Heartbroken fans watch Padres fall
Friars supporters head to PETCO to witness final game of '07
SAN DIEGO -- The party is over for loyal San Diego fans that watched, with excruciating pain on PETCO Park's Park at the Park big screen, their Padres fall to the Rockies, 9-8, in Monday night's tiebreaker game.
Shock and disappointment were apparent on several faces as the winning run scored off Trevor Hoffman and the Padres in the bottom of the 13th, ending this Wild Card tiebreaker game in an unfavorable defeat, and even worse spelling the end of the season for the Padres. At least 1,870 supporters came to "Padres Rally Monday & Tiebreaker Game Viewing" at Park at the Park. They stayed and watched this marathon game end with the Rockies being declared the National League Wild Card winners.
"Honestly, Colorado fans would hate me for saying this, but I think we deserve it more than they do," Megan Leppert said. "Because they just did really well during the end and we've done good all during the season, and I feel we deserve it.
"It's so painful to watch this because I don't think what's happening is right, and I think we should have clinched on Saturday."
Leppert said this long before the 13th inning was even fathomed.
"I feel that we should be in the playoffs and we deserve to be in the playoffs, and to watch this and watch that we are probably not going to make it, it [stinks]," she said.
Leppert's worst fears were realized, but not before the Padres were able to give their fans a night to remember.
The devoted began to spill into the Park at the Park at 4 p.m. PT. Junior Padres and their parents brought lawn chairs, blankets and towels to sit on as they anticipated their ace, Jake Peavy, getting ready to take the mound. As the game went on, several fans were beginning to grow a little frustrated at Peavy's performance, since they've been used to seeing nothing but near perfection. "Come on Peavy, wake up," one fan said after the ace allowed a solo home run.
Fans kept their fate alive and erupted into screams when Adrian Gonzalez hit a grand slam in the top of the third inning, lifting the Padres over the Rockies for a brief moment.
"I got to say it's all about the grand slam," said Jen Lee, who's been a Padres fan for many years. "I was in San Francisco and drove down to L.A. and drove down here to catch the 4:30 show. Rushed back home to watch the game out here."
Young couples kissed while others were on their feet twirling their free rally towels, and jubilant kids jumped up and down. But the moment was fleeting, as the Rockies and Padres began to go back and forth.
The big screen, covered with ivy on its perimeter, soon grew more luminous as the night sky came out. The number of supporters also swelled as many were done with work and came dressed in slacks and dress shirts to join the crowd.
This 163rd regular-season game went to extra innings as the score remained tied. Finally a tense crowd saw Scott Hairston's two-run home run in the top of the 13th inning lift the Padres to an 8-6 advantage.
One fan called Hairston "Mr. October" because of his late-inning heroics. But it was bittersweet.
Fans watched in horror as Hoffman, the all-time saves leader, blew the save. They were in further disbelief when the game ended in the Rockies' favor, sending Colorado to Philadelphia to take on the Phillies in the National League Division Series.
Heartbroken, they watched as the big screen turned into a sea of ecstatic black-uniformed players. Their season was no more.
Elizabeth M. Botello is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.