Coronavirus Mutes East Village's Buzz for Padres Opening Day

Friar Faithful forced to watch Game One from home

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Major League Baseball returned to San Diego’s East Village Friday. An eerily quiet East Village. Only the sound of preprogrammed electronic crowd noise and the occasional crack of the bat could be heard echoing from an empty Petco Park.

Opening Day for the San Diego Padres usually begins hours before the first pitch with faithful fans gathered inside bars, walking Island and Park with 19s on their backs, or even playing catch inside Gallagher Square, formerly known as the Park at the Park.

The coronavirus pandemic muted the buzz that would be electrifying the streets around the ballpark.

“There’s just nothing happening today. It’s absolutely bizarre,” said one woman looking through a fence into an empty Petco Park.

“Opening Day baseball is such a huge part of San Diego, especially this part of town,” said a man in a brown SD hat. “It breaks your heart.”

“While I’m thankful to have baseball,” he continued, “We really will be missing the sense of community.”

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