San Diego, one of America’s prettiest cities (and the one with arguably the best weather), is hosting the MLB All Star Game for the first time since 1992. This time, though, it’s at Petco Park, which opened in 2004. Let’s take a look at this gorgeous ballpark.
The current home of the Padres is in downtown San Diego. Their previous home, called Jack Murphy Stadium until 1997 when it adopted its current name, Qualcomm Stadium, is located in Mission Valley, about nine miles northeast of Petco. Qualcomm is still the home of the NFL Chargers, at least through the 2016 season. The team can opt to join the Rams in Los Angeles after this year if they choose, which would leave the future of Qualcomm Stadium in doubt.
The future of baseball in San Diego is not in doubt, though. The Padres’ lease at Petco lasts until 2030 (or earlier if the original bonds are retired sooner). The team then has two options to extend their stay by five years.
HOK (now called Populous) was the architect for Petco, based on a design by Antoine Predock. Including the acquisition of land, it cost $453 million to build, of which $146 million came from the team and the rest from various city taxes and the selling of bonds.
And it’s significant to note that it was our Baseballparks.com Ballpark of the Year for 2004, even though Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia opened that same season.
The completion of the ballpark was delayed several times during its construction. One delay was over a court decision that invalidated a ballot initiative (that had already been approved by voters) and another was over the planned demolition of a building. That structure was the Western Metal Supply Company building, which had been designated a historic landmark. The solution? Keep the building, and incorporate it into the design of the ballpark. Today, its southern corner acts as the left-field foul pole, and its interior has been converted to bars and group areas. Porches were added to its front to provide a wonderful view of the field, and its roof is a great party area. The photo below was taken from it.
That building isn’t the only special feature of Petco. Its Park At The Park is a 2.7-acre grassy patch beyond the park’s outfield. It’s perfect for families with kids who’d rather play whiffle ball or run to and fro than watch the game. The parents can keep tabs on both the kids and game via the chunk of the field visible from the area and on a huge video screen.