The Padres’ decision to move start times for Friday night home games — the series opener against the St. Louis Cardinals among them — 30 minutes later this season has been met with mixed reactions.
Those who had difficulty getting to the ballpark on time are pleased. Those who have kids, not so much.
Last Friday’s game against Arizona lasted 3 hours, 8 minutes. With a 7:40 p.m. start time, that meant the game didn’t end until 10:48. So it was close to midnight — or after when many fans got home.
Padres chief marketing officer Wayne Partello said substantial thought went into the time change.
“This was initially brought up by some season ticket members who commented how difficult it was to get here on Friday nights,” Partello said. “We looked at a lot of different research, traffic patterns, heat maps of days of the week of where our fans are coming from throughout the county and saw real challenges. … Friday traffic patterns were the most challenging for everybody.”
Partello said a phone survey was done with season ticket holders in different pockets of the county. Start times also were moved 30 minutes later — to 1:40 p.m. — for Sunday games. But it is the Friday night games that have received the attention.
“It was an opportunity to try it this year, and we’re obviously watching it closely to see if it is successful,” Partello said. “On Friday, we were seeing a lot of people not able to get here by first pitch. Hopefully, with this shift we’re able to help that. We’ll see. We’re not ready to declare victory or failure after one weekend.”
The Union-Tribune asked Padres fans on Twitter for their comments, pro and con, about the Friday start time. Here is a sampling of their responses:
@PadFan4Life: “Everyone I go with hated it. Some come down from Temecula they didn’t get home until 12:30. Ridiculous!”
@PadresNoHitter: “Prefer the late start. W/ traffic at its worst (on) Friday, allows more time to get to the game on time.”
@DaniKDub: “As an out of state fan, 7:40 starts are rough. Even in SD, it keeps young fans from going or even staying up to watch.”
@ScottSibley6: “Hate it, as did every Member in my section last Fri. And can’t trade out due to new trade rules. (20yr STH)”
@leisurebolt: “7:40pm Fri start is brutal on North County folks if using mass transit. Last Rapid 235 bus leaves SanteFeDepot at 10:33pm.”
@vettern89: “I think it’s great, more time to eat/drink outside the park or just get down to the park. Hope they keep it.”
@mikerod_sd: “worked for me last Friday (was with a buddy) but doubt I’ll go w/family. Ends too late”
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