Petco’s “San Diego Section” honors local teams!

In 2018 there was a cool new addition to Petco Park, baseball home of the San Diego Padres. Walk past Section 114 and you can’t miss it!

Displayed on the wall of what is now called the “San Diego Section” are plastic versions of high school baseball caps. Every high school in San Diego County with a baseball or softball team that competes in the CIF San Diego Section is represented!

To honor the achievements of local teams and their individual players, two interactive screens in the San Diego Section allow fans to search by high school. Basic information is displayed for each school, such as team logo, colors and mascot. The years the school won a California Interscholastic Federation Championship are also shown, as are the names of students who’ve have gone on to compete in Major League Baseball!

How cool is that?

I checked out Petco Park’s inspiring San Diego Section today during the 2019 Padres FanFest and took photos!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Photos of Holiday Bowl bands at battle!

Tomorrow evening, on New Year’s Eve, the Northwestern Wildcats play the Utah Utes in the 2018 Holiday Bowl.

Late this morning the team marching bands, cheerleading squads and mascots battled each other! And every combatant sported a great big smile!

A good crowd of college football fans enjoyed the annual Battle of the Bands on the sunny outdoor Marina Terrace of San Diego’s Marriott Marquis.

I arrived just before the show began…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Sailing . . . kite boarding . . . racing on the bay!

Hydro-foiling GC32 catamarans race across San Diego Bay during the 2018 Extreme Sailing Series.
Hydro-foiling GC32 catamarans race across San Diego Bay during the 2018 Extreme Sailing Series.

What an amazing day out on San Diego Bay! Here come a bunch of cool photos!

I began my walk at the Maritime Museum of San Diego, where the Star of India sail crew was getting ready for their ocean journey next month. I then walked along San Diego Bay to Harbor Island to view a variety of events during this weekend’s 2018 Extreme Sailing Series.

As I arrived at Harbor Island, kids were racing O’pen BIC boats in an Un-Regatta. Next came an exhibition and race by world-class kite boarders. A lack of sufficient wind made the Element Sports Kite Boarding Invitational a real challenge for those great athletes.

At two o’clock the main event began. Seven hydro-foiling GC32 catamarans competed in the San Diego leg of this year’s Extreme Sailing Series. I watched the first race, then, while devouring a yummy quesadilla from a food truck, enjoyed a look around the Race Village and its US Sailing Education Zone.

To see lots of photos from the 2017 Extreme Sailing Series, including exhibits in the Race Village, and catamarans actually flying above the water under stronger wind conditions, click here!

