Petco Park

The Padres were wrapping up a home stand yesterday, and I still hadn’t gotten down to see a game in the new stadium. Sunday morning I got an early start, leaving Mike’s place and heading back over toward Pacific Beach and my luggage. It was too early to drop by Amy’s, however. I knew she had been off the night before and that meant she’d probably be sleeping something off. I was feeling pretty good, myself, so I went to a little coffee shop and had my morning tea and a bagel. While there I wrote the A Day At the Races, below.

After I was done I went across the street to the library for Internet access. The library was closed, but I found a spot outside where I goot a good signal from the wireless network inside. I settled in next to the building and set to work presiding over my media empire. Finally my butt was asleep and I figured Amy might be awake. Well, I was wrong. I popped in and freshened up as quietly as I could while Amy lay on the couch. Then it was off to the game.

I knew that there was going to be a big crowd there at the ballpark, so rather than dally at on of the many bars with pregame promotions I took the trolley straight down to the park and bought a ticket for a seat way up in the sky behind home plate. The gates opened up a few minutes later (two hours before game time), and I was one of the first in. I took the chance to wander around the stadium and see what it was like.

I don’t think public money should be spent on subsidizing a sports team, but I have to say that the result in this case is spectacular. As I walked around the park I had great views of the harbor (one hell of a lot of pineapples were being unloaded from a Dole container ship, there was a Royal Carribean Cruise ship docked, aircraft carriers aplenty across the way, and sailboats enjoying the unusually fresh breeze coming off the blue Pacific), of the city (jets descending between the downtown buildings, no sign of the predicted traffic mayhem on game days, absolutely cloudless blue sky a crystal dome over all), and of course the field itself.

In the “park at the park”, a little grassy area behind the outfield bleachers there was a pee-wee wiffleball game going on, and other events as well. The park is has a hill that provides a view of the game; for five bucks a head you can spread a blanked and picnic while watching the game.

I made a comment a while back that pets were not allowed at Petco Park. In the words of Rick in Casablanca, I was misinformed. There is even a section of bleachers specifically designed so pups can be comfortable, and there is a pup sitting service so you can go spend money at the restaurants and shops without worrying. There is also a dog health station. On top of that, it was the first annual “Dog days of summer” promotion. There was a dog show in the park, and before the game all the dogs paraded around the field. There was also a demonstration by Nick, the reigning world champion frisbee dog. That was really fun to watch as I ate my giant hot dog with jalapeños and guzzled my huge Coke.

I had been concerned that in the upper deck I would be baked by the sun, but the structures over the stands to direct the air flow over the field also provide shade. From my seat I could look past the field, past the dog show, and into downtown. With the fresh breeze I was actually a little chilly up there, so I used that as an excuse to buy a souvenir shirt (you know how badly I need shirts on this trip). With the shirt on a frozen margarita provided the perfect temperature balance. Ahhh, life doesn’t get any better.

Except for one minor technicality: the Padres lost. That wasn’t going to ruin my day, though.

6 thoughts on “Petco Park

  1. You know the stadium has gone to the dogs when the souvenir you buy is … ummm …

    All right, all right, I know that was a typo.

    I have had two memories of blissful stadium experiences. The first was a Dodger Dog at Dodger Stadium, where we had seats along the left-field line watching Todd Hollandsworth, fresh up from Albuquerque (where he was one of my favorite Dukes), doing the things he did to earn Rookie of the Year that year. The Dodgers beat the Giants handily, thus earning the lead in the division.

    The second was in the “remodeled” (really, it was torn down and rebuilt, but the voters had voted to remodel, not to rebuild, so that’s what it was called) Albuquerque Sports Stadium, renamed Isotopes Park in honor of the new team. The ‘Topes edged out the Nashville Sounds in 14 innings, and Assets Brewing Company had a concession, at which they provided a special Isotopes Amber.

  2. I’ve been to both Petco and Chavez Ravine and I must say that though both stadii are built purposefully for baseball, Petco makes DS look like a forty year old dump. You can stand at the top of the steps on the plaza level and see the enttir playing field. They have monitors by the mega for beer runs. Finally, I had five different microbrews (‘course they was $7 each).

    My biggest bitch about the LA Dodgers home field is that you can’t circumnavigate it once through the gates.

    Dodger Dogs? Feh, gimme those Gordon Biersch garlic fries!

    Ooh, speaking of GB – what up on the Polkacide front?

  3. We must have offended the Gordon Biersch folk last time we played in Las Vegas, because they no longer return our calls. At least I haven’t heard anything about restraining orders…

    Our other major brewing “sponsor,” Portland Brewing, is filing for bankruptcy, closing the restaurant in Portland, selling their assets (except for their profitable handtruck manufacturing division), and licensing their recipes to Pyramid Brewing. No more “Uncle Otto’s Oktoberfests” for us to play. I guess we drank all their profits in the hospitality tent.

    If anyone’s feeling masochistic, we’re playing the Cotati Accordion Festival the last Saturday in August. Ever hear a massed-accordion rendition of “Lady of Spain?” You’re lucky.

  4. Yeah, Dodger Stadium is a dinosaur, built in the era when bigger was better, when packing in lots of fans was more desirable than giving those fans a quality experience. But I still think Dodger Dogs are the best.

    As for Isotopes Park, it’s the second best in Triple-A ball — the only AAA staduim that surpasses it is in Nashville, where they thought they were going to get a major-league team — and Isotopes Park actually exceeds many major-league stadiums in quality, especially the older, “more-is-better” parks.

  5. The only baseball game I have seen (wait, I just remembered another – the Arkansas Travelers, and the SD Chicken was there!) was the opening game for the A’s many a year back. We were way out in the bleachers, and too poor to drink beer, but it was fun any way. Some A hit a grand slam homer, and that made most of the people there happy, including the old lady covered in A’s memorabilia rocking back and forth saying “Go Ricky, Go A’s, Go Ricky,” for the entire game. Didn’t try the A dogs either. Pretty sure we had beers when we got back home. Can’t say which, probably Anchor Steam. Almost caught a baseball at the Travelers game in Little Rock. And, of course, that Chicken sure was nutty! Ah, baseball! There is a softball league here in Prague, for those of you who are interested. Also, when does Polkacide make it’s triumphant foray into the heart of the polka?

  6. Dodger Dogs are superior to the typical ballpark food, and are possibly the best standard-type hot dog in the world.

    If you broaden the definition of hot dog, the Isotopes have a green-chile kielbasa, served on an Italian roll, that really rocks.

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