A very cool tour of Petco Park in San Diego!

Ballpark tours of Petco Park include a behind-the-scenes and on-the-field look at the home of the San Diego Padres.
Tours of Petco Park include a behind-the-scenes and on-the-field look at the home of the San Diego Padres.

Today I went on a very cool guided tour of Petco Park, baseball home of the San Diego Padres. The one and a half hour tour, which is offered to the public seven days a week, provided a behind-the-scenes look at parts of the ballpark that fans usually don’t see.

I was blown away!

A super knowledgeable and friendly tour guide showed our small group why Petco Park is regarded by many as the best ballpark in Major League Baseball. People in our group who were visiting San Diego, and who were fans of other teams, seemed to enjoy themselves just as much as me!

We saw several parts of the unique Western Metal Supply Co. Building, ventured into the Press Box, and got to briefly see the exclusive Lexus Home Plate Club. We walked out onto the field, and everyone took photos while sitting in the visiting team’s dugout. Then we entered a tunnel that led to the visiting team’s locker room. After passing through a service corridor used for Petco Park deliveries and maintenance, we emerged into daylight, entered the Padres Team Store, and finally ended up at the Padres Hall of Fame.

The following photos provide just a small taste of this awesome experience. If you find yourself in San Diego, take the tour! If you love baseball, it’s a must!

People wait by a ticket window for a fascinating ballpark tour at Petco Park in San Diego.
People wait by a ticket window for a fascinating ballpark tour at Petco Park in San Diego.
Paty, our knowledgeable and super friendly tour guide, familiarizes everyone with the history of Petco Park.
Paty, our knowledgeable and super friendly tour guide, familiarizes everyone with the history of Petco Park.
Personalized bricks in the Palm Court Plaza were purchased by more than 10,000 fans when the ballpark was built. The bricks sold out in 5 minutes!
Personalized bricks in the Palm Court Plaza were purchased by more than 10,000 fans when the ballpark was built. The bricks sold out in 5 minutes!
The Breitbard Hall of Fame was recently relocated from Balboa Park's Hall of Champions to the main concourse level of Petco Park. San Diego sports legends and champions are honored with plaques.
The Breitbard Hall of Fame was recently relocated from Balboa Park’s old Hall of Champions to the main concourse level of Petco Park. San Diego sports legends are honored with plaques.
A view of the ball field in January from inside the Western Metal Supply Co. Building. Trucks are getting the field ready for an upcoming Monster Jam event.
A view of the ball field in January from inside the Western Metal Supply Co. Building. Trucks are getting the field ready for an upcoming Monster Jam event.
A Padres fan on the tour checks out the left field foul pole painted on a corner of the Western Metal Supply Co. Building. The tolling of the nearby mission bell connects every game to San Diego history.
A Padres fan on the tour checks out the left field foul pole, which is attached to a corner of the Western Metal Supply Co. Building. The tolling of the nearby mission bell during every game reminds fans of San Diego’s history.
An amazing view of the ballpark can be enjoyed from The Rail, an exclusive seating area high up in the Western Metal Supply Co. Building.
An amazing view of the ballpark can be enjoyed from The Rail, an exclusive seating area high up in the Western Metal Supply Co. Building.
The Loft at Petco Park contains pool tables, a fun vibe and cool elements of the Western Metal Supply Co. Building's history that have been preserved.
The Loft at Petco Park contains pool tables, a fun vibe and cool elements of the Western Metal Supply Co. Building’s history that have been preserved.
As we continue counterclockwise around the upper level of Petco Park, we learn more Padres facts. We hear stories about the players and relive special moments.
As we continue counterclockwise around the upper level of Petco Park, we learn more Padres facts. We hear stories about the players and relive special moments.
A series of photo murals along the upper level depict Padres history. This one from March 24, 1951 shows Whitey Wietelmann out at first base.
A series of photo murals along the upper level depict Padres history. This one from March 24, 1951 shows Whitey Wietelmann out at first base.
As we walk along, San Diego's South Bay comes into view.
As we walk along, San Diego’s South Bay comes into view.
We are about to go behind-the-scenes and check out the Press Box!
We are about to go behind-the-scenes and check out the Press Box!
Inside a lounge area for the press is a glass display case full of memories from Jerry Coleman's life as baseball player, Marine aviator, and Padres broadcaster. The flag was presented to him upon his retirement by the military.
Inside a lounge area for the press is a glass display case full of memories from Jerry Coleman’s life as baseball player, Marine aviator, and Padres broadcaster. The folded flag was presented to him by the military upon his retirement.
We get to sit inside writer's row, where the press watches each game and composes their stories! The official scorer has a special seat in one corner.
We get to sit inside writer’s row, where the press watches each game and composes their stories! The official scorer has a special seat in one corner.
Way to the left we can see the control room for the music, lights and video board, and the spot occupied by the public address announcer.
Way to the left we can glimpse the control room for the music, lights and video boards, and the spot occupied by the public address announcer.
Before the 2018 season begins, some workers are doing a bit of gardening at the ballpark!
A couple months before the 2018 season begins, some workers are doing a bit of gardening at the ballpark!
Here's another fun part of the Petco Park tour. Walking out onto the field!
Here’s another fun part of the Petco Park tour. Walking out onto the field!
We head to the area behind home plate. In addition to other features, we are shown how Petco Park was built to provide close in, direct views of the action from every seat.
We head to the area behind home plate. In addition to other features, we are shown how Petco Park was built to provide intimate, direct views of the action from every seat.
Sitting in the visiting team's dugout! How cool is this?
Hanging out in the visiting team’s dugout! How cool is this?
If you find yourself in San Diego, you should take a cool tour of Petco Park!
If you find yourself in San Diego, you should take a cool tour of Petco Park!

