Petco Park and ‘The Big 4’

Petco Park — April 24th, 2011

I’m sitting in the San Diego waterfront Hilton looking out at over a hundred Dole containers as they load or unload depending on the time of day.  Last night it was the unload.  It’s been a fast paced few days since I started this newest log.  As with past trips, it’s been wall-to-wall action.

Getting into Palm Springs on Friday was refreshing, a nice sunny 80 degrees compared to the constant rain and under-50 we’ve been stuck with in Seattle for so long.  I kept things close to the hotel, the few hour drive was plenty for the day.

I’d stopped at Joshua Tree National Park on the way to Palm Springs.  What a WOW IMG_1829experience!  Joshua Tree is unlike any of the National Parks I’d been to before.  I saw lizards, an iguana, and held a tortoise.  (Sorry about that, dude.  I didn’t see the sign to leave you alone until later.)  I can’t wait to go back with the family (and a few hydration packs).  There’s some amazing hiking to be had!

Day 2 was all about the Big 4.  My original trip was San Diego and Arizona, but the Big 4 announcement changed that really quick.  Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax!  It fit right in with my original San Diego timeline, but we dropped the Phoenix part.  The show was amazing.  Shockingly, it was my first time seeing Megadeth.  It was also my first time seeing Metallica play ‘Orion’ (it was the first for a lot of people, since until then it had been an ultimate rarity, and the first time they’d played it in its entirety since Cliff Burton had died.)  I didn’t know it then, but 2011 was going to become a great year, ending in December with Metallica’s 30th Anniversary shows in San Francisco

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I met up with Ted yesterday at Petco Park.  We had seats up from the first base dugout that we got for a fraction of face value.  We tried both Food Network sandwiches and they were fantastic:  A 6 inch steak sandwich and some kind of pepper mayo something-or-another.  Tasty!

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Petco Park as a baseball stadium exceeded my expectations too.  The outfield is wide open and bright, which really emphasizes just how dark Safeco Field is.  Safeco is open air, but the shadow and blocking of the roof really does change it.  Petco’s view of the city is stunning, and the way that the upper deck rows start further back, really opens it up.  The Western Supply building in LF is a nice touch that I thought would feel ‘fake’ or forced given the rest of the park, but it works perfectly.

Roy Halliday struck out 14 and Shane Victorino hit an inside-the-park HR for the Phillies as they won 3-1.

The outfield, like the rest of the park, is wide open at CF.  There’s a small bank of seats, IMG_1922then a huge grass hill (where the CF bleachers would be in Safeco, except obviously not as high).  There’s a kid-sized baseball diamond behind the batter’s eye and a large screen so you can ‘chill on the hill’ and watch the game.

The Western Supply building is gutted and mostly suites now, but the downstairs has a cool exhibit with different artifacts they found when building the park; a collection of pins, buttons, toys, china, and silverware.  Just interesting stuff!  There’s a sports bar behind one of the sections called “PCL” that pays homage to the old Pacific Coast League.  The original PCL was the go-to source for baseball before the Dodgers and Giants left New York in the 1950’s.  The history of the PCL alone is enough to fill a compelling book – I can’t believe there hasn’t been one yet.  It’s perfect that San Diego pays a tribute to the PCL the same way they do in San Francisco with the seal statue or in Seattle with the Pacific Northwest Baseball Walk at Safeco Field.

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Ted and I had a great time at the park and are set to go back tonight.  Like last night, we’re planning on another night in the Gaslamp District after the game for a bite to eat.  We hit Dick’s Last Resort yesterday (Ted’s request,) which is a tourist trap you’ll find in a lot of cities.  We gave the alligator bites a try.  It tasted like fatty, dark meat chicken.  Meh.  Tonight we’ll probably hit The Strip Club (restaurant, not nudie bar).

April 25th, 2011

IMG_1963We started the day on the USS Midway for a tour of the retired aircraft carrier.  It was interesting seeing all of the different planes, systems, and even the infrastructure for things like their day-to-day cooking and laundry.  (I’ll have to ask my Dad he got through unscathed, I spent the whole tour walking like a hunchback to avoid hitting my head.)

Yesterday was the Phillies, who were picked by many (myself included) to win the World Series, and tonight we get the Braves with the potential phenom Jason Heyward, and Chipper Jones, in what is likely his last year.  Its’ been a good trip, but I’m happy with didn’t try to shoehorn in Phoenix.  Quality, not quantity!

Padres win in 13 innings on a 2 run walkoff by Ryan Ludwick, his 2nd HR of the day.  He was getting brutalized in LF because of some shitty defense, so I’m sure he took some satisfaction in the win.  McClouth had an amazing catch for Atlanta in CF.

We had a different view of the city today.  We spent the 4th inning on at the rail of the

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The chili dog view from the Western Supply Company

Western Supply Company.  The view is better from the Hit It Here Café in Seattle, but at the Western Supply Company you’re all open air, which goes back to the limitations I’ve noticed at home. 

* A side note on Safeco.  They’ve done some nice things this year.  They completely overhauled the lower Left and Center fields, and the bullpen net came down, so now it’s a direct view to the bullpen.  The underutilized street level gates have all been converted to food, and behind CF is a full service bar.  It’s a real ‘Singles Oasis’.  I hope it helps attendance, because it looks great. *

Tonight’s extra inning game was the near perfect ending to the trip, but it was missing something.  Ice cream.  No dice on the walk back to the hotel, and nearly everything was closed in the Gas Lamp District, so after hitting the car and driving we finally found the only thing open:  Jack in the Box.  I generally have a ‘no chain’ rule when I’m on the road, but sometimes you have to take what you can get.  With a tip of the milkshakes, it was the end of another successful trip.

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