The San Diego Padres played their first Major League game at Petco Park on April 8, 2004. The 42,445-seat park has a natural grass playing surface, and a three-tier seating arrangement from foul pole to foul pole. View the Petco Park seating chart for additional information about the different types of seats offered throughout the stadium.
The ballpark gets its name from the pet products and services company, Petco, which has its headquarters in San Diego, and pays a naming-rights fee. Petco Park lies in downtown San Diego next to the San Diego Convention Center, and grandstand seats behind home plate offer fabulous views of the downtown skyline.
One of the most interesting and unique features of Petco Park is the Park at the Park, an area of about three acres beyond the center field wall. In one part of this area, fans can watch the game while sitting on a blanket on the grass. Two other parts are children’s play areas–the sandy “beach” and the Little League infield. The Park at the Park is also the site of the statue of Tony Gwynn, an impressive 10-foot sculpture that shows Padres Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn at the plate taking a swing.
Fans attending a Padres game for the first time may wonder about the red brick building that they see in the left field corner. This is the Western Metal Supply Company building that dates back to 1909. In its heyday, the building housed the production of metal products for distribution to the southern California area. The Padres refurbished the building, and included it in the construction of Petco Park. It anchors the left field foul pole, and the first floor features the Majestic team store, which stocks baseball paraphernalia. Suites for private parties are on the second and third floors, and the fourth floor is home to the Hall of Fame Bar and Grill. Groups that attend a Padres game can choose to sit in the bleacher seats that are on the roof of the building.
There is a video board in left field adjacent to the Western Metal Supply company building, and the main scoreboard rests on top of the video board. The LED lighting in the video board allows fans to see images clearly even when the board is in direct sunlight. The scoreboard provides game statistics, lineups and animation. The results of other Major League games appear on the scoreboard that is in the right field wall.
Petco Park has a reputation for being a pitcher’s ballpark. For four seasons during its first six years, Petco Park ranked last in the category of number of runs scored in a season. In 2011, the ballpark ranked 28th out of 30 ballparks in number of runs scored. Part of the reason for this is the unusual configuration of the outfield. At 396 feet from home plate, straight-away center field is actually closer to home plate than both the left-center field wall (401 feet) and the right-center field wall (400 feet). Padres fans have complained that they don’t see enough home runs hit in Petco Park.