SAN DIEGO -- Beloved Padres broadcaster and former pitcher Mark Grant recently spent time at the Junior Seau Foundation's Shop with a Jock event, where players and former players shopped for Christmas gifts alongside underprivileged children from the San Diego Boys & Girls Club.It's one of more than a dozen
SAN DIEGO -- Beloved Padres broadcaster and former pitcher Mark Grant recently spent time at the Junior Seau Foundation's Shop with a Jock event, where players and former players shopped for Christmas gifts alongside underprivileged children from the San Diego Boys & Girls Club.
It's one of more than a dozen events the Padres take part in, as part of their annual holiday giving tour. After the event, Grant took some time to speak with MLB.com about the team's efforts in the community, his own holiday plans and his wish list for the Padres in 2019.
MLB.com: This team has always been very active in the community, especially in November and December around the holidays. What's so special about the relationship between this organization and the community?
Grant: It's something that I always felt I needed to do, and I think athletes in the community should feel the need to do -- to give back. Everywhere I've played, people look up to you and see what you do. During the offseason, there's time, and that's your time to go out and give back to the community. Playing here, I got involved. When I stopped playing, I stayed involved. It's part of our duty as someone in the public eye. And with the Padres, it's something they've done so well for so many years. The gratification that I get out of it is seeing the response of the people who are involved that are receiving from the Padres. Whether it's an appearance from a player or giving out gifts at a school, the joy that you see in these kids from all around the county, it's incredible.
MLB.com: Can you describe the Shop with a Jock event and what that meant to you?
Grant: It's such a cool event, where we go shopping with these kids. What it meant to me was seeing the elation and the kids' faces, being able to go shopping with them. And they weren't just shopping for themselves, but shopping for their families. You just see how much fun it is for them to get out and spread the holiday cheer for them and their families. Being around the kids, hearing how excited they get before they go shopping and get to see these athletes, but you also see how much fun these athletes have doing it. You leave with a sense of gratification that, even though it was only an hour or two, you probably made a difference in this kid's life.
MLB.com: Switching gears a little bit, what are your holiday plans for this year? How does Mark Grant spend the holidays?
Grant: Usually we go to Lake Tahoe for a little bit. We have a cabin up in Lake Tahoe, and we've been doing that for, man, the last 30 years. But this year we're going to stay home here in Alpine. Sometimes traveling can be stressful. We'll stay here in San Diego and enjoy it. It'll be our family -- me, my wife, my three kids. And we'll just kind of lay low.
MLB.com: What are some Christmas or holiday traditions that you have every year?
Grant: Sitting around the house, eating, kicking my feet up and having no plans at all other than spending time with my family. Other than that, there's nothing really special. I don't get dressed up as Santa or anything like that. But I still do believe in Santa. And anyone who doesn't -- they've got a problem.
MLB.com: Any favorite memories of Christmastime as a kid?
Grant: Just the anticipation probably, like any other kid. Going to bed on Christmas Eve and waking up before anybody else. Then getting the permission to go to the presents under the tree and just rip those things open. For me, personally, it was about my mom and dad always being there, not just for Christmas but everything they did for us as a kid. My mom and dad didn't have a lot of money growing up, but we were always happy, always satisfied and always had a good time. Just waking up and knowing my mom and dad were going to be there, that they cared and they loved us. It sounds so simple but it went such a long way, that's for sure.
MLB.com: Last thing: What's on your Padres Christmas wish list?
Max Scherzer, Michael Trout ... You see where I'm going. No, I'm being facetious. But, hey, how about a World Series championship? That'd be a nice Christmas present.
AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.