Petco Park vs. Qualcomm Stadium: Which Is the Better Place To Watch Baseball?
OK, Padre fans, here's your chance to let everyone know which venue you enjoyed more when attending a Padre game.
I know the Padres have moved for good, but there are several things missing from the Petco Park Experience in contrast to attending a game at the Murph (It will always be the Murph to me)
In the Friars' unbridled rush to get into a new stadium, much of what made the Padres home field advantage so tough to overcome was left behind.
So it's Petco vs. the Murph; who will win? If I know my fellow Padre fans, it will be split right down the middle, with each side considering the opposite insane to even consider such a thing.
1: Traffic and Parking
Petco Park has no parking per se; however, it does have the whole of downtown to spread out the cars, and there is virtually no waiting once a game lets out.
The Murph has a 17,000 car lot, but getting in and out can be tricky, depending on how good of a day the traffic cops and parking lot attendants are having.
I have seen it run perfectly, and I have seen the Three Stooges directing traffic. Knowing the best in's and out's can be helpful during a sell out.
Advantage: Petco Park
2: Entering and Exiting the Venue
Petco Park is beautiful once you get inside, however walking to and from the ballpark in the downtown area can get dicey.
Bums still roam the territory they once had to themselves, and it sucks to have to step over someone sleeping in front of your car door.
The Murph was designed with enough gates to let in any crowd, the problem was that the Padres and the city didnt always have those gates manned.
More than once, 60,000 people had to squeeze into about five open gates out of 20.
3: The View From Your Seat
Petco Park has a more intimate feel than the Murph did. The problem is that no one considered the effect of larger sections and fewer escape routes.
I have spent many games patiently waiting for the human traffic to clear on the field level, which it almost never does.
Between late arriving fans and those who just need to go get a hot dog, the field level is a constant beehive of activity. This can make for a challenging game viewing experience.
The upper levels are not so crowded, and I like the view from the top of the ball yard very much. Following the ball is also easier from the top of Petco.
The Murph was designed for bigger crowds, and has ample walkways in the seating sections from which to make a quick trip to the plaza level.
The same can be said for the upper deck. For baseball, the same seats that are obstructed for football become the best seats in the house.
Advantage: The Murph, but only by a hair.
4: The Food and Drink
Petco Park has imperialist tidbits galore to buy when you are hungry. Just bring your platinum card with you, as a beer and a hot dog is going to run you 20 bucks, and I can't even begin to imagine what you would pay in the sky box for a pizza. .
While the food courts and booths at Petco far outstrip those at the Murph, it is hard to justify dropping 200 bucks when taking a family of four to a ballgame and eats.
This season, it seems the Pads have listened to us fans and will be offering better deals in 2009. A hot dog and a coke should NEVER be more than five bucks combined. We shall see...
The Murph has many many food outlets and kiosks spread about the stadium. Food prices at Chargers games have also gotten out of hand since the Padres moved out, unless you think paying 42 dollars for a medium pepperoni pizza is a good deal.
Advantage: Petco Park
5: Home Field Advantage
Petco Park holds 42,000.
The Murph holds 70,000.
Which number would you prefer in the stands for a playoff game?
Its night and day, the crowd at Petco did their best to make noise against the Cardinals in the NLDS in 2006 and 2007, but in comparison to the noise that the playoff crowds at the Murph generated for the 1998 playoffs, it was like a little tiny dog yapping at the airport during takeoff.
Advantage: The Murph
So Which Stadium Wins?
Tough choice, I personally prefered the Murph, as I grew up there and miss going to games in Mission Valley. You can't heave a five-gallon mustard jar down the walkway at Petco, they would lock you up.
But at the Q, I saw MANY things tossed from the top of the circular walkways; it was like a sport all unto itself.
However, Petco Park is a great facility, and I am sure in time I will learn to appreciate it as much as I did the Murph.
If I can ever afford to go again...