For a long time, I've considered the question of how closely a team's demographics match its home city's demographics. Obviously, this question involves generalizations, but it's interesting. It's no secret that Jews, Asians, Hispanics, African-Americans and members of other groups feel more comfortable in certain cities than others. In this blog, I want to examine the closely related issue of personality demographics.
San Diego is known as a very laid-back city. Petco Park has a beach, San Diegans are used to almost 300 days of sunshine every year and the temperature is rarely uncomfortable. San Diego's fans can be passionate, but they rarely rise to the levels of boorish behavior that are more typical in Philadelphia, Boston and New York. So what the heck has gotten into the Padres?
This season, San Diego has gotten into a fight with the Cubs and has had four different players suspended for a total of 15 games, not to mention two offseason arrests (Jake Peavy and Marcus Giles). Josh Bard bumped an umpire, David Wells fired a baseball in anger, Michael Barrett threw his helmet and bat and Chris Young punched Chicago's Derrek Lee. More than this, the Padres acquired -- in midseason -- Barrett and fellow bad boy Milton Bradley. Barrett, you'll remember, fought Cubs teammate Carlos Zambrano this spring, while Bradley has been accused of serving as a clubhouse cancer for years.
Perhaps this trend has nothing to do with the laid-back nature of San Diego, but it sure stands out. It seems like the Padres have made a definite effort to find tougher, more competitive and more aggressive players. I don't know if it'll translate into success this postseason, but I know I wouldn't want to meet them in a dark alley!