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!

Man lifts moon! Shark eats ice cream!

Like the mythical Atlas holding up the Earth, an incredibly strong person single-handedly shoulders the moon.
Like the mythical Atlas holding up the Earth, an incredibly strong person single-handedly shoulders the moon.

This morning I was astonished by the strange scene in the parking lot north of the County Administration Building.

I saw an incredible feat of strength, as a man lifted the moon with his shoulders . . .

I saw people engaged in giant pig tipping . . .

And I saw a monstrous shark about to take a bite of a strawberry ice cream cone!

Others might have observed people inflating a bunch of big balloons for the 2017 Holiday Bowl Parade.

Fun balloons were being inflated this morning near the County Administration Building for the 2017 Holiday Bowl Parade.
Fun balloons were being inflated this morning near the County Administration Building for the 2017 Holiday Bowl Parade.
Putting together a festive parade takes a bit of hard work and careful organization, it appears.
Putting together a festive parade takes a bit of hard work and careful organization, it appears.
This sunny San Diego float stood empty early in the morning on Harbor Drive.
This sunny San Diego float stood empty early in the morning on Harbor Drive.
Back where the Holiday Bowl Parade balloons were being inflated, a snow globe containing Frosty was rising like magic into the blue San Diego sky.
Back in the parking lot where the Holiday Bowl Parade balloons were gradually being inflated, a snow globe containing Frosty was rising like magic into the blue San Diego sky.
I've heard of cow tipping, but these people seem to be tipping a gigantic pig.
I’ve heard of cow tipping, but these people seem to be tipping a giant pig.
A gigantic shark prepares to take a bite from an enormous strawberry ice cream cone!
A monstrous shark prepares to take a bite from an enormous strawberry ice cream cone!

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!

Images of Dick Enberg at final Padres game.

Beloved, legendary sports broadcaster Dick Enberg has passed away in his La Jolla home. Many in San Diego and around the world are heartbroken.

On September 29, 2016, the final home game of that Padres baseball season, I was privileged to see retiring Dick Enberg’s public celebration at Petco Park.

If you’d like to see a few images from that day, here is that blog post.

Baseball flags debut at historic Lane Field Park!

