MUSIC - Hell's bells by AC/DC
Petco Park - Opened in 2004 and still in use. Location - 19 Tony Gwynn Drive San Diego, California.
Bong.....Bong.....Bong.....Bong..... It's the bottom of the 9th inning and Hell's Bells is blaring on the P.A. system. From the bullpen in centerfield, the number 51 is trotting in towards the mound. It's "Trevor time" in San Diego, and Trevor Hoffman is about to go to work. Welcome to the jewel of downtown San Diego, Petco Park.
Located at 19 Tony Gwynn Drive in downtown San Diego, Petco park is across Harbor Drive from the San Diego Convention center. Petco was built to help revitalize the East Village area of downtown. That area of town was seedy and was home to warehouses, and boarded up buildings.
The city wanted to help extend the gaslamp quarter, and to build high rise condos as well as restaurants and shops. It worked. After years of people avoiding the area like the plague, it is now bustling with life. Constant construction is all around. Both the Omni and Clarion hotels are across the street from Petco. The gaslamp district is a short 10 minute walk from the park also. Parking, on the other hand is expensive. Traffic sucks during a game. The red trolley line runs right by the park, so many people opt for that form of transportation getting to the park. Petco STILL has the famous fish tacos too. All is good in San Diego.
After political delays of almost 2 years, Pecto finally opened on April 8, 2004. It was a very positive change from the multi purpose Qualcomm stadium in Mission Valley. Qualcomm was your typical football / baseball stadium. Sightlines were terrible for baseball. Plus the gargantuan size of Qualcomm made it feel less like a ballpark. Petco on the other hand, was built with only baseball in mind. From the upper deck you have a clear view of downtown San Diego, and on the concourse of the upper deck, you can see Mission Bay. However, home runs are not plentiful here as they are in other new parks. Due to the heavy marine layer of air, and the cloud cover that comes in at night, Petco has gotten the reputation of a pitchers park.
The park has a few quirks. They have a "beach" behind the right field fence for kids to play in. They have a park within the park, which is a baseball diamond in back of the centerfield scoreboard. They also maintained part of the old warehouse feel, by salvaging the old Western metals supply company building. It is the distinct feature of the left field line. It also houses the Padres team store as well as team offices. You can also buy seats on top of the building as well as the terraces. The Padres have retired numbers that are on top of the batters background in dead center. The number 31 is for hall of famer Dave Winfield, the number 6 is for Steve Garvey, left-hander Randy Jones had his number 35 retired, and the number 19 is for Mr. Padre, Tony Gwynn. In 2007, the Padres had a statue of Gwynn erected in the park behind centerfield. A fitting tribute to the man who went into Cooperstown in 2007.
Opening day for the new park saw the Padres taking on their rivals from the North, the San Francisco Giants. The Padres beat the Giants 4-3, as Eddie Oropesa got the win in relief. Marquis Grissom of the Giants had the honor of hitting the first home run in the new park. He hit it in the 10th inning off Antonio Osuna. The first Padre home run would not happen until April 15, when Mark Loretta connected off Hideo Nomo of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
San Diego really needed a park. Qualcomm was not the greatest for baseball at all. It has had a two prong effect on the city. It took almost 4 years to build due to ASININE lawsuits brought on by some IDIOT politician who I will not name. First, the Padres got their first class ballpark, and second the park has helped revitalize a downtrodden area of the city. It is a win-win for the people of San Diego.
If you EVER have a chance to go to San Diego, make a point to stop by and catch a game. San Diego is not only the Padres, TONS of other attractions are all around. From Sea World to the world class San Diego zoo in nearby Balboa Park, San Diego has it all. Not to mention the great weather all year round too.
Petco Park, located in the east Village of San Diego.
The main entrance to Petco. 4/04
Bleacher seats in right field, and the "beach" area to the right. 4/04
You can see the batters eye and the number 42 on top of it. 4/04
The famous western metals building in left field. Photo from internet, date unknown.
A view from the upper deck. The Western Metals building is to the left. I was at the game where Sammy Sosa of the Cubs hit a ROCKET off Adam Eaton of the Padres. The ball hit the top of the Western Metals building and was still going UP when it hit. 5/04
The back of the scoreboard in left. 12/07
The statue of Tony Gwynn in back of center field. 12/07
Randy Jones BBQ in back of cente field. AWESOME BBQ. Lines are long, so come early. 12/07
The park within a park behind center. Kids play here during the game. And if you want a condo, (Pictured at the top left), BRING your checkbook. They are not cheap. 12/07
Petco park is a great place to see a game. Even tho it is not a home run hitters paradise, Petco is light years ahead of old Qualcomm. 5/04