The Star of India will sail next month upon the Pacific Ocean. The volunteer sail crew is busy preparing for the historic journey.
The Star of India will sail next month upon the Pacific Ocean. The volunteer sail crew is busy preparing for the historic journey.
The sail crew learns the ropes aboard Star of India, oldest active sailing ship in the world.
The sail crew learns the ropes aboard Star of India, oldest active sailing ship in the world.
Muscle, skill and coordination are required to sail a full-rigged iron-hulled windjammer.
Muscle, skill and coordination are required to sail a full-rigged iron-hulled windjammer.
Pulling ropes to manipulate the yards and sails.
Pulling ropes to manipulate the yards and sails.
Securing one rope tightly to a belaying pin on the ship's wooden pinrail.
Securing one rope tightly to a belaying pin on the ship’s wooden pinrail.
Walking along Harbor Island, where various exhibitions and races are enjoyed during the 2018 Extreme Sailing Series.
Walking along Harbor Island, where various exhibitions and races are enjoyed during the 2018 Extreme Sailing Series.
As I arrived, the O'pen BIC racing Un-Regatta was underway.
As I arrived, the O’pen BIC racing Un-Regatta was underway.
Kids as young as ten years old learn about sailing competitively on the fun little O'pen BIC sailboats.
Kids as young as ten years old learn about sailing competitively on the fun little O’pen BIC sailboats.
Kids love sailing on San Diego Bay in the October sunshine.
Kids love sailing on San Diego Bay in the October sunshine.
O'pen BICs in close competition off Harbor Island.
Lots of O’pen BICs in close competition off Harbor Island.
Spectators were sitting on the rocks along Harbor Island watching the free Extreme Sailing Series events.
Spectators were sitting on the rocks along Harbor Island watching the various Extreme Sailing Series events.
Magic in San Diego.
Magic in San Diego.
Next came a kite boarding exhibition and race, with downtown San Diego's skyline as the backdrop.
Next came a kite boarding exhibition and race, with downtown San Diego’s skyline as the backdrop.
A highly skilled kite boarder flies above the blue water of San Diego Bay.
A highly skilled kite boarder flies above the blue water of San Diego Bay.
World-class kite board athletes prepare to race during the Element Sports Kite Boarding Invitational.
World-class kite board athletes prepare to race during the Element Sports Kite Boarding Invitational.
The kite boarding race has begun!
The kite boarding race has begun!
By sheer chance the racing kite boarders produce a beautiful photograph.
By sheer chance the kite boarders produced this beautiful photograph.
More magic on San Diego Bay.
More magic on San Diego Bay.
Now to the main event, as the GC32 Stadium Racing will soon begin.
Now to the main event, as the GC32 Stadium Racing will soon begin.
The super fast, hydro-foiling GC32 catamarans begin to maneuver before the first race begins. Seven teams would participate this weekend on San Diego Bay.
The super fast, hydro-foiling GC32 catamarans begin to maneuver before the first race starts. Seven teams would participate this weekend on San Diego Bay.
The race has begun! One catamaran tips upward in the wind, as its crew tries to obtain maximum speed.
The first race has begun! One catamaran tips upward in the wind, as its crew tries to obtain maximum speed.
Team Mexico works hard to reach the finish line before the other competitors.
Team Mexico works hard to reach the finish line before the other competitors.
Element Spark Compass, the United States team, is a wild card entry for this weekend. The members raced really well, even though they have very limited GC32 experience.
Element Spark Compass, the United States team, is a wild card entry for this weekend. The members raced really well, even though they have very limited GC32 experience.
The fast catamarans maneuver up the course into the sun. The wind was a bit disappointing today due to the mild Santa Ana-like weather this weekend.
The fast catamarans maneuver up the course into the sun. The wind was a bit disappointing today due to the mild Santa Ana-like weather this weekend.
Someone on Harbor Island points toward one of the racing teams.
Someone on Harbor Island points toward one of the racing teams.
They've navigated around a race mark buoy and are coming back downwind.
They’ve navigated around a race mark buoy and are coming back downwind.
Here they come again! Alinghi, the Swiss team, seems to always be in front. Their crew members have won multiple America's Cup titles.
Here they come again! Alinghi, the Swiss team, seems to always be in front. Their crew members have won multiple America’s Cup titles.
Red Bull Sailing Team is turning on San Diego Bay.
Red Bull Sailing Team is tacking on San Diego Bay.
Here comes the Element Spark Compass catamaran! The crew works hard to capture every inch of wind.
Here comes the Element Spark Compass catamaran! The crew works hard to capture every inch of wind.
Action aboard Red Bull's GC32 catamaran.
Lots of action aboard Red Bull’s GC32 catamaran.
Sails of many types were spotted today out on beautiful San Diego Bay!
Sails of many types were spotted today out on beautiful San Diego Bay!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

“There is no shortcut to true success.”

Statue of National Baseball Hall of Fame relief pitcher Trevor Hoffman at Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres.
Statue of Hall of Fame relief pitcher Trevor Hoffman at Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres.

“There is no shortcut to true success.” Those are the words of Trevor Hoffman, 2018 inductee into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He is remembered as one of the greatest players in the history of baseball.

The wise quote adorns the base of his bronze statue, which was unveiled this summer at Petco Park.

Great achievements require hard work and persistence. Achievements that endure the test of time must be built game by game, inning by inning, pitch by pitch.

The San Diego Padres have honored two of their Hall of Fame players with magnificent statues at Petco Park. Both Tony Gwynn and Trevor Hoffman are now immortalized in bronze. Both sculptures were created by artist William Behrends, who has been referred to as the Sculptor of Sporting History.

I posted a few photos of the Tony Gwynn statue five years ago here.

Neither Trevor Hoffman nor Tony Gwynn chose the easy path. Both worked constantly, studied the game, and never stopped honing their skills.

“There is no shortcut to true success.” To those who have high aspirations, important words to remember.

A sculpture of Trevor Hoffman overlooks the Padres bullpen, just beyond left field at Petco Park.
A sculpture of Trevor Hoffman overlooks the Padres bullpen, just beyond left field at Petco Park.
There is no shortcut to true success. Trevor Hoffman.
There is no shortcut to true success. Trevor Hoffman.
The high leg kick of Hall of Fame relief pitcher Trevor Hoffman immortalized in bronze.
The high leg kick of Hall of Fame relief pitcher Trevor Hoffman immortalized in bronze.
Two legends of baseball intersect at Tony Gwynn Drive and Trevor Hoffman Way, just outside Petco Park.
Two legends of baseball now intersect at Tony Gwynn Drive and Trevor Hoffman Way, just outside Petco Park.
Bronze sculpture of Trevor Hoffman, by artist William Behrends.
The bronze sculpture of legendary pitcher Trevor Hoffman, by artist William Behrends.

Photos of Swoop Freestyle World Championship!

Someone watching the Swoop Freestyle FAI World Championship on San Diego Bay points to a contestant skimming across the water!
Someone watching the Swoop Freestyle FAI World Championship on San Diego Bay points to a competitor skimming across the water!

