“Are they serious?” outfielder Will Venable asked.
“Asinine,” closer Heath Bell said, and that was before he learned the pitcher’s mound would be scraped off and rebuilt so the infield could be sodded for the friendly match.
“Let’s see, they held a concert during Comic-Con and killed the grass in left (field),” Bell said. “OK, so let’s go to a soccer match. We’re in a pennant race. Much of the nation will probably be seeing us for the first time. Shouldn’t we be trying to put our best foot forward?
“They’re not worried about the field looking good. They’re just trying to make a profit. Very interesting … I’m sure Luke (Yoder) and his (grounds) crew will make it right, but we have the best pitching staff in the major leagues and that mound is our office. It should not be messed with at this time of the season.”
But why Petco in the middle of a pennant race when 70,000-seat Qualcomm Stadium, where most big soccer games are held, is available?
Chivas USA president Shawn Hunter said the Q was never a consideration. He is good friends with Dan Migala, the Padres vice president for partnership solutions, and called him as soon as he received a window of dates from Chivas of Guadalajara.
The Padres balked at the initial proposal of Sept. 21 because that would give Yoder’s grounds crew just three days before the club returns from a 10-day road trip for the final week of the regular season. They settled on an 8 p.m. kickoff on Sept. 14, a Tuesday, which falls only two days after a Padres home game but 10 days before they play there again.
“We asked if we could do it in November,” Padres president Tom Garfinkel said, “and it just didn’t work.”