San Diego plays ball

A new downtown stadium anchors burgeoning East Village

San Diego travel planner

I found my favorite seat at San Diego's new Petco Park, a little down the line between third and home in a row fairly clinging to the uppermost rim of the stadium.

A bighorn sheep from nearby Anza-Borrego Desert State Park would love this seat. First I clambered up a steep, cantilevered bowl. Then, finding my perch, I all but hovered over the field. By merely turning my head, I could look across the historic Gaslamp Quarter and out to the waterfront, the ocean, the sunset, infinity. This, I thought, is what baseball should be all about. You can see a game, but you get to watch a city.

The anchor of downtown San Diego's emerging East Village scene, the Padres' Petco Park opens another inning in the city's history. New hotels, stores, restaurants, offices, and live/work lofts have sprouted up. A revamped Park Boulevard better links downtown to Balboa Park. And red light-rail trolleys zip through the new neighborhood, soon to disgorge many of the more than 42,000 fans expected on April 8, the park's opening day.

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