Friday, 26 August 2022


“Do you fancy going to a baseball game?” I asked the kids while planning the trip. They replied yes enthusiastically enough that I started to investigate which teams were playing when we were in town.

The San Diego padres were the most viable option. Especially as there was a day game. Likely to be less busy. And not ending inconveniently late. I duly ordered three tickets.

Originally, the plan was to visit Midway (a preserved aircraft carrier) in the morning, then continue on to the baseball. But this would have required us to be up and out by 9:30. Not much chance of that with Andrew.

Lexxie and we make the long one-block trek to the 7 11. To pick up some breakfast. A couple of sarnies and a Big Gulp of diet cola. Lexxie doesn’t put any ice in the cup. There’s plenty of ice at the hotel. And without the ice taking up space, we get double the cola for our money.

After breakfast, we fill in the form we need to enter Canada. Yet another fucking form. It’s so much fun, entering the same crap yet another time. When we’re done, it asks us to print out the page, as we’ll need it at the airport. Both Lexxie and I take a snap, us having no access to a printer. Best to be on the safe side.

The Petco Stadium, home of the Padres, is close to a tram stop. Which isn’t always the case in the US. Lexxie tells me about the size of some of the stadium parking lots as we walk to pick up the tram. The largest are around the size of Amsterdam, it seems.

“Fuck! Fuckitty, fuck, fuck, fuck.”

“What is it, Dad?”

“I’ve just turned my ankle over. I hope I haven’t broken it. Again.”

“Can you walk on it?”


“It can’t be broken then.”

“I beg to differ. Based on past experience.”

“Shut up and stop whinging.”

It’s hurting. But nothing like the agony of a break. I suppose expecting sympathy from the kids is too much.

I continue. Limping. And lag even further behind the kids than usual.

The tram is fairly full. I’m fairly sure they’re all going to the game. Not hard to guess, as they’re all wearing some Padres gear.

Lexxie has to dump his backpack in a mobile locker. $12 it costs. The robbing bastards. Card only, so I have to hobble over the road to pay.

As soon as we’re inside the ground, I spot a Pizza Port bar. It’s at the back of the section where we’re sitting. That’s handy.

Our seats are closer to the pitch than I expected. And in the sun, which isn’t great. Lexxie and I go to fetch beer. I get a Designated Hopper. A Double IPA. The kids get some Pale Ale or other.  The prices are like a swift kick in the balls: they make my eyes water.

It’s no fun walking all the way down to our seats. Pretty sure my ankle isn’t broken. I must check if it’s swelling.

The father and son sitting behind us have moved along a few seats. I guess the kids were blocking their view.

I’ve no sunscreen on. And I can’t keep my arms out of the sun. And it’s hot.

“Why don’t we move back into the shade?”

“Can we do that?”

“Why not? No-one is checking who’s in the seats. And it’s not sold out.”

It’s much more pleasant in the shade.

“This is much more pleasant, isn’t it?”

“Yes, dad.”

“Can you get the next round? All this walking up and down stairs isn’t good for my ankle.”

“Right, Dad.”

“I’m not joking. I really hurt my ankle.” They aren’t very sympathetic, these kids.

There’s a bloke a few rows over in a Mexican wrestling mask. And a load of Padres gear. Sort of like an unofficial mascot. 

Colorado Rockies hit a couple of homers, scoring three runs. The game pootles along, as baseball games tend to. Then, also as is typical of baseball games, all of a sudden, lots of things happen.

Like foul balls flying our way. It’s scary if you haven’t been paying attention or lose track of the ball in flight. It’s no wonder there are signs warning about “objects” leaving the pitch.

I think the people behind us are impressed that Lexxie knows all the words to “Take me out to the Ballpark”. Especially as they stumble and mumble through the second verse.

The Padres score a couple of runs and the Rockies get a couple in return. Quite exciting. But weird how quiet it is – other than a few boos – when the away team score. Because there aren’t any away fans. Quite different to football.

Then it all goes mad. The Padres score a hatful of runs in a couple of innings and win 13 – 5. The crowd go crazier with every run.

“Don’t expect every game to be as exciting as this.” I warn. “They usually end up 3 – 2 or 4 – 3.”

I limp slowly behind the kids and out of the stadium.

“You know where we could go now? There’s a . . .”

“brewpub around the corner. I know. That’s where I’m going.”

“How did you know that? You must be psychic.”

The kids give me a pitying look.

Half Door, the brewpub, isn’t as crowded as I had feared.

“Do you want to sit inside or outside? It’s very hot inside.” A waitress asks.

Outside it is, then. In the shade, it’s a lovely temperature.

Surprise, surprise, I order an IPA:

Half Door Hazy IPA
There’s a reason I ordered a sludge IPA. It’s the one that’s cheap for happy hour. Full orange juice. Not too overly fruity. And only $5.

We didn’t eat at the baseball. I’m not made of money. I don’t like to think about how much I spent on beer. That’s one of the reasons I choose happy hour food items: salt and vinegar chips and BBQ chicken flat bread.

The Petco Stadium is just at the end of the street. We can see right through to the stands. People, presumably going to tonight’s game start drifting away and drifting by. As it gets closer to game time there’s more noise from the stadium as the stands fill up.

After a few beers, it’s back to the tram. Dropping off on the way to the hotel by the 7 11 for beer. For the kids. Pabst Blue Ribbon for Andrew. He has a strange liking for cheap American Lager.

The kids have been quite amused by watching planes fly past their window. They really are at rooftop height here.

I tango with tequila to slumber land.

Half Door Brewing
903 Island Ave,
San Diego,
CA 92101.


Matt said...

My first trip to the US in 2002 was an organised baseball tour along the East Coast by coach, and on subsequent visits I've been to at least one game, usually more.

On a very sunny Saturday afternoon in Philadelphia's now demolished Veterans Stadium, my mate and I also led a retreat of our all American, mostly pensioner, fellow passengers to the unoccupied shady seats at the back of the stand. My mate was wearing his Hyde United shirt and one of them asked him if it was an English soccer team and, when he said yes, whether they played in the Premier League. "Not quite," he replied.

Rob Sterowski said...

I think Pabst Blue Ribbon is OK for what it is, a cheap beer. I’d happily drink it at $1 a can. As an import at £5 a pint (this was quite a few years ago), no thank you.