Friday, June 4, 2010

Petco Park

Petco Park
100 Park Blvd.
San Diego, Ca 92101

May 18, 2010: After a long night of partying at The Standard, we rallied late the next morning for our drive down to San Diego. We’d like to tell you about the beautiful view passing our windows, but the entire car dozed while Matt drove…which we’ll admit was a bit d*ckhead of us. We arrived in peaceful San Diego late in the afternoon and checked into our hotel. Due to previous experiences with the Travelodge, we chose to try on a Days Inn for size (a member of the Wyndham Rewards program and you may recall us mentioning that we qualified for a free night’s stay). It was no Plaza Hotel mind you, but it was a vast improvement compared to our past Wyndham Hotels.

We drove downtown for the game and parked in a random side lot for a mere $10 as opposed to the $15 Petco’s parking facilities requested. Either way, parking is still cheaper than the $19 that Citi Field and Yankees Stadium charge for a game.

The area surrounding the ball park (after driving through the ghetto just off of the freeway of course) is quaint and adorable. We couldn’t help but notice the similarities the area had with Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Both have a “warehouse/industrial” feel, along with a number of options for bars and restaurants. Later that evening, Erin would utilize her fancy smart phone to find out that the same architectural firm (Populous, formerly known as HOK Sport) was behind the design of both stadiums.

We ended up entering Petco on the left field side near the team store. In our defense, we thought it was the entrance, but the complete lack of a stadium marker should’ve tipped us off. At the team store, Serena bought the standard Padres hat while Matt picked up a throwback-style hat in the old brown and yellow colors. Lisa searched high and low for a stuffed animal of The Friar (who is creepy-looking by the way). Eventually, she gave up and asked for assistance. Turns out they don’t sell a stuffed animal of The Friar. They don’t even sell a bobblehead. This is what Lisa got stuck buying:
While The Friar may be creepy, he’s still the team mascot! No one told you to choose a level 5 mascot. Now you have to lie in the bed that you made and sell merchandise with this level 5 mascot. This beanie bear is just not going to cut it.

Before checking out our seats, we had one other mission to complete: Randy Jones BBQ. A little birdie told us prior to the game that this stand closes in the 4th inning. We’re not entirely sure if this is true, but we weren’t willing to miss out on the chance to eat BBQ, especially after the Camden Yards debacle. Therefore, from the team store, we walked the pavilion that cups left and center field to the area behind right field where the BBQ pit is located.
Lisa, Serena, and Keith all ordered monster-sized pulled pork sandwiches for $8.50, while Erin bought herself a roasted corn on the cob. We think that the sandwich was $8.50-well worth it, though Keith didn’t finish his because he was “full.” Since we weren’t at the stage in our relationship where this kind of behavior is appropriate, we did not eat the leftovers off of his plate. Though we wanted to. Badly
The sandwiches were enormous and messy, so we chose to eat them at nearby picnic tables instead of taking them to our seats. From here, we were able to watch adorable munchkins play on a Little League baseball field.
Also in this area is the “park at the park” region, where people spread out on blankets and towels on a grassy hill to watch the game. At the pinnacle of this hill is a statue of Tony Gwynn. To get a better angle of the area, Lisa took a picture of it from our seats.
Our seats were positioned perfectly behind home plate. This section is our favorite place to buy seats, but as you can probably tell from this photo, the shallow bowl-shaped layout of the stadium promotes a decent view of the field from any section. The only seats that probably do not offer the best view are the bleachers in the outfield, since home plate is so far away.
The five of us had been unable to buy tickets at the same time, but thankfully, the El Apartment crew found three seats directly behind us.
We should point out that the one weird thing we noticed about the field’s layout is the bullpen situation. If you look at this picture, you’ll see that the Padres have a proper fenced off bullpen in left center field:
Naturally, one would now look to right center field for a view of the Giants’ bullpen, but bullpen you’ll find not. What you will find is some cement bleachers or steps and a patch of sand for children and dogs to play in (you can actually see the top of these bleachers in the picture of the Tony Gwynn statue). Where is the Giants’ bullpen, you may ask? Just off to the first baseline without any sort of protection from the fans or balls flying about. Talk about giving the opposing team the middle finger. This is just blatant. The Padres are certainly not hostesses with the most(eses).
We happened to be smitten with Petco’s scoreboard, not because of any modern technology, snazzy neon light show, or fireworks display, but because of one simple advertisement flanking it. On one side is a weird-looking snow cone man wearing a Padres hat and holding a sign that says, “Go Padres.” Simple enough. On the other side is the same snow cone man, only here he wears a yellow party hat and holds a sign that says, “Go Tacos.” We couldn’t agree with you more, snow cone man.
The starting pitchers for the evening were San Francisco’s Jonathan Sanchez and San Diego’s Mat Lathos. You read that right. Mat as in doormat, not Matt as in The Favorite.
The Giants would strike first in what would turn out to be a long affair. In the top of the 4th, the Giants offense scored twice on an RBI single by Eli Whiteside and a bases loaded walk to Matt Downs. Bases loaded walks are one of our pet peeves. At least allow your defense to either make play or an error behind you. During this onslaught, it became apparent to us that the Giants fans sitting in the row in front of us were obnoxious a-holes (no offense, Mamacita). We sincerely felt bad for the girl hanging out with these guys. It’s one thing to cheer, but it’s quite another to carry on like drunk buffoons. The foul-mouthed heckling would continue non-stop (NON-STOP) until the 7th when one of them actually fell asleep on the poor girl’s shoulder. We suppose that being an a-hole is a tiring endeavor.
Random side note: in addition to the dynamic duo in front of us, in between innings we also had to listen to the Padres’ on-field commentator, Jeff Krapf. Cut out the “K,” insert a “C” in its place, and drop the “F” and that’s basically what we had to listen to coming out of his mouth for a solid 12 innings. He is hands down one of the most annoying people in the entire MLB. He tops Alyssa Milano, Keith Hernandez and Michael Kay combined. That’s saying a lot.

