Touching base: Bobby Cressey

Touching base: Bobby Cressey

The 2020 season was not supposed to go like this. We brought back the brown, exchanged managers, kept Wil Myers (because that’s what we do), and tinkered with the lineup.

Spring Training was in full swing, and then it wasn’t.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, baseball was one of the many enjoyments of life to be placed on hold.

It’s taken me several weeks to regain at least some of my bearings. When baseball came to a screeching halt, I felt very much adrift. Since retiring in 2018, I’ve been living up to the words on my Saturn’s license plate frame: “Eat. Sleep. Baseball.”

Now, instead of experiencing the excitement of a new Padres season, I watch what’s happening in the world, and it shakes me to my core.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what to do with this little corner of the blogosphere that I have in our fan community. Then, it finally came to me: just keep telling stories.

And, so, in the coming weeks and months, I’ll be touching base with fans in our community just to see how they’re doing and tell a bit of their story. I hope you enjoy getting to know them and that we all find a bit of ourselves in each other as we navigate the days ahead.

Bobby Cressey

Bobby needs no introduction to most of you because he’s been our ballpark’s organist since 2010.

One of my favorite things about day games is heading to the upper deck where Bobby is perched at Section 313 and watching him play “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” for the seventh inning stretch.

Bobby is a lifelong Padres fan. Born in Carlsbad in 1981, his first memories of the team include brown pinstripes and the voices of Jerry Coleman and Ted Leitner on the radio.

I played little league every year in Encinitas until [my family] moved to Europe when I was 10. I probably wasn’t awesome but I loved it and loved to play catch.

Bobby graduated from UCSD with a degree in structural engineering, a field from which he’s never drawn a paycheck because he’s always been a music man.

“This is my mom’s Baldwin Acrosonic from the 1950s. She learned to play piano on it. When I was 9 (or 10?) she gave me my first piano lessons on it.”

In addition to his own projects, Bobby plays corporate gigs, weddings, private parties, and fundraisers as a member of The Mighty Untouchables.

He’s performed with Ice Cube, Jesse McCartney, Xzibit, Lil’ John, Snoop Dogg, Warren G, Bobby Brown, Glenn Miller’s orchestra, and The Tom Kubis Big Band.

I asked him how the coronavirus situation has impacted his livelihood.

“Stay at home” has taken pretty much every gig I had off the table for the foreseeable future.

My family is okay for now, and I am actually enjoying my suddenly ‘chill’ schedule with my one year old and my wife. I’m confident the work will pick back up when this is all over, whenever that is.

I feel much more for the many business owners who had much more at stake with lots of other people’s livelihoods dependent on their own. You won’t catch me complaining too much about my situation. Though I am happy if people want to buy my album.

Last year on Opening Day, Bobby missed his gig at Petco Park. He had a pretty good excuse: his wife was giving birth to their daughter. I asked him what he remembers about that day.

What memories stand out about the day my daughter was born?! Are you serious? Everything stands out.

Me waking up on Opening Day and finding my wife wasn’t in bed but was downstairs doubled over doing the breathing exercises we’d learned in class.

Me texting the game day producer and saying ‘listen I’m not sure if I should come but maybe I should’ and her INSISTING I do not come.

Lots of wonderful messages of encouragement and the insane miracle of my daughter coming into this world.

This year is different, of course. Like all of us, Bobby was looking forward to being part of the pomp and circumstance of Opening Day.

I love being a tiny cog in a bigger machine that is a Major League Baseball game.

Every game is a giant production involving months of planning, from police directing traffic to the guy who has been making cotton candy since 7 AM to the ticket agents and guest service people to the anthem singer, the person telling the anthem singer to be in the right place at the right time.

And then there’s me, the guy that plays the organ. I have my own small and silly role, but I am nonetheless part of it. For some few minutes each game I get to play something for all of those people’s ears.

I love that I somehow hoodwinked the universe into it being okay for me to go watch baseball in the middle of a weekday and get paid to play music there.

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Mostly here to promote fun baseball! My focus is on our experiences as fans and shared connections in the baseball community. I also produce content for #PadresTwitter, including vlogs and event coverage. Find me on Twitter (@PadresGeekster) and IG (PadresGeekster).

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