Second Visit to Petco Park: June 20, 2012

If you thought going to Petco Park once was enough, you clearly don’t know me. Well, you more than likely don’t because…ah well moving on.

The only reason I didn’t go three times was because I had to work on Tuesday, and therefore watched the game on my phone because for some reason MLB.TV has been blacking out my Rangers games on my computer, even though it isn’t blacking out anything else. Why this occurs, I don’t know. But I’m able to watch on a 4-inch screen, or however big an iPhone’s screen is (too lazy to look up at this moment, or get out a ruler and actually measure it), so I’m happy. But I digress. I actually bought tickets to this game while I was still at work, so go me.

One thing I thought would prevent me from going to Petco Park the second time around was that I had a cold, and that I was having a hard time speaking because my throat was sore. But I remembered that Dirk Nowitzki played Game 4 of the 2011 NBA Finals while he had the flu, so I figured that I could not use any muscles at all and sit at a baseball game for two or three hours with a common cold. So I sucked it up, and drank a dose of NyQuil when I got home from work, took DayQuil when I woke up, and left my apartment.

I left around 11:45 or so, which happened to be perfect since there was no traffic at all in LA. I got there in about two hours, so I had plenty of time to kill.

Since I didn’t get to check out the game day scene in San Diego the previous time I was there, I went to this pub called Bub’s not too far from the ballpark. They carded me when I got there, and it remind me how awesome it is to finally be 21. I didn’t get a beer there, but I did meet up with a different LSBer there, and while he didn’t get any food, I got the pub’s signature burger, which was actually pretty decent. I added avocado and bacon to it, because avocado and bacon are two amazing foods. Not debatable.

So after I finished eating we went to the ballpark about 30 minutes before the game, so we walked around the park a little bit. Without further ado, my second tour of Petco Park.

From MTS Garage, the same parking garage I parked at my previous visit.

I only visited the left field side of the ballpark the first time I was there since I got to the ballpark right before first pitch. This day, however, I had over thirty minutes to walk around the parts of the park I didn’t go to before first pitch. I walked around the area mainly near the bleacher seats since that’s where I bought tickets, and I’ll get to those seats a bit later. The center field area is definitely the most family-friendly part of the park. Not because it’s away from rowdy fans, but because of the atmosphere.

A park, in a ballpark. Picnic, anyone?

Behind the bleacher seats is the section known as the “Park in the Park.” It’s gorgeous. It feels like you’re in the city and the ballpark at the same time. Plus on a San Diego summer afternoon, the weather cannot be more pleasant. How much do these “seats” cost? $5. If you have a family and time to kill, here’s a great activity. Your kids can run around while you can watch the game on the big screen.

Every father in America wants this in his house.

Also, if your kids want to play baseball in the middle of the game, they can.

Here, the kids’ baseball diamond doesn’t have to be indoors due to weather.

Those seats are win-win for everybody. The bleacher seats? Not so much.

Another kid-friendly part of the park.

The bleachers go for about $11 on the Padres website, which sounds like a great deal. But there’s a big catch with them:

Hello, fence. Nice to see you. Can you get out of the way? Oh, you’re an immovable object? Hmm…this is a problem.

The fence is in your view. If you’re trying to catch the game, do not sit here. However, in fairness to the Padres, they let you know that the seats are obstructed. I read that when I bought the ticket, but I figured if I sat high enough, it wouldn’t be a problem. No such luck. For individual fans, look for other seats.

Luckily for me, and the other LSBers that I met with at the game, Petco Park ushers did not check for tickets, so I moved seats.

“Hey dude, did you see how high my bat flew into the stands today?”
“Your bat didn’t go anywhere.”
“Oh, right. That was last week. It happens so frequently, you know?”
“You could use more pine tar on the bat.”
“Well if I do that, you’ll kick me out like George Brett was in 1983.”
“…Alright you got me.”
“Haha, thought you could fool me! Later man.”

I moved to Section 226 in left field, which offered a decent view of the game. And I don’t know if it was because I was sick or what, but I didn’t get the same ballpark vibe I got when I sat in Section 122 the first game. It was probably a combination of the two, though. Also, it was a day game, and apparently Padres fans and day games do not mix well. That’s not my observation, either. This is what I was told at Bub’s. And it was mostly true.

Those seats are in the sun for the entire game, which is more than likely why not many people are sitting there. While the temperature is nice, the sun’s rays will burn you.

While we were here, Yu Darvish gave up a single by opposing pitcher Anthony Bass that went down the first base line past a diving Michael Young, scoring two runsm putting the Padres up 2-0 in the bottom of the 2nd inning. The game seemed to be off to a very bad start. It seemed like it was going to be worse when Anthony Bass stole second base on Yu Darvish, which, if I’m not mistaken, just shouldn’t happen…ever. Some Padres fans near us said, “Man, I like Yu! He sucks!” None of us said anything to them, because, well, scoreboard. Good thing about Yu Darvish is that he can recover. This day he did.

The top of the 3rd gave Rangers fans hope that maybe the offense would turn it around this game.

Anything you can do, Yu can do better.

Yu Darvish, on a 1-2 count, hit a broken-bat bloop single into right field for his first career hit in his first career at-bat. It sounded like he got a lot of the ball from where we were sitting, but we didn’t know he broke his bat until I checked twitter and found out there. So, with Yu on first and the top of the order coming up, we thought the Rangers could get some runs in. That was until on the very next pitch, Ian Kinsler hit a sharp line drive that was caught by a diving second baseman Alexi Amarista, who then doubled up Yu Darvish trying to run back to first. In fairness to Yu, Amarista’s catch was a beauty. I’m not going to fault him too much for getting doubled up on the basepaths. It did, however, feel like it was going to be one of those games where everything goes right for the Padres, and nothing goes right for the Rangers.

