I’m moving out to San Diego, and with that move comes a very important question: How wholeheartedly do I join the Padres’ fan-base, and how much do I keep following the Twins?
For any of you who don’t follow baseball, the key thing to know is that as far as future prospects go, this decision feels like a total wash. The Twins do have a bit of a larger group around them, I believe, but the Padres seem to be making a few moves to help things improve. They care about their fans, and are at ease with their current losing situation. Last year when I was in San Diego, they had deal going where you could pay a flat rate (it wasn’t too much) and guarantee at least 10 tickets, and you would get a ticket for every game after that until they won. That is a team aware of their losing, and willing to help bring in fans.
I also think they might have a better stadium. Don’t get me wrong, I love Target Field. I was there on its opening day, and have been to countless games there over the past nine years. But Petco Park (while being as horrifically branded as ours) has a certain distinct charm to it. First, it allows pets in a green area outside of right field. It seems larger, and it is in San Diego. However, the location, and traveling there, is not quite as good. Public transportation in San Diego is rather sparse, and I couldn’t determine a better way to get to the stadium than driving and pre-paying for my parking.
Over time, we’ll have to see how the teams develop. I am more entrenched in the history and culture of the Twins, and in my mind the Padres have none except for Tony Gwynn. Thinking about who to support, what games to go to, and the relative difficulty of going compared to my current experience in the Twin Cities, is a little stressful. Sports, especially baseball, has been a big part of my life since I could walk. Throughout college I had the freedom of disposable income (kind of) and transportation to attend them at my leisure, as long as I had the time. I am not sure if the San Diego sports scene is quite as accommodating.
This gets to a bigger question I’ve had in my mind. To what extent does changing states affect my life, my “loyalties” so to speak, and the bridges I have. In an interconnected world, it seems that physical barriers are not quite as important, but they do put forward some stress testing on friendships and what you know about where you are. I am so familiar with Minnesota culture, the Twin Cities and its surrounding suburbs, everything that is available to me. This information has been obtained through years of living here, driving around, growing up in it. How do I reach that level of comfort in a new place, when I don’t know exactly how long I’ll stay? What changes do I make in my activities?
I know there is so much to explore, but at what point does the awe of exploration turn into either familiarity, or complacency? When I was out there last summer, I quickly latched onto safe places where I could be safe bide my time: Starbucks, Panera, and a single hiking trail I walked about 10 times. It took friends and family visiting to go beyond those places, and even then the exploration was minimal. I spent many weekends feeling sick, watching movies in bed, or just going to a local theater in a mall. I was afraid to strike out by myself. I found a minimally comfortable zone, and wished to stay there.
This is what I need to change. I don’t need to change teams, or give up on what I love about Minnesota. I can still have that part of me, while appreciating the new things San Diego has to offer. I will always have a pain in my heart when the Twins lose, even if I support the Padres bandwagon for a while. That doesn’t make things less scary. It will be a long period of adjustment for me, but it something I know I must do.