Royalty Tours USA

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Royalty goes to Petco Park in San Diego to see the Mets and other ballpark chasers!

Thursday morning August 15th after we got a good night sleep, the King, Duck & I ate breakfast at Days Inn in Tucson before we drove 410 miles to San Diego. We drove 60 miles on I-10 until we got to the exit for I-8 which we took the rest of the way. It was the first time we ever drove on I-8. It was a very scenic ride as we passed through the desert and the mountains. We also drove through sand dunes along the way. It was another gorgeous ride. When we got near the San Diego area, I called our pal and fellow ballpark chaser, Corey Menotti aka the Dancing Friar. He was planning to join us at the Padre game but he got stuck at work later than he originally planned to because a co-worker called in sick. As a result, we arranged to meet him at Hotel Del Coronado, a luxurious hotel & resort where he works. It's located across the bridge from downtown San Diego. We had to pick up the tickets for the game he bought for us. We wound up parking the car there around 4:30PM. He then decided to give us a royal tour of the hotel which was been around for 125 years. I remember going there for a brunch back in April 2004 when our friend Steve Tepperman gave the King & I a guided tour of the area along with our friends Dennis & Sue Kelly who live in Orange County near Anaheim.

After we finished our grand tour, we drove back over to downtown San Diego and we parked the car by a meter within walking distance of Petco Park around 5:45PM. We arranged to meet up with another ballpark chaser, Steve Fekete aka The Padre Punk who drove down from Anaheim to join us. We met him for a pre game meal at Smashburger. He recommended it. It was the first time we've been in one of those. I know there's one near LIU in Brooklyn here in NYC but we've never gone in there. After we finished eating, we walked over to the ballpark.

We all went inside the park and wandered around before the game started. This was Duck's first time there. It was the fifth game for the King & I. We wound up sitting upstairs in section 301 behind home plate while Steve stood out in right field which is affectionately called the RF Mission. We told Steve we'll join him in the seventh inning. True to our word, we did indeed. By doing so, we got to see Corey Menotti again who arrived late due to work. He was in rare form doing his thing in the walk way. Like Steve says and I quote "you can't beat the entertainment out here." In addition, we were introduced to many of the regulars that go to Padre games. They included another ballpark chaser named Sean Meehan who told me he knows my pal Dave Block aka The Gratitude Guy. He usually sees him at the Delta Sky Club where he works since Sean travels a lot. We got to share some stories. We also got to meet a guy named Ismael who's known as the K dude. He puts up the K's when a Padre pitcher strikes out an opposing batter. He said he's been going to all the Padre home games for 17 straight years. We all enjoyed the time we spend out there with them.

Me & Corey Menotti aka Dancing Friar
As for the game we saw, the Mets & Padres were tied at one as each team scored in the fourth inning. It stayed that way until we moved to right field. That's when the Mets broke the tie as Marlon Byrd delivered a two run double in the top of the eighth inning to make it 3-1. They added an insurance run in the ninth inning when John Buck hit a solo homer to give the Mets a 4-1 lead. Relief pitcher Gonzalez Germen pitched the last two innings for the Mets to earn his first save as the Mets beat the Padres.

After the game, we decided to join these guys at Lolita's which was a few blocks from Petco Park. I'm not a big fan of Mexican food but I decided to give it a try. I wound up having a chicken quesadilla there. It turned out to be really good. I'm glad I was daring enough to give it a shot. As a result, we got to enjoy these guys' company some more before we called it a night. In addition, we got to meet former Padre & Met pitcher Randy Jones who was there doing a talk show. That was cool. I remember seeing him pitch back in the late '70's. He seemed like a really nice guy.

After we said our goodbyes to everyone we drove to San Ysidro which was right by the Mexican border off the last exit of I-5. We spent the night at the Travelodge there.

Stay tuned for the next installment of this journey.

Thank you for reading & following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

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