We’ve known for a while now that Cole Hamels doesn’t want to play for San Diego. He told Jon Heymen of CBS Sports, “Why would I want to go where fans only support you from the 3rd through the 6th innings?” However, Chris Jenkin’s article on UTSanDiego.com sheds more light on Hamels, his feelings, and just why San Diego is a bittersweet place for him.
Hamels is an alienated fan of the San Diego Padres. He grew up in San Diego County. He played baseball there. He cheered for the Padres. But he was also hurt like so many fans have been by the way the team has been run over the years. Our friends at Gaslampball.com consider Cole Hamels a “fair-weather fan” for his comments. He’s not. He’s simply an example of so many San Diegans. Plus, Hamels has been able to experience baseball fandom in Philadelphia – one of the Meccas of the baseball world.
Like most of us, Hamels grew up rooting for the Padres with a passion only baseball can incite. However, that passion would fade as his career took shape and he became a professional player.
I mean, I loved that team, and all of a sudden it disappeared. I remember watching Fred McGriff before that, loving that guy, and boom, he’s gone. I think it’s hard to be a fan to devote your time to players, then see them leave like that.
It’s not the fans. They alienate their own fans by not keeping guys around, especially the guys they develop. They won’t keep an Adrian Gonzalez or go get that big-name guy. That’s just hard on a fan.
We’ve all said it ourselves, but when a multi-million dollar pitcher, a San Diego native, says these things, we get upset? Instead we should be nodding our heads in agreement. The Padres will never spend the money necessary to keep their stars. They lucked out with Tony Gwynn. We’ll never see that again. A level of anger or disappointment or sadness is justified. Cole Hamels’ statements are justified.
It’s difficult for fans like myself, and like so many of you who read this, to understand a person giving up on their team. However, fair-weather fans are fans who quit on their team during the bad times, then come back during the good times. Cole Hamels was there during the good times. He was there before that too. Just like we were. He grew distant from the team as he pursued his dream to stop watching the game and start playing the game. Now, as a professional, his desires are different than that of a fan. He wants packed stadiums and rabid fans. He wants winning teams. We can’t offer that in San Diego.