Padres Should Reimburse 2014 Jersey Sales


Every year I look forward to attending the Padres annual Fan Fest. There’s a little something for everyone: Meet and greets and running the bases for the kids. Autograph signings for super fans. A yard sale for collectors. Access to the clubhouse for those interested in a behind the scenes look. A sneak preview at any renovations to the park for season ticket holders. And a Q&A session for basically anyone who’s interested.

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Last year I attended specifically for the yard sale because I’ve gotten some pretty cheap jerseys and giant banners in the past. After walking away from the yard sale empty-handed, my buddy suggested that we head over to the open Q&A session before we left.

It was during the Q&A session with Josh Byrnes, Bud Black, and A.J. Hinch that I noticed something: an alarming number of Padres jerseys being worn by the fans were of players that had been recently traded within the past two years. I started stewing on this and tuning out the fluff questions that were being lobbed to the front office.

You know, questions like:

“Can we compete this year?”

“Are you excited about the off-season acquisitions?”

“Who would win in an arm wrestling contest, Carlos Quentin or Alexi Amarista?”

When I saw my opening, I decided to ask about this thing that was now bothering me. It was something that I felt at the time (and still feel) needed to be legitimately addressed by those in power ( I’m paraphrasing from memory), “I like supporting the Padres, and I like being able to show my support for individual players with jerseys. But, it’s difficult to shell out two hundred bucks for a jersey when there’s no stability on the team. Our best players and prospects keep getting traded away. There’s no way of knowing who will be here next year and who won’t.”

It was at this point that I noticed the crowd starting to get behind me.

I finished with my bright idea:

“Would the Padres consider implementing a program for fans in which the team store would re-stitch a customized player jersey if that player happens to get traded within 365 days of a fan purchasing their jersey?”

My fellow Friar faithful clapped and chimed in with agreement.

You would have never known though, as the modest applause was drowned out by hysterical laughter of Josh Byrnes, A.J. Hinch, and Bud Black on the stage.

Very few fans seemed to think was an appropriate reaction.

Byrnes asks, “What do you mean? Give me an example of a jersey you bought where the guy got traded afterwards?”

I looked at my buddy who now owns more useless jerseys than the Padres Team Store and rattled off his collection.

Jake Peavy, Adrian Gonzalez, Mike Adams, Mat Latos, Anthony Rizzo…”

Byrnes chimed in again, “Yeah, but most of those guys weren’t during my time. Can you name someone more recent?”

Then he turned away from the mic to Bud Black and said, “What? Did he just buy a Boxberger jersey or something?”

Boxberger had just been traded a few weeks before Fan Fest along with Logan Forsythe.

Fans weren’t exactly in on this joke and a few people started grumbling.

Bud Black was smart enough to realize that this reaction wasn’t very funny to the people who buy tickets and then tried to save the situation, “I think we’ve got a good team and you don’t have anything to worry about guys leaving town.”

His next sentence was fantastic.

“Buy with confidence.”


So what about all those people who “bought with confidence”? Since Padres Fan Fest 2014, the Padres have traded away long time Padres, Nick Hundley, Chase Headley, and Chris Denorfia on top of trading fan favorite, Huston Street. I don’t know about you, but Headley and Street were just about the only two names I saw on the back of jerseys not named Gwynn or Hoffman. Aside from them, the team is highly unrecognizable to anyone outside of the NL West. And if fans invested in a jersey for one of the Padres top three starters, they could be feeling pretty silly by spring training. Plain and simple, fans were deceived. I understand the need to make trades. In fact, I’m all for them. But Padres fans haven’t had a product they could embrace for quite some time.

I firmly believe that in a small market with a dwindling fan base, the San Diego Padres need to do whatever they can to support their fans who remain loyal year after year. If the Padres had a system like the one I proposed in place, it would promote more fan loyalty and better branding. The Padres organization needs to take measures toward building a franchise that their fans will be proud of. If they won’t do it with their product on the field, then they should start with the products they sell off the field. Dumping Byrnes and allowing Hinch to walk was a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done.