On a cold and breezy last day of March, baseball was back in El Paso, as the Chihuahuas hosted their major league affiliate San Diego Padres.
It was the first time a Major League team made an appearance in El Paso since March 27, 2003 when the Arizona Diamondbacks paid a visit to then Minor League affiliate, El Paso Diablos.
The ballpark held a sold out crowd of 10,022 for the exhibition game, as fans lined up at the gates three hours before the first pitch. And while the Padres eventually beat the Chihuahuas 13-9, those fans were happy none-the-less.
Fans were excited about the event and the opportunity to see several big-league players such as Matt Kemp, Alexi Ramirez, bench coach and former St. Louis Cardinal and Oakland Athletics’ great, Mark McGwire.
“I think it’s fantastic, it’s great for the city and it gives everybody the opportunity to see Major League baseball and really see how close the Triple-A guys that play for the Chihuahuas are to the major leaguers,” TVO Groupe President, Steve Beltran said. “I love the game, I love seeing the young guys coming up, I like to see the raw talent. Trevor Hoffman unfortunately isn’t playing, but he was always fun to watch.”
Parking was hard to come by, even for members of the media who had to find parking in the neighboring areas. Some fans who work in the downtown area had the luxury of walking to the stadium, but there were others who weren’t as fortunate, nonetheless making the best of the experience.
“The travel over here wasn’t too bad, we didn’t take the highway, but it took us about 35 minutes, when it normally takes us about 15 or 20,” Chihuahuas fan Enrique Caldera said. “Parking was horrible, hopefully El Paso PD can figure something out to make it smoother, but it’s an awesome feeling to see big-league names and get to see the coaches that you grew up watching and those mentioned on ESPN.”
Caldera, also an Atlanta Braves fan, said he was happy to see former Braves outfielder, Melvin Upton Jr. who now plays for the Padres.
Those fans who have invested in season and partial-season ticket packages were excited to see baseball back in El Paso, despite the weather conditions.
“It’s the second year in a row that myself and some friends have gotten the season-ticket plan so we’re pretty familiar with the stadium,” Daniel Acuña said. “We can’t wait to see what new promotions they have throughout the season, it looks like it’s going to be an exciting season so far.”
The excitement for the Chihuahuas’ third season in El Paso resonates not only with season-ticket holders like Acuña, but with casual fans who enjoy the event for everything more than just what happens on the diamond.
In the case of Carlos Lopez who works in the downtown area, getting to the stadium was not as difficult as those who have to drive and find parking.
“It’s a family oriented event so it’s always fun to hang out with friends and family, for me it’s just the start of the spring season,” Lopez said. “Getting to the stadium is very accessible for me, the downtown area makes it easy.”
To read a recap of the game, click HERE
To check out all the pictures (on one page!) click HERE