres. Thank you for having me , Jade.

S1: Coming up , the conversation continues with how fans are remembering former Padres owner Peter Seidler.

S6: It was just so refreshing and wonderful to have an owner that you thought cared , like you thought he was a fan. That's how we all looked at him like he was a fan of the Padres.

S1: You're listening to Kpbs Midday Edition.

UU: Bam bam bam bam.

S1: Welcome back. This is Kpbs midday edition. I'm Jade Hindman. We continue our Padre theme , and this time we want to get to some thoughts on how Padres fans are feeling as a new season begins. Dallas McLaughlin is co-host of the kept Faith podcast , which talks about San Diego sports. Dallas , welcome to midday.

S6: Oh , thank you for having me. So much.

S1: So glad to have you here. So on the show today , we've been talking about opening Day memories.

S6: Yeah , I was actually able to be at the first game ever at Petco Park. Um , have my ticket stub sitting on my office desk right now from a framed got. They gave everybody like a little giveaway that was a frame with the ticket in it , and it was such an amazing day. I think , if I'm not mistaken , David Wells was pitching. Uh , we still had Mark Lauretta on the team. It was kind of a ragtag group of people , but , uh , a buddy of mine splurged , and we bought half season tickets , uh , in row three and left field. And it was just it was such a experience. The new stadium , you know , I was able to , through some friends , take a tour of the stadium while it was being built. And , uh , so I kind of knew what was happening and what was coming , but then just being in there for that first game and how beautiful the stadium was , how amazing the skyline looked behind the stadium. It was just like , you know , there had been so much controversy and debate over the building of that stadium and whatever side you were on then or on now , all of that was kind of washed away with the first pitch went out and the ball crack did. Everybody was just having such a good time. It was it was such a beautiful outcome for all the things that happened. And uh , and yeah , I still remember walking in everybody kind of just looking around in amazement. Uh , it was it was a beautiful day and.

S1: Something that , like , has stuck with you ever since then.

S6: Yeah , yeah , yeah , I have a brick , too. I have a they were giving away bricks. What are you or you could not give away ? Sorry. You had to pay for a brick and you could have anything you wanted engraved on it. And then they would put it on the ground in Petco Park. And , uh , I had a friend gift me a brick. So my brick is still there. It's at the bottom of the escalator. Once you go up to the left field side.

S1: I'll be sure to check for that. Oh my. Goodness.

S6: Goodness. Please , please spend your entire day looking for that.

S1: I am going to find it. Well , you know , last season , Padres fans had high hopes that 2023 would be the year the Padres won their first World Series championship. As we know , it didn't happen.

S6: I mean , everybody's really , really bummed is probably the best word to describe. I think the general attitude last season we had this super team. We were , you know , this was the team that was going to get us to the Promised Land. Finally , you know , we had Peter Seidler , Rest in Peace , who spent more money than any Padres owner in the history of Padres baseball. And it was all going to happen. This was this was the season. And it didn't. And it left , you know , a really , really sour taste in everyone's mouth. And then we let go of Juan Soto. And that was a huge , you know , just a hat on , a hat of sadness. And no one really knew what to do. And except for be upset. And I , on the other hand , uh , like to look at this season as a hopeful one. You know , Padres fans , we've spent most of our lives as fans. I've been a fan since I was five years old. I've spent most of my , uh , life being upset and sad as a Padres fan. So this kind of a feeling is nothing new for me. And if anything , we still have a team that's full of like , amazing players Manny Machado , Tatis , Bogart's , uh , Yu Darvish. We have amazing players that are still on our team. I think it was just such a letdown that people are taking so long to recover from it. And I , on the other hand , I'm like , man , no way. This is where I feel most comfortable as a fan. I'm actually , like , excited. There's a lot of young guys that need to prove themselves , as opposed to last year where we had all these superstars that just underperformed. Uh , I would rather have a bunch of young guys trying to prove themselves and , uh , young superstars coming into their own like to tease. And Campuzano , this is their year to really prove that they are the superstars on this team. And and that makes me excited. So the overall attitude from everybody would be like well whatever. It's a whatever season. Completely forgetting that we have these amazingly talented players still on the team. And my attitude is like , I think this is maybe the year I think the Dodgers are going to underperform. I think our real competition is going to be the Diamondbacks this season in our own division. I think this is the year that we make it to the playoffs and could make a deep run. Wow.

