On Monday, November 18, the Padres held a special ceremony at the site of the downtown ballpark to unveil a banner which will count down the days until the new ballpark opens in April 2004. Padres closer Trevor Hoffman and team president Dick Freeman pulled the ropes to unfurl the banner, which will hang around various parts of the ballpark so fans can see it from different areas of downtown.
"One of the reasons we're doing this is so that we can keep the people of San Diego informed about what's going on down here and make them feel like a part of this project", said Freeman.
There are over 500 construction workers on site each day working on all aspects of ballpark construction, from raising the steel beams to support the seating bowl to installing whirlpools in the clubhouse areas.
"The ballpark is very much on schedule. We will open in April 2004," said Freeman. "Right now, we're about 45% complete. The first light tower went up in the last few days and that's a significant milestone for us. We're about to finish off the steel structure and we'll have a topping out ceremony in the first couple months of the new year."
The new light tower was raised down the right field line, giving fans a clear visual of what the ballpark will look like upon completion.
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Supposedly the contract has a relatively small buyout clause, so while they get to send the message of committing to Ozzie for the long-term, if things don't turn around in a year or two he can be sent packing without much damage.