Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.
Sunday afternoon is a special event for the Padres. It serves as Military Opening Day, marking a continuation in the Padres’ two-decade efforts on behalf of the Armed Forces. The Padres were the first Major League team to implement programs benefiting active and retired members of the Armed Forces.
One of the newest programs of military-oriented discount programs offered by the Padres is the Freedom Reserve Section just beyond the right-field foul pole. Active members of the military and their families can get tickets to the section for $5 Monday through Thursday and for $10 Friday through Sunday with verification online through GovX or by showing valid active duty identification at the Padres Advance Ticket Windows at Petco Park.
Fans sitting in the Freedom Reserve Section also have access to an adjacent suite provided by the Padres through a partnership with USO-San Diego.
The Freedom Reserve Section is also structured to host entire military units from commands throughout San Diego County.
It is the latest Padres program benefiting active duty, reserve and retired military and their families:
• Every Sunday home game is a Military Appreciation Day. Each branch of the Armed Forces is recognized during a dedicated Sunday home game at Petco Park. The Padres and Petco Park also host individual Marine units for most Sunday home games.
• The Padres Military Appreciation Discount offers seats in all areas with 50 percent off for Sundays and a 25 percent discount for all other home games with verification through GovX or at the Padres Advance Ticket windows.
• There are other recognition programs for military members and their families throughout the season including some on-the-field experiences.
• LHP Nick Margevicius, 22, who pitched Saturday, became the second player from the 2017 Draft to make his Major League debut. Margevicius was charged with one run on three hits and hit two batters with five strikeouts in five-plus innings. Forty-eight of the 72 pitches he threw were strikes. In the Minor Leagues last season, Margevicius issued 17 walks in 135 innings.
• After the first three games of the season against the Giants, Padres starting pitchers (Eric Lauer, Joey Lucchesi and Margevicius) have a 0.55 ERA -- allowing one run on 10 hits, three walks and two hit batters with 15 strikeouts in 16 1/3 innings.
• The 16 1/3 straight scoreless innings by Padres starting pitchers to start the season is the longest such streak in franchise history, breaking the previous high mark of 12 straight scoreless innings in 2008.
• 1B Eric Hosmer closed Saturday’s game with three straight hits, including a two-run double, after starting the season 0-for-7 with two strikeouts. It was the first three-hit game of the season by a Padre.
• El Cajon native and Valhalla High graduate Greg Garcia doubled as a pinch-hitter in his first plate appearance as a Padre on Saturday night.