Another glorious lunch at the Tin Fish to start things off right before I headed to PETCO Park for the second time this weekend. I simply have fallen in love with this ballpark. Do you want to know what else is so fascinating about PETCO Park? Not only is the ballpark so uniquely designed, but it is so fan friendly it will blow your mind. Do you know what they do on Sundays? They have whats called, “Breakfast at the Park”. They do this every Sunday home game. The game starts at usual time, and you can eat breakfast on the field WITH the players. You can also play catch with friends, and family members and sometimes with the players! The Padres come out onto the field while you eat breakfast and do their thing while you eat! No, there is no live batting practice going on but that is still very cool! I don’t know the specifics about how much it costs or what tickets you have to buy to get to do this but it sounds like so much fun! I wanted to call the airport at that very moment when I found out about this and push my flight back. Then I wanted to push my flight back another three days when I found out the Kansas City Royals were coming to town. Why couldn’t I be born in San Diego?
When I arrived at the ballpark I had about three hours to kill. What is also awesome about PETCO Park is they have what’s called “Park in the Park”. They open the outside gates to the stadium hours before game time to let fans roam around the grassy hill I took a picture of yesterday and to let the kids play in the mini baseball field. About two hours before game time they kick everyone out though. So you have to get there kind of early to experience this. Today I was on a mission. I wanted to find the PETA brick. Remember at the end of yesterdays blog entry I mentioned a PETCO Park fun fact? If you missed it, click here. Anyway. PETA, of course, hates PETCO. They mainly accuse them of selling puppies from puppy mills. How true is any of that is? Well, how should I know? I’m not a supporter of puppy mills and I certainly don’t think any stadium should be named “PETCO” but hey, it is what it is. And a silly name for a baseball stadium isn’t going to stop me from visiting. Just look at the Oakland Coliseum. They renamed that to Overstock.com Coliseum. How silly is that? But I’m still going back. The bottom line is; if you got some serious cash you can put whatever name you want on any type of architecture structure.
My mission was to find the PETA brick. I searched all the bricks in the palm grove and didn’t find it. After about two hours of looking a security guard came up to me and asked if I had found the brick I was looking for. I told him I was searching for the PETA brick and he laughed. It seemed no one knew where this brick was but everyone knows about it. I was also informed that there were more bricks over by the Tony Gwynn statue. So I went searching over there. Nothing. By then it was time for everyone to get out. Boo! I guess I’ll never find that brick.
Here are a few pictures I took while I was inside during the Park at the Park experience.
As I waited outside the stadium I noticed a large gathering across the street. And anytime a cab rolled up to the curb the gathering pretty much mobbed whoever was inside. Just from my experience of going to as many games as I have I knew that these guys mobbing the cabs were autograph hounds. Most of the cabs pulled up to the curb and then drove off. The baseball players inside the cab probably told the drivers to find an alternative way into the stadium. The only thing I don’t like about these guys is they sometimes disregard their own safety to get an autograph. Like running out into traffic or in between stopped vehicles at red lights, stop signs, etc. It can get pretty obsessive and people can get hurt. Plus, there were a bunch of little kids running around in the street chasing down autographs as well. I did get a video of Jason Heyward getting out of the cab though. Check it out.
As you can see he didn’t stop to sign any autographs. No one was being overly pushy. But I guess it’s a little overwhelming to get out of a taxi cab and have a mob of people wanting things from you.
Once the first set of gates were opened to allow fans to get their fancy new Padres beach towel, I waited in front of these giant stairs to gain access to the third base area.
As I was standing there a family of five walked right passed me and started to head up those stairs. Security, of course, stopped them and explained that everyone had to wait until 3:30pm before anyone was allowed into the rest of the stadium. As I watched the whole thing another security guard started to explain to me that I wasn’t allowed up those stairs. I quickly interjected and explained I wasn’t going to go up those stairs. But he kept on nagging me about it. So I just let him say his little piece about how fans aren’t allowed into the rest of the stadium until 3:30pm. But we are allowed to roam the Park at the Park area. It was pure torture to hear him drone on about this and when he was finished I explained that I wasn’t going up the stairs and that I knew the rules of the ballpark. Ugh! It made me a little angry because I wasn’t even attempting to go anywhere. I knew what the blue barricades were for. But I understood that the security guards interact with a lot of dopey baseball fans that don’t quite know what’s going on.
