During the Padres' 2009 season, San Diegoans had a difficult time deciphering the difference between games played at the downtown PETCO Park and riding the Mission Beach “Giant Dipper” roller coaster, one of two original oceanfront roller coasters still operating on the West Coast.
After the first three series last season, the Pads found themselves tied with the Dodgers for first place at 7-3. However, as roller coaster enthusiasts well know, what goes up, must come down, and the Padres plummeted to a 25-25 record.
The plunge continued as the team went 17-37 in June and July, triggering the promotion of several younger players and the jettisoning of Jake Peavy’s contract.
From Aug. 1 onward, however, the Pads were one of the best teams in baseball, finishing with a 33-25 record over the last two months, and of equal importance, leaving the Friar Faithful with renewed optimism.
Although they are moving in an upward direction, the youthful Friars have plenty of obstacles en route back to their first playoff appearance since 2006. The good news is that there is plenty to build upon.