Petco Park concert where to sit

The MLB ball parks: Petco Park

Another week without MLB baseball is another episode in my series on MLB ball parks. I'm slowly running out of ball parks, but luckily since last night it has been looking strongly that we will soon have a season. Today we visit the San Diego Padres in Petco Park on the virtual trip through Baseball America. The stadium got its name from a retail chain for pet supplies, which acquired the naming rights until 2026.

The origins of stadiums built around the turn of the millennium are often very similar. In the 1960s and 1970s, it was considered a good idea in many places to build multifunctional arenas that could be used for baseball as well as football and soccer. From the 1990s onwards, the countermovement set in - people wanted to get away from the huge concrete blocks and staked playing fields on which the markings for other sports could still be seen. It was the same in San Diego, where the Padres have shared the San Diego Stadium (later Qualcomm Stadium) with the Chargers from the NFL and at times other teams since they were founded as an MLB team in 1969.

Construction of Petco Park began in 2000 and should be finished in 2002. The Padres had to make do with Qualcomm Stadium for two years longer because financial and legal disputes delayed construction. On the one hand, it was about the fact that the public share of the financing of the 450 million euro stadium had to be voted a second time after a court ruling. The other delay concerned the preservation of historic monuments because the stadium was supposed to fall victim to the historic building belonging to the Western Metal Supply Co. It was finally agreed to renovate this building instead and integrate it into the building.

In March 2004 the time had finally come for the new ball park to be inaugurated with a tournament for college baseball teams. The first MLB game took place on April 8, 2004. The Padres defeated the San Francisco Giants 4-3 in 10 innings. 2005 saw playoff baseball for the first time in Petco Park, but the Padres lost both home games to the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Division Series and were eliminated. The following year it was exactly the same for them, since then they have not reached the playoffs. In 2016, the MLB's All-Star Game took place in Petco Park.

Architectural peculiarities
Petco Park is a so-called retro-modern ball park. "Retro" is the basic structure of the park with its stepped grandstands and the asymmetrical outfield. "Modern" elements with which Petco Park stands out from retro-classic ball parks based on the model of Oriole Park are, for example, the exterior facade and the color scheme of the seats. Instead of classic red bricks, sandstone and white steel characterize the front, the seats are in dark blue instead of traditional green.

Inside the stadium, the most noticeable feature is the building of the Western Metal Supply Co. mentioned above. The architects from Populous (then HOK) planned the ball park around this building. One edge of the building was painted yellow and serves as a foul pole in the leftfield. The playing field and the entire structure were aligned at this fixed point. One consequence of this is that in Petco Park the direction of the batters is not north-east, but north, in contrast to almost all other stadiums.

Game-related quirks
Petco Park has long had the reputation of being the most pitcher-friendly stadium in the MLB. This is surprising given the fact that the center of the centerfield is one of the shorter in the league at 396 feet. But two factors make it difficult to hit home runs in Petco Park: The first is the extraordinarily deep power alleys, i.e. the outfield areas between right and center or left and center. After the 2005 and 2012 seasons, the stadium was renovated and the power alleys were shortened a little. Since then, the pitch advantages of the ball park have been less extreme. But you can't completely switch off the pitcher-friendliness of Petco Park, because the second factor is the climate - more precisely in the "marine layer", a dense layer of air that is created by the impact of warm air on the cold ocean and the hitting of wide balls difficult. The same effect also works in T-Mobile Park in Seattle.

Where is the best place to sit?
With 65 to 70 percent capacity utilization of the 40,000-seat stadium, the Padres have been well served in recent years, which have not been very successful. Depending on the opponent and the playing time, the seats can sometimes be tight and expensive, but most of the time the tickets are relatively easy to get. The view from the stands is good almost everywhere - the more distance from the pitch you accept, the more beautiful the view of the San Diego skyline is.

“It never rains in southern California” is not entirely true, but on the whole, when you visit Petco Park, you have to worry more about the blazing sun than about the rain. Fortunately, the Padres have published a shadow map, which you can use as a guide when looking for a place. Excellent shady spots at the height of the infield can be found in the Premier Club area (blocks A-L) with a little luck for less than $ 100.

If you want seats that you can't get in any other stadium, the Western Metal building is a good choice. The regular balcony seats aren't expensive, but there are only 30 of them, so they can be hard to come by. Alternatively, you can buy any stadium ticket and then visit the restaurant "The Loft" in the Western Metal building.

If you want to spend a leisurely afternoon playing baseball, but don't necessarily have to be up close to the action, the “Park at the Park” is an option - especially if you have small children with you who don't want to sit for hours. It is a large lawn within the stadium area, just behind the outfield. The game can be watched from there through an opening between the stands and on a video screen. Tickets from $ 15 for this area are always on sale two weeks before the game.

(1) Source: Wikimedia, author: Phil Konstantin (CC BY-SA 3.0)
(2) Source: Wikimedia, Copyright: Aude (CC BY 2.0)
(3) Source: Flickr, author: Theresa O’Connor (CC BY-SA 2.0)
(4) Source: Flickr, Copyright: redlegsfan21 (CC BY-SA 2.0)
(5) Source: Flickr, Copyright: Kevin Harber (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)