Petco Park is an open-air ballpark in downtown San Diego, California, USA. It opened in 2004, replacing Qualcomm Stadium as the home park of Major League Baseball's San Diego Padres. Before then, the Padres shared Qualcomm Stadium with the NFL's San Diego Chargers. The stadium is named after the animal and pet supplies retailer Petco, which is based in San Diego and paid for the naming rights.

The ballpark is located between 7th and 10th Avenues, south of J Street. The southern side of the stadium is bounded by San Diego Trolley light rail tracks along the north side of Harbor Drive (which serve the adjacent San Diego Convention Center). The portion of K Street between 7th and 10th is now closed to automobiles and serves as a pedestrian promenade along the back of the left and center field outfield seating (and also provides access to the "Park at the Park" behind center field). Two of the stadium's outfield entrance areas are located at K Street's intersections with 7th and 10th Avenues. The main entrance, behind home plate, is at the south end of Park Boulevard (at Imperial) and faces the San Diego Trolley 12th & Imperial Transit Center.


The ballpark was constructed by San Diego Ballpark Builders, a partnership with Clark Construction, Nielsen Dillingham and Douglas E. Barnhart, Inc. The construction cost of over $450 million was partially funded by the Center City Development Corporation and the San Diego Redevelopment Agency. The stadium was intended to be part of a comprehensive plan to revitalize San Diego's aging downtown, particularly the East Village area. The stadium is located across Harbor Drive from the San Diego Convention Center, and its main entrance behind home plate is located two blocks from the downtown terminal of the San Diego Trolley light rail system.

The ballpark was originally scheduled to open for the 2002 season; however, construction was temporarily suspended for legal and political reasons. One portion of this was a court decision which nullified a ballot proposition which had already been passed (approving the city's portion of the stadium financing package), and required that the proposition be put to the voters a second time. Another delay resulted from the Western Metal Supply Co. building being declared a historic landmark, which prevented its demolition. After court hearings, it was determined that its landmark status only applies to the exterior facade, as it was supported entirely by panoramic photographs of the early San Diego skyline, and the building was renovated and included in the stadium design in an example of adaptive reuse.

The resulting delays required the Padres to play the 2002 and 2003 seasons at Qualcomm Stadium.

Events and milestones

The first baseball game ever played at Petco Park, on March 11, 2004, was the first game of a four-team NCAA invitational tournament hosted by San Diego State University. The San Diego State Aztecs baseball team, of which retired Padres player Tony Gwynn was the head coach, defeated Houston. It was the largest attendance for a game in college baseball history.

On April 8, 2004, The San Diego Padres played their first regular season game and defeated the San Francisco Giants 4-3 in 10 innings.

April 15, 2004 Mark Loretta hit the first Padre home run off of Hideo Nomo of the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was caught by Mike Hill, a bartender at the Kansas City Barbecue.

The stadium's first concert came on November 11, 2005, when it hosted The Rolling Stones.

On March 18 and 20, 2006, the ballpark hosted the semi-finals and finals of the first World Baseball Classic. It also hosted second-round games of the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

On April 4, 2006, Petco Park had its first rainout, postponing an evening game against the San Francisco Giants.

In February 2007, Petco Park became the new host of the USA Sevens, a rugby union sevens event within the IRB Sevens World Series. Previous editions of the USA Sevens had been held at The Home Depot Center in the Los Angeles suburb of Carson.

On August 4, 2007, Barry Bonds hit his 755th home run to tie Hank Aaron's record.

On April 17, 2008, the Padres and Rockies played in a 22-inning game, the longest game in Petco Park history. The Rockies won the game by a score of 2–1. It was the longest MLB game in nearly 15 years.

On November 4, 2008, Madonna performed her Sticky and Sweet Tour at Petco Park. This marked the first time in 23 years that Madonna brought a tour to San Diego since The Virgin Tour in 1985. 35,743 fans were present.

On July 2, 2009, the MLB experienced its first game to be delayed/halted by a swarm of bees at Petco Park in a game between the Padres and the Houston Astros. A small swarm of honeybees took up residence around a chair in left field, causing the game to be delayed by fifty-two minutes. A beekeeper was called in and the swarm was exterminated.

On May 31, 2010 the Padres scored a season high and broke a Petco Park record for runs scored in a whole game with 18 runs to defeat the New York Mets on a final score of 18 to 6. Jerry Hairston hit a 2nd inning Grand Slam to start the offence for the Padres. The winning pitcher was Kevin Correia, who had not won a game since April.

On June 14, 2010, during a Toronto Blue Jays vs. San Diego Padres game, there was a magnitude-5.7 earthquake, which was centered about 85 miles (137 km) east of San Diego. Play stopped momentarily in the eighth inning. The Blue Jays went on to win 6-3.

