As a San Diego Padres fan who has lived his entire life at the New Jersey Shore, I finally found out what I believed all along. There is no better place in America to be a sports fan and enjoy what's right about pro sports than seeing a baseball game at Petco Park. Of course I realize the bias here being I am a San Diego Padres fan, when I say this, but the greatest sports fan experience undoubtedly is at Petco Park. Forget about the down year the Padres are having. This is not so much about the actual play on the field, although it would have been nice to see the Padres not lose the way did when I was there on Friday, Aug. 1, 3-2 to the amazing Tim Lincecum and the San Francisco Giants (that's another blog post for another time).
Rather, this is about the overall experience of being at the ball park from two hours before first pitch to the half-hour afterward walking back to the car in the Gaslamp District, in the great place called San Diego, and among the classy individuals I was surrounded by be it the Padres or Giants fans I was around the other night.
For those of you who do not realize, and I aplogize to those still reading so sick of me, this perspective comes from a Padres fan who was born in and sadly still calls New Jersey home. Seeing the Padres play at the ballpark has always meant for me watching them in recent years in Philadelphia or New York. So FINALLY, I got my butt to Southern California for a long weekend and FINALLY saw my team play a home game at Petco Park. Being used to sitting among the ****, the ignorant racists, and other assorted low life who call themselves Yankee, Mets, and Phillies fans at their home ball parks to see San Diego play, I was amazed at the quality of human beings and overall product I encountered at Petco Park, let alone the folks I was around in Section 107 behind the Padres dugout the other night. Another quality I am not used to is the notion that Petco Park seemingly allows people of all income brackets to go to a game. This is a family place, not the usual corporate snob zone, or drunked derelict hangout like in Philly or New York (you can't deny that my New Jersey/New York/Philly friends). The Park at the Park at Petco was a heart warming family picture, with tickets to watch the game from there being about 10 bucks (someone correct if I'm wrong on that price). My wife and I, and a horde of little kids in Peavy, Hoffman, Adrian Gonzalez, and Khalil Greene shirts watched BP from there as Hoffman's, Peavy's, and Heath Bell's kids shagged fly balls right in front of us. When it came time to eat at the park, we were amazed at the variety of foods, including my wife a vegetarian. I inhaled about 10 fish tacos from the Rubio's stand. I don't think you'll be getting a quality fish taco at an affordabe price at Yankee Stadium anytime soon folks. Take your Premio Italian Sausages and choke on 'em New York.
At game time, after walking the park for about an hour and a half, we found ourselves surrounded by positive, sober, respectful Padres fans who cheered for their team. Were they/we frustrated by the handful of miscues by San Diego? Sure. But for the first time it didn't include , roid rage, cursing, beer cups being tossed, or security having to drag someone out. Anyway, I think you get the idea here. Anyone here still reading this actually from California, or a long time Padres fan/Petco Park regular, please realize to me this was a big deal and a very foreign affair. My trip to Petco and to San Diego made me realize how sports fans in the New York City Tri-State and Philadelphia area rooting for the NY/NJ/Philly teams simply do not get it. There's a way to act and conduct one's self. In the armpit crap hole of America where I am stuck, that concept is noit understood by enough human beings.
So thank-you San Diego for showing me my favorite team, and how people should act, and how organizations should treat those who come to the ball park. It was a rough affair leaving San Diego International and getting a plane back to Newark International. Now I'm back at home at the Jersey Shore - where the best beach and surfing day isn't as good as the worst in Southern California.
So, why the hell did I leave San Diego anyway???? Go Padres!!!