The Friar Wire

The San Diego Padres are finally tops in something…well, more precisely, the Lake Elsinore Storm are tops in something. The Storm logo was the number one selling design in Minor League Baseball in 2003 based on cap sales. In Peoria, the Padres had their first full squad workout, with all 56 players finishing physicals and reporting good health.

Pitchers and catchers continued their regular workouts consisting of such drills as fielding come-backers, covering bases and catching pop ups. Ramon Hernandez made a nice stretch to catch a popup during one particular drill.

Position players took their physical examinations, hit in the batting cages and worked out in the weight room. They also spent a session soft tossing, fielding some grounders and setting the tone for the rest of camp. Today was a light day on the field with live pitching expected to begin tomorrow, weather permitting.

Autograph session is in full swing. Many Padres players stopped by the fences to autograph balls for fans.

The Storm baseball hat, featuring the team's distinctive "eyes" logo, outsold that of all 172 teams according to New Era Cap Company Inc., the official provider of baseball caps for Minor League Baseball.

"We have always been very proud of our team's logo and the look of all of our team merchandise," said Storm President and General Manager Dave Oster. "This distinction and the fact that we have so often been among the minors' top sellers shows that there are certainly a lot of people out there that agree with us. We're honored that so many fans are wearing our hats and apparel. We would like to thank those fans both nationally and especially locally where the support at The Diamond and throughout the region is greatly appreciated."

"We have definitely seen the popularity of the logo reflected in the number of youth teams that approach us each season," said Donna Grunow, Storm Director of Merchandising. "It's not just Little Leagues, either. It's all sports from baseball to soccer to volleyball. We have at least one 'Storm' team in every state and even several 'Storm' teams outside the country."

The Storm's minor league eyes have also seen their share of major league time. On April 13, 2002, the Storm hosted the San Bernardino Stampede in the first-ever Major/Minor League doubleheader at Qualcomm Stadium as the San Diego Padres took on the Los Angeles Dodgers in the second game. Fifty thousand Storm hats were given away to fans in attendance of both games.

The "eyes" logo as it appears today has adorned Storm hats since the 1998 Season. The design was taken from the team's alternate logo in which the "eyes of the storm" appeared within a Storm cloud. After wearing the letters "LE" atop their caps for the first four years of play, the team adopted the "eyes" logo and has maintained it as the official cap design for all players.

Storm hats, along with all official team merchandise, are available online at or by calling (909) 245-HITS or by visiting their website at Organizations seeking Storm apparel for their teams may be eligible for team discounts.

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