Wednesday, May 26, 2004

I skipped out of TechED this afternoon to walk over to PETCO Park. I paid the $9 to take the stadium tour, since the Padres are on a road trip and I couldn't get into the park for a game.

PETCO just opened this year and is a really nice ballpark. It was designed by KC's HOK, famous for designing sports venues around the world. One of the most interesting features is the Western Metal Supply Building. This historic building is located down the left field line. The corner of the building acts as the fair/foul pole. The stadium was built around the building without disturbing it. The inside of the building was refurbished. On street level is the Padres Team Store. The store is spacious and has a nice variety of Padres merchandise. From the store, you can walk out a door and stand right behind the fence down the left field line. I'm not sure if these doors are unlocked during games, but you could really heckle the left fielder from there. On the upper floors of the building are several suites with seats overhanging the field. The warning track runs underneath the lowest set of seats. There are also seats on top of the building ala the new Green Monster seats in Boston. Our tour guide admitted that the Padres stole the idea of incorporating a historic building into the ballpark from Baltimore's Camden Yards.

The tour also included the dugout, the press box and the luxury areas under the stadium. One nice feature is that the seats down the lines are mounted at an angle so they all face home plate. After feeling the soreness in my neck from a game at Kauffman Stadium, I can see the advantage of this.

Overall a nice tour. In comparing it to the Kauffman Stadium tour, the K is definitely a better value. At the K, you can also go into the visitors clubhouse and the batting cages under the stadium, which was absent in the Petco tour. And the K tour (at least last year) is only $5.00.

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