The San Diego Padres will open their 2019 season Thursday against the San Francisco Giants with events and pageantry in and around Petco Park.
San Diego’s East Village Association will begin its free two-day Opening Day Block Party at 10 a.m., featuring live music, an interactive game zone, a micro-brew beer garden and more than 30 food trucks lining the streets adjacent to Petco Park.
The party will continue until 2:30 p.m. and resume Friday at noon. The ninth annual block party will take place on J Street between Sixth and 10th avenues.
Petco Park gates will open at 10:30 a.m., allowing fans to watch both the Padres and the Giants take batting practice. Pregame ceremonies are scheduled to begin at roughly 12:30 p.m., including a celebration of 2019 being the 50th anniversary of the Padres beginning play in the National League.
Hall of Fame reliever Trevor Hoffman and Randy Jones, who in 1976 became the first Padre to win the Cy Young Award, will each throw a ceremonial first pitch.
Pregame ceremonies will also include the unfurling of the Holiday Bowl Big Flag, held by sailors from numerous units stationed throughout San Diego. The Ceremonial Bell will be rung by a season ticket holder from 1969, the Padres first season in the National League.
The national anthem will be sung by San Diego native Brian Justin Crum, who finished fourth in the 2016 season of “America’s Got Talent.” The anthem will be followed by a flyover by four F-18 Hornets from the VMFAT-101 Sharp Shooters stationed at MCAS Miramar.
Navy Petty Officer First Class Yarrick Sharod Conner will perform “God Bless America” before the seventh inning stretch.
The Metropolitan Transit System will boost trolley service on the Sycuan Green Line, the UC San Diego Blue Line and the Orange Line to better accommodate Opening Day’s sellout crowd.
Trains will depart all stations every 15 minutes, while Green Line trains will depart every 7.5 minutes from SDCCU Stadium to Petco Park starting at 11 a.m. Blue Line trains heading to southern San Diego County after the game will depart every 7.5 minutes as well, beginning at 2:30 p.m.
The signing of third baseman Manny Machado and debut of shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. bring optimism for a better season after two last-place finishes in the past three seasons.
Machado is a four-time all-star and two-time Gold Glove Award winner who signed a 10-year, $300 million contract on Feb. 21, the fourth largest deal in American sports history and the largest in team history.
Tatis, who turned 20 Jan. 2, was tabbed as baseball’s second-best prospect by Baseball America and MLB Pipeline and third by Baseball Prospectus. His father was a third baseman for five major league teams from 1997-2010.
Eric Lauer will be the Padres starting pitcher, facing fellow left- hander Madison Bumgarner. Lauer was 6-7 with a 4.34 ERA as a rookie with the Padres last season. Bumgarner was 6-7 with a 3.26 ERA last season.
Lauer will be making his first opening day start and Bumgarner his fifth.
First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m.
— City News Service
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