November 9th, 2019 will be an important day in San Diego Padres history. A very important day. And, it’s important for more than one singular reason, although it was in fact one singular reason that the day will be remembered as important. On that day something happened that rarely happens in professional sports – the fans “won”.
Since I was a kid the Padres were always brown and gold, brown and yellow, or brown and orange, and I remember when the team switched to blue and orange. I hated the colors. I remember being very upset in 6th grade. I remember yelling at my mom about it, who almost certainly didn’t care. Then for some weird reason that color scheme grew on me and I actually preferred it.
Maybe, it was because it was the first color scheme I can remember the team winning in. It stuck with me. It was what smart folks call “positive association”.
Then, for no apparent reason, the team brass decided to change up the uniforms. They introduced this palette that was supposed to “connect” with the city because…sand.
For most of us it was a misfire. It didn’t add anything, in fact it took away, then it took away more, then more, then we got yellow, then they took that away, until we were left with white and some shade of blue that somehow made gray more bland. I’m not sure if anyone can remember, or wants to remember, two seasons ago when they announced the new uniforms with a video on social media most news outlets thought was a joke because of how terrible the uniforms actually were.
The #BringBackTheBrown voices grew even louder. Years of research that no one ever saw was used as an excuse for why the brown was never brought back, but most of us knew the real reason, and it doesn’t matter anymore.
After years of online campaigns, petitions, and countless outcries to bring back the color scheme the organization came of age in, the team brass finally listened. I’m gonna rewrite that so everyone can reread it:
A professional sports teams’ owners went against what they personally wanted for the good of the team, the sport, and at the endless urging of fans.
It’s unbelievable, it shouldn’t be, but it is.
On the day of the unveiling (and of course the months leading up to it) #PadresTwitter was just plain giddy. We were like little kids again. We posted pictures of us as actual kids in brown and yellow, with our parents, grandparents, friends, family. We speculated about what they would actually end up looking like. There were debates, ridiculous arguments, and genius mockups. The buzz felt like we had just won the World Series.
And, that last sentence is what makes this moment something else.
There were those online who mocked Padres’ fans, and the team in general. Made fun of the city, the players, the execs. They claimed that our team was so ridiculously bad that the only thing we could get excited about was new uniforms.
The team and its fans were “pathetic”, as one online troll put it. Why? Because the only thing we could celebrate wasn’t about winning but about colors.
From the outside I can see where they’re coming from. However, I’m not on the outside. I’m on the inside. I’m a lifelong Padres fan who, like many many other Padres fans, begged for the brown to come back not because we were bored, but because it meant something.
It meant we would stand out again. It meant we would have a color scheme that was all ours. It meant we had our thing. We wouldn’t look like any other teams. It meant you could connect with the not-so-distant past of a franchise who meant more to this city than most of us wanted to admit, but became righteously aware of when the football team left.
It meant that the team of your grandpa was once again your team. The past came together with the present. Positive association.
It meant we got our identity back. The team on the field will unmistakably be the Padres, and those of us in the stands will unmistakably be Padres’ fans.
These (and I’m praying to God a home alternate all-yellow jersey at some point) will be the uniforms, the colors, the identity we take to the World Series. This look will sweep through the city and county much like the blue and orange did from 1996-1998. These will be the shades and hues that fall from the tops of buildings as the team parades through the Gaslamp hoisting a trophy we’ve long desired.
The brown is back, and you can call the thousands in attendance on November 9th, 2019 “pathetic” or “sad” for being excited about that fact, but you’re not a Padres’ fan, or a San Diegan, and chances are you probably have your identity – now we have ours.
It starts now.