Thursday's pre-game ceremony will feature all the pageantry of Opening Day, along with the unveiling of Petco Park's newest addition, the National League's largest video board (#SDinHD). Highlights of the pregame ceremony include an aerial demonstration by the United States Navy parachute team, also known as the Leap Frogs, and the unfurling of the Holiday Bowl Big Flag, held by 300 sailors from Navy Region Southwest, United States Third Fleet, Naval Air Forces, Naval Surface Forces, Naval Special Warfare and Submarine Squadron 11.
UpDown Records recording artist Ashleigh Stone will sing Thursday's National Anthem. Stone, a native of Texas Hill Country, will release Element, her first full length album, this June. She is in San Diego on tour, and will be performing at the House of Blues San Diego on April 9 at 7:00 p.m. Stone's Anthem will be followed by a flyover by two Harriers from the VMA-311 Tomcats from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Yuma, Ariz. In addition, San Diego native Caroline Corn will perform God Bless America live prior to the 7th inning stretch.
With a sellout crowd headed to the ballpark on Thursday, as well as previously announced parking and security changes, fans attending Thursday's home opener are encouraged to arrive early. Petco Park gates will open early for this purpose: Padres Members will be granted access at the Park Blvd. gate beginning at noon, while all other gates open at 12:30 p.m. for the general public. This will afford fans the rare opportunity to watch the Padres take batting practice. Home team batting practice starts at approximately 12:45 p.m., followed by visitors' batting practice at approximately 1:45 p.m. Fans should be in their seats no later than 3:00 p.m., so as not to miss a moment of the 2015 Opening Day pregame ceremony.
This year, as part of a Major League Baseball initiative to strengthen and standardize security practices across the League, walk-through metal detectors have been installed at all Petco Park entry gates and access points. Starting this season, all fans will be screened as they enter the ballpark. As in years past, fans will continue to have their bags checked by ballpark security staff prior to reaching entry gates and going through metal detectors. Express Entry lines will be available at all main gates for Season Ticket Members and fans without bags. Additional information about new safety measures can be found at www.padres.com/transportation.
Due to an expected increase in traffic and parking delays, fans are strongly advised to pre-purchase parking online at www.padres.com/transportation or utilize public transportation. Pre-purchasing parking will guarantee a spot in a Padres-preferred lot at a discounted rate.
The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) will offer additional "Special Event" trolley service from Qualcomm Stadium (with 5,000 free parking spots) and Mission Valley stations to the ballpark area. All three Trolley Lines-Green, Blue and Orange-offer direct service to Petco Park and increased service following the game. The North County Transit District (NCTD) will offer extra Coaster service with trains departing from Oceanside Station at 11:05 a.m., 1:51 p.m. and 2:32 p.m.. Free parking is available at all North County Coaster stations and RegionPlus Day fares include free trolley connections. After the game, a northbound Coaster train will leave Santa Fe Depot 60 minutes after the last out.
While Opening Day is sold out, limited tickets are still available for the three remaining weekend games in the Opening Series presented by Sycuan. Friday's game will feature the season's first Party in the Park presented by Southwest Airlines and supported by Shellback Rum and Maui Jim. As San Diego's biggest happy hour, Party in the Park will feature food and drink specials, as well as entertainment at Park at the Park starting at 5:00 p.m. Entry is included with a paid ticket to that night's game. The first 25,000 guests in attendance on Friday will receive a 2015 Schedule Cling.
Prior to Friday's game, the Padres will celebrate San Diego's rich sports history with a Ceremonial First Pitch by local sports icons including Padres Hall of Famer and 1976 Cy Young Winner Randy Jones, former San Diego Chargers Center Nick Hardwick, skateboarding legend Tony Hawk, one of the world's greatest surfers, Rob Machado, and San Diego State Aztecs basketball forward JJ O'Brien. Following the game, the Padres invite fans to stay to enjoy the National League's largest video board in full effect in a 10-minute postgame video produced by Padres Productions in partnership with SONY. The video continues the pregame theme of celebrating San Diego and San Diego sports.
Baseball Night in San Diego returns on Saturday, featuring a postgame Laser Show presented by Sycuan for all guests in attendance. The show will celebrate America's Finest City, featuring some of the greatest San Diego moments in film and television.
The Padres longstanding tradition of honoring the Military on Sundays kicks off with Military Opening Day presented by Northrop Grumman on April 12. Sunday's pregame ceremony will salute all branches of the Armed Forces. Additional details surrounding Military Opening Day will be released later this week.
Also Sunday, KidsFest at the Park returns with bounce houses, inflatable games, balloon artists and face painters, as well as additional kid-friendly activities. Prior to all Sunday home games, from 11:30 a.m. to noon, two Padres players will sign autographs at Park at the Park for Compadres Kids Sunday Signings. A Compadres Kids membership is required to participate in the signing event. Membership is free and kids can sign up online or in-person on the day of the event.
Tickets for all remaining home games can be purchased by visiting www.padres.com, at the Petco Park box office, by phone at 619.795.5555 and at the Padres Store in Tijuana.