Which of the 10 Never Before Seen Facts on Petco Park San Diego Will Impress You the Most? Those 10 Facts on Petco Park are…
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10 Never Before Seen Facts on Petco Park
Petco Park is one of the league’s highly-praised west coast stadiums every sports fan has on their bucket list. In fact, the Padres stadium opened in 2004 and hosted the All-Star Game in 2016. Any San Diego fan that bleeds Padres brown will know every information possible, from the team playing in the 1998 World Series to Joe Musgrove throwing a no-hitter in 2021. However, there are new Petco Park facts that many baseball supporters never knew or never heard of in their lives. For details on what facts baseball fans rarely knew about, please refer to 10 Never Before Seen Facts on Petco Park below
10: Padres Stadium was Supposed to Open Two Years Earlier
For the first 30-plus years of existence, the San Diego Padres played their home games at Qualcomm Stadium. In addition, they had to share the same facility with the NFL’s Chargers. Qualcomm Stadium has hosted many exciting Padres moments, like the 1984 World Series vs. Tigers. The now-demolished venue also served as the home for two All-Star Games in 1978 and 1992. The former multi-use stadium even hosted the Super Bowl in early 2003, with the Buccaneers defeating the Raiders. But when the Padres were building Petco Park, the ballpark was supposed to open two years earlier than expected.
The original grand opening date for the Padres’ new home was going to be in 2002. However, it was pushed back to 2004 due to legal controversies and disagreements with city officials. Perhaps the main hurdle for getting Petco Park built was the historic Western Metal Supply Co. building occupying the same site. More on that later in this article! Eventually, both the city and the Padres settled their differences and the new facility opened in time for the 2004 season. There might have been roadblocks to getting Petco Park built and completed, but it was with the wait.
9: PETA Made a Protest Brick on the Home Plate Concourse
Any baseball stadium that has a ton of bricks on the floor has special messages from fans. For example, a spectator can purchase a brick to celebrate their first game at Petco Park. Another example is that bricks can be acquired as a tribute to a deceased family member. But believe it or not, one company decided to buy a brick to call out against the Padres. When the downtown venue became Petco Park in the early 2000s, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) wanted to get revenge on the team.
The PETA expressed concerns about how Petco® treated their pets and other animals. In fact, the organization made a couple of attempts to show their displeasure on the stadium’s brick, but was denied by the club. Eventually, PETA managed to get a hidden message brick at Petco Park. Somewhere on the property, there is a brick that says “Break Open Your Cold Ones Toast The Padres Enjoy This Champion Organization.” That phrase might sound like a sportsmanship gesture, but the first letter of each of the twelve words actually means BOYCOTT PETCO. Surprisingly, the message is so hidden and unknown to fans that the brick still exists to this day.
8: An Earthquake Impacted the Padres vs. Blue Jays Game in 2010
Traditionally, baseball games can get delayed because of really bad weather. Anyone who is sitting in an open-air ballpark would take shelter if there is a rain delay. Fans would either go to the concourses to stay dry or head to the team stores. The bad part about inclement weather is that contests can get postponed if there is a huge band of storms in the area. But did you know that the Padres vs. Blue Jays game at Petco Park was impacted by an earthquake?
During the interleague matchup in 2010, the two teams were competing on a nice summer evening. Suddenly, in the 8th inning, everyone at Petco Park felt a major shaking sensation. That movement was caused by a magnitude-5.7 earthquake taking place 85 miles off of San Diego. Even though the game stopped instantly when it happened, there was no official delay. Nor did the fans and players take shelter since the earthquake happened in a brief moment. Fortunately, nobody was injured and San Diego did not receive any major damage.
7: American Idol Held Singing Auditions at Petco Park in 2011
Petco Park has witnessed many unforgettable events since it opened in 2004. On select days, the Padres would honor the military by wearing camouflage jerseys. Throughout the season, the downtown stadium hosts some of California’s top-drawing teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants. Occasionally, a home run ball would land on either the seats of the Western Metal Supply Co. building or on top of the structure. But believe it or not, Petco Park was the home for singing auditions for the hit show “American Idol.”
Prior to the 11th season of the television series, the audition segments took place between third base and the left field foul line. This rare scene was a huge deal as hundreds and hundreds of fans had come from other states. In fact, some of them waited in long lines outside the stadium for hours. Not only did the fans have to wait in line for a long period of time, but they also had to remember a couple songs by heart as part of the process. It’s kind of odd to have the auditions take place at the ballpark since those types of things usually take place inside the theater.
6: A Padres Contest was Delayed in 2009 Because of Unwanted Guest
Sometimes, unwanted guests and unfortunate events can ruin the baseball game experience. Back in 2008, part of the outfield seating section at Dodger Stadium had to be evacuated due to swarms of bees. A couple years later, a large band of bees were discovered near the Rockies’ dugout at Coors Field. In 2018, a Royals contest at Kauffman Stadium was delayed due to a water pipe leakage in the right field bullpen and nearby warning track. But did you know that a Padres game at Petco Park had a bee-delay?
