Town Isn’t Big Enough for Both of Them--and Aztecs Get Hurt

If football and baseball are apples and oranges, it still would seem reasonable to expect that they could peacefully coexist in the same bushel basket.

Not San Diego State football and Padre baseball.

No way.

Let these parties try to share the same stadium or radio station, and it seems to be like asking the Hatfields and McCoys to sit across the same breakfast bar without getting into a hard-boiled egg fight.


And the Padres invariably come out the best in what seems to be a continuing series of conflicts.

In fact, as far as the Aztecs are concerned, it’s one, two, three strikes, they’re out.

If the Padres could strike out baseball opponents the way they do this football team, they wouldn’t be stuck watching the National League playoffs on television.

If these guys were tenants in the same apartment building, the Aztecs would be the guys in the basement . . . probably with an exterior staircase to an outhouse.


This one-sided relationship begins with the fact that both teams play their home games in San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium and extends to the fact that both broadcast their games on KFMB.

Neither place seems to have room to keep both parties comfortable, and guess who gets to do the scrambling?

You’ve got it.

San Diego State’s 1988 football season was to open on Saturday, Sept. 10, against the Air Force Academy. This figured to be an attractive opener against a Western Athletic Conference opponent with a recent history of postseason bowl appearances.

At least that was the way it was scheduled.

That was before the Padres announced their 1988 schedule. Sorry, chumps, but the Padres and Atlanta Braves would need the stadium that Saturday night.

Given that the Padres are a priority tenant, the Aztecs had to reschedule for the following night, after another baseball game. Sunday night not exactly being prime time for collegiate football, the Aztecs drew 20,112 . . . the smallest opening crowd since 1983 against the most interesting opening opponent since UCLA in 1984.

And what happened after that Sunday night would do little to smooth any ruffled feelings.


It had to do with San Diego State lining the field’s borders with signs acknowledging its athletic sponsors. Once more, the Aztecs had incurred the wrath of the Padres. The Padres’ lease with the city, after all, gives them the right to income from stadium advertising.

Thus, in the space of a few days, the Padres had hit two major sources of revenue for SDSU athletics: 1.) Gate receipts; 2.) Sponsorships.

These guys were beginning to look like ogres.

But the Padres were not done sacking San Diego State football.

It was now time to assert their superiority on the airwaves. The Padres have priority with KFMB because they buy the time for their own broadcasts, and San Diego State has to work around them when conflicts occur.

Were you, per chance, trying to figure out when and where to find the broadcast of the Aztecs’ game at Stanford Sept. 17? I was, and I was confused. San Diego State was on KFMB-AM until a game between the Padres and Braves began, and then it was switched over to B-100 (KFMB-FM).

Alas, SDSU fans were to spend one more channel-hopping Saturday before the Padre season ended. Last week’s game against Oregon started on B-100 and finished on KFMB-AM following the conclusion of a Padre game in Houston.

It’s hard to fault either the Padres or the radio station, but it is easy to question why San Diego State would enter into yet another arrangement in which it is a second-class citizen. It tries to tell fans it is a class program, then subjects them to almost ludicrous mid-game broadcast switches from AM to FM (or vice versa).



“We looked at the promotional values, the ratings of the station and the signal,” explained Fred Miller, SDSU’s director of athletics.

OK, so KFMB is home to the Aztecs, just as Jack Murphy Stadium is their home. These are homes where the Aztecs can entertain only if the Padres aren’t.

This point was made once more this week, when the Padres announced their 1989 home schedule.

Darned if the Padres did not schedule a home game for Sept. 9. See if you can guess what date the Aztecs had scheduled for their home opener.

Rack up another strikeout for the Padres.