For baseball fans, opening day is equivalent to Christmas. It is a special time of the year where every team is in first place, the day is filled with optimism and hope, and anything can happen. Accomplishments and failures of the previous season are forgotten as all teams start with a clean slate. It’s important for teams to start the season off on the right foot, and that is exactly what the Dodgers did. And the Benchwarmers were there to witness every pitch.
Coming into the season the Dodgers disabled list was full. With a bevy of players injured, the Dodgers started off the season thin. But despite the injuries, the Dodger faithful that made the two-hour trek south were not disappointed.
We all know the facts now: Kershaw was Kershaw, showing that he is still the best pitcher in the game, throwing seven shutout innings and allowing only two base runners while striking out nine. The Padres stunk (and continued to stink through the series, losing in historic fashion on opening day and doing no better the next two games). The Dodgers offense started strong, roughing up our fantasy starter Tyson Ross for seven earned runs. All starters, including Kershaw, recorded a hit. Adrian Gonzalez and AJ Ellis both had three RBIs. In the end, the Dodgers put up 15 runs against the Padres and set a record for largest margin of victory on opening day.
Those Benchwarmers were able to pick up some little known tidbits of information in our travels.
First off, Petco Park is beautiful. The surrounding skyline and buildings provide a great backdrop for a setting sun and baseball, especially on opening day. Field level seats are obviously the business, but we’d almost recommend sitting in the seats with the highest reach: the view is phenomenal, both in terms of baseball and background. It’s probably equivalent to the reserve level at Dodger stadium, and it offers great bang for the buck.
Petco has one of the best scoreboards we’ve ever seen, with pristine clarity. But even better than that, the Padres show replays for almost every major play that occurs (even positive plays for the opposing team). The feeling of live baseball plus the benefits of TV? Sign us up! We can admit that their scoreboard is slightly busy, and we had a lot of fun mocking the fun facts that were posted about each player, but overall it was a top-ranking scoreboard.
Now some quick points about the baseball played (that you didn’t get from watching the game… well, more likely, that you didn’t get while listening to the game on the radio or looking at ESPN GameCast):
AJ Ellis mashed during BP. He hit the ball so hard Those Benchwarmers questioned if it was actually him. It was. We know it’s BP, but he got some good wood on the ball.
Chris Woodward, product of nearby Mt. Sac, is the Dodgers 3B coach. He sent Utley home on Turner double in the 3rd. The problem? Utley was barely three-quarters of the way to third base when Padre Rightfielder Melvin Upton Jr. picked up the ball at the wall. The relay nailed Utley at home and Woodward seemed gun-shy for the remainder of the game. Hopefully this doesn’t become an issue, but it is something to look out for.
For those who have not made the trip down south to see the Padres play, we have
some tips for you that might make your journey more enjoyable.
When you arrive to Petco Park, drive immediately to the Hilton for parking. The price was a little steep at $25 (we think partially high because of opening day, it may drop for future games), but the walk is short and the views are great.
Arrive early to the game: The Padres are one of the few teams that allow all fans to watch both teams take batting practice. In addition, they allow fans to sit in seats closer than their own until BP is over.
Come hungry and thirsty: the surrounding spots for food (at least directly next to the park) weren’t the greatest, but the inside has plenty of concession stands for your choosing. Dodger fans next to us commended the Padres on their great selection of alcoholic products available.
We highly recommend for you to purchase tickets in the upper level. Unlike Dodger Stadium, Petco Park is rather small. The upper level is equivalent to the reserved level. There is no bad seat at Petco, especially those behind home plate as they provide you with a breath taking view of the San Diego skyline.
Go buy your tickets now! The Dodgers return May 20-22 for a weekend series.
Those Bench Warmers are Derek Cheng (on twitter @DCheng110), Rob Diaz (@_RobJoc) and Riley Saxon (@coachrileysaxon). They enjoyed their time on the bench during their playing days and produce a weekly Youtube show on Tuesdays. Those Benchwarmers can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter and Instagram: @warming_benches.