In the major league of baseball there are many stadiums, all which are different and special in some kind of way. The home of the San Diego Padres is Petco Park. The home of the Boston Red Sox is Fenway Park. There are many differences between the two stadiums and how they became what they are today.
Petco Park is a brand new stadium for the Padres. The park opened for its opening game in 2004. It can seat about 43,000 people plus an extra 2,500 people in the park area behind centerfield. This brand new park is a little bit bigger than their old field, Qualcomm Stadium, which they moved out of at the end of the 2003 season. Padres did not start in Qualcomm Stadium either. They started in Lane Field at Broadway Pier, and then in 1958 they were moved to Westgate Park in Mission Valley. Then, Jack Murphy made a proposal to make a new stadium which was called San Diego Stadium. It was also the home of the San Diego Chargers of the NFL. Later it was named Jack Murphy stadium because he got the stadium started and renovated it even more. It was then called Qualcomm when that business bought the grounds around the ballpark. “Considering that Petco Park nearly failed to reach construction phase due to strong community opposition and scandal, the ballpark has overcome some significant challenges to climb the ladder of success, although promised development surrounding the ballpark remains something of an uncertainty”(Reichard, 1). The ballpark district, which is the area around Petco, is still under construction for more development on the way to improve the park. The park construction was halted because of insufficient funds to build the stadium, but after money was set aside for the stadium, construction was started up again and the park was on its way. It was finished and ready to play in on February 18, 2004. The Padres were ready for their new stadium because they did not like sharing their field with the Chargers for football.
Petco Park gives the fans a variety of spots to sit. The fans can sit right on field level and as far up as the nosebleeds. The fans have to pay a little bit extra for the special areas. The average price for tickets is anywhere from fifteen to forty dollars. “Ultimately, Petco Park manages to accomplish the rare feat of catering not only to the fan focused entirely on the game, but also the visitor interested in the overall experience”( Reichard, 3). This brand new stadium has yet to see a world series; the Padres have come close to it, but not quite close enough. They just lost their series against the St. Louis Cardinals to make it to the playoffs this year.
In the case of the Red Sox, they have been in Fenway since 1912. It opened on April 20, 1912. Before Fenway was built they played at Huntington Avenue Grounds. Fenway has been renovated many times to keep the field in good shape and to make it better for the fans. In the left field of Fenway Park there is a huge wall called the green monster, which the hitters face every time they play there. It used to be a big feat to hit a home run over the 37 foot wall which is 310 ft. away from the plate; these days hitters can hit them over the wall if they get the sweet spot of the bat. On the green monster there is a manual scoreboard that is still used today. There are electronic scoreboards around the field, but the manual one is still used. “Behind the manual scoreboard is a room where the walls are covered with signatures of players who have played at Fenway Park over the years. Also, the initials TAY and JRY, for Tom Yawkey and Jean Yawkey, appear in Morse code in two vertical stripes on the scoreboard”(Fenway Facts, 2). There are many nicknames given to parts of Fenway Park. There is Duffy’s Cliff; this was a ten foot mound that reached from the left field foul pole to center field. It was named this because the left fielder for Boston was Duffy Lewis and he mastered the skill of running up hill to catch the ball. The Green Monster is the huge wall in left field. It gets its name from its looks. In the right field bleachers there is one seat that is painted red. That is where the longest home run was hit, 502 ft by Ted Williams. “Legend says that the ball crashed through the straw hat of the man sitting in the seat — Section 42, Row 37, Seat 21” (Fenway Facts, 2).
New fields and old fields, what is the difference? There is plenty of difference. All new fields are up to date with technology and new ways to make parks better for fans. Old fields are boring and there is nothing to them. The brand new Petco Park has many fun things in it. Behind centerfield wall there is a sand area for little kids and their parents to watch the game. The fence is see through so that the little ball fans can see the game while playing around in the sand. In those seats the fan sits right on field level so that it is like the individual is in the game. That is also how Fenway is a little bit. The stands along Fenway are really close to the foul lines to bring the viewers closer to the game. “Today, the average seat in Fenway Park is closer to the field than in any other Major League baseball park. This feel of intimacy is readily apparent to Fenway Park visitors and adds to its uniqueness. It is for this reason that Fenway has been referred to as “the best place in the world to watch a baseball game”(Save Fenway Park, 1). Fenway Park is the oldest major league park still in operation in the country. “Many baseball teams are looking to replace their symmetrical, Astroturf-covered, multipurpose “mega-stadiums” built in the 1960s and 1970s (such as Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Stadium and Seattle’s Kingdome) with “retro-style,” single-use baseball parks that emulate the irregular field configuration and wall heights, urban setting, and overall intimacy of Fenway Park. In fact, Fenway was looked to as a model for the vanguards of these newer parks: Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore and Jacobs Field in Cleveland. As other “classic” baseball parks disappear, including Comiskey Park in Chicago and Tiger Stadium in Detroit, the opportunity to experience a Major League baseball game in an authentic traditional setting is quickly fading away”(Save Fenway Park, 3). Cal Ripken Jr. says it well in this little paragraph about the feeling of playing on these old authentic fields,
“The thing that I remember the most is just the feeling you get when you walk out on that field (at Fenway Park). All of the ballparks, especially the new ones, and Camden Yards, I guess, started the trend, try to capture in the modern sense the feeling of Fenway Park. It’s just a great feeling to be able to play baseball on that field. It’s a special place” (Young, 1).
Many players like to play on the old fields because all the old time legends have played on them. Then again, it is fun on all the new fields like Petco Park because there are more fans going ballistic for their team and they get to try to become the legends of these new fields and set records and go down in the history with those fields.
Some of the new ballparks are getting bigger and harder to play in though. The fences are getting deeper and new configurations of the fields are getting crazier. Petco Park has one of the deepest fences in the major league and the fence line is shaped the most unusual out of many other fields. Fenway also has a different configuration for there fence with the way it wraps around the field and the height differences of the fence going around the outfield. There are many differences between Petco and Fenway, but there are some similarities too.
There is a little history about Fenway and what has gone on through all the years it has been played in. The very first year it opened, the Red Sox won the World Series. From then until 2006 they have won six World Series. They could have won seven, but no one knows for sure because the Giants refused to play in the World Series that year in 1904. Petco has no history at all yet; it is in its second season of play and both years the Padres almost made it to the World Series both seasons.
Many stadiums in the Major League of baseball are old and new. Some are similar and some are completely different. These two stadiums have a great background behind them. Fenway has come far from the year 1912, and the Padres they have come far with all there different stadiums. Petco Park is now the home of the Padres and it is one of the nicest brand new ball fields of this era. These stadiums have there own unique and significant values to them. They have their differences and have become two of the greatest fields to play on and to be in.
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Reichard, Kevin. “Ballpark Digest- Petco Park/ San Diego Padres.” Ballpark Watch. 10 Oct. 2006
Schoenherr. “Padres Baseball History Timeline.” History.Acusd. 7 Aug. 2004. 10 Oct. 2006
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