Wednesday, Mike Feder sat in his office at Kino Stadium and scrolled through some comments on his Facebook page.
Recently, his feed has blown up with comments from friends and family, and former players of the Tucson Toros and Tucson Sidewinders.
He read one from Joe Mikulik, a member of the Toros 1993 PCL champion, and he looked ready to tear up.
The last out recorded tonight at Kino, will be the Tucson Padres’ last ever. Next year, the club will move 300-plus miles to El Paso.
After 29 years of Toros, 11 of Sidewinders, and three of Padres, there will no longer be a minor-league baseball team in the Old Pueblo.
“It’ll be a sad day,” said Feder, the Padres general manager. “You put three years into it, and I wish the results would’ve been better, but, it is what it is. We raised a lot of money, we provided great entertainment and quality baseball. I’ll never classify what we achieved as a failure; it just wasn’t good enough.”
The last week has been full of celebration of the Tucson baseball history, recent and distant.
Tonight, the players will be honored before the game, as will the staff.
Last week, the San Diego Chicken came out of semi-retirement for his last Tucson performance; and former Toros and Sidewinders have been parading through for pre-game celebrations of their time with those clubs.
But, the Feders — Mike and Pattie, married 37 years this September — have been a staple of Tucson baseball.
It’s why Pattie will throw her first-ever ceremonial pitch.
“She’s been here 27 years, and never done it,” Mike Feder said. “I’ll catch it.”
“I was so excited when he asked me,” Pattie added, smiling. “I’ve had private lessons.”
Tuesday, she sought out Bronswell Patrick, the Padres’ pitching coach for a little tutorial. If she was throwing the first pitch, she wanted to do it right.
What did she learn?
“I can’t divulge that; you’re gonna have to watch,” she said, laughing. “He wants me to do a full wind-up, but I don’t think that’s possible. He wanted to know if I wanted to throw a slider; I said no, that’s not possible either.”
Added Patrick, who played for the Toros in 1995-96: “Basically, she just has to step and throw; that was her issue. But, she’s got it down. I think she’s ready.”
For Mike and Pattie Feder, the moment will be an emotional one. Feder, though, is still holding out hope that, one day, minor-league baseball will return to Tucson.
“I don’t know the answer to when Triple-A will be back,” he said. “In my heart, I know it will be back someday. But for tonight, fans can be a part of the final moment in Tucson Padres history.”
“Plus,” he added, “it’s beer night.”