Padres’ 1st series back at full capacity will get full ‘Opening Day’ treatment

Sports

SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Padres will get a chance to play before a packed house for the first time since 2019 next month, and they plan to return in style.

The team announced a slate of events for their first series after California lifts most COVID-19 restrictions on June 15 and allows full attendance at large outdoor events. The team is celebrating with festivities dubbed “San Diego’s Opening Day.”

It starts Thursday, June 17, with the team’s game against the Cincinnati Reds at 5:40 p.m. Petco Park will be “hosting and honoring local frontline heroes who made this day possible, followed by special fan promotions for each of the games during the weekend series against the Reds.”

There will be a pre-game DJ spinning at the Sycuan Stage in Gallagher Square June 17 and then the traditional MLB Opening Day treatment inside the ballpark, with a military flyover, an American flag presentation with more than 250 active-duty military members, on-field introductions for the lineups and a post-game firework show.

The party will continue Friday, June 18, with the team’s first BeerFest of the season — a pre-game happy hour in Gallagher Square with special deals from local and national breweries, including $5 12-ounce pours.

On Saturday, June 19, fans will watch a live band playing at the Sycuan Stage before first pitch, and game attendees will receive a free Padres “aloha shirt.”

The team says Sunday, June 20 will be a family-focused day, with the return of the team’s KidFest program and special Father’s Day events, including giveaways for dads and a post-game catch on the field for fathers and their kids (registering ahead of time is required).

Starting with the Reds series, season ticket holders will also get a chance to return to their regular seats in the stands, and single-game tickets — a hot commodity in the team’s opening months, when attendance has been limited and secondary market prices skyrocketed — will go on sale for the general public starting Friday, June 4 at 1 p.m.

State health officials laid out in the clearest terms yet Friday their plans for lifting the state’s tiered reopening system June 15. For major outdoor events of more than 10,000 people (for context, the Padres averaged about 30,000 per game in their last full season of 2019), the state recommends that event organizers ask attendees for either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test. But that is only guidance, not a requirement, and the Padres’ announcement made no mention of such a system.

More specifics on the state’s new rules is expected soon, and San Diego County may issue its own guidelines.

A Padres spokesperson said fans who want to come to the ballpark should feel confident that the team is focused on keeping people healthy.

“As an outdoor ballpark, Petco Park remains one of the safest venues in San Diego,” a team statement reads. “A number of enhanced health and safety measures will remain in place, including regular thorough cleaning by the Petco Park Clean Team, touchless soap, towel and hand sanitizer stations, and UV light handrails on escalators throughout the ballpark.”

The single-game tickets available starting June 4 can be bought here

Group and suite tickets will also be available beginning June 17.  To book, visit this link.

The team’s return to full stands couldn’t come at a better time, with the team off to a hot start and one game back of first place as of Friday.

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