The San Diego Padres have been shut out of the playoffs for nine consecutive seasons. Will this be the year they emerge from the NL West cellar to get it done? It’s going to take finding a good rhythm and a career year from their key players, but they certainly have a shot. When it comes to the pitching rotation, Tyson Ross, Andrew Cashner and James Shields will carry the workload and will provide strength for this 2016 roster. Over the offseason, San Diego traded away two members of their bullpen, set up man Joaquin Benoit and closer Craig Kimbrel in exchange for six prospects, leaving a question mark in their bullpen. Whatever the pen makeup turns out to be, it should be successful at pitcher-friendly Petco Park. The Padres acquired shortstop Alexei Ramirez via a one-year deal, who spend his first eight seasons as a member of the Chicago White Sox. Wil Myers, who missed much of 2015 with an injured wrist will take over first base after Yonder Alonso was dealt to the Oakland A’s. Yangervis Solarte returns at third base coming off a very successful 2015, netting 14 homers and 63 RBI’s. Rightfielder Matt Kemp, who bounced back last season after a rough first half, could be crucial for the Padres in 2016 if on par. He will be joined in the outfield by Jon Jay who was acquired from St. Louis in the trade for Jedd Gyorko, and Melvin Upton Jr.
In the tough NL West clouded with the Dodgers, Giants and Diamondbacks, who are all showing signs of improvement, the Padres will need to keep pace this season. It is not out of the realm of possibility however for this team to get in a good groove and make headway in 2016. Fans and San Diego Padres ticket holders should be excited about the future of this organization and if nothing else, should look forward to the All Star Game that is taking place this season at Petco Park. Grab some peanuts, a hot dog and a cold beverage along with your San Diego Padres tickets, and head out to catch all the action this season live and in person.
Since 2004, Petco Park in San Diego is one of the premier places to catch a baseball game and Padres tickets are in high demand as a result. The road to get the stadium built was indeed a rocky one but undoubtedly worth it for Padre fans.
In the mid-1990’s the Padres were sharing an aging Jack Murphy Stadium with the San Diego Chargers and were seeking a venue of their own. Larry Lucchino, who had assisted the Orioles with construction of Camden Yards, was hired as the Padres President in the hopes of getting a new stadium underway. In 1996 the club officially announced their plans and after a World Series appearance in 1998, the San Diego voters approved a bond to allow for the ballpark’s construction in downtown San Diego. This new 42,455 stadium was originally scheduled to open in 2002.
However, in October 2000 the construction funding came to an end and the project was halted for a little over a year. In November 2001, the City of San Diego approved a $166 million bond in order to resume work on the stadium. In January of 2003, Petco Animal Supplies, Inc. bought the naming rights to the new venue for $60 million over a 22 year period and Petco Park was born.
Aesthetically, the ball park has a Southern California vibe with a white steel, sandstone façade and Palm/Jacaranda trees. All 42,455 seats are blue in color and are angled towards the pitcher’s mound. At the left field foul pole sits a San Diego landmark, the Western Metal Supply building which is part of the left field wall. It houses the team store and has an opening to allow fans into a standing room area in left field. Behind the center field fence sits the “beach” where fans can stretch out, relax and catch the game while hanging out in the sand. A kid’s entertainment zone, Padres Hall of Fame and theater are also part of the park.
San Diego played their first game at Petco Park on April 8, 2004 against the San Francisco Giants and have been packing the stands with fans lining up for Padres tickets ever since.
San Diego Padres History
The San Diego Padres made their major league debut on April 8, 1969 with a 2-1 victory over the Houston Astros in front of 23,370 fans at San Diego Stadium. However, winning wasn’t exactly the norm that first season as they finished with a 52-110 record. The newly minted expansion team’s one bright star that inaugural season was first baseman Nate Colbert, who finished with 24 home runs and would prove to be one of their standouts in the early years.
The 1970’s continued to be a struggle for the franchise as fans witnessed losing season after losing season. In 1982, home grown legend Tony Gwynn made his major league debut on July 19, earning two hits against the Philadelphia Phillies. Under Manager Dick Williams, the Padres showed significant improvement finishing in fourth place with a .500 81-81 record. In 1984, six years after their only winning season, the Padres recorded a second one as the team soared to new heights. Fans began to show up and buy San Diego Padres tickets to see this new team sparked by recently acquired veterans Steve Garvey at first base, Craig Nettles at third and Goose Gossage in the bullpen. Young stars like Tony Gwynn and outfielder Kevin McReynolds also helped propel this team to not only beat the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS but put up a decent fight in the 1984 World Series, ultimately losing to a stronger Detroit Tigers team.
The 1990’s brought two more division championships in 96 and 98 with a World Series appearance in 1998 on the shoulders of Trevor Hoffman who tied a NL record with 53 saves in 54 chances, the second-most in baseball history. Similar to 1984, the Padres were overmatched in the World Series and were swept by the New York Yankees. In 2001, after 20 seasons, Tony Gwynn retires ending an era and cementing himself in Padres history.
In 2004, the Padres finally move into their own ballpark in downtown San Diego, Petco Park. Perhaps the new venue and all the Padres tickets sold as a result brought good luck as the team went to the NLCS in both 2005 and 2006 but were beaten by the Cardinals both years just shy of advancing to the World Series.
The team was sold in 2012 for $800 million to a group which included four members of the O’Malley family who owned the Dodgers for four decades, and things are looking up for this long standing franchise still seeking its first World Championship.