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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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The Pacific is as Blue as it Has Been in My Dreams

When I think of the San Diego Padres, I think of a line from The Shawshank Redemption, what Andy Dufresne says to Red Redding about where he wants to live out the rest of his life:

You know what the Mexicans say about the Pacific? They say it has no memory.

From one season to the next, I remember next to nothing about the Padres. Their roster is forever 70% surprise, 20% Gileses and maybe one or two Gwynnian stalwarts just so I can recognize them if I flip by SNY too fast. Hey, isn’t there a baseball player named Khalil? Ohmigod, the Mets are on! Their history is a muddle of Big Macs, fish tacos, fire sales and camouflage. This is the fourth season in a row in which I’ve looked at that stadium of theirs and thought, “hey, the Padres just built a brand new ballpark!”

The San Diego Padres are the Pacific Ocean to me — less because they play so close to it than because we play so far from them. If the Padres aren’t going up against the Mets two series a year, they simply don’t exist, and I mean completely out-of-sight, out-of-mind, when did Columbus get a hockey team? don’t exist. They exist way less than their California neighbors because the Giants and Dodgers have their roots in our backyard and my subconscious and occasionally materialize on Baseball Tonight. The Padres? They’ve won two consecutive division titles and are the only National League team at the moment with a legitimate shot at making it three straight. They have the lowest ERA in the known world. They have…

…I forget. Who are we talking about again?

It’s not that the Padres don’t rate our respect. They do. Anybody whose games start after my wife kisses me good night is potentially bad news. But that’s the other thing. The Giants start their homes games a little after 10. The Dodgers either 10 or 10:30. The Padres? They come on after The Tomorrow Show With Tom Snyder, right? They make me sleepy just thinking about them. I went to Jack Murphy Stadium once and couldn’t enjoy it without grabbing a few winks at my seat between the fifth and sixth. Every time I see them, they’ve just completed a wardrobe change. They annually acquire some big shot — Willie McCovey; Rollie Fingers; Gaylord Perry; Steve Garvey; Jack Clark; Rickey Henderson; David Wells; Mike Piazza; Greg Maddux — whom you will never, ever associate with their franchise even if one of them is on your screen at this very moment in Padre…blue is it now? And, furthermore…

…I forget again. Who are we talking about?

Never mind the Padres. How about those Mets? How about that El Duque? If there’s one thing I can say about El Duque, it’s…it’s that he’s the Padres of our pitching staff, at least to me. Honestly, I tend to forget he’s in the rotation at any given moment. That’s on my head, I suppose, but also indicative of the way he’ll get an extra day or month between starts and then suddenly reappear from out of nowhere. Plus there’s that Friar-like tendency to give you something different every time out. There is no rhyme and less reason to El Duque. Sometimes he’s magnificent, as he was Tuesday night; sometimes he’s magical, as he was hitting and stealing!; sometimes he’s completely unfathomable and gets bombed and turns edgy as he disintegrates in full view; and sometimes…

…who pitched? Of course. That guy. He won. All right!

The best thing to say about the Mets who aren’t Orlando Hernandez in their second game in San Diego is they forgot who they had been during their first game. This was a much-improved version, replete with a No. 3 batter who lived up to his spot in the order and a second baseman who, at last, looked like he could hit the side of a wall (and not hurt himself in the process). Keeping with our current policy, I will praise the Mets only lightly lest they become satisfied with one-game winning streaks. They have more business to take care of tonight in…

…I’m sorry — where are we playing again?

9 comments to The Pacific is as Blue as it Has Been in My Dreams

  • Anonymous

    Greg,
    When you were at Jack Murphy Stadium did you see Lawrence Welk in the stands? If you were there after the 1991 season that alone would have been enough to keep you awake during the middle innings.

  • Anonymous

    Funny this was exactly how I used to feel about San Diego then my cousin moved there and married a native. They come back to the Jersey Shore every July for two weeks and it has allowed me to build a nice animosity towards them. More the Chargers then the Pads, but still, I enjoy the chance to gloat in the mid summer.

  • Anonymous

    The Padres always meant two things to me: Tony Gwynn and those unabashedly hideous, we're-loud-and-we're-proud brown and yellow unis. (That guy's hat behind the plate last night jumped out at you all night!) Oh, and I guess that their stadium was named after Murph's brother. With the absence of all three they became as anonymous as the Orange County Anaheim Angels of Los Angeles in Southern California. That changed for exactly one year, but now that Mike's up the coast the Pods have seeped back into obscurity for me.
    Nice to see another fairly old expansion team is o-fer in the no-hitter department. And no cycles, either, which is just weird!

  • Anonymous

    It was a day game in 1996, but I can't watch the Padres in San Diego unless I think it's two in the morning.

  • Anonymous

    And of course San Diego was professional home to David Arthur Kingman for about a month.

  • Anonymous

    i have residual mellow feelings toward the pods — hey, it's socal, what other feelings COULD i have? — because back in the day, and this is going back some, i had a summer internship in north san diego county and would catch a game when i could.
    i remember ozzie and winfield and beers in the bleachers, a warm glow, crispy sunburns, a buzz and tasty waves, spicoli.
    then it all fades to … brown.

  • Anonymous

    Bob Murphy could never bring himself to say the words “Jack Murphy Stadium” on the air. In psychiatry, that's known as an Edifice Complex.

  • Anonymous

    Ah yes, during that curious trip he made homering 'round the divisional horn.
    Nothing beat him playing for the Yankees that year. It wasn't enough my two favorite players were sent away… one of them ends up on the damn Yankees?! Where a quick check of the record book shows he hit 4 HRs in 8 games in 24 ABs. Ruthian! I wonder if Dave got a ring?

  • Anonymous

    I love the Padres. Despite the presence of Boomer and the odious Giles brothers.