Saturday, May 3, 2014

San Diego Padres

Here is the big disclaimer: the Padres are MY team. I lived in San Diego on and off for over 12 years and have been to probably 100 Padres games….about 30 one season in the 1980s. Most of those were at “The Murph” or more properly known as “Jack Murphy Stadium.’ Now they call it Qualcomm or some shit, but to any true Padre fan it will always be “The Murph.” But that doesn't really matter anyway. The Padres moved into a new downtown ballpark about 10 years ago and have been at PETCO Park ever since. The local NFL team, the Chargers, still play at “The Murph.” Or Qualcomm or some shit.

PETCO Park is truly a great park. It has location, access and some interesting  and unique quirks like the “park within a park” concept. It also converted the old Western Metal Supply Company building into one of the walls along the third base side. It still looks like that crappy old brick building that I used to drive by in the 1980s when that area was nothing more than dilapidated old buildings. Now the Western Metal Supply has been gutted to include some swanky private accommodations for fan goers (at a price) along with having the stadium built around it. PETCO does tend to overdo it a bit and tried to be a little too slick with architecture. There is  staircase with a waterfall wall on one side. Please...this is a baseball stadium, not an airport. All personal prejudices aside, San Diego has a gem of a ballpark. But what about the dog?

Bun-toasted and good.
Taste-not bad. Frank made by a company I had never heard of. Their more upscale versions have Hebrew National kosher franks.
Toppings-with mustard, relish, onions and jalapenos available it is hard to go wrong. Kraut would be nice add to get top score in this category.
Portability-nice large foil wrapper to keep the goodies where they belong.
Price-$4.50 is not a bad price for a major league dog.
It Factor-this is the lowest category for the “Friar” dog (in case you don’t know a Friar is also a Padre, the old Spanish Mission church guys and the Padres are sometimes known as the “Swingin’ Friars}. Nothing much to wow the fans on the hot dog front.

Location-sweet downtown location near the Gaslamp District.
Access-Home Run. Walk, bike, drive, take the bus or trolley or pedicab.
GA Ticket-I was thankful I got a $6 military discount. GA tix are pricey at 14. This for a team that plays on a minor league level.
Ambiance-very good job of trying to merge the old and modern by including the the Western Metal Supply Company building. Still loses points for  some over zealous architecture.
Fans-It is hard to have ardent fans in most California towns. Few people in the Golden State area are actually from there, and they often bring their hometown baseball affiliations with them. Factor in that San Diego is a HUGE military town with a rotating workforce, and it is hard to build a Cubs-like fan base. The crowd demonstrated that at my game. Friday night and lots of empty seats, and not much into the game. More into the beer fest that was going on inside the ballpark. In their defense, the Padres didn’t give them much to be excited about in their 2-0 loss.

DogBallparkTotal Dog/Game
Portability5GA Ticket Price4
It Factor3Fans3

I always look forward to going back to San Diego, the town where I spent my misbegotten youth. It was great to be in your 20s in the 1980s, and watch the Padres in their brown and yellow uniforms at the Murph. Now it’s Qualcomm or some shit.

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