Padres games to return to full capacity next month: report

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SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 01: A general view of the stadium as teams were announced prior to a game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Diego Padres on Opening Day at PETCO Park on April 01, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

SAN DIEGO – Petco Park, the home of the San Diego Padres, soon will return to full capacity as pandemic restrictions wind down in California, according to a new report.

Citing unnamed county and team sources, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported Thursday that officials are “confident” capacity restrictions no longer will be in place after June 15. That’s the date state leaders have targeted to retire the color-coded reopening system and lift most virus-related restrictions, including its guidance on masks for fully vaccinated residents.

The Padres anticipate announcing the team’s plan for ticket sales by Monday, the Union-Tribune reported.

Under that timeline, the Padres would return from a six-game road trip to a full capacity crowd as soon as June 17 against the Cincinnati Reds. Starting there, the Friars play 17 of the team’s next 23 games at home before the All-Star break with Petco Park matchups slated against the Reds (June 17-20), the Dodgers (June 21-23), the Diamondbacks (June 25-27), the Nationals (July 5-8) and the Rockies (July 9-11).

Nearly 2.4 million fans were in attendance — an average just shy of 30,000 a game — during the team’s last full season at Petco Park in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Baseball Reference. Because of pandemic restrictions, only cardboard cutouts of fans and past franchise greats were allowed during the team’s playoff season a year ago.

This season, the Padres are averaging 13,878 tickets sold per game with attendance restrictions in place.

As of Thursday, the Padres are 27-17 — with a home record of 15-10 — and sitting a game behind the Giants for first place in the NL West. At 25-18, the defending champion Dodgers are 2.5 games back of the division lead.

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