Two of three huge banners that celebrate the history of baseball at San Diego's Lane Field. On the left you can see Ted Williams, one of the greatest Major League Baseball hitters of all time, taking a swing.
Two of three huge flags that celebrate the history of baseball at San Diego’s old Lane Field. On the left you can see Ted Williams, one of the greatest Major League Baseball hitters of all time, taking a swing.

Three huge, colorful flags will soon be flying above Lane Field Park. They were created by local artist Lisa Schirmer in a coordinated effort between the Port of San Diego and the Hensel-Phelps Construction Company. They celebrate the history of baseball at Lane Field.

The vivid banners, which Lisa calls windglyphs, are titled Spirits of the West Wind. They feature two images of baseball legend Ted Williams and one of Eddie Erautt. Both played baseball at long-vanished Lane Field, which was located in downtown San Diego right next to the water.

Ted Williams was perhaps the greatest Major League hitter of all time. The baseball legend was born in San Diego. Early in his baseball career he played for the Pacific Coast League San Diego Padres at Lane Field, helping his team win the PCL pennant in 1937.

Eddie Erautt pitched three and a half seasons for the PCL San Diego Padres. He went 16-12 in 1954 when the Padres were PCL champions and 18-10 in 1955.

Images of the players on two windglyphs were based on photographs in Bill Swank’s book Echoes from Lane Field.

I love how large, bright and colorful these flags are, and how they celebrate an important page in San Diego baseball history. Bill Swank says the way they billow reminds him how the wind would blow off San Diego Bay and carry home runs over the right field wall of Lane Field, to bounce onto Pacific Highway. Many great memories where made here.

This Wednesday, there will be an official unveiling of the colorful banners at 8:30 am. I was fortunate to get a preview today, during a flag-raising rehearsal for the coming event.

Enjoy some photos!

Three colorful windglyphs created by San Diego artist Lisa Schirmer fly above Lane Field Park.
Three colorful windglyphs created by San Diego artist Lisa Schirmer fly above Lane Field Park.
Rehearsal of a flag raising. The public art unveiling ceremony takes place later this week. That unfurled banner shows Ted Williams fielding a ball. Photo courtesy Bill Swank.
Rehearsal of a flag raising. The public art unveiling ceremony takes place later this week. That unfurled banner shows Ted Williams fielding a ball. Artist Lisa Schirmer stands on the left. Photo courtesy of Bill Swank.
Local baseball expert Bill Swank shows his book Echoes from Lane Field, which recounts the early years of San Diego baseball and the Padres.
Local baseball expert Bill Swank shows his book Echoes from Lane Field, which recounts the early years of San Diego baseball and the Padres.
The banner depicting pitcher Eddie Erautt is based on one of these old baseball photos.
The banner depicting pitcher Eddie Erautt is based on one of these old baseball photos.
On the center banner, Eddie Erautt pitches the ball.
On the colorful center banner, Eddie Erautt winds up to pitch the ball.
The wind adds life to a wonderful baseball memory. Ted Williams is taking his classic swing.
The wind plays with a baseball memory. Ted Williams seems to come alive as he takes his classic swing.
Action photo of Ted Williams used by Lisa Schirmer in one windglyph. Photographer: Heber Epperson. Courtesy of Autumn Durst Keltner.
Action photo of Ted Williams used by Lisa Schirmer in one windglyph. Photographer: Heber Epperson. Courtesy of Autumn Durst Keltner.
Baseball memories take flight in the San Diego sky at Lane Field Park!
Baseball memories take flight in the San Diego sky at Lane Field Park!

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!

Strength and determination in wheelchair rugby.

Today I watched some of the world’s best athletes compete. I headed up to Balboa Park to experience the 28th Annual Best of the West Quad Rugby Tournament in the Municipal Gymnasium. Most people know the sport as wheelchair rugby, or murderball. That last name sounds rather tough, but it’s for a good reason.

The quad rugby players that participated in this tournament are among the best in the world. Some have competed in the Paralympic Games. There were teams from California, Arizona, Texas and Minnesota, and even from London and Australia. The amazing team from Australia was this year’s Best of the West champion.

