Welcome to America's Finest Sports Forum and Podcast!
afsportsforum.com is one of the largest online communities covering San Diego sports.
We host a regular podcast during the major seasons. You are currently viewing our community forums as a guest user.
I cannot pretend to be impartial about colours. I rejoice with the brilliant ones and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns.” — Winston Churchill
There is going to be a Brown-In.
And it’s enough to make my brown eyes black and blue.
While it’s yet to be etched in rusted iron, unless some other actual color falls out of a magical Crayola box, expect the Padres to be wearing brown uniforms come 2020. Ron Fowler reluctantly admits it.
When I visited the club’s executive chairman to discuss several topics regarding his Pads, I brought up the controversial brown unis, the baseball franchise’s 1969 color of choice — thanks to original owner C. Arnholt Smith, who would have painted St. Basil’s Cathedral brown if he were mayor of Moscow.
I asked Fowler because: a) I knew it was coming; b) because I know he dislikes brown uniforms and, c) he knows I dislike brown uniforms.
He’s held out as long as he could. He hasn’t backed away from his dislike for it and, after all, he runs the club. He’s surveyed his fan base (no doubt hoping it would like to see something that didn’t look like a chili size) and, as our Kevin Acee first wrote in July, while brown wasn’t a mandate, it was close enough. This is what happens if you’re fan-friendly.
When the Spanoses took over The NFL Team That Used To Be Here in 1984, they dumped the royal blue jerseys the team had been wearing for a decade.
This was late Spanos family patriarch Alex doing his best to do away with anything the team’s previous bosses preferred. He went with navy, despite the fans’ craving for either the status quo or the attractive powder blues (which the players still wear a few times a year and of course Fredo has no trouble selling powder blue gear).
A man of the people? Not Dean-Fredo. Ron Fowler?
“We are not the Chargers,” he states in the obvious, being that his team is still here. But he is willing to listen, and while what he hears may not be music to his ears or candy to his eyes, he seems ready to wave the brown flag.
“If I were a betting man, I’d say we’re in brown uniforms in 2020,” Fowler continues. “We’re still in the middle of research, but that’s what I believe.
“OK, I’ve mellowed.”
Well, I might buy what he has to say about team colors, but I’ve known this highly successful man for a while, and mellowing isn’t getting into my cart. His partner, Peter Seidler, all but invented mellow.
“We’ve done a lot of research,” he says. “Brown may be the minority, but it’s the most vocal minority and the largest minority — greater than blue and the old Pacific Coast League uniforms.”
The old PCL unis of course are classic, by far the best things they have hanging in their closet, and they should be the ones. But then, they are not brown. The minor league Pads did not look like Friar Tuck.
“It’s what the fans want,” Fowler says. “The reality is we want people to be passionate about the team and they are passionate about brown. The last alternative is blue.
“We did listen to the fans when it came to improving the ballpark, too. People wanted certain things, and we did them. There are more events at Petco, more concerts. We’ve taken care of Petco.”
What he and his cohorts haven’t managed to take care of for the fans is put an outstanding product on the field. The hope continues that, by the time players are wearing brown, the green youngsters will be ready to ripen and contend.
“It’s been difficult to stay the course,” Fowler says. “But we tried a short-term fix in 2015 and it didn’t work. So sufficient homework wasn’t done. We just can’t make major mistakes in our signings.
“In 2012, when I started, I said 8-to-10 years, and well, it’s coming up on 8-to-10 years. But people don’t get to see what I do, what’s happening in our minor league system. People not in the organization I respect, think we’re close. They have not backed off 2020-21.
“We’ve protected the right guys. We have a shared view of what’s working and what’s not. The talent is there and it will get here. I’m not retiring until we’re playing winning baseball.”
So I give him a look from across his desk and he laughs, knowing what I’m thinking.
“I’m not going to go out being the executive chairman of a losing baseball team.”
He is going to go out with a team, win or lose, wearing brown.
Let it be known I have nothing against the color brown. I own brown clothes. Brown shoes. Brown socks. I once had dark brown hair.
What I couldn’t stand were those hot dogs slathered with mustard unis.
“Dark brown, with gold — and a lot of white, is what we’re looking at,” he says laughing.
What I want, more than anything, is this team to have an identity. There have been too many uniforms, too many different looks. The great, storied franchises have had the same look forever.
But I don’t want to see players running around the bases looking like UPS drivers who just rear-ended a French’s truck.
What can brown do for me? Playing baseball like professionals would be nice. In any color.