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.