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Bronze Bill Walton statue to be put in Petco Park?!

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MLB: Texas Rangers at San Diego Padres Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Well this seems really strange. Back in May, Bill Walton, a San Diegan and Hall of Fame basketball player was gifted with a bronze statue of him and his bicycle. The reason for the bicycle is because he’s an avid rider. In fact I was running through Hillcrest about a month ago and he came around the corner on his bike. I yelled out “Hey Bill” and he gave me a friendly wave.

The reason for the bronze statue is because of his apparent philanthropy to 52 local groups. The ceremony where the statue was unveiled took place at Mission Bay near ski beach. Of course Dick Enberg was there. I just figured that’s where the statue would stay, since many cyclists ride around Fiesta Island. But that’s not the case.

Now for the strange part:

Frankly I’m stunned. Bronze statues at Petco Park seem like they should belong only to Padres legends. What gives?

Well after a quick search, I think I found the reason.

The San Diego Union-Tribune

Padres’ co-owner Ron Fowler and Roth family brothers Ted, Byron and Gordon joined Kilkenny and Sarkisian to financially support the statue project. Sarkisian said organizers hope the statue finds a permanent home in San Diego’s airport, offering a life-sized welcome to Walton’s gem nestled along the southern Pacific coast.

I guess the airport didn’t want it and since Padres Chairman Ron Fowler just does whatever he wants, he decided to volunteer Petco Park as home for the statue. Now an important question. Where will they put it? In the Park at the Park with Padres legends Tony Gwynn and Jerry Coleman? I like Bill Walton and all, but his statue doesn’t seem to belong there. Maybe out by the bicycle racks outside the gates? That may be okay.

UPDATE:

So it’s at Petco Park temporarily (for now) until October 4th and will be located near the intersection of Park Blvd and 10th.

San Diego Union-Tribune

“First of all, Bill’s a friend of the Padres and has been for a very long time,” Padres Executive Chairman Ron Fowler said. “He’s a close friend of mine and a close friend of (President and CEO) Mike Dee. When you think of iconic sports figures in San Diego, I’d look at Junior (Seau), Tony (Gwynn) and Bill Walton as the top three.

“Any time we can pay tribute to them, we want to do that. We wanted a place where people could see it.”

Like I said, I’d prefer out on the street by the bike racks but there’s little harm at this entrance I suppose.

UPDATE:

And now it’s in place.