What also didn’t help was that the Rangers were overly aggressive at the plate for the first half of the game, as these Padres fans pointed out with Qs.

The reason Anthony Bass threw 39 pitches after 4 innings.

The Qs caught my eye, so I snapped a picture of what they stood for. Turns out, after zooming in on playback, the Qs stand for “Quick Pitch Outs,” meaning outs recorded by the Padres in three pitches or less. As you can see in the picture, there are a lot of them. In fact, those are three innings of outs, each recorded in three pitches or less. As as result of these quick pitch outs, Anthony Bass only had to throw 39 pitches through 4 innings. He could have gone the distance at this rate, and he may have had to only throw 95 pitches the whole game.

A fan behind us really loved Mark Kotsay, so I figured I’d get a picture of him playing catch with somebody from the bullpen.

However, the fifth inning is where the Rangers fortunes started to turn around. The Rangers forced Anthony Bass to throw 21 pitches in the top of the 5th, and in the process, Anthony Gonzalez drove in David Murphy on an RBI single up the middle to cut the deficit to 2-1.

David Murphy: Safe at Home. Safe and Secure. New York Life.

Anthony Bass apparently messed up his shoulder when delivering a pitch to Yu Darvish, so after 5 innings, Bass was out of the game. We also moved again from left field to right field to see the game from there.

These guys were throwing for quite a bit of the game.

Our new vantage coincidentally brought good fortune to the Rangers, as they tied the game on a fielder’s choice that could have been a double play ball if the third baseman threw the ball to second a little quicker, but Nelson Cruz beat the throw to first, and since the bases were loaded, the lead runner tied the game. Then Yorvit Torrealba got a go-ahead bases-loaded walk to put the Rangers ahead for the first time in the game 3-2.  In the meantime, I took a lot of photos from our new seats.

Another reason the bleacher seats aren’t great for individual fans.

Regarding the picture above, I have nothing against little kids at baseball games. In fact, I believe kids should be at a baseball game when they are young so you as a parent can pass down the fandom another generation. Baseball games are a fantastic thing to take kids to. That being said, if you are somebody who wants to take in a game, and you are by yourself, the kids playing in the sand and having a very good time might distract you. The onus is on you, not the parents or the kids, to find a different seat. And I did.

When I was in my new seats, a lot of birds flew into our section, so I got some nature pictures. Out of all the bird pictures I took, this one was my favorite:

Anybody know what species of bird this is?

Those birds weren’t the only birds that got our attention, though, as seagulls decided they wanted the spotlight.

Mine!

The seagulls played a bigger factor later on into the game. In another break of action, I took pictures of the surrounding area of the ballpark.

I think I want to move here.

By the way, not to gloat or anything, but my camera took some amazing photos.

Anyway, the game was winding down. Michael Young put the Rangers up 4-2 on a sacrifice fly, scoring Ian Kinsler, who stole two bases during Michael Young’s at-bat. That’s some clutch baserunning by Ian.

The bottom of the ninth was upon us, and with a two-run lead, it was Joe Nathan time.

This guy is having an amazing season so far.

But, you remember those seagulls I told you about, right? Well, apparently they didn’t get the memo that the game was still going on.

Way to photobomb my picture, seagull…

Is there such thing as Seagull Interference?

Could you imagine if a fly ball was hit to center field with all those seagulls in the outfield? How would Craig Gentry field that? Seriously, look at what he has to deal with out there.

However, Joe Nathan knew what the situation was, and struck out the last batter, giving the Rangers the sweep in their first ever series at Petco Park.

The classic celebratory handshake between Ian and Elvis never gets old.

And once again, it was time to picture up.

The whole group. Matteo25 is wearing the powder blue shirt, Schoolly_D is wearing the white Rangers jersey, and I’m on the far right of the photo.

After the game, we decided to stick around for a little while and walked around the Gaslamp Quarter district in San Diego. Eventually, we went to a bar called La Puerta. It was happy hour, and once again, it was, and still is, awesome to finally be 21. A pint of Dos Equis was $2.50 at this place during happy hour. I also got carne asada quesadillas during happy hour for under $5. After only paying $8 for the food and beer, I finally experienced how awesome happy hour was.

While we were at La Puerta, TTWBG, who I went to the game with on Monday, met up with us at the bar. Once we finished eating, we all decided to take a picture in front of the iconic Gaslamp Quarter sign.

From L-R: Matteo25, Schoolly_D, myself, and TTWBG.

When all was said and done, I left San Diego around 10:59 PM and got back to my apartment at 1:00 AM. It was a long, but very fun day, even though I was coughing up mucus half the time, and occasionally couldn’t speak because my throat was so sore. Regardless, nothing was going to keep me from going to Petco Park a second time. I may even go for non-Rangers games. It’s a great place to watch a game, and one of my favorite ballparks.

Until next time…

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2 responses to “Second Visit to Petco Park: June 20, 2012

  1. Enjoyed the photo-essay, learned a bit. I always like common-man journalism.

    I don’t say much on LSB, just like to read mostly and I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the smart guys anyway.

    • I’m glad you liked the photo essay. I took almost 700 photos in my two visits there, haha. It was difficult picking out the best pictures for both posts.
      I do my best to keep up with the LSB Smart Guys, but even then I’m still considered a “dummy” on LSB.

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