The San Diego Chargers and Padres deserve better.
Being raised in San Diego, and taught to be a steadfast fan, it pains me to have this realization: San Diego fans suck.
However, while living in San Diego, I was blissfully ignorant, thinking our fans were the norm. It wasn’t until I moved north to San Francisco did I realize the painful truth of my hometown.
It's not until you see truly great, and faithful, fans that you become aware of the terrible naked truth. And that is exactly what San Francisco fans are, great. They constantly sell out San Francisco Giants and 49ers games despite what their records may look like.
It’s true, San Diego is a wonderful place to live and owns its motto as, “America’s Finest City.” However, when it comes to sports fans, this is both a blessing and a curse.
Because living in San Diego is so sought-after, people from less appealing cities move there, and subsequently, bring their previous sports loyalties with them. Often, when playing teams from Chicago, Detroit or Pittsburgh, the stadium will hold more opposing fans than home fans. Yes, the above cities are known for their well-traveled fans, but outnumbering San Diegan fans should never occur.
Furthermore, the displacement to a new city and immediate drop of fan loyalty is a growing concern. I feel I am part of the minority of loyal fans who move away, yet remain fans of the team from their native town. I have personally witnessed many people move to a new city and quickly adopt that city’s teams as their own.
Despite having a relatively new stadium built in 2004, the Padres have one of the worst attendances in the league, currently ranking 22nd out of 30 MLB teams. They rarely sell out a game. These discouraging facts aren’t blamed completely on the performance of their team, either.
In 2010, the Padres' playoff hopes were alive until the last game of the regular season, when they eventually lost to the World champion Giants. The Padres ranked 18th in attendance that year despite being in first place in the NL West for much of the year.
I guess a positive note to take away is that they aren’t bandwagon fans, right?
The Chargers' attendance isn’t any more positive. Though attendance totals are typically middle of the pack (last year they ranked 19th out of 32 NFL teams), the games are constantly in danger of being blacked out. The broadcast is typically saved by a last-second surge of ticket sales or a TV corporation buying the bulk of remaining tickets. This is despite being one of the most dominant teams in the AFC the past few years.
Oh yeah, this is in San Diego...
As I previously stated, opposing fans sometimes outnumber Chargers or Padres fans. However, even when they don’t, they still seem to have a greater presence and support for their team.
Next time you’re watching a Padres-Giants game in Petco Park, listen for the “Let’s go Giants!” cheer that happens seemingly every game. I’m not advocating bullying opposing fans—just out-cheer them. Fans shouldn’t be embarrassed to root for their home team at their own stadium. Going to other stadiums and seeing the flood of orange and black, yellow and black, green and yellow, etc. is a site rarely, if ever, seen in Qualcomm Stadium or Petco Park.
Most people treat Padre games as a fashion show looking to dress to impress rather than sport a jersey and an old hat.