The Los Angeles Dodgers fan base has experienced a healthy offseason of listening to the chirps of Padres fans, which seem to be getting louder by the day.
Are Pads fans growing in numbers thanks to a dream offseason and 2022 outcome? Or are they just more confident than they've been in years, thanks to an ownership group that has reinvested in their success?
Probably a little of both, but it's mostly just the result of good baseball business. Treat your fans with respect, look them in the eyes, and promise them that you'll compete for a title (and put your money where your mouth is). The Dodgers' group has done it for years post-McCourt, and has reaped the benefits. Finally, it seems the Padres are flush with cash and have joined the upper echelon, too.
Which resulted in an amazing pair of photographs, featuring the team's sparsely-attended FanFest in 2015 and the Padres' blowout event this past weekend.
Steve Cohen spending and the Padres splashing cash might affect the Dodgers directly, but you've got to admit both franchises are good for baseball.
Dodgers fans aren't enjoying Padres fans resurgence at FanFest
Or (sigh) you can be a hater.
Sure enough, some Dodgers fans had to crash the Padres' moment, and couldn't even let them enjoy their Offseason Championship.
One fan levied the somewhat absurd accusation that Petco Park's outfield was full of former Dodgers fans this weekend.
Let's get this straight: any Dodgers fan who accuses fans from his own crew of switching sides has never attended a Dodgers-Padres game. Those are intense. Blood is shed. Chants are screamed. If anyone's swapping teams, it's a non-vocal minority that would never show up to a FanFest.
Scroll through the comments, and the "bandwagon" references flowed like the ancient rivers of Babylon.
This is objectively an improper use of the epithet, though. Wearing two hats to a World Series game, then tossing the losing team's in the trash? Sure, embarrassing. Showing love to a team that might've ignored you for a decade, but wants to win you back now? Fantastic. Growing the game. Who cares where these people were in 2015? They were feeling neglected. Hell, they were probably still watching, but with less enthusiasm.
Less demeaning how people arrive at their fandom, more welcoming them to the great game of baseball.
Nobody knows how the Padres will fare with their Billion Dollar Infield in 2023, and no one has any idea how the Dodgers' bridge season to Shohei Ohtani's free agency will turn out.
But one thing we know is that Padres fans have been roped in by an ownership group that wants to beat the Dodgers, beat everyone else in their way, and will spend whatever it takes to get there.
Beating this team will feel great the next time the Dodgers get the opportunity to do so, specifically because of the fact that they've lifted themselves up from the depths.
If a few more fans want to come along for the ride, then all the better.