I woke up this morning at 5:00am, had my bags already packed, loaded up my car and headed towards Sea-Tac international airport. My plane departed at 8:10am, and I was headed towards San Diego. Of course, I had a quick hour lay over in San Jose and I almost got to give up my seat to receieve $100 dollars and a travel voucher for a later flight. But I ended up not having to. Awesome.
When I arrived in San Diego I grabbed my bags and jumped into a “super shuttle”. While I was enroute to my hotel I overheard other passengers talking about some sort of convention downtown. At that very moment I knew I should have made reservations somewhere. When I heard there were going to be around 20,000 people attending this convention downtown I knew I really should have made reservations to a hotel somewhere. I normally don’t but I learned a very valuable lesson today. No matter what, always make reservations. When I arrived at my hotel I wanted to stay at they told me they didn’t have any rooms. No problem. It was only 1:30pm. I still had roughly four hours to get to the stadium. I asked the desk clerk where the nearest hotel was from here, and she told me there was one about seven blocks up the road. Downtown San Diego is easy to navigate so I hoofed it those seven blocks and arrived at the next hotel. No vacancy. Now I was worried. I wasn’t worried I wouldn’t make it to the game on time. Now I was worried that I flew all the way to San Diego California and would have to sleep on the streets somewhere. I didn’t know what was going to happen. But the desk clerk made some phone calls, called me a cab and got me a room at the EZ-8 motel just outside of San Diego. I had to take a smoking room, but at $61 dollars a night, plus military discount, I didn’t have a problem taking that. The only downside is that I would have to take a cab to PETCO Park. I had the cab driver wait on me while I changed into my baseball clothes. I grabbed my bag and $40 dollars later I arrived at PETCO Park!
What an awkwardly built stadium. Seriously. This place has more nooks and crannies than any stadium I’ve ever seen. And its not round on the outside! Its like, octagon-ish. It really is unique. I couldn’t wait to see the inside of it. But first I had to get something to eat. I talked to a nearby security guard about the best places to eat downtown and she told me to eat at the Tin Fish. So I seeked out the Tin Fish.
Here’s what I had to eat:
It’s just the generic fish and chips but it was so delicious. It was so fresh…and so filling. I couldn’t believe that this place had better food than Ivar’s fish and chips in Seattle.
If you’re ever in the San Diego area make sure you hit this place up if you’re into seafood. You won’t be sorry.
After I ate I headed back to the stadium and got my ticket for the game. It was pretty cheap and there were plenty of options to where I could sit. I decided to sit in the outfield. It looked pretty promising for a home run ball and I liked that idea. Here’s the area to purchase tickets:
After I got my ticket I wandered around looking for the left field entrance. I figured that would be the fastest way into the stadium. I talked to the nearby security guard that I had talked to earlier that referred me to the Tin Fish and she explained to me that the left field gates open up at 4:30pm. But fans are only limited to a certain area. It’s kind of like Coors Field and Safeco Field but from where I stood I couldn’t see the field. I had to wait here until 5:00pm:
The only thing between me and baseball paradise was that stupid little blue barricade. As I was standing there some other much older fan walked up and started giving the security guard a hard time about having to wait until 5:00pm to get to enter the rest of the stadium. I understood his point because I share the same frustrations but harassing the security guard about it is rather pointless. Just about every stadium I’ve been to has silly rules. Here’s another one. When 5:00pm came around I ran up the stairs and I immediatly ended up in the left field seats. There were already some fans lingering around, (obviously another part of the stadium opened up seconds sooner) so any loose baseballs laying around were probably already scooped up. I didn’t bother to really look for any. I focused on finding a good spot to snag baseballs. I called out to a few Padre players but I was ignored. I played the left field seats for about fifteen minutes and decided to play the third base foul area. Here comes another silly rule I mentioned before.
To get to the third base side I had to exit the left field section the way I came and then take a giant set of stairs up and around the stadium. It’s really a pain. Anyway. Here’s a picture of the area I stood in:
See the guy wearing the white shirt sitting down? Notice that he’s sitting? Also note the huge wide open space behind him? The security guards won’t let anyone stand in that open area. And if you want to be in the front row you have to sit down. I’m really not sure why those rules are in place. Another silly rule they have is if you want to be in the front row along the base lines during batting practice you have to stay seated. If a baseball comes your way of course you may react and try to catch it. But then you must exit out of that open space. I have the feeling that the people making those rules are an older group and think that fans can’t handle themselves in those areas. Or maybe people have gotten hurt too many times down there. In either case, I’ve been in plenty of stadiums, played those areas and I’m still alive to tell about it. In fact while I was standing there a foul ball came my way. I tried to play it on the bounce but the two security guards, (one pictured in the above photo) were in my way. The ball bounced on the dirt on the field, and then bounced into the stands. It took a few hops but eventually ended up back on the field by bouncing off a seat or two. The next baseball landed at my feet and I easily scooped it up. That was the only baseball I got during batting practice. I tried to use my glove trick on mutliple baseballs but like I said. Running from 3rd base to left field bleachers took a lot of time. By the time I got to the left field seats to use my glove trick the baseballs were scooped up by players or ground crew. And by the time I got back over to the third base side the same thing happened. I did get to use my glove trick to help some kid get his baseball back that he dropped onto the field.
