Matthew Hall, reporter turned columnist for UT-San Diego, had an idea that tapped into a deep well of frustration for baseball fans in San Diego. In a July 14th column Hall called upon Padres fans to step up to the plate and do something about a situation that is as unfair as it is indicative of the avarice surrounding virtually all things having to do with professional sports in this day and age. Half the population of our fair city can’t watch Padres baseball on TV, due to a dispute between Fox Sports San Diego and a couple of local cable providers. Needless to say, since the Padres are pulling down a cool $800 million for the broadcast rights, fans feel like they ought to be able to watch games from home.
So the deal was that fans were going to meet up outside the Padres Petco Park at10amon a Sunday morning in the middle of July to make a little noise, maybe make those corporate suits notice that their little game was a big deal for a lot of little people. I wasn’t sure just how much response Hall was going to get. There’s a wide chasm between ranting and raving from the safety of one’s Facebook page, and actually showing up to physically do something.
Then there’s the burn out aspect. For those of you who might not have noticed, our fair city ought to be in the middle of a mid-summer hangover, what with ComicCon, the Del Mar Races, Gay Pride Parades and such cluttering up our social calendars lately. And then there’s the Church factor. Miss out on this Sunday’s services and, who knows, you might be watching next week’s games in hell. At least I think that’s how it works.
None-the-less, I was in for this cause in a heartbeat because, even though our team s.u.c.k.s, I believe in baseball. I also happen to have some experience with protesting, although it’s usually aimed at the type of people (evil overlords and their ilk) that own our daily newspaper. So I thought it might be interesting to attend a “sanctioned” event.
About 150, maybe a few more, people showed up at the corner of Park and Tenth Avenues, right outside the gates of the ballpark on Sunday morning. I suspect that, for some of them, it might have been their first protest of any kind. UT-San Diego’s Matthew Hall was ready, having printed up tee shirts that said “Padres to the People”, brought a box to stand on and a decent megaphone. He gave a short but sweet speech, handed over the mic to anybody that wanted to add their two cents and promised people that this rally was just the first step. It made the protest organizer in me proud. The whole thing was over in less than an hour—repeat here for progressive cause organizers—less than an hour.
A night at the ball park in San Diego for a family of four can easily run $100 (and a lot more), even with cheap seats, which makes going out to the ballpark a luxury for most people. For senior citizens, which San Diegohas an abundance of, the challenges of just getting to a seat in the stadium pose problems that make this kind of outing just not doable. I get it that this “injustice” hardly makes a blip on the radar screen of things that are wrong with our world today, like fighting cancer, having the kind of health care system that makes it possible to fight cancer without going into poverty, drones killing innocent civilians or starvation in Africa. But, maybe, just maybe, a couple of people came to realization today that they don’t have to sit back and take the crap that gets dealt their way in our plutocracy.
Today’s photos are in sepia tones because, well, I forgot to turn off the blue filter on my camera. Things happen.