A small number of San Diego residents are concerned that the Padres and Petco Park are using too much water while California experiences one of its worst droughts in recent decades. It's a classic example of a new fad in the Golden State, drought shaming.
One resident attended his first Padres game this season with his son. When he saw the green grass on the playing field he naturally took his complaints to San Diego's ABC affiliate Channel 10 news team.
"Can they let the field go brown and paint it and play just as well?" Almond questioned. "There [are] so many baseball parks that can really help out with the drought in lessening the amount of water they use. I know the answers are out there, I just don’t know them."
See, this is where he and I differ. Instead of letting it turn brown and painting it, I'd tear out the grass completely and replace it with drought-tolerant plants and gravel. Imagine meditative gravel pathways in the outfield meandering around succulents such as cactus and aloes to the most commonly trafficked areas of the field. The infield could be fashioned in a way to return its look to plants native to our coastal desert climate. It could be covered in sage, willows, scrub oak and weeds. Not only would it save the state water, but it would also provide a home to animal life like birds, snakes, spiders, and assorted rodents.
The Padres, for their part, have said that water usage is down this year. They say they've conserved 288,000 gallons by not maintaining the field in the offseason. They've also turned off the waterfall at the home plate gate, which not only saves water but removes the Pirates of the Caribbean smell. The exterior landscaping on 7th Avenue was replaced with drought-tolerant plants and materials. On the field, a more aggressive variety of Bermuda grass was used. Groundskeepers routinely inspect sprinkler heads and hoses on a monthly basis. The infield dirt is also watered less frequently, and when the team is on the road it is not watered at all.
A spokesperson also said they are looking into water efficient toilets, urinals, faucets, and shower heads. It is unclear when those will be installed.
I wonder if this is why Luke Yoder left and/or was relieved of duty. I bet his bullpen garden was a huge water hog.
I think the Padres volunteer program should get fans to monitor player's shower usage to make sure they keep their water waste to a minimum. The guys could probably get by with sponge baths.