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Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Updated: September 23, 12:09 PM ET
No. 79: San Diego Padres

By Anna Katherine Clemmons
ESPN The Magazine

Last year's rank: 109
Title track: 120
Ownership: 108
Coaching: 59
Players: 83
Fan relations: 97
Affordability: 76
Stadium experience: 65
Bang for the buck: 25

The cost of a Padres game ticket -- $15.99, the cheapest in baseball -- is now about a dollar more than the average movie ticket in New York City, and the floor isn't nearly as gross. Petco Park offers free Wi-Fi and new concessions like Phil's BBQ -- with its famous Broham (pulled pork) sandwich -- and Ballast Point Beer Garden, a craft beer garden behind the leftfield scoreboard. Not to mention Taco Tuesdays, when delicious pollo asado tacos are only $1 each, and $1 Hot Dog Day. And what other major league ballpark has TaylorMade swing simulators where you can measure your driver distance against those of Padres players and coaches?

Perhaps that's why, despite another sub-.500 record and missing out on a chance at the 2013 playoffs, fans improved the Padres' ranking in affordability, fan relations and bang for the buck. San Diego's biggest jumps came in coaching and players, perhaps because of decisions like signing 2012 Gold Glove winner Chase Headley to a one-year deal in January. While several key Padres (Cameron Maybin, Carlos Quentin) have battled injuries, the fan favorites are still hanging around. And who can blame them? Sunny, beautiful nights with sky-high fireworks trump cramped movie theaters in almost any fan's mind, even if the fireworks are happening postgame rather than on the field.