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KPBS Evening Edition

Padres Opening Night Draws Sold-Out Crowd

The crowd prepares for the national anthem at Petco Park before a Padres game.
SD Dirk
The crowd prepares for the national anthem at Petco Park before a Padres game.
Opening Day

Today marks the home opener at Petco Park for the San Diego Padres.

At one and five, the team is off to the worst start in more than a decade. But as the team takes on the Los Angeles Dodgers, its players and its fans are hoping that changes to the park will provide some relief to the struggling Padres.

During last year's opener, the Dodgers nearly swept the opening series with wins of three out of the four games.

But Petco Park has been remodeled since then. Fences in right, center and left field have been shortened by 10 feet to eliminate some of the edge pitchers have enjoyed in the past.

There's also a new scoreboard in right field and new seating for the 25,000 people expected to attend opening night.

The thousands of fans means a sold-out stadium. It also means some serious traffic.

The San Diego County Bicycle Coalition is providing free bicycle valet service for fans this opening day in hopes that it will encourage close-by Padres fans to ride their bikes instead of driving.

"You don't have to fight the traffic, searching around for a place to park," said James Spellman, cyclist. "You just hang your bike right here and walk into the game."

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