San Diego, CA
PETCO Park is the home of the San Diego Padres of the National League. Opened in 2004 to replace the multi-purpose Jack Murphy Stadium out on I-8, PETCO was placed in downtown San Diego, walking distance from the Gaslight District and the harbor. The park has an open, modern look and, as should be expected in modern stadiums, all of the seating is excellent, with good sightlines and close to the field. Parking is a hassle, but there is a light rail stop near the station and, of course, one can always choose to travel to the game on one's yacht.
Despite it's reputation for nearly perfect weather nearly all the time, I managed to go to San Diego on a weekend that was gray and drizzly from start to finish. This did nothing, however, to dampen the enthusiasm of the fans, who cheered and chanted and clapped for the entire game. Dodgers fans, that is. The place was half full of folks decked out in Dodger blue to cheer for the visiting team. The Dodger faithful easily drowned out the Padres fans and then the Dodgers easily dealt with the Padres.
Review by Mike
The most famous, and coolest, feature of the ballpark is the Western Metal Supply Company Building, which makes up the left-field corner of the stadium. This listed historic building was moved a little bit in order to make it fit the stadium plan, but inside you can see the original beams and brick walls of this San Diego landmark. There is a club inside and an open terrace on the roof that is open to anyone to visit. You don't need a special ticket. The left field foul "pole" is actually a piece of metal attached to the corner of the building. They really did an excellent job of incorporating this historic building into this modern stadium.
One of the things I liked best about the ballpark is that the ushers don't worry about what anyone's ticket says. I was able to sit anywhere I wanted. Nobody ever checked my ticket. I spent some of the game in prime seating behind home plate, a little time in the warehouse and anywhere else I liked. Everyone was friendly and cheerful and seemed intent on not doing anything that might hinder my enjoyment of the game.
After all of this praise, you may wonder why I am not giving PETCO the coveted five hot dogs. I will tell you. After walking around PETCO it seems clear that it was designed to provide fans with an excessive range of activities and distractions so they wouldn't have to watch the game. The field level concourse does not provide a 360 degree view of the field like most new ballparks. There are many obstructions and most concessions are away from the field, providing no view. There are many places to sit and eat at tables or stand by tall tables to share a drink with friends... all out of sight of the field. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I think baseball should be the main reason to go to a ballgame and the Padres seem to have made a distinct effort to downplay the game in favor of the nightclubs. On the other hand, folks seemed to be enjoying themselves, so what do I know?
This quibble aside, PETCO Park is a beautiful place to see a ballgame, or a noisy place to get a drink outdoors and hang out with your friends.
Cody Bellinger has just struck his 2nd home run of the game and 4th of his career on May 5, 2017 in San Diego. He would go on to hit 39 home runs and win Rookie of the Year.