The San Diego Padres are turning heads in the National League West, and it's not just because they're playing winning baseball.
The ballclub is also singing its way into the hearts of fans after adopting "I Will Always Love You," the song made famous by Dolly Parton and made iconic by Whitney Houston, as their anthem.
Outfielder Franmil Reyes has taken the role of lead singer. After belting his 16th home run during Friday's 5-2 victory against the Miami Marlins, he even serenaded the fans at Petco Park with a very special rendition.
Wonderful. Just wonderful.
The sentiment that is.
The singing could use some fine-tuning, but as long as Reyes' swing keeps producing majestic home runs we're sure Padres fans will overlook that part of the equation.
Where it all began
The first video of the Padres singing this classic song surfaced before Tuesday's game at Yankee Stadium.
According to MLB.com’s A.J. Cassavell, it actually goes back much further.
It started as a gag between Reyes and rookie right-hander Chris Paddack, who would sing the song in the dugout after Reyes returned from hitting a home run.
It’s grown from there, to the point where nearly everyone on the team was singing along Tuesday.
As is often the case in sports, and especially baseball, when a team tries something new or unique and has success, they go back to the well. The Padres have been winning, so the song has stuck around.
It’s not unlike the St. Louis Blues adopting the ‘80s hit “Gloria” as their victory song on their way to the Stanley Cup Final.
Whether or not it actually helps win games doesn’t really matter. But if it helps the players stay loose, then it’s definitely doing something positive.
The Padres were doing a lot of positive things, too. At 30-27, they are poised to put together the franchise’s first winning season since 2010.
A division title is a long shot with the Los Angeles Dodgers again ruling the NL West. But a return to the postseason for the first time since 2006 is not out of the question.
Dare we say, it’s a fun time to be a Padres fan.
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