For the past decade, the Padres have become an afterthought outside of America’s Finest City.
The Padres’ last winning season was in 2010, and the team’s last postseason appearance was the 2006 National League Division Series. The Friars’ farm system is arguably the best part of Padres baseball, and beyond the baseball side of the team, the Padres remain generally lackluster.
The Padres’ minor-league talents are maturing, with players like Christian Villanueva and Joey Lucchesi starting their major-league careers well, and Luis Urias leading what looks to be the next wave of call-ups. While the next era of Padres baseball is fast approaching, these young talents will be arriving to a team which has lost its identity in a blur of boring blue and white uniforms.
The Padres are one of 17 teams to wear a blue hat (and one of 11 teams with a navy blue hat) in the majors this year.
Of those 17 teams, 14 wear a white jersey at home, including the Padres. For many of those teams, blue has been their color from the beginning, but that is not true for the Padres. In San Diego’s case, the switch to blue and white was an act of identity-sucking conformity that ought to be undone, and soon.
The Padres wore brown until 1991, when the team switched from brown and orange to blue and orange. The blue and orange uniforms lasted all through the 1990’s and into the early 2000’s, before the club ditched their classy pinstripes for the plain blue and white color scheme in 2004. Now, the Padres only break out the brown on Fridays, and the pinstripes are even more rare, making their first appearance of 2018 on June 6.
Uniforms are a crucial part of a team’s identity. Take the Brazilian soccer team’s jersey, arguably the most recognizable jersey in sports. The basic uniform has not changed since 1950, a solid yellow shirt with green trim. Add blue shorts and white socks to create every Brazilian home uniform in the past 68 years. For the Brazilians, the uniform is about national pride – it features the same four colors as the nation’s flag.
In baseball, Yankee pinstripes are just as iconic. For the Yankees, the pinstripes are about class. Add the stripes and the club’s prohibition of facial hair, and the Yanks have the image of a buttoned-up, organized baseball team.
The Padres gain nothing from their uniforms. The modern uniforms do nothing for the team’s image, nor is there any sense of pride associated with them. Even during the 2016 All-Star Game festivities, Petco Park was adorned in brown and gold, not blue and white. That year’s Futures Game and Home Run Derby reminded the rest of the baseball world that the Padres’ identity was in the brown uniforms of old, not the new blue jerseys.
It makes sense that the Padres would wear brown. After all, brown is the color worn by the Catholic “padres” the team is named after. The Padres have the perfect opportunity to reintroduce the brown and gold, as 2019 marks the team’s 50th anniversary. Even better, the Padres’ minor league talents are developing, and the team looks like it is well on its way to better baseball. A new era of Padres baseball is coming to San Diego, it would be a shame to dress it in blue.
Right now, picking the Padres’ uniform out of a lineup is no easy feat. If the brown comes back, anyone could turn on a Padres game on TV and know in two seconds that they were watching San Diego’s baseball team – the team in brown.