Padres fans welcome team home after playoff elimination

The San Diego Padres made history by sending the Los Angeles Dodgers to the National League Division Series. The Dodgers finished the regular season with 111 wins, a franchise recordbut the Padres rained on their parade for reach the NLCS for the first time since 1998.

The magic was short-lived and the Padres won just one game in the series while the Philadelphia Phillies rumbled on Bryce Harper’s first World Series appearance.

“It’s really frustrating at first,” said Juan Soto, the Padres outfielder who was acquired mid-season in a blockbuster tradesaid after being sent home, “but at the end of the day you see how far we’ve come, that’s pretty impressive and we should be pretty proud.”

It was a long flight across the country to Southern California on Sunday for the Padres, but the faithful brethren were waiting to welcome them home. Fans stayed up after midnight for team buses to arrive at Petco Park where they cheered on Soto, Manny Machado and Yu Darvish and thanked them for their efforts.

Lifelong fan Alex Velasco posted some of the player interactions on Twitter.

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“This year’s run was full of success and even disappointment at times, but the team managed to stay competitive and earn a spot for playoff ball,” the San Diego native told USA TODAY Sports. . “The padres represent the community, they see the fans first in all events offered. They give back to the community, and now we see them repaying longtime fans over the past few seasons with exceptional talent and performance on the field. “

For the Padres organization, the appreciation was mutual.

Outfielder Wil Meyers gave a high five to those who cheered on the team from the closing and pitcher Joe Musgrove signed autographs.

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“He came up to me and said, ‘Do you think you’ll ever be able to fit in?'” said one young girl. CBS 8 San Diego that Musgrove asked him signing his cleats and gave them to him.

Franchise CEO Erik Greupner handed out merchandise to fans.

“My 9-year-old nephew was able to receive a hat personally given by Erik, which meant a lot,” Velasco said. “Greupner is always communicating with us, the fans, via Twitter and always listening to suggestions and (making sure our) voice (is) taken into account. Really amazing to have guys like that here with the Padres organization.”

Machado expressed the team’s sentiment on how important the fans are to the team.

“Without them, we would not be able to be in this situation”, he said after Game 5 of the NLCS. “They’re a big part of this fun and this journey that we’ve had as much as the guys in this clubhouse. So for them to come out every day and give us the support and the love and the energy every night was a big part of our successful season.”

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