SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Fans lined up for hours at Petco Park before Monday night’s San Diego Padres game to see one player – Fernando Tatis Jr.
“El Niño! El Niño’s back!” Padres fan Rozee Blanco said.
“It means everything to the city,” Padres fan Anthony Parr told ABC 10News.
Padres fan Levi Leville added, “Great to see him; huge energy to the team. Super pumped to have him back.”
The Padres superstar made his long-anticipated return to Petco Park following injuries and an 80-game PED suspension.
“Everybody’s waiting to see the stutter step around third base, you know, with his homers. And the way that he’s handling it, I think it’s great,” fan Tijuanna Simon said.
“We been waiting on this. You know, he came back when they were out of town. But this is his first game back in San Diego,” Parr said.
And Tatis Jr. got off to a great start in his first homestand since 2021.
“Tatis, welcome home man! Hey, first two hits; he got on base tonight,” Parr said.
“It’s just nice seeing him have a good experience coming back, first rip just going for it,” fan Dustin Merrill said.
“He made instant impact. Base hit in the in the first at-bat, already came into score,” Leville said. “Crowd goes crazy. It was awesome!”
And not a boo to be heard to El Niño’s return to the Padres’ home ballpark.
“Maybe the boos on the road but at home, open arms, lots of love. We believe in him. We know he’s going to bring the energy, help us get to the postseason again and hopefully bring that World Series this year,” Leville said.
Tatis finished Monday nights game with three hits and one run scored, and he made a nice running catch in right field in the Friars' 8-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds.