Another thing to take away from the Charger game on Sunday was the fact that the minivan left Johnny Dub's house at 9:30 in the morning and rolled us into the stadium at 10 AM. We didn't make it out of the parking lot till 5:30 or 6 and we were hardly the last people out.
We drank various beers. Cooked meat. Ate guacamole. We sat around and chatted. We watched a group of girls work a beer bong a few parking spots over. There was an open flame. We smoked cigars. I wore a party mustache.
All that's to say that one thing that was lost in the move to Petco was the tailgating. I remember doing the same sort of tailgating for Padres games... like... all the time.
On the flip side. The one time we tried tailgating at Petco, we were told (not unkindly) that we weren't allowed to have an open flame where we were, despite being in what we thought was the tailgate lot. Nobody else seemed to be tailgating. There weren't a lot of open areas to do things like throw a football around or ladder golf etcetera.
Also, when you're in a super gigantic parking lot, you feel like you've actually gone somewhere. If you want to get to Qualcomm you either park, take the trolley or walk at least half a mile in. It's a journey. People complain that it's so hard to get into and out of Qualcomm, but that journey is part of the experience. It takes a long time to get in and out so you may as well tailgate. This seems counterintuitive, but I think it's too easy to get into and out of Petco Park, which lessens the need for tailgating.
So what do you do? I'm sure the open flame thing is like a city ordinance or something against burning things and I doubt the Padres are going to do anything to make it harder to get in and out of the parking lots. Still, a good party atmosphere is key for a San Diego sporting event. You and I know this. How do we get it?
Park Blvd in front of Petco is always blocked off. Cop cars are allowed through and they kinda let traffic get in there on occasion. There's a similar situation on the other sides of the ballpark too. My recommendation is to block off the surrounding streets completely and, on the weekends, set up food carts and stalls for the local radio stations, etc. If there's another type of party that San Diegans can get into that's not a tailgate, it's a street fair. San Diegans love their street fairs.
On the path between Petco and the trolley line, facing the convention center, set up more stalls for artists etc. They'll have to get there early on the weekends to beat the rush, but it'll make it that much more of an all day affair to hang out.
So what does this do?
It turns every game with a street fair attached to it into an Event. San Diegans love Events. San Diegans love to shop and eat and party and THEN go do other stuff like sporting events.
I had more thoughts on this, but this post has been sitting in the queue for days and days and days.