Peace through victory - the American way.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Baseball Love Affair Begins Again; Padres Fan Day At Petco Park

Spring training begins this week. To kick off the year, the San Diego Padres opened Petco Park to the fans over the weekend, allowing them to tour inside the home team clubhouse and also to go onto the field.

It's a long walk to the locker room through a large industrial looking tunnel.
One of the first rooms in the team clubhouse is the weight room. One player was there working out.
Further down the hall are the locker rooms. First up is the small staff locker. Notice the folding chairs.A little further on and higher up the status ladder is the locker room for the coaches. A bit bigger and a bit more luxurious.Manager Bruce Bochy has his own office.But the kings of baseball are the players. It shows in the players' locker room, a large and luxurious room. Not pictured is their private kitchen just off the locker room.
Down some stairs and a short tunnel is the dugout. Here's a view of the field the players see from the dugout. Cardboard Khalil Greene was posed for pictures this day on the first base line.
Here are two views of the outfield from around home plate.
These views shows why it's so hard to hit homeruns to right and center field in San Diego. Left field is noticably closer, which helps explain why the Padres have gone after right-handed power hitters over the off-season. Why those players are all in the last years of their career is another story.

Here's a view of home plate from right center field, 401 feet away.Last year this fence was 411 feet away. The team decided to bring it in to make the park play more "fair." The hometown sluggers complained the past two years about how hard it was to hit homeruns to right center. Opposing teams didn't seem to have the same trouble, however.

The gap in left field is 358 feet. This sign, and all the billboards on the outfield fences, are soft and padded.Keep that in mind the next time a player crashes into one trying to catch a fly ball.

Fans were not allowed to walk on the infield or outfield grass but they were allowed to run the bases. Here's the view of second base.The foot looks larger in person.
Fans were also allowed to throw pitches in the visiting team's bullpen. It's not as easy as it looks. Mister Americano threw four pitches, not a strike among them, and one pitch went down that runway about 5 feet off the plate.We'll never criticize a politician's lame attempt to throw out a first pitch ever again.


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