Fans Not Thrilled We Interviewed This Former Padre

Chris Ello
August 24, 2018 - 6:00 am

The tweets came in fast and furious.

"You have 148 notifications," my twitter account informed me. I usually have about four. What could all the fuss be about? Seemed like a pretty normal, everyday mid-week afternoon talk show as far as I could tell.

Only, in the minds of the San Diego listeners (and fans), it wasn't.

That's because Tony Gwynn Jr., my partner, and I were promoting the fact that we were going to be doing an interview with former Padres outfielder Matt Kemp on the program this particular day.

(Need I tell you that most of the 148 notifications I had on twitter were not ones that I could re-print here?).

But what was the problem? Kemp seemed a relevant interview for several reasons. One: he played (and actually played pretty well) for the Padres a couple of years ago. Two: he was a member of the Dodgers (a rival, yes, but one that the Friars are playing against this weekend, in fact). Three: he was an All-Star baseball player this year and has been one in the past, once actually finishing second in the balloting for National League MVP.

You have the chance to get a star athlete on the show, you take it. Or at least that's what I thought.


"F*CK YOU GUYS for having him on," one tweet so sweetly read." YOU'RE COMPLETELY OUT OF YOUR MINDS," read another. "YOU'RE OUT OF TOUCH." "I'M NOT LISTENING, ANYMORE."


Must admit, Tony and I were a bit floored. By two things. One was the passion with which the tweets were generally sent. Two was the fact that Padres fans had so much passion.

That second part isn't meant to be a put-down. More accurately, it's a compliment. I like fans with passion. I wish San Diego had more of them. 

Come to find out that if you do an interview with a ballplayer who, when he was traded from the Padres to the Atlanta Braves, said famously, "I'm looking forward to playing in a city where they care about baseball," the city you're leaving will remind you that they, too, care about baseball.

And, evidently, they don't ever forget. Good. And, maybe not-so good.

Kemp grew up an Atlanta fan, and his fateful comments were meant more for the new city he was about to play in, not the one he was leaving. Though the Padres had not been as successful as they hoped to be with Kemp on the roster for nearly two seasons, he himself had performed relatively well (you can look up all of his Padre statistics, but a 23-home run, 106-RBI season isn't all that bad).

And he actually says he liked playing here. "The fans, though, didn't seem to be too happy about me playing here," he said, with a touch of a grin. "I like coming back here to play, but I guess it's safe to say I like coming here as a Dodger."

Yes, he knows that most of you are not fans. Now I know. But one last thing: on the list of things that Padres' fans should be passionate about, hating on Matt Kemp should be far, far down the list. You want to get mad, get mad at a franchise that hasn't played a meaningful post All-Star Game contest in 10 years.

That's worth your passion. Matt Kemp is just a decent guy, who played here a couple years, has played better elswewhere, and -- perhaps somewhat frustrated with his own performance -- said some things that rubbed you the wrong way when he left.

It's actually a bit like former Charger LaDainian Tomlinson. Loved when he played in San Diego, not so-much loved when he followed the franchise north to Los Angeles.

He'll be on the show Monday. My twitter account is waiting.