At the very top level, wheelchair rugby players are unbelievable athletes. They are strong, fast, agile, and can turn and accelerate on a dime. To block opposing players, trap them defensively, or upset an unfolding strategy, players will literally smash their chairs into one another. As if in some sort of crazy demolition derby, the bashing wheelchairs sometimes tip sideways, even turn over. And the players don’t seem fazed in the least. Each is an irresistible force, determined to assist their teammates and find a way through the opposition to score, no matter how.

Here are a few photos that capture a bit of the action.

The composition of one photograph turned out to be exceptionally dynamic, but the image was completely unfocused, so I altered it to appear like a cool oil painting.

You really have to see quad rugby in person to appreciate the heart of these players.

Raw human determination can be unstoppable.

Watching quad rugby is inspirational.

For an explanation of quad rugby, click this photo and it will expand for easy reading.
For an explanation of quad rugby, click this photo and it will expand for easy reading.

The victorious Australian quad rugby team celebrates by joining hands.
The Australian quad rugby team celebrated their championship by forming a circle, joining hands and rocking the gymnasium with a spirited, victorious shout!

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!

Photos of Extreme Sailing on San Diego Bay!

Super fast GC32 catamarans fly through and above San Diego Bay during an Extreme Sailing Series 2017 race!
Super fast GC32 catamarans fly through and above San Diego Bay during an Extreme Sailing Series race!

Today I headed over to Harbor Island to check out the Extreme Sailing Series races out on San Diego Bay. The exciting Ultimate Stadium Racing Championship takes place over eight weekends, in eight international cities. Elite teams from countries around the world sail identical, super fast GC32 catamarans, which at their highest speed actually fly above the water!

I was amazed at how close some of the action was. A good crowd of people watched a sequence of relatively short races from the shore of Harbor Island, and from the Race Village, while announcers described exactly what was happening out on the water. When the catamarans flew by, many cheered for their favorite team!

The event continues through Sunday. Except for the VIP section, everything is free and open to the public!

I got a few decent photos!

Boy points toward fleet of high-tech foil-equipped catamarans manned by elite level teams. Another wild race is about to begin.
Boy points toward fleet of high-tech foil-equipped catamarans manned by elite level teams. Another wild race is about to begin.
A crowd watches the free Ultimate Stadium Racing Championship event from Harbor Island's festive Race Village.
A crowd watches the Ultimate Stadium Racing Championship event from Harbor Island’s temporary Race Village. Viewing is free!
Some of the best sailors in the world, many who've won Olympic Gold, various world championships, and the America's Cup, vie for supremacy in San Diego.
Some of the best sailors in the world, many who’ve won Olympic Gold, World Championships, and the America’s Cup, vie for supremacy in San Diego.
The Extreme Sailing Series includes stadium racing competition in eight international cities. San Diego is Act 7.
The Extreme Sailing Series includes stadium racing competition in eight international cities. San Diego is Act 7.
The race announcers add character and deep knowledge to an already exciting scene.
The race announcers add spice and sailing knowledge to an already exciting scene.
The SAP Extreme Racing Team out of Denmark seemed ahead of the pack nearly every race. They've already been the winner in 3 cities.
The SAP Extreme Sailing Team out of Denmark seemed ahead of the pack in nearly every race. They’ve already been the winner in 3 cities.
Once the catamarans attain sufficient speed, they become airborne, maintaining control with foils!
Once the catamarans attain sufficient speed, they become airborne, barely maintaining control with foils! Gusts of wind in the sails can really make these racing craft sway!
Lots of people were enjoying the VIP section.
Lots of people were enjoying the VIP section.
The Race Village features many vendors and organizations. US Sailing has a scavenger hunt for kids.
The Race Village features many vendors and participating organizations. US Sailing has a fun scavenger hunt for kids.
Young people compare how different sail arrangements produce speed.
Young people compare how different sail arrangements can produce speed.
A large diagram provides a guide to the amazing GC32. Each team's vessel is exactly alike. Skill and strategy determine victory.
A large diagram provides a guide to the amazing GC32 catamaran. Each team’s vessel is exactly alike. Skill and strategy determine ultimate victory.
Legend beneath the diagram explains various key parts of the GC32, including the J-Foils, which create lift.
Legend beneath the diagram explains various key parts of the GC32, including the J-Foils, which create lift. (Click image to enlarge.)
Our local Team Extreme San Diego was making a great showing! San Diego has produced many of the world's top sailors.
Our local Team Extreme San Diego was making a great showing! San Diego has produced many of the world’s top sailors. (Need I mention Dennis Conner?)
Beautiful sailboats do battle on San Diego Bay, with the downtown skyline providing a picturesque background.
Beautiful sailboats do battle on San Diego Bay, with the downtown skyline providing a picturesque background.
The crew of each vessel is a highly skilled athlete. The action is wild and fast-paced!
The crew of each vessel includes many highly skilled athletes. The action is wild and fast-paced!
A dance upon sparkling water.
A dance upon sparkling water.

