Opening Day and Me

With the Padres set to play their home opener against the Dodgers today, I got to thinking about the first opening day I attended back in 2009. That’s right, 2009. There was always something about the opener that made me stay away and I’m not sure why. I guess I didn’t feel the need to get swallowed up by a crowd all for the sake of saying “I was there, man”. Truthfully, I’m a terrible procrastinator. The cause of missing so many openers probably has more to do with my waiting far too long for the one game that always sells out. But I was there in 2009. And it too featured a match-up against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Including today’s game the Padres have faced the Dodgers in 3 out of the last 5 home openers and I will have seen them all.* The 2009 game, my first opener, didn’t go well. Jake Peavy was on the hill and he gave up 2 runs in the 1st inning, 1 in the 3rd inning, and then 1 more in the 7th when Matt Kemp took Jake for a solo blast. The final score was 4-1.

That game, played a short 4 years ago, feels like the passing of a lifetime. The name of Matt Kemp sounds familiar to us, but of players who took the field on April 6th, 2009, only he and Andre Ethier remain. Gone are the Furcals, O-Dogs, Man-Rams, Martins, and Blakes. No more Kuroda, Kuo, or Broxton either.

The Padres roster looks equally altered over the course of 4 years. Of the current Padres only Luke Gregerson and Chase Headley saw action during the 2009 opener, while Nick Hundley and Everth Cabrera (Rule V acquisition) both found themselves on the bench that day. But Drew Macias, Luis Rodriguez, and Edgar Gonzalez saw playing time. The first half of 2009 was rough, no?

Clayton Richard takes the hill today but I can’t help but think of 2009 and Jake Peavy and opening day against the Los Angeles Dodgers. For the sake of all Padres fans in attendance let’s hope it turns out differently in 2013. Because losing to the Dodgers in San Diego f*cking sucks!

* I missed the 2010 opener when the Padres crushed the Braves 17-2 but rebounded in 2011 to see the Padres beat the defending champion San Francisco Giants, 3-1.

I contribute to Padres Public on Thursday mornings and when I’m feeling particularly inspired. I can also be found on twitter at @AvengingJM where I offer the lyrical equivalent of encased meats, 7 days a week.

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  • Gloccamorra

    When I was a season ticket holder, I went to a few opening day games, then routinely turned in my opening day ticket, and all the Sunday game tickets (including the Mother’s Day Concert game), and invited friends to join me for the SECOND game, and cap night. Tony Gwynn always said opening day was for the Beautiful People, but the real fans showed up for the second game – and he was right. Too many festivities, parties and conversation on opening day, not enough baseball crowd in the stands.