Downtown stadiums

I’m sitting in a room on the 21st floor of the Omni in San Diego, looking down into PetCo Park, where the Padres are playing the Giants. I can tell every time Bonds makes an appearance — the boos rock the ballpark and practically vibrate the foundation of the hotel (which has a four-floor skywalk into the park).

Why am I not at the game? Three tickets, four people (late entry to our party), so I opted to stay “home” and get some work done. (The Omni has to be one of the most efficient business hotel chains around, totally dedicated to helping you get everything you want done, from hooking to fast, flawlessw WiFi in every room to getting your 14-year-old niece some tourist options to get her out of your hair for a while. Oh, and great handmade chips!)

Sounds like the seventh-inning stretch down there now …

The downtown comes alive when the Padres play at home. The bars, the restaurants, sidewalk vendors … lots of excitement in the air. I saw this in Denver, too, when I watched the Diamondbacks play the Rockies in Coors Field, another great downtown success of a park.

But sitting here many stories above the park, listing to the crowd, I wonder if the magic is because of the open-air nature of a baseball park. Would an arena be just another closed building, especially on a cold and foggy winter night?

3 thoughts on “Downtown stadiums”

  1. I think the electricty in the air has to do with any event/gathering of a large number of people. Whether it be a game, concert, play, or even a convention. There’s a reason for a large number of people to be gathering for a reason other than work- Recreation is what that electricity is about; it’s a change from the dull-droms of every day life in Downtown.

    Baseball, especially, has that extra charge. It’s a pastime, or rather: a “pass time,” folks get to sun themselves, breathe in the fresh air (sea air, especially at PetCo.), take in a slow moving game, and pass the time with friends. There’s definitely something additionally special about a Baseball game in a downtown stadium. Even look at our fair Railey Field for reference. I mean, how cool is it to go to a R.cats game- especially for lunch.

    I don’t think having a Downtown *something* to pull people out of the downtown work mode, and into the downtown recreation mode, has ever really been the issue. Everyone wants to see restaurants, bars, and shops thriving downtown as a result of events that pull people downtown.

    The issues for debate are: what events, who builds it, and who controls it?

    Oh, and the San Deigo Omni Rocks! That fish ‘n’ chips place right outside is S-W-E-E-T.


  2. I found your website the other day and love your take on what’s happening in Sacramento. I’m new to Sac and think the Bee sucks. Glad to find a real source of information.

    There’s a lot of talk about how a new stadium will be an economic boon for the city, but research shows it won’t be true. Check out this research from UC Berkeley (It’s already 10 years old and stadiums are a lot more expensive now):
    When the study was first published, the researcher was interviewed on NPR. Why do our city “leaders” think we’ll be any different?

    I imagine 25 (?) years ago the city “leaders” touted the economic turnaround center city would experience by closing K Street and anchoring the ends with a shopping mall and convention center. I’m still waiting. A new stadium should not be subsidized by the taxpayers. If it’s such a great investment, why aren’t the Maloof’s footing the bill?
    As the researcher says, “Money spent on a major stadium or arena project, is money that cannot be spent on other forms of economic development or neighborhood revitalization.”


  3. Welcome to Sacramento & to the Sac Rag, Doug. Consider us your unofficial, yet informed & opinionated, Welcome Wagon!


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