The City of San Diego opened up the $450 million Petco Park in time for the 2004 MLB season, two years after it was originally scheduled to open, with the first Padres game being played on April 8th of that year. In the ten years since, not a lot has changed at the park, but it is still one of the must see ball parks in MLB.
San Diego’s ball park has one of the coolest features within its boundaries, and that’s the “Park at the park”. Basically it’s a grass hill with the Tony Gwynn statue, and small whiffle ball field for little kids to hit the ball around prior to (and during the game). The park in the park is out in center field behind the batters eye, so the people out there can’t see the field…but don’t worry, the Padres were prepared for that as there is a large video screen in the back of the batters eye.
Once you start to wander around the ballpark, you quickly realize that the concourse is split by concession stand (and bathrooms) for the majority of it. The concourse has several scoreboards that display the score, hits, errors, inning, and the number of balls, strikes and outs in the inning.
As for food and beer, the selection is actually pretty diverse. There is everything from a market (with fruits and vegetables) to taco stands throughout the park. Next to that market is a craft beer stand with plethora of beers (not out of the tap)…but they cost anywhere from $15-$17 depending on the beer — most beers are sold for $10-11.50 throughout the park. Despite the cost, the selection of foods and beers around the ball park are quite impressive, and a major plus.
My biggest gripe with the park was the wide-spread lack of crowd control from the ushers. The ushers were letting guest go to their seats between pitches, and it really impacted my ability to watch the ball game. Some of the ushers were less than willing to have fans (who were disrupting the game by standing and socializing in their seats, not on the concourse) sit down in the middle of plays…it was a constant problem through out the game.
As for the game itself, the Mets took on the Padres in the first game after the 2014 All Star Break. New York raced out to a 4-0 lead by the second inning because of several soft singles that added up. Fortunately for the Padres faithful, San Diego tied the game up in the fifth inning. The Mets scored the winning run in the top of the ninth off of a single.
Despite the cost, and disruptive fans, Petco Park is definitely a ball park worth visiting…and I highly recommend it.
Below is a photo gallery of my day in Petco Park, click on the pictures to embiggen them.