Home sweet home.

Blacked Out


This is a Chargers town.

This is a Chargers town.

This is a Chargers town.

Maybe if we keep telling ourselves that, it will be true.

Trouble is, this is not a Chargers town, and if the powers that be have their way the Chargers will soon no longer reside in this town.

This is not the plight of the Padres. I’m fairly sure no matter how bad the Friars play, or how terrible they are to watch, they will always stay in San Diego. The casual fan might retort, “Yea, cause who would want them?” And I could say the exact same thing about the Chargers. Both are average teams, with no real superstars, and (up till this point) terrible ownership. The Pads have some hope with the new O’Malley group, but the Chargers…you’re stuck with the Spanos family. Like herpes. They ain’t never goin’ away no matter what you try. In fact, you’re going away before they do.

The Padres and Chargers have a lot more common than one might think. Besides what I’ve already listed above, they both have had mid-level success for most of their respective histories, and they both have trouble drawing fans. It’s actually that last point that has enticed me to sit down and write about the Chargers.

The biggest issue the Padres dealt with this past season was the fact that almost half of the county was unable to watch the team on TV. True, a good portion of those people probably had no interest in watching the product that the Pads were fielding anyway. However, I think a lot of fans of sport started to slowly realize over the course the season that they actually miss “watching” Baseball. I put watching in quotes because most of us never actually watch a seemingly meaningless regular season Baseball game. Baseball is long. It can be very boring and for some cities isn’t worth the interest. But, there’s something to be said for the shear pleasure you can derive from getting home from a long day at work, grabbing a beer, turning on a game, and zoning out. It’s a right of passage, and it wasn’t an option for a large portion of San Diego’s population. So, what happened? Nothing. Well, some things happened. People like Matthew T. Hall, myself, and several talking heads on the XX1090 called for a complete TV deal to get done. Fans barely protested, and barely seem to care. Even if they did care enough to cause an actual “stir”, there really wasn’t much they could have done. It was in the hands of cable providers and network heads and blah blah blah. If a deal got done, it would have to be on their time and secretly we all kind of knew that. It would have been nice to see a little more effort from the fans, but after forcing them to watch Orlando Hudson, you can’t expect them or anyone for that matter to react with enthusiasm. We all have to sit on our hands and wait…and be told over and over again: Good luck. This isn’t a Baseball town; it’s a Chargers town. They get priority on everything.

These past two weeks somethings happened that has happened several times over the past six years, and really even further back than that – the Chargers game was blacked out due to lack of ticket sales. If you were there or saw pictures from the Ravens game, it’d be hard to argue with the word “lack”.

The Chargers have been dealing with not being able to draw fans for sometime now, but no one wants to actively admit this. What’s more frustrating, especially to Baseball fans, is the football TV debacle has a much easier solution – just go to the games. If you actually went to watch this team you so passionately never want to leave, then two things would happen:

1) They wouldn’t leave.

2) You (well assuming you’re at the game, your community) would be able to watch the team on TV.

I know, I know, it’s expensive to go. Way too expensive. Actually it’s borderline ridiculous to go to a football game at all. The cheapest ticket at the Q is $68 before the service charge, and parking, and any snacks or beer you might buy. And those seats are the very last ten rows of the upper deck! You want to go to a single game; you’re looking at $100 easy for the crappiest view. Not to mention the team makes buying single game tickets a task in itself. So, you’re option as a Chargers fan (or any football fan) is to spend $100 to hopefully sit next to a couple of your buddies, probably get in a fight, and have a terrible view, all to watch Rivers yell at a teammate and Norv look sad.

OR

You could sit at home with your all your buddies, and watch a game in HD for free. Sure, if you’re a good host you’ve probably dropped $50 on snacks and beer, while knowing most of your guests will also bring beer, and when they leave you’ll have a good amount of leftover beer to drink when you hear that Norv hasn’t been fired yet. Sure, you may still get in a fight, but you have the best seat in the house, and you can take a nap whenever you feel like it. How on Earth does a trip to the Q plan to combat that? It can’t, and it never will. Which, results in blacked out games and a team on the verge of moving. Sure, the NFL and Spanos family desperately wants a new stadium, and wants the fans to pay for it, but why the hell should we? Especially after we already got hosed on PETCO? The Padres were at least coming off three hot seasons and a trip to the World Series during what was one of the greatest seasons for Baseball in the past thirty years. The fans got duped a little, and it sucks. We don’t want that again, and it sure looks like we’ll get it. If the Spanos’ were serious about a new stadium they’d have fired Norv last season and spent real money on elite talent. We should be making a playoff run right now and be heavy super bowl favorites. Instead the Chargers are a joke that no one can see. At least with the Padres, they lied with temporary results. With the Chargers they’re just assholes.

How can we root for a team whose only real shot at a Super Bowl was almost twenty years ago?

Yet, we as fans expect greatness. We expect winners, and championships. As a fan-base, we are blessed with the delusion of always expecting something none of our teams have ever given.

We don’t deserve our teams to act progressively, because as a whole we don’t do it either. We don’t show up to Padres games, unless they’re winning, and even then it’s a stretch. And, we definitely don’t show up to Chargers games. We don’t support our teams in good times and in bad times. We let our own stadiums fill up with fans of the opposing teams. We blindly follow our terrible leadership, and then do little to actually change it when they so blatantly burn us. If we cared about anything as fans as much as we care about firing Norv, then we’d have a new stadium and complete TV deals for every team within city limits. Why would the owners work their asses off for a playoff team when they aren’t sure they can sell out a playoff game? The majority of fans will respond by saying, “Well, if they went to the playoffs I would go.” Therein lies the catch-22 of a city that claims to be a sports city, but in fact is not one.

Reading this you’ll more than likely have two reactions:

1) You’re a die-hard fan and you feel like I’m full of it. You’ve had season tickets for years. You follow the teams on twitter, read websites like these; you buy jerseys and hang flags from your windows. And, guess what? You’re the minority in San Diego, and if you’re not already considered some type of minority then I wish you good luck, because I hear it can be rough.

2) You’re probably watching the TV thinking, “Um, I can watch the Chargers play on an illegal website. What in the hell is this guy talking about?” And to that I say: Here’s to the 2014 Los Angeles Chargers!

Listen, I’m a huge sports fan. I love Baseball and I love the Padres. I enjoy the Chargers, and am absolutely in love with College Football. I write about sports, talk about sports and dare my wife to divorce me over my obsession with them. San Diego is and has been my home since I was 3-years old. I want to watch my teams, and root for them and be pissed off about them. I don’t want them to leave, but I’m also a realist. I know the city I live in supports their professional teams in a casual manor. We have the beach. We have robust night lives in Downtown, Hillcrest, North Park, Del Mar, University Heights, and so on. We have top-notch concert and comedy venues, and world-class theatres and restaurants. We have almost everything that Pittsburgh doesn’t. We don’t need sports to feel good about ourselves; we need sports as a meeting place.

The solutions are in front of your face.

This is a Chargers town. Keep saying it to yourself, while you’re at home watching Superstars on Ice, because your team is blacked out.

For more Padres stuff and other things you might not care about follow me on Twitter @dallas_mc

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