The home opener for the San Diego Padres should be an absolute blast on March 28. Bruce Bochy, the Padres' former longtime manager, will be in town with the Giants, and now that Bochy has announced that he will retire at year's end, he's likely to get a nice ovation when he's introduced before the game.
But the loudest cheers of the afternoon at Petco Park, of course, will be raised when Manny Machado, the third baseman wearing No. 13, is introduced. This is how the theoretical 10-year plan will play out on the field for the Padres, who have chosen Machado to be the anchor for their forthcoming wave of prospects, at the cost of about $30 million annually.
That's when the real test for the Padres' ownership will begin, the test of financial endurance, a challenge that none of the previous San Diego owners have survived. Perhaps Peter Seidler and Ron Fowler, the leaders of the Padres' current ownership group, will be the first.