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

Star Wars lightsaber combat at Maker Faire!

This member of the San Diego Sabers has personally made many lightsabers. Some examples lie on the group's table during Maker Faire in Balboa Park.
This member of the San Diego Sabers has personally made many lightsabers. Some examples lie on the group’s table during Maker Faire in Balboa Park.

The last couple of years at Maker Faire San Diego I’ve watched a group of Star Wars enthusiasts entertain audiences with lightsaber duels. They have engaged in their elaborate play on the main stage, swinging their illuminated lightsabers in mock combat, to rousing music from the Star Wars movies.

This year, as I walked around Maker Faire, I happened upon this group’s cool lightsaber exhibit. These local Star Wars fans call themselves the San Diego Sabers. They are one of many similar groups all around the world that make their own lightsabers and engage in mock combat.

I asked all sort of questions and learned more than I expected. Most of the extremely elaborate lightsabers used by the members produce colored light, illuminating a long clear tube that can be attached, thereby appearing much like the Jedi and Sith weapons made famous in the movies. Most of the mock weapons also generate that distinctive lightsaber sound. I learned that it’s also possible to order a variety of lightsabers from several online vendors.

Regional competitions are often held between groups, and the method of scoring is similar to that used in fencing. The sport is lightning fast, highly athletic and incorporates various styles of martial arts. The San Diego Sabers provide demos free to the public, teach all ages including kids (often using foam lightsabers for safety), and encourage acceptance, respect, and a positive attitude.

And it’s obvious they have a lot of fun!

Many DIY lightsabers are surprisingly elaborate, generating light and sound, while appearing as authentic as any movie prop.
Many DIY lightsabers are surprisingly elaborate, generating light and sound, while appearing as authentic as any movie prop.
The San Diego Sabers provides full contact lightsaber training based on fencing, HEMA, Kendo and Wu-shu. Kids are welcome and it's free!
The San Diego Sabers provides full contact lightsaber training based on fencing, HEMA, Kendo and Wu-shu. Kids are welcome and it’s free!
Someone picks up one of the cool lightsabers on display.
Someone picks up one of the cool lightsabers on display.
Members of the San Diego Sabers demonstrate mock combat using foam attachments. Together they've got enough lightsabers to take on General Grievous!
Members of the San Diego Sabers demonstrate mock combat using foam attachments. Together they’ve got enough lightsabers to take on General Grievous!
A kid checks out one of the cool lightsabers. As you might have noticed, I took these photos on two different days during Maker Faire San Diego.
A kid checks out one of the cool lightsabers. As you might have noticed, I took these photos on two different days during Maker Faire San Diego.
Kids have a lot of fun with the foam lightsabers.
Kids have a lot of fun with the foam lightsabers.
Members of the San Diego Sabers arrive at the Maker Faire main stage in the Plaza de Panama. A combat exhibition is about to begin.
Members of the San Diego Sabers arrive at the Maker Faire main stage in the Plaza de Panama. A combat exhibition is about to begin.
As Star Wars music plays, two members of the San Diego Sabers simulate an epic battle between the Jedi and Sith.
As Star Wars music plays, two members of the San Diego Sabers simulate an epic battle between the Jedi and Sith.

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!