San Diego sports curse continues in infamy

Curtis Manlapig, Sports Editor

There has been one thing missing in San Diego since 1963 and it involves parades of people rejoicing in the streets, millions watching at home and people with extraordinary skills performing their profession at a higher level than anyone else. That thing is a championship by a San Diego professional sports team from any one of the four major sports.

A curse, as some might call it, has been put over “America’s Finest City” but there’s no black cat, Buckner or Bucky “bleeping” Dent situation that we as San Diegans have to blame for our misfortune. We have poor play and ownership who gambles on make it or break it players while also being cheap.

There are not many cities in America where the entire city’s sports franchises fail at winning the “Big One.”

Chicago has the Cubs who have not won a World Series in baseball in over 100 years and have been attached to curses such as a black cat entering the field, a goat not being let in to the stadium and a turtleneck wearing Cubs fan ruining a play that could have likely sent the Cubs to the World Series. But in Chicago, other sports franchises have succeeded.  The White Sox, Bears, Bulls and Blackhawks have all had recent successes while the love ‘em or hate ‘em Cubbies are still waiting for their year.

San Diego is not like Chicago, whereas every team here struggles to win a championship.

The Padres and the Chargers are the two teams in San Diego that are at the center of this drought.

The Chargers came to San Diego in 1961 after playing an inaugural season in Los Angeles where they were part of the American Football League.  Two years later, the team won the league championship and thus was the last time a significant sports team won a championship in San Diego.

The Chargers have had a storied past with ups and downs. There have been great teams in the Air Coryell and Dan Fouts era where scores were constantly on the upswing and games were won through the air and not with defense. Although the Chargers had winning teams in the 70s and 80s, they never made a Super Bowl until 1994.

The Chargers first and only Super Bowl to date was against Steve Young, Jerry Rice and the San Francisco 49ers.  You could say this team is cursed by what occurred on the third play after the kick off.  A long pass to Jerry Rice to score a touchdown that propelled the 49ers to go on and win the game 49-26.

The Chargers also drew the dreaded Ryan Leaf card. The prized second overall pick was a quarterback in college and never seemed to live up to  his expectation of winning at the professional level and instead lashed out at reporters and fans and alienated himself from the team and the city all while losing many games.

The Chargers are the cursed football team and their former roommates the Padres are the cursed baseball team.

The Padres began in 1969 and had many losing teams. It was not until 1984 where a young kid by the name of Tony Gwynn energized the franchise and led them to their first ever World Series appearance by beating another cursed team in the Chicago Cubs in an upset. Unfortunately, the Padres ran into the Detroit Tigers juggernaut and lost the World Series although managing to win one game.

14 years later, the team returned to the World Series with Tony Gwynn once again leading the charge. The team the Padres played are often referred to as the greatest team in baseball history being the 1998 New York Yankees. The Padres got swept handily and once again came so close but came up with nothing. A new stadium, a Matt Bush and two failed playoff appearances later, the curse remains with this team. By the way, Matt Holliday still has not touched home plate.

Basketball was not as prominent fan wise in San Diego as football and baseball. There have been two basketball teams to play in San Diego and both had little success. The Rockets were established in San Diego in 1969 and played for four years before leaving for Houston where they currently reside.

The other basketball team was the Clippers. They played here in San Diego from 1978-1984, with only one winning season and no playoff appearances. The team was sold and then sent directly to Los Angeles where they currently play and only until recently had little to no success.

San Diego sports teams just do not win. Failed owners who don’t spend money are a major cause to this situation as well as poor product and clutch performances on the field are non-existent.  The Red Sox breaking the curse of the Bambino back in 2004 gives hope to all the cursed franchises and cities out there. Eventually, the ball will land fair in your court and it will be your time. For now, in San Diego, patience is hard to come by and a win now mentality has been at the forefront of almost every fan out there. One day we will win a championship, one day.