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Petco Park Stadium Secrets: Western Metal, Eastern Mettle. A Seafaring Tale

steel beams
steel beams

Jonny Dub told me and jbox a tale on Opening Day that would chill you to your bones! It's a tale of Chinese steel and pirates. Of fair maidens and swarthy sailors. Of ocean voyages and chemical dependency upon inhalants.

JBox started by telling us a Padres Fun Fact. The Padres Ballpark Operations repaint the white steel beams at Petco Park every year to make sure they maintain their whiteness and resist rust. All in all, it was a fun little "Stadium Secret" to share over a beverage produced by the fine people at Miller-Coors. However, At the mention of the steel beams, Jonny Dub's right eye squinted shut and the lines in his face became more pronounced. He grinned a greasy grin that revealed a missing tooth that we had never noticed in the past.

"Oh," he began in a raspy voice. "Ye want to know a little bit o' somefin' about steel do ye? It be a fun fact ye be wantin', is it?"

I huddled up close to jbox and held his hand. It was bitter cold in the shade of section 317. Our eyes grew wide. "Yes," we tittered in unison. "We want more fun facts..."

Jonny Dub cackled mischievously. "Well then boys! Let me tell ye a little somefin'! But be warned... This har be a true stadium secret!"

We hunkered down, real cozy like, as Jon began. Once a long time ago... Before there was a ballpark...

"Now, ye know 'bout the whiteness inhurrent in thar steel beams, in all their ivory glory, holdin' up yonder ceiling like mighty Atlas holdin' up that great big bitch, Mother Earth, thar on yon great mythical back. Ye' know how they shellack a new coat a paint on them white beams every year like a sixteen yar ole boy'll be prone spreadin' his creativity all o'er a pink belly, bought by rights fer him ta do what boys'll do by his faorty-four year old grampy..."

"Ummm..." we said. "Yeah. I guess."

"Well, did the two ah yee's know that the steel axeshally came from China!?"

"Yeah," JBox said. "Everybody knows that."

"Well, who d'ya think painted them steel beams?"

"Frazee paint people probably," JBox replied. "They're the paint sponsors of the ballpark. Everybody knows that." I nodded in agreement.

"Wrong!" Jonny Dub exclaimed. "Twas, Chinamen!"

"Well, yeah," we said. "There were probably Chinese workers in China that painted the beams there and then they shipped them over.

"Wrong again!" Jonny Dub said. "The beams left China unpainted, but arrived in San Diego, white as the driven snow splattered with pure mother's milk, sweeter than juice from a cow udder! They didn't give themselves enough time to ensure the steel was painted before forging it in the mountains of China and they couldn't wait until the steel got here to actually paint it then. So they paid extra to bring Chinese laborers aboard the boat that shipped the steel beams from China, and they painted the steel while on the boats!"

I whistled appreciatively. "Those must've been some kinda fumes," I said while giving a wink to jbox as he pantomimed a huffing motion.

"Yar," Jonny Dub replied. "Eastern Metal for the Western Metal, painted by Eastern Mettle, with no meddle from the Pacific. The captain' a that boat desurrves 'imself a medal. That's a stadium secret!"

[NOTE: Jonny Dub swears to us that he talked to an engineer with knowledge of the construction of Petco Park that says this is true. I'm guessing he heard it on a Channel 4 special at some point, but can't verify.]