This afternoon I headed down to Embarcadero Marina Park South to watch the 2018 Swoop Freestyle FAI World Championship! What an exciting sport! Even with my little camera, I managed to get these fun photos!

Swoop Freestyle is a relatively new extreme sport. Competitors skydive, parachute toward the ground with increasing speed, then swoop right above the ground–in this case the blue water–while performing a variety of poses and tricks. The daring athletes swoop at speeds up to 90 mph! Successfully landing on the floating (and slippery) platform is one of the keys to a high score.

I was told this is only the second World Championship event–the first was in Copenhagen–and that this thrilling professional sport is still in its infancy. I can definitely see how it could blow up and become something really big!

I lingered for perhaps an hour and watched much of the First Round action. I’m no expert when it comes to Swoop Freestyle so you’ll have to please forgive my obvious lack of knowledge. I did see dramatic crashes, wild, careening maneuvers, Superman swoops, and some amazing, absolutely miraculous landings atop the floating platform!

Technically brilliant swoops and perfect landings raised a loud cheer from the enthusiastic crowd!

Take a look at these photos and you’ll get an idea of what the event was like…

Here comes another contestant. Helicopters took parachutists high above the water, and the crowd shielded their eyes from the sun to see them descending.
Here comes another competitor. Helicopters took parachutists high above the water, and the crowd shielded their eyes from the sun to see them descending.
Vying for the world championship of Swoop Freestyle, this contestant approaches the floating platform, just off Embarcadero Marina Park South.
Vying for the World Championship of Swoop Freestyle, this competitor approaches the floating platform, just off Embarcadero Marina Park South.
One of the athletes is cheered by the crowd after making their dramatic swoop!
One of the athletes is cheered by the crowd after making their dramatic swoop!
A banner at the event shows the weekend schedule. The Masters of the Sky wowed lots of excited fans.
A banner at the event shows the weekend schedule. The amazing Masters of the Sky wowed lots of excited Swoop Freestyle fans.
I was told Swoop Freestyle athletes came from 13 separate countries to vie for the World Championship.
I was told Swoop Freestyle athletes came from 13 separate countries to vie for the World Championship.
Testing a parachute in a section of the park where Swoop Freestyle contestants prepared and boarded a helicopter.
Testing a parachute in a section of the park where Swoop Freestyle contestants prepared and boarded a helicopter.
Lots of fans in attendance had a special interest in skydiving. They came to watch this unique sporting event from far and wide.
Lots of fans in attendance had a special interest in skydiving. They came to watch this unique sporting event from far and wide.
Some people were enjoying a VIP section.
Some people were enjoying a VIP section.
Here comes another canopy. In mere seconds there will be another daring swoop!
Here comes another canopy. In mere seconds there will be another daring swoop!
Members of a Rescue Team were out on the water, but during the time I watched, they weren't needed.
Members of a Rescue Team were out on the water, but during the time I watched, they weren’t needed.
Crash! This contestant let everyone know he was okay right away.
Crash! This competitor let everyone know he was okay right away.
Here comes another swooper!
Here comes another swooper!
Flying with feet touching the water's surface, approaching the floating platform. I don't recall the result of this swoop.
Flying with feet skimming the water’s surface, approaching the floating platform. I don’t recall the result of this swoop.
Will this swooper make it to the platform? Some contestants, unfortunately, miscalculated and came up short.
Will this swooper make it to the platform? Some contestants, unfortunately, miscalculated and came up short.
More great Swoop Freestyle action out on San Diego Bay.
More great Swoop Freestyle action out on San Diego Bay.
Sometimes two swoopers would come in simultaneously. There was a lot of exciting, intense drama!
Sometimes two swoopers would come in simultaneously. There was a lot of exciting, intense drama!
After sitting on a hard rock for a long time, I wandered around to stretch my legs. Here's the entrance to the VIP section.
After sitting on a hard rock for a long time, I wandered around to stretch my legs. Here’s the entrance to the VIP section.
Several sponsors and vendors had booths around the park, including Skydive San Diego.
Several sponsors and vendors had booths around the park, including Skydive San Diego.
Here come a couple of paragliders doing a demonstration during a break in the Swoop Freestyle competition.
Here come a couple of paragliders doing a demonstration during a break in the Swoop Freestyle competition.
The two paragliders slowly approach the platform. I always enjoy watching paragliders cruise above the beach at the Torrey Pines Gliderport.
Paragliding slowly toward the platform. I always enjoy watching paragliders soar along the cliffs above the beach at the Torrey Pines Gliderport.
The live music guys were taking a break when I walked by, but did a rocker pose for my camera!
The live music guys were taking a break when I walked by, but did a rocker pose for my camera!
There was a fun demonstration by two daredevil water jetpack guys.
There was a fun demonstration by two daredevil water jetpack guys.
Entertaining the crowd!
Entertaining the crowd!
Flying through the air without a parachute!
Flying through the air without a parachute!
Now that really looks like Superman! Where's the cape?
Now that really looks like Superman! Where’s the cape?
Three guys demonstrated zooming through the San Diego sky in wingsuits. They looked to me like flying squirrels. Unfortunately, I got my photo after their chutes deployed.
Three guys demonstrated zooming through the San Diego sky in wingsuits. They looked to me like flying squirrels. Unfortunately, I got my photo after their chutes deployed.
Here they come. Splash.
Here they come. Splash.
Helicopters were flying back and forth across the bay during much of the event. The Swoop Freestyle competition is about to resume.
A couple helicopters were flying back and forth across the bay during much of the event. The Swoop Freestyle competition is about to resume.
Here comes one swooper.
Here comes one swooper. This competitor angled in really close to the crowd.
Flying inches from the water.
Flying inches from the water.
Here comes another. As you can see, it was a typically perfect San Diego day for the event.
Here comes another. As you can see, it was a typically perfect San Diego day for the event.
Swooping on in. I think this contestant came up short.
Swooping on in. I think this contestant was too far from the platform and came up short.
Here comes another Swoop Freestyler. Nice form!
Here comes another Swoop Freestyler. Nice form!
A perfect landing! This guy received a high score and with his performance became a contender for world champion.
A perfect landing! This guy received a high score and with his performance became a contender for world champion.
Excitement at a great athletic achievement!
Excitement at a great athletic achievement!
Some fans were waving a national flag for one of the Swoop Freestyle international athletes.
Some fans were waving a national flag for one of the Swoop Freestyle international athletes.
As the crowd watched the action, behind the scenes contestants were preparing parachutes and getting ready for their jump.
As the crowd watched the action, behind the scenes the athletes were preparing parachutes and getting ready for their competitive jump.
A huge tent contained lots of parachutes. I'm not sure if these were drying out, or what.
A huge tent contained lots of parachutes. I’m not sure if these were drying out, awaiting use, or what.
Will this be the next World Champion of Swoop Freestyle?
Will this be the next World Champion of Swoop Freestyle?
Heading off in a helicopter to take another flying swoop.
Heading off in a helicopter to take another flying swoop.
Here's an action photo into the sun from a spot near the Hilton, behind the San Diego Convention Center.
Here’s a distant action photo into the sun from a spot near the Hilton, behind the San Diego Convention Center.
Didn't quite make it onto the platform! Close but no cigar!
Didn’t quite make it onto the platform! Close but no cigar!
But he still gave me a smile and thumbs up!
But he still gave me a smile and thumbs up!
Excitement is nonstop at the 2018 Swoop Freestyle World Championship!
Excitement is nonstop at the 2018 Swoop Freestyle World Championship!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Action photos from Labor Day weekend stickball!

