First Visit to Petco Park: June 18, 2012

So you know how I mentioned that I’ve been busy with life and how it’s prevented me from blogging? Well I’ve continued to keep myself busy the past couple of weeks with trips to San Francisco and San Diego to see the Rangers take on the Giants and the Padres.

Factor in my new birthday presents, a Nikon D5100, and my dad’s old car–a 2003 Honda Accord, which is a nice first car–and I can finally do some things in California I never got a chance to do before. Naturally, I went to Rangers games.

I took over 700 photos in my two trips to Petco Park, so limiting them to an acceptable amount in a blog post is going to be tough to do. In fact, I’m going to make two posts of both trips.

The drive to San Diego was a tad frustrating, because I left right before 4 PM, and as I learned very quickly that was almost too late. The 110 was a parking lot and took me about 20 minutes to reach the 91, which unfortunately was also a parking lot. Thankfully my Garmin knew the traffic on the 91 sucked and rerouted me. However, it took me on a very scenic route to try and get to the 405, and my ETA kept climbing up from 6:12 all the way to 6:52. Factor in parking, and at this rate I was barely going to make it to first pitch.

Thankfully, once I finally got the the 405 after driving city streets in Long Beach, then the 22W and finally the 405, I took that all the way to the 73. Folks, if you ever need to get to San Diego in a hurry and want to dodge all the mayhem that is highway traffic in Orange County, take the 73. It’s a toll road, mind you, so be sure you have some cash ($5.75 to be exact). However, this freeway steers you away from the logjam that is the 405 near the 5, which during rush hour will probably keep you stuck in traffic another hour. The 73 leads into the 5, and from there you should be good to go. The 5 leads directly to San Diego, and instead of changing to the 805, just stay on the 5 because that’s a much more scenic drive, as you’ll pass San Diego International Airport on your right, and drive right through downtown San Diego. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a major airport so close to downtown as is the case with San Diego. That’s kind of interesting.

Once, you exit the freeway (Imperial Avenue is the exit you want to take), park in the MTS Garage near the ballpark. It’s $10 and a very walkable distance away from Petco Park. Keep in mind the way you came in to the garage will not be open, so you’ll have to walk all the way to the back to get back to your car.

Now, without further ado, pictures from my first trip to Petco Park.

Our seats at the game. This is Section 122, Row 9.

I met up with another LSBer (Lone Star Ball) for this game, and we got these amazing seats for $26 apiece on StubHub. Why were these seats so awesome? For one thing, it’s field-level, so you’re really close to the action. Also, this section was hands-down the best section for fan interaction. My seat was right on the wall on the left field line, as you can probably see, so whenever there was a break in the action, I snapped pictures of whoever the left fielder was for both teams.

David, you look bored.

So yeah, I think I’ve made it abundantly clear that these seats were amazing.

Now for food, I got a bacon cheeseburger, which was as good as ballpark food can be, really. If you’re somebody who refuses to drink a beer such Bud Light and wants to drink something at a baseball game that is of higher quality, if you will, Petco Park sells Gordon Biersch, which is pretty decent. It makes sense that they sell that brand because there’s a Gordon Biersch brewery in San Diego. Anyway, a pint of that in a plastic bottle is $8.50.

And yes, I can legally drink now, for those of you wondering why I’m writing about beer.

One of the cooler parts of Petco Park is that it incorporated the old Western Metal Supply Co. building into the ballpark rather than demolish it. That building was part of the original San Diego skyline, and for historical purposes, the Padres converted the building into a restaurant, and a place for fans to enjoy the game.

I probably could have gone here, but I didn’t.

All the action took place in the first inning, as the Rangers scored two runs in the Top of the First and the Padres scored one in the Bottom of the First. From then on, the Rangers struck out a ton.

Hey, at least they struck out for charity.

It helps that the Rangers were playing the Padres, one of the most offensively-challenged teams in all of Major League Baseball. It also helps that the Rangers were playing in Petco Park, one of the most pitcher-friendly ballparks in the country. When I was there, pretty much nothing got close to making it out of the park save for one hit that hit the wall in the bottom of the first. The Padres could have tied it on that hit if it weren’t for a baserunning derp by the lead runner. Or, I think the Padres should have tied it on that hit.

You know what’s really cool about sitting near the left field line? The chance you’ll make it onto television when a ball is hit to left field. Case in point: Mitch Moreland’s pinch hit flyout to Carlos Quentin.

Me taking a photo.

If you can’t see where I am, look for the red Ian Kinsler jersey on the wall. That’s moi. And I got up to take a photo just to see how I’d do. Here’s the picture:

Damn you Carlos for making a routine play, but thanks for the pose!

Yeah, I know it’s off-center. I’m not a professional photographer, ladies and gents.

One of the more distracting, but amusing, parts of my experience was the prevalence of bubbles coming from the stands, like this one:

Hi Nelson.

Towards the bottom of the ninth, they came at full force:

At this point in the game, it was “rally time” for the Padre.

Josh Hamilton didn’t start in the lineup that game since he was battling a respiratory virus, but he was good to go for the bottom of the ninth. We all yelled his name because we didn’t expect him to play, and he heard us and waved back, which we thought was really cool. I didn’t get that moment on camera, but I did snap this one:

Hi Josh!

Despite having two men on base, the Padres couldn’t tie the game, and the Rangers won.

Get in line! Time to high-five the other half of our team.

And here’s the group!

L-R: Whitney (with TTWBG), TTWBG, Matteo25, and myself.

That was my first trip to Petco Park. I hope you all enjoyed reading about my first experience there. I will also write a post about my second trip there, and when I get around to it, my trip to AT&T Park from earlier this month.

I will be back!

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