General manager A.J. Preller was involved in the decision, and described the process as one the organization “took very seriously”. While it may seem strange and even insignificant, even something as simple as the team’s healthcare provider can be very revealing.
After all, it is yet another step towards changing the culture of the club and the city’s attitude towards it. UC San Diego will not only treat player injuries, but conduct studies and research based on the club to keep the players as healthy as possible.
Still, in no way was Scripps incapable of performing these tasks. And since the healthcare provider partnered with San Diego for 36 consecutive years, there has to be some sort of reasoning behind this beyond what will be said to the press.
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There are two possible reasons, both of which may have had some impact on the change.
First of all, it is possible that UCSD actually does provide better care with an emphasis on analytical studies the organization wants to begin working more closely with. It would make sense that a very successful university known for its medical excellence could achieve this.
An alternative or contributing explanation for this change could be the desire of the Padres to unite the city behind the aspects of it which provide an identity. After the Chargers left, the Padres stepped in and took action. As a very vocal critic of the football organization’s move, owner Ron Fowler has made it clear that he is loyal to the city. Providing an opportunity to a local university with the words “San Diego” in its title enhance the organization’s efforts to unite the city.
Either way, it probably won’t make much difference to the fans who is providing healthcare to their Padres this coming season. It won’t feel any different, except to players who find themselves sidelined. But even something as simple as a healthcare provider can assist in the team’s quest for an identity.