Thursday, April 19, 2007

Behind Enemy Lines

Mission accomplished!

While the rest of the Sons have been watching the wonders of small sample size manifest itself in the form of Mark Hendrickson's pitching line (sounds like the Infinite Monkey Theorem at work to me), the littlest Lasorda and I went deep into enemy territory to check out the ballpark and do a little advance scouting on two division opponents: the D'backs (hmmm, sounds like D'Vaughn should be playing CF for them, no?) and (obviously) the Padres.

While I won't bore you with the details of the game (after all, when you see Jake Peavy hit one triple, you've seen them all), I thought I'd share a couple of the differences between a trip to the Doghouse (I mean, Petco Park? Really. How droll.) and Dodger Stadium.

1. Parking. At least the San Diegans get it. If you have a ballpark in a downtown setting, you don't need acres of parking. While most of the lots were private (and charging $20), we were able to park the Lasordamobile on the street and plug the meter. Even parking a few blocks further, I think we would still be closer than those lots beyond the Think Blue sign at Chavez.

2. Bleachers. The bleachers at Petco are actually more like concrete amphitheater rows, sort of like the ones at the Santa Barbara County Bowl, with some grass planted in the walkways and a huge sandbox/play area for kids to play while the adults get their drink on and cheer for the home team (or, in my case, lustily yell for Peavy to blow out his elbow). Decidedly more kid friendly than dodging a few beachballs on the hot aluminum seats.

3. Food. Apparently, the concept of haute ballpark food for the good jarheads of San Diego encompasses bratwurst, pulled pork sanwiches, and fish tacos. What, no sommelier? Call me a traditionalist, but a ballpark needs to provide a decent dog, you know?

In all fairness, I think the McCourts could learn a thing or two from that team down to the south (no, further south than Anaheim), however, I don't want them to read this and think that trying to build a new ballpark closer to Staples Center is the right idea. Frank and Jamie just need to provide better options for transportation and family amenities, and stop trying to supersize the masses with the Olmedo Saenz Pavilion to Gluttony while downsizing their wallets by charging more for parking.

Has anyone had similar experiences (good or bad) at other ballparks?


Anonymous said...

Shea stadium sucks. My ballpark experience is not enhanced by La Guardia's air traffic... - FelixP

Steve Sax said...

Felix Pie? You Wrigley homer.

I agree with you Lasorda that Petco ain't a bad park. The sandbox in center is great for the kids, and in the main stadium, I liked how the ushers wouldn't let you walk down the aisles to your seats until after the at-bat was completed. That's a good policy (almost as good as the Dodger Stadium vendors pausing transactions during the national anthem, which I've always thought was a classy move). Petco has great sightlines and is wonderful on a sunny afternoon day. And, the beer costs less there!

We should do a SoSG trip down there for the Dodgers (4/27-29, 6/5-7, and 8/31-9/2).

Lasorda said...

I think the Sons should do a couple of road trips. Maybe even a rally to the Bay?

Tim Belcher said...

Saw the Dodgers during their opening series in Milwaukee. Miller Park is a pretty good place to see a game. Every seat in the place is pretty decent, the food is excellent (dogs and brats, but also great other food), and a LARGE beer costs $7.50.

Steve Sax said...

Hey Belch! Yeah, at least three Sons have been to Miller Park and all have fond memories (from the nice Brewers fans), heavier guts (from the bratwursts), and less-pillaged bank accounts (relative to the $8 Dodger Stadium beer prices). In fact, make sure you catch our recap of Game 3 (Dodgers @ Brewers), with a first-hand account from this season!

Anonymous said...

I love Dodger Stadium (shrine, etc), but I gotta admit - the most "baseballish" place I've ever seen a game was the old Tigers Stadium (happened to be in town for a couple weeks in '88). That place was dripping with baseballness: even made watching the Angels beat the Tigers seem like something fun to watch. Sad to see that place go.

Steve Sax said...

Burt, I for one was not sad to see the old Tiger Stadium go. Yes, there was great history there. But it was basically a big square block with only two levels and tons of bottom-level seats with obstructed views due to support columns.

Comerica Park ain't bad, you should check it out.

Anonymous said...

In fact, I was sitting in one of those obstructed-view lower-level seats while I was there. I liked it at the time - it felt like I was watching a ballgame in 1914. (The squarish, cavernous-fighting-pit layout of the stadium also helped with that). I could certainly see how it would get old on repeat visits, though. Fun for one game, to feel how it used to be back before the invention of convenience, but no doubt incredibly frustrating year-in and year-out.

I'll have to give Comerica a try one of these years.