I just got back into town from a weekend trip to Boston/Cape Cod and wanted to publicly express how much my appreciation has grown for Petco Park.
I went to the Red Sox/ White Sox game on Thursday at Fenway and I can now say without reservation that I am firmly in the camp of people who say "tear that smelly dump down and build a new stadium."
I grew up in Boston and Connecticut and went to tons of Red Sox games as a kid. Last summer I made the trip back to Fenway for a Sox-Yanks game and still clung to the romanticized vision of a "quaint" stadium with lots of history -- a relic worth preserving. My experience this year was very different.
The atmosphere around the stadium is great. The bars are fun and full of enthusiastic fans. The stadium sucks.
After managing to get five seats together at face value in right field, my friends and I were poised for a night of baseball magic. Instead we ended up in seats that didn't face the field. I'm not kidding. It's not as it they were facing the outfield instead of towards the plate... they literally did not face any part of the field. Looking straight ahead in our seats afforded a great view of the outfield bullpens and the bleachers. To see what was happening at home plate required one to crank one's neck 90-degrees to the left. If there were no poles or people standing in the way, you could almost tell what was happening at the plate. And these were not obstructed view seats; the entire right field grandstand is like this.
The seats are tiny and cramped. The person in front of you is practically sitting in your lap. The concourses are crowded and dirty. The bathrooms smell like someone slaughtered a yak and hid the remains in the walls.
I have always thought of Petco as a nice, but somewhat soulless stadium -- that the modern amenities had taken something away from the "pure" experience of baseball.
Well, I'd like to apologize to the breakfast-loving people of San Diego who financed such a gem of a stadium. I will never again take for granted that every seat faces the field. Petco, I love your clean floors, your comfortable seats, your wide concourses, your great sightlines, your spacious bathrooms, your seating capacity, and your many great eateries.
There are still some things that could be done to improve the Petco Park experience, but I think that we should all pause for a moment and give thanks that we're able to watch baseball in a world-class park all summer, and that we don't have to pay exorbitant prices for the "privilege" of sitting in what may be the worst stadium in baseball.
I only hope that the new, young Padres can soon add a little history and tradition to our great park.