The Coast News Group
Padres owner Peter Seidler deserves many accolades for flipping the script on the once-woeful local nine. Courtesy photo
Padres owner Peter Seidler deserves many accolades for flipping the script on the once-woeful local nine. Courtesy photo
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Seidler stands alone in year of Padres’ awakening

He goes by Peter Seidler, @PedroPadre77 and if wanting to insert Savior of San Diego Sports, please go right ahead.

With the calendar-turning reaching a point where 2022 will be a memory, it’s time to reflect. When looking back, it’s hard to overlook someone seemingly always looking ahead.

Seidler, the owner of the Padres, deserves many accolades for flipping the script on the once-woeful local nine. For this equity firm wizard doing the due diligence in reinvigorating a fan base and reawakening dreams of San Diego’s first championship, Seidler is The Coast News San Diego Sports Person of the Year.

The votes came in and Seidler, 62, was a landslide winner.

Actually, there was no canvassing of ballots and I’ve never heard of The Coast News Sports Person of the Year, either.

But if we had one, and now I guess we do, singing Seidler’s praises is an easy ditty to hum.

Minus Seidler, it’s unlikely the Padres would have delivered a bolt of excitement not seen on the regional sporting scene since the San Diego Chargers’ shingle was hung here. With the Chargers thumbing their nose at America’s Finest City, the Padres filled the void with North America’s finest owner.

That might be a stretch, and absolutely one that makes the brown-and-yellow-loving Seidler turn red with embarrassment.

But it’s a short list of executives who have produced what Seidler has, throwing that San Diego crutch of being a small market into the ocean, with ripples reaching across Major League Baseball.

It was Padres General Manager A.J. Preller, the pride of Encinitas, who did the heavy lifting in constructing a roster that did the unthinkable in beating the Los Angeles Dodgers in October’s National League Division Series. While Preller is keen at acquiring talent, his pockets aren’t deep enough to obtain multiple players with contracts north of $280 million.

The latest splashy deal belongs to shortstop Xander Bogaerts, the Boston Red Sox standout signed this offseason.

He joins a dugout crammed with All-Stars, including infielders Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr., after his suspension for cheating is lifted, and outfielder Juan Soto.

It’s all because Seidler, a cancer survivor, embraced the impossible in proving that a team in America’s eighth-largest city need not take a back seat to anyone.

That includes the Dodgers, or as Seidler calls them, “the dragon up the freeway.”

That the Padres advanced to only their third National League Championship Series in franchise history last season is noteworthy. That it came at the expense of the dreaded Dodgers is like finding a misplaced present under the Christmas tree.

The Dodgers have long kicked the Padres in the shins and ’22 was no different. For the 12th straight season, the Padres finished in the Dodgers’ rear-view mirror (22 games back in the NL West) and were beaten in all six regular-season series.

Then the Padres, bolstered by Seider’s all-in approach at the trading deadline, took a sword to the dragon. On that magical fall night at Petco Park, they were the first team since the 1906 Chicago White Sox to eliminate a foe that it had trailed by so much in the standings.

The Padres’ footing has never been better, thanks to Seidler. He’s as shy and modest as he is successful and bold, which makes for an interesting personality to be at the helm of San Diego’s most popular team.

Seidler has said he won’t sleep well at night until the Padres claim their first title. With Seidler’s mitts on the organizational wheel, that no longer sounds like a pipe dream.

“To me,” Seidler said, “that’s the most important thing.”

To Padres fans, Seidler is a folk hero.

To us, he’s The Coast News Sports Person of the Year.

Contact Jay Paris at [email protected] and follow him @jparis_sports

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