|Padres Ace Mat Latos tries to end the streak on Monday|
The Chargers have been close to the Super Bowl many times, but have only reached the big game once. I remember 1994 quite fondly. Stan Humphries to Alfred Pupunu and Tony Martin. Natrone Means bowling over defenders, and the ball that Dennis Gibson knocked away from Barry Foster at the goal line. What a game! The Chargers somehow beat the heavily favored Pittsburgh Steelers, and earned their first Super Bowl berth. Of course, the Chargers got blown out, losing 49-26, in a game that wasn't even that close. That was the first of many letdowns.
The 1998 Padres were a great, veteran team that I felt had the talent to win it all. The lineup had a still productive Tony Gwynn, a 50 HR guy in Greg Vaughn, and solid veterans like Steve Finley, Ken Caminati, Wally Joyner and others. Kevin Brown led a solid rotation, and Trevor Hoffman was a hammer, saving 53 out of 54 games. This team ran through the Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves, on their way to a meeting with the dominant Yankees. Naturally, the Yankees swept out the Padres, and that was that. The rest of my life has been filled with disappointment after disappointment.
The '07 Chargers losing to New England in the AFC championship game, the '05 and '06 Padres getting beat down by Albert Pujols and the Cards. I didn't even mention the '81 and '82 Charger teams that lost consecutive AFC championships, including the famed "Freezer Bowl" in Cincinnati. No matter what, San Diego teams just can't get over the hump.
According to several sites I found San Diego has the longest Championship drought with cities with a population of over 1 million. The last major San Diego team to win a championship was the AFL Chargers in 1963. Both the Chargers and the Padres have come close a few times, the Clippers came and went, and the Rockets moved to Houston, only to win two championships.
Is the Padres current streak just bad luck, an indication that they weren't very good to begin with, or perhaps something else all together? I am not necessarily the superstitious type, but something weird is going on here. A team has the best team in the NL for four months, then all of a sudden forgets that they are a good team? A huge collapse, or the beginning of the curse of San Diego showing it's face? Perhaps one of our teams can end it this year. Or maybe pigs will fly out my ass? Right now, the latter seems more likely.