I also made sure to tell Tim Hudson I thought his home run was awesome. He thanked me.
After batting practice I set out to explore PETCO Park. It’s such an awesome stadium and there is literally tons of other things to do besides watch an actual baseball game there. Like you can take your kids to a smaller version of PETCO Park and play a game of baseball:
The kids seemed to be having a lot of fun and I talked to a few parents that have come to PETCO Park before and they said they couldn’t ever get their kids away from this area. They simply love to come to PETCO Park just for this! Can you believe that? The good thing about this area is, it only cost $5 dollars to get in. You don’t actually get a ticket to watch the game in an assigned seat inside the stadium, but you can sit here and see the game just fine:
Its a huge grassy hill that families can lay all over and watch the game. How awesome is that? And if you get there earlier enough you can listen to live music!
They sang a few Michael Jackson tunes. And see that big screen behind them? You can come to PETCO Park, pay $5 bucks, sit on the grassy hill with your family or your friends and watch San Diego Padres road games! What other stadium offers that? None that I can think of! Aside from the huge difficulty of snagging baseballs I absolutely love this stadium. It’s one of my favorites so far.
Here is a picture of a seating area for groups only. It’s such an awesome place to sit because its right behind the Padres bullpen. How cool is this?
As far as the game was concerned the Padres blew out the Braves, 11-2. Dan Uggla lost his bat into the crowd in the 2nd inning, (no one was hurt) and there were two home runs during the game. Neither of them were remotely close to where I was sitting. I had right field seats and this was my view:
They were really good seats and I had the jump on an home run ball that came my way. I was seated right on the end right by the stairs. I had access to my right and to my left. Totally awesome. But no one hit anything towards me. There was one guy that dressed up like the Padres mascot that was dancing, and chanting…he had a whole routine down plus he had some followers. In the photo above the guy in the Gonzales jersey was part of his entourage. Here’s a picture of him:
He was very entertaining to watch. So I snapped a photo with him. Check it out:
The guy was absolutely hilarious. You have to understand something about PETCO Park. And this might help explain why the stadium was so awkwardly constructed. PETCO Park was built in a part of town that was really poor and run down. They put the stadium here to help promote the city and to make the area into more of a positive approach for families. So there are a few building that they tried to save and like, drop the stadium inbetween some of them like a puzzle piece. One building that just about everyone is familiar with is this one:
They turned this vacant building into suites for fans. Beyond that is a building that distributed candy. I forget the name of it but the history of the stadium is very interesting. They tried to salvage as many old buildings as they could. The candy building is currently vacant but the security guard told me they have plans to make it into something useful. Here are some pictures I took of a more before and after.
I haven’t really decided if I’m going to go back for another game or enjoy San Diego. There is so much to do in this town, and I’d hate to miss out on the fun stuff. Like the beach. Anyway. Aside from some of the quirky rules, the long walks between the base lines and the outfield sections, I think this stadium is pretty awesome. I like the fact that when you walk up on it you see this huge sign that says PETCO Park. And all the palm trees around it. It doesn’t seem like its in a big city but outside alone in it’s own world.
Here’s a fun PETCO Park fact: During the construction of the stadium, the Padres offered fans the chance to purchase bricks outside of the concourse and to dedicate them.
Soon after this, PETA attempted to purchase a brick to protest Petco’s treatment of animals (PETA and Petco have a long-standing dispute over this matter), but the first two attempts were denied. Undeterred, PETA succeeded on its third attempt by purchasing a brick which read “Break Open Your Cold Ones Toast The Padres Enjoy This Champion Organization.” When one reads the first letter of each word, it forms an acrostic which reads “BOYCOTT PETCO.” The Padres decided to leave the brick there, saying not enough people walking by would notice the secret meaning. I have yet to find this brick. I’ve asked a few PETCO Park employees but they don’t know anything about it. Figures.
Game; June 24th 2011 Atlanta Braves vs. San Diego Padres
Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $98.00 this season.
Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $33.75 this