Let’s face it San Diego Padres fans, they are not a large market team. The TV deal with Fox Sports definitely pumps some much-needed revenue into the franchise, but they will never be able to spend frivolously like the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox or Los Angeles Dodgers of the world. I really don’t mind that either, because baseball is as much a game about chemistry as it is about overall talent. Just ask any fan from the before mentioned teams about their losing seasons and they will tell you that. Well in order to gain a wider fan base, why not embrace the whole country right next to us?
To San Diego’s east, we have the desert, to our west we have the Pacific Ocean. The North County is very densely-populated but, eventually the fan base turns Blue and Red. (Los Angeles Dodger blue and Los Angeles Angels red, that is). That brings us to our neighbors from the south. The country with 122 million people, and Tijuana, the city with 1.3 million people. That is a lot of potential fans that I feel have been largely ignored. Sure the Padres have a Mexico-themed night every once in awhile, but I am talking about effectively campaigning in and around all of Mexico. It’s well understood that soccer is the nation’s #1 sport, and baseball can’t replace that, but there are more than enough people there to follow both sports intently. Build the San Diego Padres franchise up to a Country that is only 16 miles south of the Petco Park. It seems like a no-brainer.
I understand Mexico isn’t exactly Saudi Arabia or Qatar, they are not the most wealthiest of nations in our world. However, the country itself is full of hard working individuals that cross our borders everyday to go back and forth between their respected homes and jobs. Mexico has a long tradition of baseball too, the Mexican League was formed in 1925. Vinny Castilla, Adrian Gonzalez, Oliver Perez… all former Padres, all of Mexican decent. I can remember as a teenager (growing up in San Diego) crossing those borders to play organized baseball right before my high school years. A lot of high school kids from the area did too. The fields weren’t the best, but the baseball education a young man got down there was priceless. The country, the fans, they know the game well and they know how it should be played.
Now we all remember the story of Ken Caminiti in Monterrey Mexico, crawling off the floor of his managers office after getting an I.V, then proceeding to slug two home runs in a victory over the Mets on August 18, 2006. That “Snicker” influenced effort was something you only read about in story books. That effort catapulted Caminiti to the 1996 National League MVP award. You have to think, more than a few Padres fans were born in Mexico that day. Major League Baseball has had a long desire to expand baseball internationally. There had even been primary discussions about an expansion team one day playing in Mexico City. We are far from that day, but MLB officials do recognize the potential growth in this booming population.
In this day and age, you have to make the best out of what you have. I believe AJ Preller and this ownership understand that, and will do what it takes to gain an even higher following in Mexico. There is absolutely no reason why they can’t succeed, especially if we put in the quality effort. A great start to building a relationship is the exhibition game scheduled for April 4th against the Mexico City Reds. The San Diego Padres are here for the long haul and the country of Mexico isn’t moving anytime soon. So let’s start a beautiful, long-lasting relationship and we can all scream to the top of our lungs…. VIVA LOS PADRES!
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