The Padres are Powered by Tacos, Faith & Trains

Credit: Getty Images

 Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Brown and gold is unique. Even brown and white is unique. No team this side of the Cleveland Browns wears brown. All the more special, it has Padre tradition and history behind it. The Padres wore brown and gold the first 16 years of its 47-year existence and had brown in their uniforms the first 21 years. The colors tie in to the team’s name (with apologies to our native brothers and sisters who were horribly mistreated back in the day) and their mascot.

The colors go with the mesas and the canyons that weave through the city and county like a maze through the holy land and the gold recalls our glorious, spirit-filled sunsets. Properly done brown and gold uniforms look sharp, even snappy. Topping it off the colors indeed conjure up Mexican food which San Diegans do in fact love and are known for! There literally are no other colors that would express the uniqueness of the San Diego Padres – the franchise, the locale and its fans – more than brown and gold.

Supposedly Padre management is reevaluating  the color scheme. They’ve taken a number of surveys to determine fan preferences and have actively engaged in community discussions about the issue. I don’t know which way they are leaning or when or what they are going to decide. Honestly I don’t follow it that closely. I follow draft picks and international signings and the box scores of the minor leagues and of course the day to day goings on of the big club, the Padres.

Not to speak ill of the Padres’ front office but they’re probably just like every other professional sports front office. For them it’s likely 1% a decision about tradition and “uniqueness” and 99% a decision about the market and bottom line. I have my preference but my fan loyalty isn’t dependent on it. I just know what I’d do if I was in charge.

No matter what colors the Padres brand themselves going forward, what’s happening in 2016 is the Taco Train heading down the tracks in glorious splendor. Whatever the colors, once a Taco Train, always a Taco Train. Just as you could be sure of a Tony Gwynn line drive through the 5.5 hole, the Taco Train is coming. The Padres are poised for their greatest incarnation. Not immediately, probably not next year (though I haven’t by any stretch given up on 2017), maybe not in 2018 (though that’s way too far off to predict), but as Bob Dylan wrote about the holy slow train (which the Taco Train is in part modeled on), “up around the bend”.

For this to occur we have to put on our brown and gold and pray to the Great Padre in the Sky for any number of things: that global warming doesn’t accelerate like a San Diego wildfire; that terrorists or state actors don’t start launching nuclear missiles like Giancarlo Stanton bombs in the home run derby; that the global economy doesn’t meltdown like the Giants bullpen; that any of the major fault lines running through California don’t crack like a starting player for the Chargers; that Wall Street divests itself of unbridled greed and arrogance (yes, we need miracles!!); that when the political class and the mass media finally cannibalize themselves once and for all they don’t cannibalize us with them; that we finally accept we are all born of common descendants – that we are all black, white, brown, yellow and red, each and every one.

That only scratches the surface!! So many things beyond baseball have to go right for the great Taco Train dynasty of the late two thousand teens and the 2020s to take place that it’s impossible to list them all, in this or any other world. Add your own to the list. While you’re at it, don’t simply pray to the Great Padre in the Sky but work for positive outcomes. The Great Padre in the Sky doesn’t just want us to pray for good results but to be active agents promoting them.

 Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

If the outside world allows the Taco Train shall carry us. Better said, the Taco Train and the world beyond baseball will go hand in hand in forging ours and San Diego’s future. Whether Preller survives his suspension to lead us or screws up again and is let go, whether Anderson Espinoza becomes an ace or Cal Quantril has a second Tommy John and slinks back to Canada, whether Ron Fowler explodes one day out of sheer exasperation or Peter Seidler brings a Major League Soccer team to San Diego while saving San Diego State football, nothing is going to stop the Taco Train aside from apocalyptic misfortune. If apocalyptic misfortune occurs it’ll be the Slow Train we cling to instead of the Taco Train. Either way (as the song says): “people get ready, for the train is coming”.

Believing is a requirement of “keeping the faith”. Passive neutrality is not an option. If you’re sitting around waiting just hoping for the best, blink and life will pass you by. To reach the Promised Land you first have to believe in the Promised Land along with believing in the process while moving towards it and constructing it along the way. The Taco Train – brown and gold, blue and white, or purple and green, it doesn’t matter – is taking us there no ifs, ands or buts. The Great Padre in the Sky desires this for us, us the Padre tribe lost in the wilderness for all these maddening years. We KNOW this. (At least I do.) Do we desire it as well? Do we believe in what we already know?

Whether you wear the colors proudly or simply soak in the holiness of the Friar, the Taco Train is rolling down the tracks. The taco bell rings in the Gary Templeton history of our minds. Come on board and enjoy the bounty – Luis Perdomo whipping in a sinker, international signings moving up the ranks, Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe and Austin Hedges displaying raw talent, the Park inside the Park in all its majesty, Andy Green directing the troops, Don Orsillo and Mark Grant yukking it up, and ever so much more. The journey won’t be easy, nothing will be handed to us. We shall be tested at every turn. The big market teams will get bigger and the haters will only grow. But we shall persevere and in the end, overcome.

Forgive me my lack of doubt, my naïve stubbornness. Indeed, forgive my wide-eyed wonder! It is the rock and roll protestant Franciscan in me. Show a little faith!! There’s magic in the Gaslamp. Heaven is waiting for us down the tracks. The Taco Train is bound for glory. Brown, yellow, red, black, white – the Padre Nation is headed for its unique destiny, its own Abner Doubleday Garden of Eden. Ignore it at your peril, this chance may not ever come again. Embrace it with your spirit, comfort it with your compassion. Be filled until your belly can be filled no more.

For mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Padres. Their truth is marching on.
Long live the Taco Train.
Long live the brown and gold.

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