Play Ball! San Diego Padres home opener

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – The San Diego Padres will open their 2015 home schedule at Petco Park on Thursday, against the defending champions San Francisco Giants.

Padres pitcher Ian Kennedy will toss the game’s first pitch at 3:40 p.m., and gates will open to the general public at 12:30 p.m.

For the home opener, fans will receive a Padres fedora and a magnetized schedule cling, while supplies last.

Fan expectations are at levels unseen in San Diego since the 1998 World Series.

New additions to the Padres lineup include starting pitchers James Shields and Brandon Morrow; closer Craig Kimbrel; catcher Derek Norris; outfielders Justin and Melvin Upton, Matt Kemp and Wil Myers; and third baseman Will Middlebrooks.

8,000 fans are expected to be part of the East Village Association block party which kicks off at 10 a.m., on J Street between Sixth and 10th avenues, and continue until 7 p.m. Live bands and DJs, beverages from Mission and Stone breweries, and chow from local restaurants and food trucks are will be part of the block party.

Due to new security measures, Padres are urging fans to enter Petco Park early because the game is sold out and fans will have to pass through metal detectors to gain entry.

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