Once 3:30pm came around, the security guards were of course late opening up the barricade in front of me. So I just went underneath it and ran up the stairs as fast as I could. Once I reached the third base area I immediately started my search for any loose baseballs and then promptly took my spot behind the security guard that was guarding that precious wide open space that no one was allowed to stand in.
Just then a baseball was hit in my direction. It landed on the warning track and took a sharp bounce over my head. I took a couple of steps back and leaped backwards to try to knock it down, and it ended up snow-coning on the tip of my glove. I still didn’t quite have a handle on it as I came back down to planet earth but I had enough of it that when I landed the ball dropped down into a seat. I felt the presence of another human being on my hip pocket so I stuck out an elbow to try to box out whoever was attempting to steal my baseball away from me. The ball didn’t quite make it onto the concrete but instead it stayed wedged in the folded up seat. I saw the man’s hand make an attempt to swipe at it if it were to go all the way through the seat but it didn’t and I easily picked it out of the folded up seat. That’s all I needed was one to feel accomplished for the day. PETCO Park was hard enough to snag baseballs because you can’t really run from the outfield to the base lines. So I pretty much just sat back and smiled at myself for at least snagging one per game at this beautiful ballpark. This game also marks 50 consecutive baseballs snagged at stadiums that are not considered my home stadium. So that made me feel good. If you don’t quite understand what I mean, it basically means any baseball stadium I travel to outside of Safeco Field I’ve snagged a baseball at.
I ran back and forth between the 3rd base area and the left field bleachers every time I thought I had a good glove trick opportunity. But like always the baseball that I was going after always seemed to get scooped up by a player or a grounds crew right before I got there. It was the story of my life. But I got in some great cardio and got yelled at half of a dozen times for running. I’m surprised I didn’t get kicked out. Eventually the security guards just threw their hands up at me and shook their heads as I ran by. But hey. It was my last game here and I didn’t know when I’d be back. So I gave it my all.
While I was standing out in left field Matt Latos was snagging some baseballs and fans repeatedly called to him. He did his best to ignore it until fans started to get angry with him. I’m not sure what was being said by the fan but Latos kept telling the dude to “relax” and to not get so “worked up over it.” Whatever that meant. I guess because Latos wasn’t throwing every single baseball he caught into the crowd? That would be my guess. He even said he was all for it; meaning he would love to supply every fan with a dozen baseballs, but it just wasn’t practical because they need the baseballs to practice with. And despite the Padres being worth a gazillion dollars, it does cost the team money to toss baseballs into the stands. I think I have something like, 180 baseballs. So if each baseball cost $15 dollars then I have $2,700 dollars worth of baseballs. That’s insane! If you want to play with numbers just go to www.mygameballs.com and calculate all the baseballs ever caught by everyone on the lifetime leaders board and times those numbers by $15.00 bucks a ball.
That’s the size of the crowd in the left field seats. Once the Atlanta Braves came out and it got closer to the end of BP the stands filled up a little bit more. The Braves were a little more giving when it came to toss ups but they didn’t target any fan. They just sorta tossed the baseballs to people over their backs or just lobbed high arching tosses to give everyone a chance at it.
The Braves absolutely killed the Padres. 10-1 was the final score. Dan Uggla busted out the big stick and jacked a three-run bomb to left centerfield. It was a pretty good game until the Braves ran away with it. A lot of fans got up and left when the Padres started to get buried. It really reminded me of Seattle. I couldn’t help to feel a little homesick. I missed my Mariners and I missed Safeco Field. So I too, packed up and left. Now I begin my short journey back to Seattle, Washington. It was a lot of fun, San Diego. Thank you.
Game; June 25th 2011 Atlanta Braves vs. San Diego Padres
Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $98.85 this season.
Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $34.10 this