A recent move by the San Diego Padres to provide free baseball jerseys to local Little Leaguers may relieve many parents' pocketbooks, but some businesses are crying foul.
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Sportland, located in El Cajon, has been selling local sporting goods to the community for decades. Until recently, a major chunk of their business is providing youth baseball uniforms.
"We've provided over 11,000 jerseys and hats to kids throughout San Diego County," Padres President Tom Garfinkel said earlier this month.
This season, the Padres donated thousands of Little League uniforms from different eras to many local teams. While the uniforms are a home run for the excited kids, many local businesses are striking out.
"I don't know if they realized it, but they have in fact jeopardized many jobs, many businesses, by taking what is our livelihood," said Sportland co-owner Stan Davis.
Davis told 10News Sportland ordered all their jerseys based on projections from years prior. The orders were made before the Padres made their donation announcement.
Now, Davis said his business is losing thousands of dollars -- a loss of at least 10 to 15 percent.
"When they used to come in to buy their uniforms, they would also then turn around and say, 'While I'm here can I pick up an extra 30 dozen baseballs?' Now that they're not having to come for uniforms, that's something else that I'm losing revenue, too," said Davis.
Some parents 10News spoke to see both sides of the issue.
"I think the uniforms are gorgeous, but if I were in this industry, I would obviously want them to be coming to me for uniforms and not going through the Padres for uniforms," said parent Patrick Trampus.
Davis said Sportland will keep trying to make up for the lost cash, but they never thought they'd be competing against the hometown team.
A Padres representative told 10News the donation program was voluntary and the team did reach out to local businesses who contacted them about their concerns.
Davis said he never heard back from the Padres when he wrote to them about the program.
The representative said the program will be evaluated on a yearly basis.
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