Since 2004, Padre fans
have had one of the best ballparks to watch games and create new
memories each summer. However before Petco Park's opening, that was
not always the case. With an aging Jack Murphy Stadium and having to
share it with the San Diego Chargers (NFL), the Padres needed a
ballpark of their own. Larry Lucchino, who helped the Orioles build
Camden Yards, became President of the Padres in 1995 in part to help
the team get a new ballpark constructed. In 1996 the club officially
announced plans to build a ballpark and after making it to the World
Series in 1998, the voters of San Diego approved a bond to allow
construction of a ballpark in downtown San Diego. Originally, the
42,445 seat stadium was scheduled to open in 2002. However, in
October 2000 funding for construction of the ballpark ended and was
halted for more than a year. Over a year later in November 2001, the
City of San Diego approved a $166 million bond in order for
construction to resume. In January 2003, Petco Animal Supplies, Inc.
purchased the naming rights for $60 million over 22 years, thus the
ballpark was named Petco Park.
On April 8, 2004 the Padres played their first game
in a ballpark they could truly call their own
against the San Francisco Giants. Gone are the days
when they had to share a stadium with another team. The $411 million ballpark has
a Southern California appearance with its white steel and
sandstone facade with palm/jacaranda trees placed along the
perimeter. Leading up to the entrance of the
ballpark, fans pass by a palm court and water walls. Once inside the
ballpark, all fans have an excellent view of the grass playing field. All of
the 42,500 blue seats are close to the field and are angled toward
the pitchers mound. The three tier grandstand extends from the right
field foul pole around to homeplate and to the left field foul pole.
At the left field foul pole is a San Diego landmark, the Western
Metal Supply Building is part of the left field wall and foul pole.
The Western Metal Supply
Building houses the team store on the first floor and has an opening
to allow fans into a standing room area in left field. Located on
the second and third floors of the building are party/luxury suites,
with a restaurant on the fourth floor. Located on top of the
building are 800 bleachers that provide tremendous views of the
ballpark. These bleachers
can be retracted in order for the area to be turned into a party
area for fans. The main scoreboard sits above the seats in left
field. Another scoreboard makes up part of the right field fence.
Additional seating can be found above the right field wall where
there are two levels of
seating. Directly behind the centerfield fence is the Padres bullpen
and a new two-level "social space," inspired by San Diego's
beach lifestyle is in right-centerfield for 600 fans. Added before
the 2016 season, it's located where "The Beach," a kid's sand area
was once located (now located along K Street). Modeled after
Southern California's beach piers, the new space features pilings
and decking constructed from recycled composite wood. Drink rails
will line the front row of both levels, which will combine to hold
approximately 60 fixed seats
outside the ballpark behind the centerfield area is the "Park
at the Park." This elevated grass park is a manicured park that
is used for lawn seating. Here fans are able to watch games for five
dollars. Although some of the
best views of the ballpark may come from this area, the view of
the ballpark and downtown San Diego from the upper deck behind home
plate are spectacular.
Several unique 200 foot
grandstand and extending above the main grandstand support the
lights for the playing field and house luxury suites and lounges. A
Padres Hall of Fame, 250 seat auditorium, kids entertainment zone and
theater are also located at Petco Park. Fans of all ages enjoy coming
out to Petco Park for some fun and exciting Padres baseball.
In an effort to make Petco Park less of a pitchers
park, the Padres changed the dimensions before the
start of the 2013 season. The dimensions to the
right and left field foul poles and to centerfield
remain the same but the distance to the left field
power alley decreases from 402 feet to 390 feet and
the right field foul pole from 402 feet to 390 feet.
The team also moved the visiting team's bullpen from
down the foul line to behind the Padres bullpen.
Before the start of the 2015 season, the old
videoboard was replaced with a
new HD videoboard
that measures 61.5 feet high by 124 feet long.
Below the videoboard, the last nine rows of seats
were removed and replaced with open spaces for
groups. In addition, 110 seats from the lower bowl
below the scoreboard were removed creating a
standing room only area with bar stools for fans.
The project only slightly altered the seating
capacity of Petco Park.