A Doug's Life: Dodgers or Padres, L.A. or San Diego... Must I Choose?

Yes, it's that time of year again. Today marks the baseball season opener for the Los Angeles Dodgers -- a team I rooted for growing up and later covered for nearly 10 years as a sports writer and columnist.

Oh, yeah. I neglected to mention that the Dodgers' opponent today -- and the home team for the four-game series -- is the San Diego Padres.

And here I sit in Menifee, caught in the middle.

I have written previously about the identity crisis I see for the community of Menifee. It seems you can't decide whether to be:

-- A retirement community with some nice new homes on the other side of the tracks (OK, freeway).

-- A tradition-rich farming community that is changing with the times.

-- A few thousand Generation Y'ers who have set up camp in tract homes and are ready to take over.

Obviously, the goal is to be a successful combination of all three. Hopefully, that's possible. But what about when it comes to sports teams? In that area, it's all or nothing, right?

Is this a Dodgers town or a Padres town? Or even an Angels town?

I need to know, because this whole sports fan thing is merely one aspect of a bigger picture. As a Menifee resident for six months now, I feel the need to declare my metropolitan allegiance. So either I'm a transplanted, loyal Angeleno or a born-again, relocated San Diegan.

Help me out here. Which side of the fence am I supposed to be on?

I've seen several Padres decals on cars and SD caps in the crowds around here. It took a while for me to realize we're only a little more than 70 miles from San Diego. Frankly, I haven't been down there since I moved here.

I guess I still identify with the L.A. crowd, because I spend a few days a week driving west on the 60 Freeway. But hey, Dodger Stadium is only 83 miles and about 90 minutes from here. That's not exactly a cross-country trip. And if you're an Albert Pujols fan and like a somewhat safer environment, Angel Stadium is the closest of all three ballparks -- just over 50 miles and an hour's drive.

So am I supposed to be a San Diego guy, an L.A. guy or -- gulp -- an Orange County guy?

I just want to fit in with the crowd. OK, so I may travel around town wearing a Chicago Cubs cap. Sorry, I'm not giving that up. It's the same underdog obsession that had me rooting for the Clippers before they were good. But I am willing to jump on the Padres bandwagon if it will get me a membership card in the Menifee Insiders Club.

It's human nature to want to belong. I will never turn my back on the Dodgers, but I'm willing to give the Padres a chance. On a larger scale, I am willing to start hanging out in Old Town and Mission Bay if it makes me one of the guys.

While awaiting your advice, I will revert to my "objective" sports writing method of watching baseball. There will be "no cheering in the press box" today while I take note of what both squads are doing.

I will also be giving thanks that I no longer have to file 800 words on the contest by 11 p.m.


  1. Menifee is mix of people from all over southern California (heck, with so many serving in the military living here, the whole country). There is no one "team". This is not Chicago or New York where you have to choose. If your heart doesn't choose for you, root for them all.

  2. The Lake Elsinore Storm is a Single A farm team of the Padres if that adds anything. Otherwise, SoCal seems to be a melting pot of transplants from all over the USA, and they bring all their fan loyalties with them.

  3. Once a Dodger fan, always a Dodger fan! Tommy Lasorda once said that God was a Dodger fan. If he said it, than it's true. I was born at St. Vincents in Los Angeles. If Dodger Stadium was there then then I would have been born in the shadow of it's lights. That would've been awesome! I live in Menifee. If all goes as planned, I will die in Menifee. Probably by some clown blowing the red light turning left off of Newport onto Haun. But my roots are LA. My favorite view of LA is from my rear view mirrior. But my sports heart will always be LA. Dodgers, Kings, Lakers and the umh, you know but maybe not, ummmm, yeah Rams. Well, excuse me now while I get ready to watch some Padre butt get kicked.

    Paul R. Miles
    Former Alhambra Moor

  4. Thanks for the responses. I definitely plan to attend some Padres games. I've never been to Petco. It would also be fun to see some minor league ball at Lake Elsinore. When all is said and done, I'm sure my main allegiance will remain with the Dodgers (and Cubs).