The Padres will be knee-deep into the playoffs or maybe eliminated when this meets your eyes.
To Padres uber-fan Ryan Cohen, it really doesn’t matter.
“The Padres are my team and I’ve always been loyal to them,” Cohen said. “Even those years when they were probably going to lose 100 games.”
Like a Fernando Tatis Jr. home run, those days are long gone.
By dramatically ousting the St. Louis Cardinals to win their first playoff series since 1998, the Padres produced a signature season in their 51st year.
Few cherished it more than Cohen, 20, whose home is in Cardiff but he’s an obvious resident of Padres Fanville.
Cohen would likely be its mayor, or at least, on its City Council.
“He’s one of the top five Padres fans,” said Mark Grant, the FOX Sports San Diego Padres analyst.
Grant said that over air when the Padres clinched their first postseason berth since 2006. When driving home from the game against the Los Angeles Angels, Grant phoned Cohen, too.
“He congratulated me, and other Padres fans, for waiting it out over the tough years,” Cohen said. “That really, really made my night for him to call me.”
How did Cohen, a junior at UC Davis, first hear baseball’s siren song?
“I have no idea,” Cohen said. “My parents certainly weren’t die-hard fans.”
But baseball’s bug bit Cohen in Encinitas Little League and the more he learned about it, the more intrigued he became.
Whatever the reason, when Padres games included spectators, few got as much video board love as Cohen.
Three staples at most contests included the national anthem, the seventh-inning stretch and Cohen shaking his tail feather to a tune only he could hear.
He cut the rug at his seat with enthusiasm, energy and electricity, but with little polish.
“I still don’t know how to dance,” Cohen said. “I am so bad that people almost have to laugh.”
No joke that Cohen, who’s active on social media, is a hit at or away from Petco Park.
When working at Cardiff’s Seaside Market, patrons do double-takes and not to see if he put the eggs on the bottom.
“Usually three-four times a shift someone will look back at me,” Cohen said. “They ask if I’m the guy that dances at the games.”
He smiles, they smile and yet again the Padres bring people together. Even the skeptics are climbing aboard a bandwagon Cohen has long ridden.
But it was a cart ride at the Padres’ spring training site that set the tone for the season. Cohen got turned around at the Peoria Sports Complex and was roaming a backfield when a security guard barked.
Cohen was more than happy to exit. But he was happier when Chris Kemp, the Padres’ director of international scouting, pulled up.
“He’s OK,” Gwynn said, “he’s with me.”
Kemp knew Cohen from his moves at Petco Park. He gave him a tour of the facility and later they met general manager A.J. Preller.
Not only do Cohen and Preller live in neighboring communities, but they used to dine separately at the Encinitas Denny’s.
No doubt, they both ordered Grand Slams.