The hated Padres are here
By Gary Hill
The menacing clouds have rolled over the City of Seattle and blotted out the brilliant late spring sunshine we were all enjoying for a full day and a half. The skies are dark, the rain is falling and a brisk winter-like chill is blowing in from the South. A sense of foreboding has seeped into the soul of every man, woman and child toiling through their daily affairs. This means only one thing. The hated arch enemies of the Seattle Mariners have arrived- The San Diego Padres. There is no denying the bad blood between the Mariners and the Padres. If the Mariners are Superman then the Padres would be Lex Luthor. If the Mariners are Batman then the Padres would be The Penguin, and not the good Ron Cey type of Penguin. If the Mariners are Aquaman then the Mariners would be able to breathe underwater and talk to fish making them the most powerful set of Mariners in human history. To the outside world the Padres convey the appearance of a genial and well-intentioned friar. Friars usually work in self-sufficient communities while donating their time and energy to worthy causes. Even the Swinging Friar, the mascot of the Padres, in his logo form is plastered with a mile-wide grin as he takes a Rob Deer-like swing at a pitch. Appearances can be deceiving. It is well documented by now that the San Diego Padres merely masquerade as proponents of good. The problems between the Mariners and Padres began in the very first game between the franchises- July 2nd, 1997 in San Diego, California. Jeff Fassero scuffled through five innings as he succumbed to the San Diego onslaught. Archi Cianfrocco paced the Padres with two hits and two runs. Not even the dedicated Josias Manzanillo could turn the tide in the Mariners favor. The Padres took 3 of 4 the first time these teams met in 1997. This rivalry has been shaped like blown glass through the fire of countless pivotal moments. Where were you on June 25th, 1998 when Mark Langston took revenge against his old team by throwing 6 shutout innings and claiming the 51st win of the year for the World Series bound San Diego Padres? Hearts cracked around the Pacific Northwest when pinch-runner Mike Darr crossed home plate in the 10th inning on June 5th 1999 to give the Padres the win over Jose Mesa and the M’s. In 2001 the biggest Padre killer of them all, John Halama, surrendered just two runs in 14 innings as he coasted to two wins against the rivals. In 2008 the Padres were vexed by the M’s bevy of lefties- Rhodes, Washburn and Bedard (twice) claimed four of the five victories against San Diego in just six tries. If the forest fire was already raging between these teams then last year served as gasoline. The Mariners took five of six from the hapless Padres a season ago. Mariner pitchers coughed-up just 4 runs in 54 innings last year against San Diego. They went 5-1 with a 0.50 ERA with 56 K’s and 8 BB in 54 innings. Sharing a spring training facility has only exacerbated the problems. Starting today the Interleague Rivals meet again. The Padres have been slapped across the face with a Kyle Seager batting glove. Will they respond to the dual challenge?