The Morning Report
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Here’s the real reason Padres and Chargers fans are known for low attendance at home games. It’s not the sunny beaches keeping fans away, or even the talent on the field. It’s the lack of emotional anchors for fans. An emotional anchor is something that ties a fan to a particular sports team for the rest of their lives, and it is usually created by the team winning in the playoffs.
I found my Padres anchor in 1998, and as pathetic as the team has been since then, I don’t think I’ll ever lose it. No other team can give me what the Padres gave me in that year unless I let them, and I don’t plan on turning my back on the organization any time soon. I found my Chargers anchor in 2006 and 2007, when LaDainian Tomlinson was breaking records and the team was a few plays away from the Super Bowl. And I know many of the fans at Qualcomm Stadium are there because of the emotional anchors they picked up when the 1994 Chargers won the AFC and went to the Super Bowl.
Older generations found their anchors in the 1984 Padres and Don Coryell’s dynamic Chargers offense. But neither team has produced any emotional anchor to lure new fans lately. Teenagers in San Diego who casually follow the local teams, along with transplants who don’t have emotional anchors tying them to their hometown teams, are the ones who should be running toward the Padres and Chargers. It’s not their fault that they haven’t. It’s up to those teams to create the memories that will convert casual fans into life-long, die-hard fans.
You’re reading the Sports Report, our weekly compilation of news and information for the San Diego sports fan.
A relaxing weekend for the Chargers
As expected, the Chargers traveled to Jacksonville and wiped the floor with the winless Jaguars. Ryan Mathews and D.J. Fluker are up for a couple of weekly awards for their performance in the game. This week, the players and coaches have traveled back to their hometowns to rest, relax and recover before their game against the Washington Redskins on Nov. 3.
Having a bye week after facing the worst team in the league isn’t the same as having two consecutive bye weeks, but it’s pretty close. Luckily, the bye week has given us some time to reflect and think big-picture about the team. For instance …
• I wondered: Is this the best season of Ryan Mathews’ career so far? Turns out, it’s not … yet.
• Bolts from the Blue readers seem to think Mike McCoy, the new Chargers head coach who has led the team to a 4-3 record in his first seven games, is an improvement over Norv Turner.
• I looked back at my preseason predictions, then predicted how the final nine games of the season will go.
Could the Padres still lose Ausmus?
• Brad Ausmus, the former catcher who has been employed by the Padres since retiring from baseball, is my choice to replace Bud Black as the team’s manager. I’ve even argued that Black should be fired before another team swoops in and grabs Ausmus. With Ausmus now the favorite to replace the retired Jim Leyland with the Detroit Tigers, the Padres may have missed their window of opportunity.
• Padres Public went over the most likely starting catchers for the next few years, and tried to figure how they’ll be able to keep opposing baserunners from stealing bases. There’s some great research in here that doesn’t do much to keep me from drooling over Padres prospect Austin Hedges.
• We knew the Padres’ AAA affiliate was moving from Tucson to El Paso this offseason, just a few years after moving from Portland. What we didn’t know was how the team’s name would change. After they changed from the Portland Beavers to the Tucson Padres, would they opt to keep the “Padres” moniker (as many minor-league affiliates do) or go for something a little bit more local? They went with the latter. Say hello to the El Paso Chihuahuas. It has caused some controversy among Padres fans, and residents of El Paso, but eventually it will seem normal and nobody will even notice. Right?
Stories You May Have Missed
• Former Padres second baseman David Eckstein is just as awesome as he was when he retired. Now, he’s a partner in a (fake) law firm.
• The Los Angeles Clippers ruffled some feathers last week when new head coach Doc Rivers announced that the team would be covering up the Lakers championship banners during Clippers home games. Although both teams play in the Staples Center, the Clippers pay rent to play there while the Lakers do not. Covering up the banners is the right thing to do, and has already gone a long way toward helping Rivers win over fans and his players.
• GIF of the Week: Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu has a history of timing the snap of the ball perfectly. Sometimes, his timing is less perfect.
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I’m John Gennaro, contributor to Active Voice and managing editor of Bolts from the Blue. You can tweet me @john_gennaro or e-mail me directly at email@example.com.
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