S1: Wow. I mean , you know , we've been talking you mentioned Peter Seidler and we've been talking about his legacy.

S6: I mean , that was you know , it was one of those things where everybody kind of thought something might be wrong with him , but there was never any really confirmation that something was going on. And if it was that to the extent. And so when he passed , it was really sudden. And like I said , he had spent so much money and I know that's not like that doesn't make a great owner or person , I guess you could say. But to Padres fans who had been so hungry for somebody to just come in and throw cash around and go out and get a Juan Soto or pay for a Manny Machado , like , it was just so refreshing and wonderful to have an owner that you thought cared , like you thought he was a fan. That's how we all looked at him , like he was a fan of the Padres , and he wanted the Padres to win the World Series because he wanted to see it happen , not just because he wanted to reap the financial benefits or whatever. You honestly thought. Just like me , Papa Pete , as everybody called him , Papa Pete wanted to see a Padres championship because he was a fan , and that's what he wanted to see , and he was going to pay for it to make it happen. So with him gone , a lot of people were just very sad that it felt like maybe the biggest mega fan of all of us had just passed , and that was kind of hard to square. And and honestly , it was sad because nobody really knows what happens now when it comes to ownership. I mean , there's this kind of control group and we'll see what happens and see what that means. We , you know , and right after he passed , they cut payroll down. So it was like , oh no , it's kind of like his dream is kind of falling apart. Yeah. And it felt really kind of icky and gross that once he died , all of these changes started happening. But overall , he was just so beloved. I mean , they just had the service for him this weekend at the stadium or the the celebration of life. And , you know , there was such a nice turnout. So many of the players were there to to pay tribute , and he seemed like he had a good relationship with the players , which a lot of owners just don't. Uh , and so he was just such a great figure. And , you know , there's talk I don't , I don't I don't know if this was mentioned at the celebration of life , but there is a lot of talk that they might build a statue to him or some kind of something like that for him. I think it's warranted. I mean , you know , I don't know how long you've been in San Diego or following San Diego sports , but somebody who is kind of single handedly turned a franchise around like that deserves a lot of recognition and deserves to be remembered for the team that he turned around. I mean , he made the city relevant. You know , it was at least on the Major League Baseball stage. It was amazing. And it's it's a big loss. Wow.

S1: Wow. I mean , San Diego I think is we've got a lot of fans here , many of whom are still rooting for a championship in that. San Diego has been criticized for not having a lot of championships in its history. The Padres , they have yet to win the World Series , the Aztecs men's basketball. They came close last year and they're still alive today.

S6: It would be. It would be. It would be validating , maybe that I didn't waste my life , um , rooting for these teams. I mean , I remember looking at the when the Red Sox finally won and the Cubs finally won after such a long drought , you know , a hundred years or whatever. And you had , you know , sons , you know , driving to their their fathers graves and putting , you know , some kind of a memorabilia from the wind on their graves. And you just had people crying , you know , men and women who were in their 90s , you know , just sitting there crying that it finally happened. I want to feel that. I want to feel that. I mean , I remember when Joe Musgrove , through the first no hitter in team history , I was I was crying , I was in my house watching. I drove home super quick so I could catch the last few innings. And and I was crying. And that is , you know , that's just a no hitter. I mean , a no hitter is amazing achievement , but that's just a no hitter , you know ? I mean , if the World Series , if they win the World Series , I , I don't know what I would do. I was there , I was actually very fortunate enough to be at the game , you know , two years ago now where they beat the Dodgers in the playoffs. Um , and it was raining and they had to stop the rain , and they played blink 182 and the whole stadium started singing in unison. And after they stopped playing , after the song ended , we immediately came back and won the game. And I mean , people were in the streets dancing and cheering. I mean , and it was just a playoff win , you know , in a World Series win. So I don't know what would happen. I mean , the city wants it. The city is hungry for it. Whoever it is that gets it first , the Aztecs or the or the Padres. There's going to be a parade and I will be at that parade. I mean , there's just no way I could contain myself from from jumping up and dancing and crying with fans who have waited so long for this.

S1: But wait. So talking before we got started , I learned you are not a San Diego State fan , but root for Ohio State.

