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Ode to the Bleacher Seats

At Petco Park, there are charms beyond the outfield wall that no other seat can muster

First, the upfront: This is a paid partnership with the Padres. Second, that’s not going to stop me from reliving one of my favorite kid memories.

I was 11 years old when the Padres played the Chicago Cubs in the playoffs. The Padres were a large part of my world. My mom, a baseball nut, taught me how to keep score in an official book that year. We had season tickets, which meant we were able to get seats for the playoff games. Padres lost the first two games, came back to San Diego on the ropes. 

Mom and I were sitting in the left field bleachers when Kevin McReynolds hit a towering fly ball in our direction. The ball got bigger and bigger and bigger. The Cubs’ left-fielder ran toward us, ran fast until he ran out of room. The ball landed, and the stadium exploded. It landed right… HERE. It landed at US. 

Up until that moment, I’d always envied the other, closer seats.

Three days later, I was sitting in the upper deck when Craig Nettles threw the ball to Alan Wiggins and the team rioted into a human pile of happy in the center of the field. The Pads’ first trip to the World Series. 

The bleachers are where us fans harvest homers. Send us your dingers, your dongers, goners, taters, oppo tacos, no-doubters, moon shots, your grand salamis, and your Machados. Slam Diego isn’t a fictional place. It’s a seat. And that seat… is right here. It’s a tad louder in the bleachers because, well, joy and happiness aren’t quiet. Welcome to the party at the end of the home run rainbow.

The Padres are now playing their final stretch of games. All of them at Petco. I split season tickets this year with a friend specifically for this reason. To have a chance to get those seats again, relive that McReynolds moment, that Garvey time. 

It’s down to the wire, the biting of nails. Machado and Soto and Joe and Yu and Snellzilla and all the players with great hair could use locals at the finish line. Get a seat. Any seat. All have their unique charms. And should you decide to become a member (partial or whole season tickets for 2023), the list of perks is pretty impressive, including:

—priority access to Postseason tickets (and, baseball gods be willing, World Series)

—before each game, it’s happy hour (more than half-off select beer, wine, and cocktails)

—invitation to watch batting practice to catch homers (if you get a ball with gold-stitching, you get a free Pads jersey of your choice)

—10% off all schwag (City Connect calling your name)

Go Pads.

Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres

By Troy Johnson

Troy Johnson is the magazine’s award-winning food writer and humorist, and a long-standing expert on Food Network. His work has been featured on NatGeo, Travel Channel, NPR, and in Food Matters, a textbook of the best American food writing.

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