Thursday, August 16, 2007

Day 53: PETCO Park

All photos of Day 2 in San Diego and PETCO Park available on Flickr.

Today we visited major league stadium #26 of the tour, but before that, we started the day by traveling a few miles up the coast to La Jolla to visit the Salk Institute. The Salk Institute is a building designed by renowned architect Louis Kahn, my favorite architect. Mary and I as architects, and Erik as a former one, were all excited to see this nearby masterpiece, and it was definitely worth the trip. Kahn's architecture is known to evoke a spiritual response, and its terminus overlooking the Pacific Ocean certainly demonstrated this well.

I could write a much longer piece on my feelings on the building, but it's not really what this blog is about, so moving on - after the Salk Institute, we drove around looking for a good beach. We heard that Mission Valley Beach was the place to be, and although it took us awhile to find, we eventually made it there in the early afternoon. This was one of the most active and largest beaches I have ever been to (cut me some slack, I live in Wisconsin), and it definitely reminded me of Baywatch - bodies laying out on the sand as far as the eye could see. The three of us spent a bit laying out in the sun, and although the water was a bit cold, we spent awhile battling the crashing waves of the San Diego Bay as well. We concluded our stay at the beach with a drink at a bar nearby that had a man-made wave machine that people were surfing on, and it was pretty cool to watch while enjoying a frosty beverage.

After waking up early and spending a long time in the sun, we all immediately fell asleep upon our arrival back to the hotel. We actually overslept a bit and so Erik and I did not get a chance to fundraise, but the Padres are home through the weekend and Erik and I plan on going to the game Saturday anyways, so we'll definitely make money in San Diego for Habitat. The park is near the bay on the south side of downtown and is now in its 4th season of operation. Erik and I have mixed feelings on the park - namely, he hated it and I loved it. Erik did not appreciate the lack of an escalator to the top floor, nor the poor view we had from our original bleacher seats, among other things. I loved the park because it had some of the most unique features we've experienced than at any other stadium. In left field, the pre-existing Western Metal & Supply Company building serves as the left field foul pole. Instead of being torn down, it was gutted out and is an integral part of the park, featuring decks for watching the game, a restaurant, rooftop bleachers, and a giant team store. Another cool part are the two stair towers, done in adobe. The whole stadium features the colors of navy blue and sand, which are the team's colors. All of the concourses on every level are different and not continuous, creating a more active space. Lastly, the right-center field area beyond the outfield wall is awesome. I'll agree that the view from the bleachers out there wasn't the best, but the seats are arranged on a lawn with a children's sandbox area below. There is also a general admission area in the outfield that is just a large park where people cuddle up with blankets and watch the game on a big screen TV for $5.

We ended up moving from our original bleacher seats to the upper deck for a better view. Instead of view issues, we ran into problems with the crowd up here. The people around us were more concerned with playing with a beach ball and getting a wave started than with actually watching the game, so are experience there was not as pleasant as it could have been. ML ERA-leader Chris Young got the start for the Pads and tossed 6 scoreless innings, including striking out the first 4 batters he faced, but received no run support and got a ND in the Padres' loss. San Diego only mustered three hits the whole game and seemed to be baffled by starter Ubaldo Jimenez, who struck out 9 and only gave up one of those hits. Pinch-hitter Ian Stewart broke the scoreless tie in the 7th with a 2-run single.

We are in the SD area until Sunday morning waiting for the Diamondbacks to return home. Tomorrow we plan on going to the world-famous San Diego Zoo!

park stats and rankings:
aesthetics - 8
views from park - 8 (downtown SD)
view to field - 4 (lots of obstructed view)
surrounding area - 9 (downtown SD/Gastown)
food variety - 6
nachos - 9 (chili + cheese)
beer - 3 (expensive, low variety)
vendor price - 5
ticket price - 6 (about average)
atmosphere - 2 (obnoxious crowd)
walk to park - 10 (walk through downtown and Gastown, and the outfield park)
parking price/proximity - 6 (we walked, but parking next door for $15)
concourses - 9 (very unique)
team shop - 7 (huge one in Metal Supply building, one in stadium as well...could use more retro Pads gear though)

best food - fish tacos
most unique stadium feature - Park in the Park, bleacher/sandlot seating
best jumbotron feature - "Wild Pitch" animation
best between-inning feature - Friar mascot shoots t-shirts out of cannon

field dimensions - 336/395/320
starters - Ubaldo Jimenez (COL) v. Chris Young (SD)
opponent - Colorado Rockies
time of game - 2:41
attendance - 36865
score - 3-0 L
Brewers score that day - 12-2 L

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Glad the trip is going well. I hope there is a team in Tijuana that you can see as well.