My wife flew to San Diego this weekend. A couple of months ago she said, “Can you get the time off to go? I’m going to be busy with the meeting I’m attending but if you want to tag along then let’s set a plan if you think you’d like to go.” I said, “San Diego has a professional baseball team and I haven’t been to the park. The Padres are in town that weekend (already checked anticipating the conversation). I’m in!” So Friday night she was with a group of anesthesiologists from around the world and I was 15 rows behind the Padres dugout. Those two juxtaposed events don’t get much more sublime to the ridiculous than that unless perhaps I was a rodeo clown.
Petco Park is little gem nestled in the midst of downtown San Diego. Like most intown ballparks, the surrounding neighborhoods and bars throb with activity before the game. I got to Petco well before game time to soak up all the atmosphere possible. After a killer spicy Margarita and two shrimp tacos at a cool spot called The Blind Burro just a few blocks from the park it was time to get to Petco for batting practice.
Passing a live band playing to an open, grassy area behind the center field black out wall and moving full circle around the park to my seat close to the action, it was clear to see that Petco has great views no matter where you sit.
Conditions for growing anything in San Diego are fabulous; warmish but not oppresively hot days and cool nights. Just the kind of weather in which grass thrives. Petco’s grass looks like a lush, green carpet and is as cool as the other side of the pillow. Sure, most MLB parks have great grass but this variety showed zero signs of stress. Lush, beautiful, cool green grass.
The fans, unlike the chewing glass and spitting nails, live and die Red Sox and Yankee types on the east coast are typically California cool. They fill up the park (mostly) by the third inning, cheer lustily for the Padres and leave early to do other things unless the game is tight and the Padres are winning. Last night qualified, as the last place Padres beat the third place Diamondbacks 7-6. As a Sox fan it was great to see Cody Ross in right field for the D’Backs. Ross is a solid guy who’s departure from the Sox has been made less painful by Shane Victorino‘s arrival, an equally solid player and person. The game was great and the park is sparkling.
San Diego is fabulous. Fresh seafood is in abundance with a distinct emphasis on fresh with a Spanish influenced twist. There are walking and biking trails everywhere. The harbor is packed with restaurants, boat tours, vendors of all stripes and pedi cabs. The northernmost point in the harbor is Point Loma, just nine miles away from and within viewing distance of Tijuana, Mexico.
A huge Coast Guard and Navy presence dominates much of the harbor. Fun facts. Dolphins and seals are trained by the Navy in San Diego harbor to swim under the hulls of massive ships 24×7 to detect mines, enemy divers and other hazards. They are extremely well cared for, living on average 15 years than do their counterparts in the wild. A naval hospital docked in the harbor boats 1300 beds, 13 operating rooms and a number of MRI’s. If is was on dry land it would be the seventh largest hospital in the US.
It took me two days to fall in love with the climate, people and food so I was grateful to be able to spend a few extra with my wife to walk, explore and sample the local cuisine. Go see the Padres at Petco if you ever get a chance. By the way, there’s a fabulous city wrapped around it.