The San Diego Padres joined Major League Baseball as an expansion team in 1969, but they adopted their name from a Pacific Coast League team that arrived in San Diego in 1936. The original Padres won the league title the following year led by an 18-year-old named Ted Williams who would go on to be one of the great hitters in the history of the game.
The minor league team of the 30s called themselves the Padres as an homage to the Spanish Franciscan friars who founded San Diego in 1769. So, when Fr. Casey and Br. Tito arrived at Petco Park for a Padres game on July 17, they were unironically dressed as the team mascot.
A TikTok produced by the friars before the game went something like this:
"We're real Franciscan friars, about to celebrate Catholic Mass in a real Major League Baseball stadium. This is really exciting. A once in a lifetime opportunity. There's only one problem, we're at the Padres stadium. They're for sure going to think we're in costume. And to make matters worse, it's Star Wars day. May the force be with us. And you won't believe it, but right across the street right now, Comic Con. We're in trouble. Please pray for our patience today."
Yes, there were plenty (plenty!) of fans who assumed the friars were average baseball fans really committed to their costumes. But the silver lining? For every person who asked about the "costume" or wanted their picture taken with the "mascot" – the friars were able to engage in conversation. That's what the journey has been about... meeting people where they are. It's something friars have been doing in Southern California since 1769.
The Bleacher Brothers have been to 29 baseball games in 29 MLB parks since the start of their journey exactly 10 weeks ago. Tomorrow, they'll catch their final game, the Rockies vs. the Dodges in Colorado. They have a pair of speaking engagements lined up for early next week, then they'll take a day to hike the Rockies on Tuesday. Next Wednesday, they'll fly home (and watch baseball on TV for a change).