I was with my daughter and a couple of her friends at Petco Park here in San Diego over the weekend for a Padres’ game against the San Francisco Giants (which the home team won in extra innings with a walk-off homer by Khalil Green), and thought what better time to talk baseball in this blog than right now during the heart of the Major League pennant races. For the local fans, the Pads are clinging to a small lead for the National League wild card and are still in the hunt for first in the Western Division, right behind the Arizona Diamondbacks. Meanwhile, as a transplant from New York and New Jersey, I’m a hardcore New York Mets fan, watching them regularly on the satellite and hoping they won’t blow their first place lead in the N.L. East.
What makes any of this related to Sony is the fact that when we moved our U.S. electronics headquarters from northern New Jersey to San Diego in 2004 we also made a commitment to the Padres to have more than 900 of our televisions scattered throughout Petco Park, which was brand new at the time.
The main entrance has a waterfall along the steps and escalator leading to the field level seats. The facade features a natural stone that’s very soothing on the eyes. You can walk around the ballpark and enjoy views of the Coronado Bay Bridge and downtown San Diego. There is a wide variety of food concessions and restaurants. In a very clever move, the Padres’ organization integrated the historic, brick-faced Western Metal Supply Company structure into the ballpark behind left field so the foul line is actually painted right on the corner of the building.
There is also a park within the park for kids to play and other fans to relax on a grassy knoll behind the outfield wall, while watching the main attraction on the huge video screen on the back of the high black wall in center. For family fun, there is also a kids’ zone in the stands down the right field line with a bunch of amusements, including a PlayStation video arcade.
Of course, there are the Sony televisions in all shapes and sizes throughout the park – in the stands, in the wide walking areas, by the concessions, in the restaurants and in the suites. There’s the Sony banner on the left field wall — now also featuring the logo that goes with our HDNA campaign that’s focused on our prowess in all areas of high-definition technology and products.
And, last but not least, there is the fabulous Sony Dugout Club. This begins with prime seating right behind home plate. But that’s just the start. Inside, the Dugout Club also includes a lounge with two mega-sized Sony televisions behind the bar, a gourmet restaurant that has windows looking into where some of the players take extra batting practice, and a more casual eating and desert areas behind the seats just before entering the field.
So even though I am a Mets fan, I’ve been to many more games in three years since moving to San Diego than in the last 30 when I was living in New Jersey. It’s so easy driving in and out of Petco Park compared to Shea Stadium in Queens. (Hopefully, that situation will improve when the Mets’ new ballpark Citi Field opens in a couple of years, but I wouldn’t count on it.)
If you are planning a vacation to San Diego, I would encourage you to schedule your visit when the Padres are in town. All of the seats are angled toward home plate. The groundskeepers keep the field immaculate. The ballpark is kept neat and clean. And the architecture is stunning.
Before signing off, I should also note the Sony sign in right field of the field of another current wild card leader, the New York Yankees. And although I have always been a Yankee-hater, I have to admit, certainly from an all-time leadership perspective, that there is no better place for Sony to be represented than at historic Yankee Stadium.
And while I’m at it, I wouldn’t mind seeing the Mets, hopefully, or the Padres (if the Mets go down to defeat), go up against the Bronx Bombers in the World Series. But for now, I’m taking it one step at a time and with a little luck I might just find myself at Petco Park cheering on the Mets in the first round of the playoffs against the Padres. Now, how cool is that.
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