4/5/12 Opening Day at PETCO Park

As much as it is a great experience, Opening Day was very frustrating It was so hard to find parking within walking distance from the ballpark, I almost went insane. My dad and I arrived at PETCO Park around 1:15 or so. We found parking around 1:50. Yeah.

We got inside the stadium around 2:15 or so and after receiving our Padres shirt and decals, we headed for the “beach” in right field. The Dodgers were taking BP, so I threw on my Dodgers hat and started getting a feel for San Diego. And if you don’t have the MLB 12 At Bat app, you should get it. Even though it is $15, it is worth it. If $15 is too much, there is a lite version as well. There is also an app called At the Ballpark, which allows you to find information about ballparks and you can check in to games to keep stats of which games you go to.

Well nobody, and I mean NOBODY was hitting it over the fence. And for the few hits that landed anywhere near us, were in the outfield and the Dodgers were being stingy about balls. I knew I wouldn’t get any balls there, so I headed over to my assigned seat, which was in section 134. We got first row seats on stub hub and they were sweet to say the least.

But I found my seat and got to work. The seats were not very packed, so I stood in the row behind my seat and got a feel for where I would be sitting. A bunch of balls were landing in the Bullpen, but an old usher was grabbing the balls and handing them to little kids despite my polite requests.Lots of balls were comming in the direction inside of Ted Lilly, but he ignored *everyone* that asked for a ball. Other players were only throwing balls to little kids. One kid even got a Dodgers commemerative ball… Dangit! Everyone was getting a ball eccept for me. Some guy got 7 balls… sigh…

Soon enough, around 2:50, BP ended, and everybody cleared the field… I put on my Padres giveaway shirt on and switched on my Padres hat. A bunch of people starting laughing and I talked about the fact that I was an A’s fan and explained ballhawking and stuff.

About 10-20 minutes later, Nick Hundly came up to the bullpen to start stretching and everything.

Around 3:45, the pregame cermonies took place. After that, a the national anthem was sung and Edison Volquez finished warming up. I asked Hundly for the ball but he said no.

And for the record, this picture was taken AFTER the national anthem.

First pitch was at 4:07 and when I asked Cameron Maybin for his warm up ball, he pointed at me and chucked it as far as he could into the second deck… then with the second ball he had, he pointed at me again and threw it at me but right before it landed in my glove, some season ticket holder lady barehanded it and caught it. And to add on to the frustrations, it was a DODGERS COMMMEMERATIVE ball… WTF???? That is how it was for most of the game…

Despite the fact that I was sitting RIGHT NEXT TO the Padres bullpen, I had no luck at all. Whenever I asked for a ball, I was ignored every time.

In the bottom of the 6th, Jesus Guzman doubled on a line drive to Matt Kemp and the ball ended up right in front of me.

In the 8th inning, Cameron Maybin hit a home run that traveled an estimated 445 feet. When the ball flew over our heads, the firework cannons behind the bullpen went off and they were loud! After that, the ladies sitting next to us left and gave us their tickets so that we could sit in their seats. Kind of reminds you of this game, doesn’t it?

After the game, right after the final out, I asked Huston Street, former Athletic for a ball or lineup card, he gave me the cold shoulder. Same thing with Andrew Cashner. After all of the relievers left, some kids not much younger than me came running to the bullpen begging the bat boy for a ball, despite the fact it was clear that there were no balls anywhere in the area.

At that point, I just left. It was a frustrating game to say the least.

Well my next game should be the Stockton Ports game on Friday, April 13th, if everything comes together. I won a contest on the Ports facebook page and I need to go pick up the prize package…

Nick Badders is a unofficial reporter for MLB.com. He writes the blog, 7000 Coliseum Way, and you can follow him on Twitter @nickbatters or his blog @7000ColiseumWay. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


    • Nick Badders

      Exactly! I had a great time at a stadium that I had never been to before, and I had great seats, it was a fantastic experience. I think I may have actually pulled out some hair during BP and I want to go back to PETCO Park sometime this summer, sometime when there is no big promotion or opponent.


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