The phrase "absence makes the heart grow fonder" is usually used to describe the affections between a couple who is working on a long distance relationship.
The only long distance relationship I ever had was w/my wife, when we first started dating. She was living at home and going to school in San Diego, while I was attending Cal State Fullerton in Orange County. Didn't have a car for most of it, but was able to take the train down every other weekend or so.
But I'd use it to describe my love for the Padres. The longer I'm away from San Diego, it seems the more I cling to that relationship that started when I was in elementary school. If I was still in SD, I wonder if I'd be the fanatic that I feel I am now.
Hard to tell. Still, I'd be able to do a lot more "Padre fan" type stuff if I was physically closer to the team (going to games, talking w/other fans, etc.). One thing that I definitely would've gone to would be Padres FanFest.
Of course, the commute to San Diego just for a weekend event wouldn't make sense. It's a long way from Texas. However, my brother and my dad went, and along with shagging fly balls in the outfield and throwing a few pitches in the bullpen (awesome, right?) they were able to get a few Friars to sign a ball for me.
On the left, there is Everth Cabrera and Casey Kelly. I'm not a huge Cabrera fan, due to some off the field stuff, but he has to be a big part of the Padres if they're going to have any success. I got Casey Kelly's auto at Spring Training a few years ago, when he lied and told me that his elbow was feeling better a few days before he had Tommy John surgery. Don't hold it against him though.
On the right, there is Rene Rivera and Eric Stults. Some of the lesser known names on a team full of lesser known names. I thought Stults had a few pretty gutty performances for the Padres last year, when a bunch of their starters got injured. This year has not been kind to him, however, and I'd be surprised if he was a starter by the end of the year. Rivera is one of three catchers on the team, which is as unnecessary as it seems. He's the best defensively, and seems to be the personal catcher of Andrew Cashner. Not sure what his future holds in San Diego, but he's here for now.
Easily the highlight of the ball. Eric Owens is one of those gritty guys that you couldn't help but love from the "letdown" years after the Padres second ever World Series appearance (1999-2000). Tons of hustle and heart, and put up some decent numbers (.282 avg., 62 steals, 142 runs in two seasons). I think he was the only "Padre alumni" there, which seemed pretty weak in my opinion, but if there was a guy that I would've stood in line to sign a ball (and even better, take a picture with), it would've been Owens. Plus, I love how he signed it:
Thanks Ammon. I'm glad I raised my brother to be a baseball fan, and that you haven't been totally corrupted by Sam, thinking that lacrosse is better.
Take care. Go Padres.