It felt almost normal. Anyone wearing a brown baseball jersey was greeted with a “Let’s go Padres!"
It felt almost normal, but it wasn’t.
San Diego Padres fans showed up outside Petco Park in the East Village to support their team in its first postseason appearance in 14 years. If this was a normal year without pandemic-mandated health precautions, the East Village would be swarmed by the Friar Faithful
“It was like, ‘Ugh,’ ” Alex Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez's El Puerto Seafood by the Park had to shut down eight days before the baseball season was set to begin.
“It’s been a roller -coaster with having to close and having to open, over and over,” Rodriguez said.
“It’s been tough,” said Ivan Munoz, who is one of the head chefs at Lucky’s, said as Padres fans started filling the tables outside. “Obviously, sales aren’t what they used to be, but we’re hoping to pick up."
Wednesday would have been glorious if it not for the pandemic.
“It’s a huge difference for us, but what are we going to do?" Munoz said. "We have to keep people safe and make the best of it."
“It’s crazy because these streets would be flooded right now, even before the game,” added Rodriguez. “It’s great to finally see the Padres make it into the postseason, but it sucks that we can’t be there to celebrate with them.”
Both Rodriguez and Munoz, however, saw the silver lining of having playoff excitement in the East Village.
“It’s definitely an exciting, exciting day for us,” said Rodriguez, who allowed customers to reserve a table at El Puerto.
All of the tables at El Puerto were secured, which has never happened before.
“We’re full-on today,” Rodriguez said. “It’s like Comic-Con when Comic-Con comes.”
Both businessmen said they’re hopeful for the future. They hope the pandemic subsides and the Padres continue attracting fans to the East Village.
“You have to stay positive,” said Munoz.
“And, hopefully, next year, we’re somewhat back to normal," Rodriguez said. "I know 'normal' is a crazy word now these days, but hopefully...”
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