S6: Uh , growing up in San Diego , I always have. My favorite team in my second favorite team. So like baseball. Padres are my favorite team. The Cincinnati Reds are my second favorite team , and I've made that well-known my entire life so that no one is confused. Uh , getting a lot of arguments about it. If the Aztecs want to be such a great achievement , I mean , what you know , Steve Fisher did and , um , Dutcher has done , is it amazing , you know , to to make that team relevant is really great. And I love watching them play. I used to go to games all the time. I used to live near San Diego State , so it was right before they got good. It's right before Fisher came in and turned it all around so you could go to games for like two bucks , and it was great. It was such a fun time. I but I was born in Ohio. I grew up in San Diego , moved to San Diego when I was three. So my dad , a huge Buckeyes fan , that's his life , is the Ohio State Buckeyes. So I was kind of indoctrinated at a young age and forced to root for the Buckeyes. And I'm not I'm not really been allowed to , uh , remove that allegiance. Uh , but growing up in San Diego , I got to go to Padres games all the time. And that made all the difference. You know , it was being able to go to those games consistently. My grandpa was a big Padres fan. Uh , he lived out here. So that was really where the fandom came from for the Padres. And we just didn't have that same affiliation with the Aztecs. So I'm sorry to anyone listening that's going to be upset about that , I apologize.

S1: No , I mean , we'll allow it. Okay.

S7: We'll allow I appreciate it. Hey , if.

S6: They win , I will be the first one to to lie and say I was a fan the entire time.

S7: Oh , you're gonna.

S1: Jump on that bandwagon. Okay.

S7: That's what we do , right ? San Diego fans , we love a winner.

S1: But you know what I mean. Your story , though , I think is like , true with so many people , especially people coming to San Diego from other parts of the country , there are many San Diegans with some mixed sports allegiances. I mean , I'll be honest. Me too. I love the Padres , but my hometown is Saint Louis , so I like my Cardinals , too. Uh , that's a bad word. I know it really is , but I love them all. Hey. Yeah.

S6: Yeah. No , I mean , like , you're totally right. I think that there's so many transplants here that it's. It's really hard to nail down , like , well , this is my team , but I think the , I think the Padres have that's one of the cool things about the Padres and like to what Peter Seidler was able to do is really solidify that for a generation of fans. I mean , we have a we talk about this all the time. I'm 43 now , and like I said , we grew up with such crap teams for so long. And like now you have a legitimate generation of people who got to grow up watching Tatis and Machado , and they don't know anything else. Like they don't know bad teams like this last season was such a hard season for them because it was really their first one where there wasn't hope. And that is an amazing thing to see and watch these young kids who are , you know , 13 , 14 , 15 and they absolutely love the pod. This is their team. There is no second team or other team like they there was no reason for them to go looking. I mean , those of us who had to grow up watching , you know , Bubba Trammell and and , uh , Wil Venable , God bless him. You , you you maybe had to go search for an alternative to so you could at least be happy. But , uh , these kids don't have to do that. And it's such an amazing time to be a Padres fan. And , uh , it's amazing for us to , you know , you get to see these really cool superstars. And the brown is back , which always makes me so happy to think about it. I do look at that stupid blue and white.

S1: Sorry you didn't like the , uh , Miami theme there. It seemed.

S7: Like it was.

S1: So very Miami. I don't know.

S7: It was so weird.

S6: It's such a weird turn.

S1: I mean. You.

S7: You.

S1: Touched on this a bit earlier , but , I mean , you know , what a time it is to be a fan. I mean , this team looks quite a bit different , though , than last two years. There's a new manager. Some big name players aren't on the team this season.