Rain delays led to the suspension of the Padres' game with the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 8, 2011. The first delay caused the game to start 28 minutes late. Play was then stopped for over 90 minutes in the second inning, and again in the sixth inning for over one hour. The score was tied at 2-2 in the top of the 9th when play was finally suspended at 1:40 a.m. PDT April 9 after a fourth rain delay. The game was finished later on April 9, with the Dodgers winning in 11 innings, 4-2.

Season 11 auditions for the juggernaut reality-television program American Idol were held at Petco Park on Friday, July 8, 2011.


Petco Park can be seen and can even be entered in the video game Midnight Club 3 in the city of San Diego.

PETA protest

During the construction of the stadium, the Padres offered fans the chance to purchase bricks outside of the concourse and to dedicate them.

Soon after this, PETA attempted to purchase a brick to protest Petco's treatment of animals (PETA and Petco have a long-standing dispute over this matter), but the first two attempts were denied. Undeterred, PETA succeeded on its third attempt by purchasing a brick which read "Break Open Your Cold Ones Toast The Padres Enjoy This Champion Organization." When one reads the first letter of each word, it forms an acrostic which reads "BOYCOTT PETCO." The Padres decided to leave the brick there, saying not enough people walking by would notice the secret meaning.

Comic-Con International

During Comic-Con International 2010, Petco Park was the venue for the NOW Awards.

Features and design

Petco Park differentiates itself from many other Major League ballparks built in the same era by eschewing "retro"-style red brick and green seats. The stadium is clad in Indian sandstone and stucco; its exposed steel is painted white and the 42,445 fixed seats are dark blue. The design is meant to evoke the sandy color of San Diego cliffs and beaches, the blue of the ocean, and the white sails of boats on the nearby bay.

Architects HOK Sport and Antoine Predock's design pulled restaurants, administrative offices and other amenities away from the seating bowl itself into other buildings surrounding the bowl. As a result, the ballpark's concourses are open not only to the playing field but also to the surrounding city. Unlike many outdoor ballparks, in which the batter faces northeast, at Petco the batter faces due north, and fans in the grandstands are treated to a view of San Diego Bay and the San Diego skyline beyond the left field seats, as well as a view of Balboa Park, which contains the San Diego Zoo, beyond center field. The San Diego Union-Tribune honored the ballpark in 2006 with an Orchid award for its design.

The official address of Petco Park is 19 Tony Gwynn Way, in honor of the eight-time National League batting champion who wore that uniform number during his entire major league career with the Padres. A 10-foot (3.0 m) statue of Gwynn was unveiled on the stadium grounds on July 21, 2007.

The "Park at the Park", a grassy berm sloping above the outfield fence, is open during game time, allowing fans to sit and watch games for a small price of $5. When no games are being played, the Park at the Park serves as a free local park for area residents. An unusual feature that Petco Park has is the home team bullpen is located behind the left-center field wall while the bullpen for the visiting is in foul territory on the first base side.

A 30-by-53-foot (9 m × 16 m) LED video board from Daktronics, dubbed FriarVision, offers high-resolution replays and graphics, even in direct sunlight. Atop FriarVision in the left-field stands is a 34-by-80-foot (10 m × 24 m) Matrix scoreboard displaying animation and cheer graphics, lineups, stats, and game information. Along the upper concourses are LED fascia video boards showing animation and graphics. The one along the first-base side is 3 by 236 feet (1 m × 72 m) while the third-base side is 3 by 252 feet (1 m × 77 m).

The Western Metal Supply Co. building, a hundred-year old brick structure that had been scheduled for demolition to make way for Petco Park, was saved and incorporated into the design of the ballpark. The building was renovated and contains the team store, private suites, a restaurant and rooftop seating. The southeast corner of the building serves as the left field foul pole, and is protected by a strip of bright yellow angle iron.

Fans in concession stands, in bars, restaurants or wandering the stands can watch the action on 244 high-definition TV monitors and an additional 500 standard-definition TVs. More than 500 computer-controlled speakers throughout the park deliver the sound as a "distributed signal," eliminating the audio delay from a central bank of speakers, such as the system at Qualcomm Stadium. Four stationary cameras, one roving camera and use of six Cox-TV cameras provide videos for the park's screens.

Petco Park has been described as being an "extreme pitcher's park". At the end of the 2008 season, Petco Park ranked 29th in hits and 30th out of 30 in home runs per Major League ballpark.

Every time the Padres hit a home run, a foghorn is sounded and fireworks are shot off in center field. The foghorn is a recording of the horn of the Navy's USS Ronald Reagan, a nuclear aircraft carrier that is ported in San Diego.

There are a total of 5,000 club seats and 58 luxury suites at the ballpark.


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