The Padres? Losers.
The Padres lose. It’s what they do. They lose on the road and they lose at home.
But not all teams who lose are losers. Cincinnati, for example. They’re awful. They’ve been outscored by 87 runs already. But I wouldn’t call them losers. What about Atlanta? We know how bad they are. And their dastardly plan to scrap a 20-year-old stadium for a new suburban mcmansion ballpark is as about cynical as it gets.
But I wouldn’t call them losers. The Padres? Yep. Losers.
Saturday night was “Out at the Park” night, an event aimed at welcoming LGBT fans. There’s not nearly enough of this in baseball and the Padres are to be commended for scheduling such a promotion. But when 100 members of the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus took to center field to sing the national anthem, fans heard instead a version of the anthem recorded by a woman. The recorded version played to its end, while the chorus stood humiliated in the middle of the field.
I can’t imagine this was a mistake. And if it was, there was plenty of time to fix it. I just have a hard time fathoming what kind of hateful, ignorant and mean person would do this.
The Padres issued a half-assed, two-sentence apology, though their top executive reached out personally to the chorus to apologize. Sorry, Padres. Not enough.
The organization claims the recorded anthem was the result of a mistake in the control room. There was a mistake all right – hiring the clown who thought it’d be funny to embarrass 100 people in front of thousands more.
Obviously, this incident should cost some jobs. As of Sunday evening, no firings were reported. After a decent enough story, the San Diego Union-Tribune plopped down an incomplete update, asking readers to comment on the incident, thereby inviting the kind of depressing, boneheaded name-calling hatefest that passes for online discussion.
Gaslamp Ball, a cookie-cutter SBNation site devoted the Padres, gave the team the benefit of the doubt, pointing to a tweet from former Padre and gay major leaguer Billy Bean. (Not the Oakland executive. Another Billy Bean, without an E at the end of his name). Bean emphatically asserted that his former team is not homophobic and that the incident was an accident.
But why not make a bigger deal of the apology? If it really was a mistake, the Pads front office needs to fall all over itself to apologize, not issue a two-sentence tweet. Invite the chorus back, let them sing their hearts out and give them all box seats behind the plate.
It’s no secret that San Diego is a pretty conservative city. The completely insane congressman Darrell Issa hails from just north of San Diego and his congressional neighbor to the south Duncan Hunter was the first member of congress to endorse Donald Trump.
But there’s conservative and there’s hateful. This would appear to be the latter.
The chorus claims that they were booed and insulted as they left the field. They’ve called on the Padres, Major League Baseball, the City Attorney and the San Diego Human Relations Commission to investigate the incident.
No matter what, the Padres need to do a lot better than this. There’s no excuse for inviting a group of volunteers to sing the national anthem, then completely humiliating them. That’s no way to treat anyone.