Location: San Diego, California
Address: 19 Tony Gwynn Way San Diego, California 92101
Parking: Parking is available around the downtown area of PETCO Park, parking fees may apply
Year Opened: 2004
Occupants: San Diego Padres
The San Diego Padres began play as a Major League squad in 1969, and they chose to name their team after the wildly successful Padres that played in the Pacific Coast League from 1936-1968. In fact, Hall of Famer Ted Williams began his professional career in a minor league Padres uniform, so it was only natural that the new Major League squad would draw on the team's legacy. In 1969, the Padres were one of four new expansion teams to join Major League Baseball and began play in Jack Murphy Stadium. The venue would later be known as Qualcomm Stadium and also housed the NFL's San Diego Chargers. Like many shared venues, the Padres had a tough time selling out the stadium and soon began to look elsewhere for a ballpark of their own.
In 2004, the Padres moved into Petco Park, a cutting-edge facility with a clear view of downtown San Diego and nestled alongside the Pacific Ocean. The 46,000-seat ballpark is known for its intimate atmosphere and tiered seating that provides spectacular views. Along with the standard seating areas, Petco Park also offers 1,000 standing room-only tickets, as well as 2,500 lawn seats that are placed in an open-air park located behind the outfield wall.
Petco Park was one of the first parks in the Major Leagues to put a major focus on the fan experience, and the myriad bars, shops and restaurants that have popped up around the venue certainly lend credence to that. The Padres have also created Power Alley, a family entertainment area with live-action batting cages, a fast pitch game and various other engaging activities. Visitors to the park should also check out the Padres' Hall of Fame plaques. Opened in 2005, the Hall of Fame Porch pays tribute to some of the biggest names in baseball history, including Padres greats.
Over the years, the Padres have given their fans plenty of memorable moments with five division championships and two World Series appearances. In recent years, the team has used high draft picks and wise free agent acquisitions to gradually build a talented roster. The National League West is always a wide-open race until the end of the season, so the Padres are looking to recapture their division title in the coming years.