Here’s the first installment of our review of ballparks from the family perspective. As you will see from the letter below, we received less than average service and flexibility from the ballpark staff at Petco Park. This is the actual letter that I emailed to the Padres. I will keep you posted on whether or not they provide a response.
Unfortunately, I have two pieces of negative feedback regarding our experience at Petco Park on Tuesday, April 7, 2009. I attended this game with my wife, in-laws, and 23-month old daughter.
Let me preface my first comment by stating that I understand the stroller check-in policy at Petco Park. Upon arriving at the landing below our seats in section 315, we noticed that none of the wheelchair companion seats were occupied. As we have done at the accommodating and family-friendly Coors Field in Denver, CO [more on that in a later post], we pulled the stroller next to some of these unoccupied seats in hopes of leaving our daughter in her stroller during the game. We were told by an usher that we had to purchase special tickets in order to sit in these seats. While the usher told us exactly where to go to purchase upgraded seats, we were completely baffled by the unwillingness to be flexible and accommodate our family, which includes a small child. Additionally, it was obvious that the game was not a sellout and we were completely sensitive to the fact that someone may eventually occupy the seats. As it turns out, the seats were never occupied during the game.
I can anticipate that your reaction to my first comment will be something like,”Our ushers are trained to send customers to their ticketed seats” or,”We agree with the usher’s recommendation to direct you to a ticket window.” I want to reiterate that I understand the ballpark ticket policies, but we were extremely disappointed at the ballpark staff’s unwillingness to be flexible, given our situation.
While the ushers were quick to make sure that we did not occupy the wheelchair companion area, they failed to provide us the proper service once we checked our stroller in and took our seats in row 10 of section 15. As you know, this is actually the second row of this section. All throughout the game (especially during play) spectators were going up and down the stairs at the bottom of the section, standing at the top of the stairs, and holding cell phone conversations while obstructing our view and the view of several other fans around us. I spoke to an usher regarding this activity and she told me that it’s “hard to control” at the upper level. She explained that it is controlled at the lower levels of the ballpark.
In addition to the obstructions created by the uncontrolled spectators, our seats did not provide a complete view of the playing field. Our view of home plate was obstructed by the railing of the heavily traveled stairs and our view of right field was cut short by the lower portion of the third deck. We believe that the seats should be discounted and say “obstructed View” on them.
It is our hope that you will use these comments to provide a better experience for future visitors to Petco Park. I look forward to hearing your response to our concerns.
Despite our complaints, we still had a great time at Petco Park during Opening Week. That was our first time visiting the Padres’ ballpark with Chiquita, and that always makes for a very different experience than just going by ourselves. The photo above is one of my favorites. It really captures how our daughter is definitely becoming a baseball fan at a young age.
Petco Park does have some great amenities for families such as the Park in the Park (the grassy area out behind the outfield), a kids’ concession stand, a mini baseball field, a sandy “beach” area right behind the right field wall, and fun Petco mascots. They also have an amazing food deal right now where you can get 5 items (hot dog, coke, cookie, popcorn, & peanuts) for only $5! Not to mention, it’s in a great location, being right downtown in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter.
Here’s the slideshow from the game.
And I still haven’t forgotton about more Spring Training details, that will be coming soon!