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Douglas “Chuck” Booth (Baseball Writer)- I had the chance to talk to my fellow co-author Ken Lee recently about Petco Park. Ken has made numerous trips to San Diego to visit this newer ball yard. This is what we discussed.
DB: “Welcome to the MLB Reports Experts Interview Ken. Please tell us about yourself and then give us a bit of background information on your life as a baseball fan?”
KL: “My name is Ken Lee, I am a General Manager for Jackson Hewitt Tax Service and I live in Marysville, WA with my wife Yvonne and our 2 pup pups, Boomer & Tilly. I am a co-writer of the book titled “The Fastest 30 Ballgames – A Ballpark Chasers World Record Story” that came out last year. I grew up playing baseball and loving every aspect of the game. I attended my first MLB game in April of 1977 @ the Kingdome in Seattle (Yankees vs Mariners). Since then I have attended about 1,000 games or so. I have seen games at 29 outta 30 current ballparks (the lone exception being the new Marlins Park – which I will pick up on May 14th & 15th) and I have seen 42 different MLB ballparks overall.“
DB: “You recently joined me in writing the book “The Fastest Thirty Ballgames”. What does having your name permanently as an author in the ‘Library of Congress’ mean to you?”
KL: “Once again let me say “Thank You” for asking me to be a part of the project. From the time I was a little boy in grade school I would spend time writing baseball stories and put them into book format for extra school credit. To be able to be a part of a project that will be forever listed in the ‘Library of Congress’, especially with it being a baseball book, is beyond words really. I hope I get the chance to go there and look it up one day.”
DB: “You have been to all of the ballparks Ken, how do Padres fans compare to the rest of the country?”
KL: “With my experiences at Petco, I find most to be quite friendly. However, as fans of the game, most are lacking. I am not sure if it has more to do with just being in Southern California, where the weather is usually amazing and there is more to do that sit at the ball park, or the talent on the field but Padres fans are really reserved. I really prefer a crowd that really gets into the game, like at Wrigley, Busch or Fenway. Even when I saw the hated Giants play at Petco, the Padres fans really didn’t even give it to Barry Bonds like most other cities. Was just strange to me.
DB: “The Padres have had recent ownership problems and a steady decline in payroll since Petco Park opened. How do you think this has this impacted the attendance?”
KL: “It don’t matter how great a park you have, unless you have the talent on the field, people don’t want to go to the game night after night. It’s really sad to because I have a love affair with Petco Park. Anytime I am in Southern California, I want to go to Petco over any of the parks down there. I love the city of San Diego, I love the atmosphere down there, but if the team itself isn’t worth watching… people wont be paying to go to the game.”
DB: “What is your favorite method of transportation to and from Petco Park?”
KL: “Without a doubt, it’s the trolly. San Diego has a great trolly (light rail) system. I like to park in Old Town for free and ride the trolly in and back out for $5 round trip. The trolly lets you out right next to the park. It really can’t be any easier. After the game, you catch the trolly and bypass all the traffic as you sit there, enjoying the ride back to Old Town.”
DB: “What advice would you give for somebody experiencing Petco for the very first time?”
KL: “Go early, pick up a $5 “Park Pass” ticket and head straight for the left field seats right next to Western Metal Supply building and get ready for the fun! This is a great place to watch batting practice. Balls pepper the seats out there quite often. When BP is over, head out to centerfield and check out the beach just beyond the CF wall. Continue your walk around the park to check it out from every vantage point.”
DB: “What is the food like at Petco Park? What is your favorite ballpark food there?”
KL: “I honestly cant think of any food item at Petco that has ever stuck out at me. However, I can say that Petco has the coldest beer in the Majors. A guy like me, who not only loves an ice-cold beer, but also isn’t used to heat of Southern California, having the coldest beer in the majors is a great thing!”
DB: “What is your favorite all time game that you have been in attendance at Petco Park?”
KL: “I will never forget the first game I was at when I get to experience “Trevor Time”. With AC/DC’s “Hell’s Bells” blaring, the entire stadium went nuts. It’s one of those things that I had been wanting to experience in person and the night I was able to, July 26,2004, I will never forget. It was also the same game where I got my first ever BP home run ball. A great night at Petco Park for sure.”
DB: “Thank you very much Ken.”
*** A big thank you goes out to our Petco Park Expert Ken Lee for participating in the expert article Series. Follow Ken Lee on twitter- (@seeall30) and to read more about Ken’s baseball journey click here ***
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