The count is now at 11!
I have a goal for this baseball season of adding five new stadiums to my list so that I can hit the halfway point in my goal of visiting all 30 MLB stadiums. In past years my goal has been to visit at least one stadium a year, but given that I now have free flights I felt like I ought to bump it up a bit and cross some of these babies off my list.
My flights to and from San Diego marked my 13th and 14th flights of this year. They were also the first time I flew out and back home in the same day. I’m now one flight away from tying my number of flights from 2013, and at the start of the year I was just thinking it would be cool to double that number. If I keep up this pace I’ll triple my numbers from 2013! Who knows if I’ll be able to keep up this pace, especially with flight loads getting higher over the summer, but we’ll see what happens.
This was my first time visiting a baseball stadium by myself other than when I went to Fenway while I was on a business trip. It’s not quite as fun as going with someone, but it’s always interesting to see who you end up meeting when you’re by yourself. I had an awesome experience at Fenway with the group I ended up talking with the entire game. At Petco Park I wound up sitting by an entire tribe of families that were all connected somehow. I’m guessing they all had kids on the same baseball team, but I’m not certain. I didn’t talk to them a whole lot during the game, but they did provide me with a lot of people watching entertainment.
As for Petco Park itself, it was built in 2004, so it’s only 10 years old and it definitely has the feel of a modern ballpark. I enjoyed the view from my cheapo seat. I wasn’t actually sitting in my seat since apparently telling the ticket lady that you want a seat in the shade means that she’ll issue you a ticket for a section that has some shade, but not necessarily give you a seat in the shade despite the fact that there were plenty of them open. Oh well.
They had by far the largest “play” area that I’ve ever seen at a ballpark. They call it the Park at the Park and it’s basically a huge grassy area as well as a mini baseball diamond. Since it was Sunday they had blow up jumping thingies and the whole place was swarming with kids during the entire game. Definitely well setup for families at the ballpark. You can see the grassy area behind center field in the picture below, but it’s hard to tell how large it is from that shot.
Every ballpark has something that I consider to be it’s unique thing. And I’m not talking about food, because I know a lot of ballparks have that too. At Chase Field it’s the pool. In Houston it’s the train. In San Diego it’s their beach. I’m not sure how you get tickets for the beach lounge chairs, but the sand area was full of kids having fun the entire game. You can see it in the middle of the picture above, in center field towards right field. And here’s a close up I took after the game.
One thing I noticed about Padres fans is that almost everyone there was dressed in Padres gear and everyone cheered a lot. It seems like they have some really legit fans and I enjoy experiencing that when I’m at a ballpark. It’s particularly nice when there are a lot of families there having a good time AND the crowd is into the game. It was a good day.
Where to next?
Hopefully coming up later this summer are both of the Texas ballparks, and potentially Milwaukee & Kansas City as part of a stadium road trip that my friend is doing! It’s looking more likely that Kansas City will work out, but probably not Milwaukee. Time will tell! If I manage to get all four of those I’ll hit my goal of five stadiums in 2014. And if I can’t get Milwaukee, maybe I’ll be able to squeeze in another one of the California ballparks.
So many exciting possibilities!
The ballparks I’ve been to:
Chase Field – Arizona Diamondbacks
National Parks – Washington Nationals
Citi Field – New York Mets
Yankee Stadium – NY Yankees
Dodgers Stadium – LA Dodgers
Safeco Field – Seattle Mariners
Coors Field – Colorado Rockies
Citizens Bank Park – Philadelphia Phillies
Oriole Park – Baltimore Orioles
Fenway Park – Boston Red Sox
Petco Park – San Diego Padres