Wednesday, April 21, 2010

First pitch

The Padres are encouraged by the response to their new starting times for Saturday nights and weekday matinees. Saturday's game against the Diamondbacks, which started 90 minutes earlier than Saturday home games had for many years, drew a walk-up crowd of more than 5,000, club prez Tom Garfinkel told me, and the feedback for the 5:35 start time has been mostly good. There wasn't an attendance spike for last Thursday's game against the Braves, but Garfinkel likes what fans are saying about the 3:35 start time, which is three hours later than last year's weekday matinees.

"It allows kids to come to the games," he said. "I've actually had some 10-year-old kids come up to me and say, 'Hey, my mom went out and bought tickets to all of the Thursday games. We're going to go to every Thursday game now, because I can go now because it's after school.' " Garfinkel added, "I've had folks come up to me and say, 'Hey, this is great. I can play hooky from work a couple of hours early. I couldn't go to games when they were at (12:35)."

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