2016 MLB Ballpark Road Trips: the NL West

 

Petco Park

Photo by Eric Kabakoff

San Diego’s Petco Park

Petco Park opened in 2004 and replaced the relatively generic Qualcomm (nee Jack Murphy) Stadium. It has a downtown location adjacent to the city’s teeming Gaslamp Quarter and gorgeous views in every direction that include Balboa Park, the city’s skyline, and the San Diego Bay. Simply put, this stadium fits perfectly into the fabric that is San Diego. It has callouts and exhibits to the city’s extensive military history (a ship’s whistle blares when the Padres hit a home run), the neighborhood’s history and the history of baseball in the area. It even incorporates into its design the shell of the warehouse that used to house the Western Metal Supply Company. The corner of that building was even fashioned with a yellow stripe that serves as the park’s left field foul “pole.” And since San Diego is such a beach town, the stadium is colored a sandy brown stucco to evoke the sand, while the seats are ocean blue to evoke, well, you know.

Even with just what’s listed above, this would be a magnificent park. However, it goes a major step further with its unique “Park At the Park,” a grassy area behind center field that has its own admission (though game tickets automatically provide entry) and is an area where families can picnic or play catch or relax in the grass while watching the game on a giant screen. It also has a playground and a whiffle-ball diamond, and you can bring in your own food (within reason). And the area is watched over by a statue of the Padres’ iconic Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn. No other team or ballpark in the major leagues has anything like this, and it’s a wonderful addition to the major league ballpark landscape.

Check Out: the food at Anthony’s Fish Grotto, a renowned San Diego restaurant. What, you’d go to San Diego and not try seafood?

Fun Fact: San Diego’s annual Comic Con has gotten so big in recent years that Petco Park now hosts some spillover events when all the fanboys and fangirls are in town

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