The Battle of San Diego: They Came, They Saw, They Threw Shutouts

The horn sounded and suddenly we were at war. It was not unexpected, as the two sides had spent a month in Phoenix–that arid land to the east–preparing for battle. But when at last the hour came for the traveling marauders to attack the locals defending their city, their honor, and their fish tacos, it soon became clear that resistance would be far less vigorous than originally anticipated. The visitors would make themselves welcome like some half-drunk second cousin who plants himself on your couch one day and never leaves.

Day 1

As the enemy approached from the north, the brave men of our fine city, looking fabulous in their Majestic and majestic uniforms, stepped forward with heads held high to engage the thronging hordes. The well-trained and well-compensated regiment from El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula scored an early blow and continued to pound at our meager defenses, overwhelming them with such brute force as hadn’t been seen in these territories since the last time the Padres tried to play baseball, way back in the Year of Our Lord 2015.

The Dodgers assaulted slider-slinging Tyson Ross, whose pitches encountered an amount of lumber that proved to be too much for one man to withstand. Midway through the battle, and already in possession of a commanding lead, they continued to advance at will against a brigade of relievers who provided precious little relief. Most of the damage came at the expense of one Luis Perdomo, whose surname translates to “subjugate completely” or “crush thoroughly.” If one were not so distraught over the carnage wrought on his watch, one might appreciate or even relish the irony.

In reality, the locals simply absorbed as many blows as possible before the horn again sounded and they retreated to the relative comfort of their stronghold beneath Petco Park. Words may have been exchanged among the combatants as wounds were dressed. The rest of us just stopped at In-N-Out on the way home for a warm, soothing burger.

The traveling marauders, meanwhile, had tasted something even more warm and soothing. They had tasted the blood of their enemy and the sweetness of 15 runs pouring across home plate. Now they would rest before reconvening at dawn to plot the next move in their quest for more blood and, ultimately, complete subjugation. It had been a most satisfying day, but there was much work yet to be done.

Day 2

The sun rose in a slow arc over the plains of San Diego, revealing ashes strewn across the city in the wake of the destruction wrought by the great Kershaw. Still, local citizens held out hope that the not-as-great Kazmir might prove more yielding. Such hope did not last long, however, as the traveling marauders again dominated the battlefield.

Although the final outcome was less one-sided, as the Dodgers managed to score a mere three runs on this crisp Tuesday in April, it was no less devastating. With a mild vernal wind carrying the scent of salt air across the field, Kazmir and his men sliced through a willing but incapable lineup of Padres who yielded with surprising ease. Dave Roberts, once an officer in San Diego’s ranks and now a general for the visitors, watched his charges systematically dismantle their opponent with terrifying skill, precision, and grace.

The blood did pour forth once more, and the civilians did take solace in the frigid embrace of their Dippin’ Dots. Tomorrow is another day, they told themselves, while perhaps also wondering about the precise of nature of that strange frozen confection they now ingested to help them expunge the humiliation of another devastating defeat. And it is necessarily true that tomorrow is another day, it is also true that each day comes without guarantee of victory or even more Dippin’ Dots.

Still, no team in the history of baseball had ever failed to tally even a single run in each of the season’s first three games. Lacking a pantheon of gods to help them, the locals at least had the laws of probability working in their favor. Unfortunately, probability is not the same as certainty, and winners write the history books, while losers simply dream about what might have been.

Day 3

Alas, despite the best efforts of our brave men in their fabulous uniforms, the enemy’s weapons were too strong for an outfit so ill-suited for battle. Our greatest fear has come to pass; the city has fallen like so many Domino’s pizzas into the mouths of those who would dare eat them.

The mighty Maeda, who had set forth in January from the Land of the Rising Sun to provide his services to the Angelenos for a modest sum, continued the relentless onslaught that his brethren before him had begun. Announcing himself to the West Coast of North America, he allowed five harmless singles to the locals while hammering a home run of his own against an all-too-mortal Andrew Cashner.

Not long after 9 o’clock in the evening, the final soldier gasped one last breath before succumbing to his destiny and flying out to right. San Diego had been overrun by men in blue-and-white uniforms. The local fans were left to contemplate how long a 162-game season might really be.

Those who had tried valiantly but vainly to defend their city, meanwhile, boarded a chariot bound for Denver, a mystical land where offense was rumored to run rampant. Could Coors Field be their salvation? Could they redeem themselves by laying waste to another city the way traveling marauders had lain waste to their own? Or would they continue in their scoreless ways, only to have their frustration compounded by the discovery that the nearest In-N-Out lies some 500 miles to the west?

Image credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images


Geoff Young is a baseball scribe hailing from the once-great ruins of San Diego. You should follow him on Twitter.