Since we had already chowed down on pulled pork sandwiches, we decided not to sample the Friar Franks at Petco. Of course, Keith didn’t eat a hot dog either. Matt and Erin, on the other hand, made sure to do so and reported back regarding pricing and taste. The hot dogs were $7.25 and covered in relish, ketchup, mustard, and chopped onions. Matt claims that he found smaller, grilled ones for $4.00. Both Erin and Matt give their hot dog a rating of so-so in the taste department. Not the greatest, but not the worst. A hot dog that will do just fine.
In the bottom of the 5th, the Padres’ bats finally woke up. With bases loaded and no outs, Chris Denofria hit a RBI single. Oscar Salazar would score on a pass ball, with rest of the runners advancing a base. Jerry Hairston Jr. (former Yankees player) would record the final out of the inning when he was thrown out trying to stretch a 2-RBI single into a double. The score became 4-2 in favor of the Padres. Serena scribbled notes for the blog as quickly as possible and Erin made it a point to document the moment:
Despite all of this offensive action, Padres fans remained quiet. The park felt like a mausoleum, which made us slightly uncomfortable. We had thought Angels’ fans were passive, but Padres’ fans took it to the next level of silence.

Both starters were removed in the 7th and Erin and Serena went in search for water bottles. While they were gone, The Friar made an appearance on top of the Padres’ dugout:
The picture basically confirmed that the mascot was creeptastic. Lisa didn’t care that we were missing an opportunity to stalk him for a photo. Furthermore, other than the 7th inning stretch, the Friar didn’t offer a lot of face time for his fans, which is probably why they don’t sell any Friar merchandise!

