Padres briefly lose Twitter handle to college student from Poway while doing Mother’s Day promotion


Who’s your Padre?

For about 3 1/2 hours Sunday morning, it was Ricky Padilla, a sophomore at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., who caused a social media stir when he got hold of the @Padres Twitter handle.

Padilla was sitting in a study room on campus preparing for finals when he noticed the Padres had changed their Twitter account handle for a Mother’s Day promotion.

To announce the one-day change, the team tweeted: “Usually @Padres but today we’re celebrating Moms everywhere by becoming the @Madres. Thanks for the idea, @budweiserUSA! #Madres #callyourmom”

Padilla, a 2017 Poway High graduate who plays catcher for the Calvin College baseball team, noticed the change about 6 a.m. San Diego time.

“I looked at Padres Twitter and saw it was the Madres,” Padilla said. “I was like, ‘Hey, that’s kind of cool.’

Another thought quickly ran through Padilla’s mind: “I wonder if anybody took the @Padres.”

So Padilla, who is @RickyPadilla22 on Twitter, went into the settings on his account and changed his username.

“I just put in Padres, and it switched right then and there — pretty sweet,” said Padilla, who figured the name would have been parked somewhere for safe keeping until the Padres switched back.

In fact, that was what was supposed to happen.

Padres spokesman Wayne Partello explained: “Our partner at Anheuser-Busch reached out to us with a really fun idea to celebrate moms. We loved the idea and contacted Twitter to work with them and put an action plan together.

“Unfortunately, there was a mistake made on their end this morning. As soon as we noticed, we reached out, they corrected it immediately and we continue to go on celebrating all the Madres today on Mother’s Day.”

In the meantime, Padilla enjoyed about 210 minutes of fame.

“It ended up blowing up a lot more than I thought it was,” Padilla said. “Way too many messages. I went out to lunch with my girlfriend and promised I’d put my phone down. When I picked it up after an hour and a half I had about 300 text messages and an unbelievable amount of Twitter notifications.”

Friends and other Padres fans had some fun with it on Twitter.

Said Padilla: “Some buddies here in Michigan were like, ‘Can I get some tickets?’ Yeah, sure.”

One person tweeted a request for infielder Luis Urias to be called back up to the majors. Another asked for infielder Ian Kinsler to be designated for assignment.

At one point, Padilla tweeted: “All of these mentions are making it REAL hard to study for my four finals in the next 3 days ...”

Padilla is an accounting and information systems major who has taken to the weather and lifestyle changes in Michigan.

“There’s beautiful springs here and great falls and great summers,” said Padilla, who batted .289 with 35 RBIs this season to lead the Calvin College offense. “Baseball’s fun here. It’s a new experience, but I love it and wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

Padilla said he will be coming home to Poway following this week’s final exams.

At some point, he will be attending a Padres game at Petco Park, courtesy of the team.

After Twitter had stepped in and restored the @Padres good name (although they were still using @Madres for the day), the team tweeted: “Hi Ricky, thanks for keeping @Padres safe this morning. We’d love to invite you and your Madre and Padre to a game when the team is back in town.”

Some on Twitter had suggested Padilla ask the Padres to pay for the name to get it back, similar to how people did with internet domain names during the dot-com boom in the 1990s.

This was different, however, because those names were in the public domain, whereas Twitter controls user names.

“That was kind of silly,” Padilla said of the suggestion. “It was really generous of them to give me tickets. I can’t wait to go to the game.”

Maybe Padres outfielder Alex Dickerson (Poway High Class of 2008) can drop off his tickets.