S6: You know I there's really little out there for people to know about. You know we don't he had some success and then kind of disappeared into the to the void for a little while. And now he's back and there's , you know , rumors as to what happened , but nobody really knows. And he just seems to be kind of a guy that's here. And he's got experience at this level. And as a Padres fan , that's all I've ever wanted. You know , we went through some really inexperienced managers , you know , one after another after another and with really , you know , honestly poor results. And so we brought in Bob Melvin. I was I was such a huge fan of what he had done in Oakland. And I'm like , okay , now we got a guy. We got a guy who's going to really figure it out. And for whatever reason , that didn't work. And now we have another guy. But all I care about is major league experience. If they've done this at the major league level , that's a big , you know , check mark for me. And it seems to be that he has a good relationship with the player. So far you haven't heard anything. Any rumblings. That's a huge thing because you have huge egos on this team with Machado. You know , and I'm not saying that in the bad. Way. He's a superstar and he knows it , you know ? And he's a he's a figurehead in this city and a hero to so many. So he's got a lot on his shoulders. Same with Tatis. And I think being a manager of a baseball team is basically managing egos. And so far so good. I think the other thing that's different this year that looks a lot different is what I mentioned earlier. You got a lot of young guys that they're they're playing. I mean , put it in Jackson , Maryland , center field , uh , letting him just figure out that position during spring training and then letting them start at that position during the regular season. I love that. I love that so much. Let these young guys come up and play and make their mistakes. And that is what makes me happy about this season. If you look at the teams who went to the World Series last year , the Rangers and the Diamondbacks , the makeup of those rosters look a lot more like our roster going into this season than our roster last season. And that's what makes me excited , is you have young guys who need to prove themselves , who need to prove that they can be at the big league level and contribute , and then you have the veterans that need to step it up and keep their good play. And and that's that's all you need for a club to come together. And hopefully Shield can manage all of that. That's that's the big question mark. Can he handle all of that. Yeah.

S7: Yeah.

S1: Well I mean you know like you were saying , you know when you've got those players who are coming in who still have a lot to prove and , and those who want to want to keep the status. It it really does bring a lot of heart into the game. Right. And that's what that's what keeps it.

S7: Oh yeah. Yeah. Well that's what's.

S6: You know as a fan right. You want to just what you want to be able to have fun watching the game. And that's all we're after. It's a it's a escape for most of us. And so last year there's so much pressure on all of the players , on all of us fans , that we had to be good fans , that we had to support the team no matter what. It was just you. It just wasn't really fun. Like last season. It honestly wasn't that fun to be a Padres fan , and that's the first time I'd felt that way and really long time. So all I'm looking for this year is to return to some of that fun watching him play. He's such a fun player to watch. Uh , Machado I've always loved watching Machado to tease his such a highlight reel. Like , just go out there and have fun , you know ? Profar for people. People hate jerks and profar they hate the guy. Uh , because he's just not this offensive powerhouse that he was supposed to be his whole career. But , man , you try to just just watch him and tell me that he's not having a good time. Like , watch him play baseball and watch him smile and tell me that he. You didn't smile watching him have a good time. You know , it's like , that's that's the chemistry we need for this team to succeed. It's just go out there and play and have fun and and the swag chain and all that stuff , the goose and all the things that they had over the years that really fell off because last season was such a train wreck. But when they're having fun and they're they're gelling and they're contributing and everybody's on the same page , we have those fun moments of Polaroids in the dugout and all those silly. Things.

S7: Things.

S6: And that's what we're looking for. That's that's what I want. You know what I mean ? Yeah.

S1: Oh , yeah. More of that this season. Dallas McLaughlin is a co-host of the San Diego sports podcast The Kept Faith. Dallas , thank you so much for being here.

S6: Oh , thanks so much for having me. Yeah. Go , Padres and go Aztecs. Sure. Why not ? They can do. They could do it. Totally.

S7: Totally.

S1: We'll see with Yukon , I don't know. All right. That's our show for today. Don't forget to watch Evening Edition tonight at five for in-depth reporting on San Diego issues. We'll see you here tomorrow at noon. And if you ever miss a show , you can tap in to find the Midday Edition podcast on all platforms. I'm Jade Hindman. Thanks for listening.

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Baseball fans wait to enter Petco Park before a game between the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Angels
Bennett Lacy
Baseball fans wait to enter Petco Park before a game between the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Angels.

The San Diego Padres will begin their first homestand of the season Thursday against their division rivals, the San Francisco Giants. To celebrate, KPBS Midday Edition talked about baseball and opening day memories.

First, the longtime Spanish language broadcaster for the Padres joined Midday Edition Wednesday to share how he developed a love for baseball as a boy growing up in Tijuana.

Then, it has been nearly 10 years since San Diego Padres legend Tony Gwynn passed away. Gwynn's widow, Alicia Gwynn, shared some of her opening day memories and reflected on what made Tony Gwynn loved both on and off the baseball field.

After, last season was a disappointment for many Padres fans. KPBS spoke to a fan about how he's feeling about the upcoming season.


Eduardo Ortega, Spanish language broadcaster, San Diego Padres

Alicia Gwynn, Tony Gwynn's widow

Dallas McLaughlin, co-host "The Kept Faith" podcast