The 2016 MLB season kicks off on April 4 and the Padres will be in San Diego to take on the Los Angeles Dodgers. San Diego will be led by its rookie manager, 38-year-old Andy Green, who will have a handful of new faces among some seasoned veterans to battle the touch National League West this season.
Familiar faces Wil Myers and Cory Spangenberg both will return to Petco Park this season. Myers, who once played center field, will start the season at first base, where he finished last year with the Padres. Second baseman Spangenberg, who was the Padres’ first round draft pick (10th overall) in 2011, had a successful Spring Training at the plate and may find his place near the top of the lineup to start the season.
We sat down with Myers and Spangenberg during the Padres’ Spring Training in Peoria, Ariz. to talk baseball and the joys of playing in San Diego.
What do Padres fans have to look forward to in the upcoming season?
Wil Myers: I really think it’s going to be an exciting team. I think this is a team that’s a lot different than last year. I think this is a team that’s built very differently, and I think we’ve got a lot of guys here who are real gamers. I think we’re going to play the game hard and play it the right way, and I think Andy (Green)'s doing a great job as a first-year manager and everybody’s really going to rally behind him.
Cory Spangenberg: I think we’re going to be an exciting team. I think we’re going to be more athletic this year. I think we’re going to be more disciplined. The last year, we had all the hype. This year, we’re going to be underdogs and, I think, overachievers.
East Village Opening Day Block Party
When: 10 a.m.
Where: J Street between Sixth and 10th avenues, East Village
Padres vs. Dodgers
When: First pitch at 4 p.m.
Where: Petco Park, 100 Park Blvd., East Village
Cost: Sold out
Best part of being a professional baseball player?
Myers: The best part about being a pro in the big leagues is living out your dream. This is something that everybody in here has wanted to do since they were a little kid, and I was fortunate enough and blessed to be able to play in the big leagues.
Spangenberg: I think it’s walking in the clubhouse and seeing the name on the back of the jersey. I think it’s something that I think everyone in this room has dreamed of, and to walk in and see that is the best part of it.
Best part of getting to play baseball in San Diego?
Myers: Obviously, the weather’s great; that plays a huge factor. Great ballpark. But other than that, it’s just playing in the big leagues. Like I said, you’re living out your dream.
Spangenberg: It’s probably the weather. I think it’s perfect baseball weather - 75 and sunny. At nighttime, it cools down a little bit, but it’s not too cool. I think the weather is just perfect.
Favorite food in San Diego?
Myers: Chick-fil-A. That’s where I eat the most. I usually just go there for breakfast every morning. I get a sausage, egg and cheese biscuit. The reason why I like going there is because they have sweet tea. It’s what I drink all the time.
Spangenberg: I like Snooze, when they come to the field and serve breakfast. And I like Sushi on the Rock for dinner. I usually like the shrimp or crab tempura. I’m not real big into the fish sushi.
What’s your ideal San Diego day?
Myers: Probably playing at Torrey Pines. I really like to golf; it’s one thing that helps me get away from the game a little bit. So on an off day, get some breakfast (at Chick-fil-A) and then go play at Torrey Pines.
Spangenberg: Probably wake up, go to either The Broken Yolk Cafe or Snooze, take a ride over to the beach, hang out by the beach. I like Coronado.