The time had come to map out the opening week of the baseball season which coincided fortuitously with my vacation.
I told the Mrs. that I wanted Opening Day against the Giants on April 5th but that of equal importance was the second home game the next day.
I didn't explain the importance and she acquiesced...
The when or where I don't recall but the who and what are as fresh in my mind as the day I first heard it...
The who came in the form of Tony Gwynn while Home Openers formed the basis of the what.
According to Gwynn the home opener was always a blast. The pomp and circumstance, the sellout crowd, the bunting. Who doesn't love red white and blue bunting?* Tony loved it. But he said it wasn't his favorite of days. Tony Gwynn loved the day after the opener.
I tried to search out an exact quote from Gwynn on this matter and sure enough it was referenced by none other than Tom Krasovic, today on his blog. While covering the game Kras came across #19 on his way to the broadcast booth. Kras writes:
The day after the Padres' home opener typically was Tony Gwynn's favorite day of the baseball year, so it was only appropriate that Mr. Padre walked into Petco Park on Wednesday afternoon, smile on face one day after San Diego sold out and won its home opener.Perhaps it is a bit harsh, to say those who don't show the day after aren't real fans. But I get the sentiment and if you were at today's game you would too.
"This is my day, yeah, ha, ha, ha," he said. "You find out who's who. Sellout crowd yesterday, so we'll find out today who the real fans are."
As a Padre fan, today was an embarrassment. I knew it would be. There was black and there was orange. The cacophony of endless Giants chants coupled with an ambush of Padres starter Tim Stauffer conspired to beat me into submission. Today at PETCO was not dissimilar to the general disrespect that accompanies an unwanted house guest. Feet up on the table, loud.
Perhaps the unwanted house guest syndrome wouldn't be an issue if Padre fans chose to adhere to The Gwynn Opener as part of their opening week rituals.
It's difficult to make binding promises years in advance but I will make it a goal to always attend the Padres' home opener because it is a meaningful symbol of renewal each spring.
And even more importantly I will make efforts to attend The Gwynn Opener. I will attend as a show of respect to the greatest Padre of them all... but to also keep the riffraff at bay. I don't like the feet of house guests propped up on my furniture. And I certainly don't like orange.
*Don't try to say, "Communists, that's who!" Communists love baseball ipso facto they love red, white, and blue bunting.