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Inside the Room Powering the Padres

The team's equipment room at Petco Park is a place few people other than players ever see, but this sacred space is colored with history
James Tran
jurickson profar

jurickson profar

James Tran

“Sometimes you know… I’m looking for hits,” says Jurickson Profar, poring over a selection of bats deep in the guts of Petco Park. “So I come in here and feel it out, listen to the bat… I feel it, hear it.”

The 29-year-old Curaçaoan left fielder is standing in a room few people besides players ever see. Where sewing machines on tables patch names of new arrivals. Wardrobe racks are lined with jerseys. Profar stands among sky-high stacks of bins filled with official Padres caps, bats, gloves, belts, socks, cleats, shin guards, wrist guards, pro gear—a dizzying collection of game-day memorabilia any fan would kill for.

“It’s exciting,” Profar says. “I’m a curious guy. So I like to always come in here and check what we got new.”

Let’s be honest, the Padres aren’t known as a colorful club. The clubhouse is brown carpet, brown doors, brown walls, brown trim, a splash of mustard. But hang a right on a Friday afternoon and it’s an almost disorienting blast of color. Bright, fresh, and polarizing. The team’s City Connect jersey—a blended cocktail of bright pink and electric banana yellow, garnished with mint—was designed to pay homage to our city’s unique border setting. They’re more Baja than Balboa Park. A sunset off the coast of el otro México perhaps, or a quinceañera.

Like all great art, the uniforms evoked strong and conflicted emotions. Some hailed it as the most stylish MLB uniform in eons. Others railed against its Miami-ness, how it evoked a rec league team sponsored by Taco Bell. Love it or hate it, these jerseys and hats made noise—and dollars. The Padres sold nearly a quarter million worth of City Connect swag on the very first day the uniform debuted.

“This is my favorite uniform to wear, by far,” Profar says. “Curaçao is a colorful island, so I love the colors.”

By Mateo Hoke

Mateo Hoke is San Diego Magazine’s executive editor. His books include Six by Ten: Stories from Solitary, and Palestine Speaks: Narratives of Life Under Occupation.

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