The Padres Suck, but an Afternoon at Petco Park Is Worth It
Wise Guides was in San Diego recently and took in a game at Petco Park, a beautiful stadium right downtown in the famous Gaslamp Quarter.
Yes, the name is goofy and the Padres suck, but it's worth the trip.
A nice crowd was on hand for a Thursday afternoon game, we caught our first foul ball ever, the home team came from behind to win and right outside the gates are many bars and restaurants to sample.
So we did, and had a great time along the way.
Explore the Gaslamp Quarter before the game
If pre- and post-game entertainment a short walk from the park are important to you, Petco Park will not disappoint. In fact, it’s one of the best spots in the majors to do some exploring when the game’s not on.
Petco is in the Gaslamp Quarter, a formerly rough area known as a destination for sailors on leave that is now home to block upon block of restaurants and bars, and revelers from all walks of life filling the sidewalks and sometimes the street.
We stopped in Tivoli for a pre-game pop. It’s just a couple of blocks from the park and one of San Diego’s oldest bars. Ok, it’s a dive, but a friendly one where Padres fans gather pre- and post-game.
The Park in the Park is a good spot if you've got kids along
If you enter Petco from the north you'll see the Park in the Park, a green space beyond the outfield where there's a whiffle ball diamond and room for the kids to roam around.
There are concession stands out here, including Randy Jones barbeque and one offering kids' items.
If you want to sit on the grass and take in a game from here it's just $5, but you're far (very far) from the action.
The Tony Gwynn statue at Petco
Mr. Padre, Tony Gwynn is immortalized at the Park in the Park with this statue. He's in mid-swing, which is appropriate because that was one of the sweetest swings ever. Here's my bro standing in front of Mr. Gwynn.
Petco has various activities for the young (and not so young) ones
We had to try the pitching machine and batting cage in the outfield concourse, and as you can see the radar gun was malfunctioning that day.
At least that's what my brother claimed when he registered that 62. Actually, both are designed for little kids, so for his sake I think he's right. It was at least a 65.
Downtown highrises in San Diego overlook Petco
Our seats were right behind home plate about 20 rows up, offering great views of the field, the park and the city of San Diego in the background. This was also a great spot for foul balls, and I snagged the first one of my life.
It went over our heads and then bounced back and I grabbed it. We then jumped up and down like school girls, and shortly thereafter expressed hope that the cameras weren't on us
Pre-bust Manny gets set for the pitch
At this moment, I turned to my brother and said, 'Doesn't Manny look pregnant?' How were we to know he was on female fertility drugs? Good luck, Manny!
The Western Metal Supply Co. building in left field
Rather than knock down the historic Western Metal Supply Co. building the Padres just built the park around it.
The team store on the first floor has a section right off the warning track where you can stand and watch the game and practically feel like you're on the field.
There's a bar on one of the upper floors and a team museum ...
A locker honoring former Padre great Dave Winfield
Inside the building is a small team museum with a display honoring Dave Winfield. His number is retired and he went into the Hall of Fame as a Padre... take that, George Steinbrenner!
Head back out to the Gaslamp Quarter after the game
We hit the Tilted Kilt after the game, which is located just outside the park. Okay, we left before the game ended because we wanted to avoid the long line we knew would form for this place.
It's got good eats and a great selection of brews, and the staff is, um, interesting... if you like tanned 23-year-olds from southern California in very short kilts. We enjoyed the Tilted Kilt.
At the Tilted Kilt with a brew and my foul ball
Here's a shot of the ball I snagged at the game and a pint of Guinness on the bar at the Tilted Kilt. It was a perfect spot to close out game day.