MLB

It's Opening Day… Again! Here's What to Expect at San Diego Padres' Reopening Celebration

It's been about 630 days since Petco Park has been open to a full capacity crowd

NBC Universal, Inc.

Yeah, the San Diego Padres have already had an Opening Day, but -- in the middle of a pandemic -- it wasn't the full-blown celebration that typically comes with the start of the baseball season. So, the Pads are doing it again.

On June 17, The San Diego Padres are Hosting "San Diego's Opening Day," a celebration of the return to the (mostly) normal conditions we knew before the pandemic sent us for a loop in March 2020.

The festivities will take place over the course of the four-game series against the Cincinnati Reds from June 17 to 20. Here's what to know:

What is San Diego's Opening Day

The San Diego Padres are reopening to 100% capacity on June 17, meaning every seat of Petco Park can be filled starting that day. That means More than 40,000 fans can be in attendance and it's likely to be the largest gathering of people in one place in San Diego County since at least February 2020.

So, the Padres are going all out, with an Opening Day-style celebration on Thursday and a weekend filled with activities, entertainment and promotions for the Friar Faithful.

“I wanna feel the vibe again. I want to feel the excitement of the full crowd. I am a season ticket holder," said Ernest Mitchell.

Thursday's San Diego's Opening Day is going to have all the pomp and circumstance of your typical Padres Opening Day, with servicemembers holding that massive United State flag in the outfield, introduction of the starting lineups, a flyover, and post-game fireworks.

The Cruz family got to Petco Park early for the game, all wearing Padres jerseys.

“Just the excitement of being here. Being here with the crowd. We watch it at home but its not the same. The vibe that we get when we’re here and the excitement and just cheering on the Padres," said Anna Cruz.

This time, though, they'll be adding a special tribute to the frontline workers who have gotten San Diego through the pandemic.

“We’re going to be honoring them during the game because, really, it was their efforts that have led to this outcome. We’re incredibly grateful for all the work that so many of our front-line heroes have done,” Padres CEO Erik Greupner said.

This Padres superfan has more than 1,000 Padres hats. This year's season means much more to him than most. NBC 7's Artie Ojeda reports.

What entertainment can I expect during the Padres vs. Reds series?

On top of the Opening Day-style celebration on Thursday, here are some of the other festivities scheduled during the four-game weekend series:

  • June 17: A ceremony with a presentation of the American flag with more than 250 active-duty military members, a military flyover, on-field lineup introductions and a post-game fireworks show
  • June 17: a DJ proceeding the game in Gallagher Square (formerly Petco Park)
  • June 18: the Padres will host the first BeerFest of the season featuring $5 beers
  • June 19: a live band will perform pre-game in Gallagher Square (formerly Petco Park)
  • June 19: All fans in attendance will receive free Padres Aloha shirts, while supplies last
  • June 20: the Padres will celebrate Father's Day with the return of KidsFest before the game in Gallagher Square, and post-game catch on the field (registration was required in advance and has reached capacity).
  • For a full list of promotions click here.

Oh, and to add a little more excitement to the occasion? San Diego’s own Joe Musgrove, the Grossmont High School alum who threw the first no-hitter in franchise history, is slated to start on Thursday. That game starts at 5:40 p.m. and gates open two hours prior.

Like the mural says: "Meant to be" -- artistic recognition of Padres pitcher and Grossmont High alum Joe Musgrove's moment in baseball history was unveiled Wednesday

Can I still buy tickets to the Padres vs. Reds game?

You can now get single-game tickets to San Diego Padres tickets at Petco Park. There is still availability in a variety of sections directly from the Padres website for each game in the Padres vs. Reds series. Search for tickets here.

Will there be any COVID-19 restrictions at Petco Park following June 15?

Following the state of California's guidance on reopening, the San Diego Padres are lifting social distancing guidelines and capacity limitations starting on June 15.

It is strongly recommended by California Public Health officials that people attending events with capacities larger than 10,000 people, like baseball games, either be vaccinated or have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of attending the event.

After 15 months of shutdowns during the pandemic, California is fully opening the economy on June 15, including mega events like concerts and sporting events— but there will be some restrictions. Here’s what you need to know.

Face covering protocol follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, which makes recommendations based on vaccination status. For those fully vaccinated, you can take off that face mask. For those who are not, a face covering is required.

There will not be a mask enforcement team at the park but Greupner said he expects fans to follow the rules. "We’re going to trust San Diegans to make the right decision to protect themselves and those around them."

The Petco Park Clean Team will continue to use enhanced safety measures to ensure guest safety, the Padres said.

“We’re going to maintain our enhanced cleaning and sanitization protocols,” says Greupner. “We have a dedicated Petco Park Clean Team that will be cleaning high-touch point areas around the ballpark. We installed touchless soap and paper towel dispensers around the ballpark that will remain. Digital ticketing and payment at the concession stands will remain, those are all conveniences for fans.”

The bag policy and outside food and drink policy that were established during the pandemic will remain in place. That means only bags with a single compartment smaller than 7 inches by 10 inches, medical bags and infant bags will be allowed. Also, only sealed plastic water bottles will be allowed.

Transportation to Petco Park

There are a variety of ways to get to Petco Park, either by car, public transportation or rideshare. Here are some options:

MTS Trolley Service
The Metropolitan Transit System is ramping up trolley service in anticipation of large crowds for the reopening celebration -- and the rest of the Padres season.

The service will be similar to pre-pandemic times, with trolleys running every 7 to 15 minutes for most of the day on game days.

Take the Sycuan Green Line from Mission Valley to Old Town to Downtown. There is a park and ride located at the Old Town Transit Center, and then get off at Gaslamp Quarter Station.

Take the Orange Line from El Cajon to La Mesa, Lemon Grove and arrive in Downtown's East Village. There is a park and ride at Euclid Transit Center. Get off on the 12th and Imperial Transit Center for closest access to Petco Park.

Take the UC San Diego Blue Line from the South Bay to the East Village. This line goes through San Ysidro, Chula Vista and National City to get people the the 12th and Imperial Transit Center closest to Petco Park. There is an easy park and ride option at the E Street Station in Chula Vista.

Rail Service
For North County Residents, take the COASTER train to the Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego to get to the Padres Game. There are several free parking lots at stations along the coast. See the schedule here.

And, if you're coming from even further north, the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner train connects Los Angeles and Orange County to San Diego.

Parking
There are several parking options, through ACE Parking and the Padres, that can be paid for in advance to guarantee your spot. Prices range from $21 to $40 and tickets can be purchased by calling 619-795-5555. For a list of locations, click here.

LISTEN: With NBC 7 San Diego's Darnay Tripp and Derek Togerson behind the mic, On Friar will cover all things San Diego Padres. Interviews, analysis, behind the scenes...the ups, downs, and everything in between. Tap here to find On Friar wherever you listen to podcasts. 

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