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San Diego residents rally behind Padres

San Diego residents rally behind Padres

SAN DIEGO -- The simple motto "Believe" has been used as a rallying call for the Padres and their fans throughout the 2010 season.

Jerry Sanders, the mayor of San Diego, has decided to take things to the next level, proclaiming that Sept. 24-30 will be "San Diego Padres Week" to coincide with the club's final homestand, which begins Friday against the Reds.

"I've spent the past six months with all of you watching with enormous pride as this scrappy group has battled and clawed to prove the experts wrong," Sanders said. "The 2010 San Diego Padres are a perfect embodiment of this city's character: They're tough, they relish the role of underdog and they play the game with passion and creativity."

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The Padres are in the middle of the National League West race heading into the final 13 contests of the regular season, as they sit a half-game back of the division-leading Giants and one game in front of the third-place Rockies.

Sanders urged San Diego residents to show their support during the week by wearing Padres colors, flying banners and, of course, showing up to the ballpark for the three-game series against the Reds and the four-game set against the Cubs that follows.

"We all know that annoying and false stereotype about San Diego fans -- that we're all too laid-back, we're too busy basking in the sun to get riled up about sports teams," Sanders said. "We know the stereotype isn't true, but now's the time to prove it."

The Padres have provided the city with 10,000 placards that say "Believe in SD" on one side and "Go Padres" on the other, which will be distributed in libraries and recreation centers throughout San Diego starting Thursday.

Other San Diego community leaders were on hand for the rally, including assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, county supervisor Ron Roberts, chairman of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Tom Wornham and Padres president and COO Tom Garfinkel. That alone, Garfinkel said, shows the impact his club can have on San Diego as a whole.

"There's so much civic pride here -- this is a San Diego thing," Garfinkel said. "The fans have been very supportive. Our attendance is up, and we continue to see that excitement build as the year has gone on. We want to maintain that moving forward."

Gina Mizell is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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