Today I enjoyed watching an action-packed game of stickball in Little Italy.

San Diego’s annual Labor Day weekend stickball tournament has become a big community event, with sponsors and media coverage and people on lawn chairs lining sidewalks watching players crush the spaldeen. A solid swing of the broom handle will launch the ball like a rubber rocket to the other end of the block!

When games are underway, I always make it a point to walk through Little Italy, so I can hang out for a bit and watch the stickball teams compete for fame and glory. The action is intense but it’s all in good fun.

I learned that this year the stickball teams are all local. The game I watched had a number of exciting plays.

Here come photos that capture a bit of the flavor…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

The miracle of baseball for special needs kids!

These guys with The Miracle League of San Diego help make dreams come true for special needs kids who love baseball!
These guys with The Miracle League of San Diego help make dreams come true for special needs kids who love baseball!

I met some inspirational people today.

During my visit to the 22nd Annual Lemon Festival in Chula Vista, as I walked down Third Avenue past dozens of booths, my eye was caught by a banner with the words Miracle League. When I asked what that meant, four friendly guys explained how their organization, called The Miracle League of San Diego, provides special needs kids around San Diego County with the opportunity to play baseball!

How cool is this?

Special needs players, with the assistance of volunteer buddies, play on special rubberized baseball fields at Engel Family Field in Del Mar and at Bell Middle School. The unique playing fields accommodate wheelchairs, walkers and the sight-impaired. Players and buddies are matched for an entire Spring or Fall season, and every player scores in fun two inning games that end in a tie. Players are ages five and up. Buddies are kind, patient community volunteers!

According to The Miracle League of San Diego website, announcers are provided with index cards about each player so they have ample material to highlight every at bat. Special needs kids become baseball superstars!

Do you know a special needs kid who’d love to play baseball? Would you like to be a volunteer buddy? Do you want to learn more?

Click to visit their website here!

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