In July 2009, San Diego was taking on their National League rival the Houston Astros. Then, during the 9th inning, play went to an unexpected halt when a swarm of bees were found close to the left field seats. The game had to be stopped for nearly an hour until a beekeeper showed up to take down the insects. Once that’s taken care of, the contest resumed without further incident. Unfortunately, the bees were not the only downside the Padres dealt with as they lost to Houston 7-2.
5: A Fan Fell Over a Railing Just Before Padres Game was Set to Start
Injuries and accidents can happen to anyone everywhere, especially at sports stadiums. Those accidents range from spilling food on the floor to slipping on a wet floor. However, injuries resulting from those accidents can sometimes be serious or even life-threatening. Unfortunately, that happened at Petco Park right before the first pitch. In September 2021, a mother and a child were both killed after falling to their deaths from an upper level.
During a normal day in the last month of the 2021 regular season, a family of three with a dog were at Petco Park to catch a game. Suddenly, a mother who was holding her child fell over six floors after appearing to be losing her balance while jumping on a bench. The family were sitting at a table near the railing at the time of the accident. The mother and child were both killed instantly and the Padres sent condolences to the family. Four months after the tragedy, local law enforcement authorities declared that the deaths were ruled a suicidal-homicidal matter.
4: Weezer has Played More Shows at Padres Stadium than Anyone Else
Commonly, it is a neat practice for MLB stadiums to host live musical events. In fact, there are teams that previously hosted big-name shows. Those teams were the following: Mariners, Guardians, Red Sox, Phillies, Reds, Yankees, Tigers, Mets, and many more. Concerts can vary with either a post-game event or just a stand alone performance during the off-season. But did you know that Weezer has played more shows at Petco Park than anyone else? And that doesn’t count singing at National Anthems or having themed nights.
Weezer has played a total of three shows: 2012, 2019, and 2021. The California-based rock band is notable for their hit songs like “Buddy Holly” and “Beverly Hills.” In the first show, Weezer was the main headliner for the night. Seven years later, they collaborated with Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters. In 2021, Weezer was part of a major blockbuster tour consisting of Fall Out Boy and Green Day. By the way, the last show was a makeup performance from the 2020 gig that was postponed due to the pandemic.
3: Petco Park is the Only MLB Stadium to Have its Own Local Park
The Padres stadium has many attractions fans and baseball enthusiasts in general can enjoy. For instance, Petco Park has a Hall of Fame Museum located near the left field gate. Adjacent to the museum is a Padres of Cooperstown wall that is filled with plaques of Padres legends who got inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in New York. Also, some of the areas of the 3rd base and 1st base concourses are covered in green ivy plants. Perhaps the most interesting part about Petco Park is that it is the only ballpark in the country to have its own local park.
Gallagher Square, formerly known as Park at the Park, is located beyond the centerfield area. The space has a little-league-sized baseball field for children to play in. In addition, Gallagher Square is used for stage setups on concerts and other events. The main centerpiece for the local park is the Tony Gwynn statue with fan messaging bricks located beneath the structure. The best part about Gallagher Square is that fans can visit the park free of charge whenever the Padres are on the road or even during the off-season.
2: A College Basketball Game Took Place at Padres Stadium
The Padres venue has hosted non-baseball events in the past. One example is the previously-mentioned “American Idol” tryouts that took place in 2011. In fact, Petco Park was the home to many live music concerts all year long. But did you know that the Padres ballpark once hosted a basketball game? In prior decades, having a basketball court on a baseball diamond has been used before. During the mid-1900s, the Harlem Globetrotters® played their contests at Dodger Stadium and Fenway Park. In the 2000s, a women’s basketball game occurred at Chase Field in Phoenix.
Anyway, Petco Park got to host a men’s college basketball contest between San Diego State Aztecs and San Diego Toreros. In late 2015, the two crosstown rivals squared off on a court located between home plate and third base. Toreros went on to defeat San Diego State in an upset 53-48. Unfortunately, the basketball game at Petco Park received negative reviews from fans and the media. Prior to the contest, only one entry gate was open and this led to long lines that stretched out in the streets. Also, there were long lines in the concourse because not many food stands were open.
1: The Western Metal Supply Co. Building was Not Part of the Original Ballpark Plans
The historic Western Metal Supply Co. building at left field is probably the most famous feature at Petco Park. The brick structure serves as the foul pole to determine if a ball is a hit or out of play. In addition, the building’s rooftop serves as an outdoor gathering for those who have tickets to that area. One level below (or the 4th floor) is the dining/social gathering area where those with access can walk to the balconies to see game action. But believe it or not, the Western Metal Supply Co. building was not part of Petco Park’s original plans.
When the structure opened in the late 1800s, it served many companies that specialized in sporting goods and auto parts. The brick building was operational until the 1970s, when the city of San Diego made it a historic landmark. However, the Western Metal Supply Co. building almost ended up getting hit by a wrecking ball. In the early 2000s, the Padres wanted to build their new stadium on the site where the brick structure was.
As we mentioned earlier in this article, the city’s disagreements with the building’s fate along with other concerns led the ballpark’s opening to be pushed back by two years. Fortunately, the Padres decided to incorporate the Western Metal Supply Co. building as part of the fan experience.