Serena and Erin would return, but without water bottles. Instead, Serena ended up buying a churro for $3 (because a T-Rex-sized pulled pork sandwich is apparently not enough to satisfy her stomach) and Erin picked up a plastic Padres helmet filled with vanilla ice cream and topped with Ghirardelli hot fudge. Ghirardelli, people! Delicious!
Initially, Lisa was annoyed that she missed out on a souvenir helmet, but then something happened that completely altered her attitude. A man selling mini-doughnuts appeared in our section. At first, recalling her fond memories of a warm, sunny day at Pier 39 in San Francisco left Lisa stunned. It wasn’t until the vendor left the stands and Erin and Serena cried, “Lisa! Mini-doughnuts! Get him,” did she react. She chased after that vendor through the tunnel and around the concourse until she was able to find him again. She returned to her seat, triumphant. Her victory cost her $5, but how can you put a price tag on glory?
By the 8th inning, the stands had mostly cleared out despite the fact that the Padres held a 2-run lead. The scoreboard asked us to guess the game’s attendance. It felt like only 5 people were there, but apparently a total of 19, 565 people had come out that evening. While over 19,000 people sounds like a lot, it really isn’t when you take into consideration how many seats a stadium holds. Plus, the Padres are in first place! Where’s their fan dedication?!
Mike Adams entered the game in the top half of the inning to pitch for the Padres and promptly gave up a 2-run home run over the right field wall to Andres Torres, tying the game. Our a-hole neighbors probably would’ve had something really a-hole-riffic to say about this, but they were already gone. In fact, we were the only “fans” booing and hissing at this home run because everyone else had either already left or were zombies. This home run combined with asinine Padres’ hitting in the bottom of the 9th directly contributed to the TBB witnessing its first ever extra innings game during a stadium tour.
Since the stands were borderline deserted, we took it upon ourselves to move up a few rows. The TBB and El Apartment switched places and it was our turn to sit behind them.
Erin turned around and snapped a photo of us in our new seats as well. Serena continued her note taking throughout the night…
An elderly gentleman appeared from out of thin air (we’re sure of it because he wasn’t around earlier) dressed in a Superman outfit and wearing boxing gloves. We think that he’s the Padres’ equivalent to the Angels’ rally monkey, but he could just be an old looney tune. To pump up what was left of the crowd, he shadow boxed and danced whenever the Padres did something good. Several attempts to photograph this individual were unsuccessful because he was so fast that he became a blur on the camera. This snippet of video was the best that we could do, utilizing Lisa’s phone.

video

After a bunch of crappy extra innings in which nothing exciting happened except for a brief moment of icy drizzle, the Giants took the lead in the 12th. However, the Padres looked ready to bounce back in the bottom of the 12th when Giants’ closer, Brian Wilson entered the game. With 2 outs recorded, David Eckstein hit a double and Wilson intentionally walked Adrian Gonzalez to get to Chase Headley. An RBI base hit would tie the game. Walking Gonzalez was apparently a genius strategy because Headley, according to Serena’s blog notes, “struck out like a real a-hole and f*cked everything up.” Final score 7-6.

Tired and chilled to the bone, we exited Petco Park from the gate behind home plate and finally managed to find the stadium’s entrance! It’s rather lovely, isn’t it?
At the hotel, we completely forgot about the mascots and climbed into bed. They actually remained in the duffle bag for the entire San Diego excursion, so we had to introduce their new friend back at El Apartment the following evening. In fact, we’re pretty sure that we hadn’t even taken their bag into the hotel room with us, which means they’d been suffocating in Matt’s trunk for two straight days. At least Mr. Met accommodated us for this picture.
Bon Jovi summed our trip best with the inspiring words, “it’s all the same. Only the ball parks have changed. Every meal, it feels like Keith is wasting away. Sometimes we sleep on food trays. Sometimes it’s not for days. You’ve got a pretty stadium, but the fans are all so quiet. We drive all night just to get back to the Days Inn. We’re the traveling baseball babes and in Matt’s Toyota we do ride. We’re not wanted dead or alive.”

BallHype: hype it up!

2 comments:

  1. Sounds like you guys had a great time at Petco - a ballpark I've never been to but always wanted to see. And now that you've vetted the pulled pork sandwiches, I'm so there.

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  2. We highly recommend the visit. It's lovely and the surrounding area is lovely and We're not really sure you can get something happier than a pulled pork sandwich and an ice cream sundae drowned in Ghirardelli hot fudge. : )

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