Vincent’s Ballpark Photos

A personal, non-commercial 
website dedicated to 
historical photographic documentation
of the construction of Petco Park,
home of the San Diego Padres

All photographs by Vincent A. Martin,
unless otherwise noted.

The ballpark that almost wasn't — A brief primer on the history of Petco Park

February 7, 2004: 
Ticket sales were brisk for the Aztec Invitational Baseball Tournament

February 19, 2004: 
Padres Hold Town Hall Meetings

March 6, 2004: 
Padres Open Petco Park to the Public for an Open House

March 11, 2004: 
Tony Gwynn’s SDSU Aztecs test drive the ballpark in the first-ever game at Petco Park!

April 3, 2004: 
First major league game held at Petco Park

April 8, 2004: 
Opening day!

April 10, 2004:
The Final Out: Closing Thoughts from Vincent

OK, just a couple more…

May 8, 2004: 
With a Little Help From my Friends

May 13, 2004:
New images added from a game against Cinci

Click here for a progressive photographic overview


Click on a calendar below to see photos taken that month.

March 2000
May 2000


Visitor Feedback

Drop me a line at <>

See what others have said:

April 9, 2004

I can't say thank you enough for all the time and effort you put into capturing the brilliance of OUR new ballpark. It was very nice meeting you and striking up a friendship. Don't hesitate to come by and see us at the games. Thanks again your Friar Friend. — Clint Hoffman
March 27, 2004
I really love your site. I have never seen a site like yours that documents the progress of the park. I too am a Padres season ticket holder who loves photography and documenting the progress. I wish that I would have thought to ask if I could go on the site to take pictures. I had to take all my pictures from the outside. I do not know if you know this but on the top floor of the MTS parking structure is a great view of the park. You can see the whole park and the area around it. I noticed that Channel 4 used the same location for a shot of the park. I wish I would have thought to go there sooner than I did, but the first time I went there was still a great shot. I really like your nighttime pictures of the ballpark. Night is my favorite time to shoot pictures. You did a really good job on those. I have been looking forward to shooting the outside of the park at night for a while, and it was great to see what you did. — Matt Zint
Be sure to see the photos Matt submitted for display on this site. I am especially grateful for his assistance in filling in some of the gaps in my chronology. — The Photographer
March 17, 2004
Your pictures are FANTASTIC!!  Thank you so much!!!  Unfortunately, I have not lived in San Diego for 8 years, but I am a native and the Padres are my team.  I have watched this ballpark be built from afar and have nothing but sincere best wishes for my hometown team in their first year at Petco. — Patty Tilton, Westford, Massachusetts
Thank you for your kind words of praise. This has been a labor of love for over two years now. If you want to follow the Pads you can get the spring training radio broadcasts on the internet: If you log on using MS Internet Explorer you will see an icon ("listen live" and a microphone) at the top right of the home page that will open a Windows Media Player session with streaming audio. The Mighty 1090 radio station has the 2004 broadcast contract. I don't know if they will continue to stream the audio for free once the regular season starts, but you can also get paid audio and video on the net. See the Padres' page: The opening game of the Aztec Invitational was fantastic, but I was distracted by the ballpark itself. It is now time to begin turning my attention from the venue to the team. — The Photographer
February 9, 2004
Hey, in what location are the ticket booths at Petco Park? I am wondering because I need to go to the opening day presale. Thanks in advance. — Joey Babbitt
There are at least two ticket locations at Petco Park that I know of. The main one, with eighteen service windows, is immediately adjacent to Home Plate Plaza (see the November 2003 page). Another, with about three windows, is behind the Right Field grandstands at Gate #2 (Tenth Ave and K Street). The advantage of the main ticket windows is that they are sheltered in case of inclement weather. — The Photographer
January 31, 2004
Vincent- Your latest pictures are absolutely awesome and I loved the contrast of long range shots and telephoto shots. When you were up in Balboa Park were you just on ground level? I've gotten tickets to the Aztec Invitational so I'll be able to sit in all different parts of the ballpark to see where the best views are. It won't be too long now before we get to enjoy the most beautiful ballpark in the world. Is the Western Metals building complete now? What about the restaurant on the 4th floor? And are the bleacher seats installed on the top? Can't wait until April! Thanks so much for the latest installment. — Elaine Ball
I chose my new camera specifically for this particular shoot — long range and telephoto views. My Balboa Park shots were all taken standing on the ground.

As to the Western Metal Supply Company building, I have not been inside in several weeks. However, an informative television program on Channel 4 Padres showed the interior of the first floor which will house the Padres Store. The lighting appears to have been completed, and the original wood columns have been sanded and stained with a beautiful mahogany finish. Some of the merchandise display units have been installed on the walls but there didn't appear to be any good on the shelves yet. I am not aware of the progress on the fourth floor restaurant. From what I gleaned from the TV program, I think they have yet to install the bleacher units on the roof, however I understand they will be movable to make way for open air dance parties. — The Photographer

January 1, 2004
The great thing about New Year's Day 2004 is it's only 97 days until Petco Park opens. Your pictures are beautiful. I was able to take some of my own on the November 2nd tour. And when I sat in my seat I was really moved — upper deck, section 300. The view is magnificent. I hope to meet you at Petco this season. Until then, keep the great pictures coming for the next 3 months. — Elaine Ball
It really is an experience to sit in one’s seat. I have tried to give just a little of that flavor to the folks who visit my site. Right above home plate, Elaine? Wow! — The Photographer
December 17, 2003
That is a really comprehensive set of photos. I no longer live in San Diego, so I am not able to see the progress in person. — “OldFriar”
December 10, 2003
Nice job. Have you seen Pac Bell Park? How does Petco compare so far? — Mike Slayen
I have not been to PacBell Park, but have seen it only on TV during games between the Padres and the Giants. They have McCovey Cove splash, we have The Park at the Park... (a big mound of dirt right now...) — The Photographer
My goodness, that thing is turning out beautifully, as is your site, Vincent. Thanks again. Hopefully we can meet up for a quick hello next season. — Jeff Swem
December 9, 2003
Your site is great.  Keep up the good work. — David  C.  Fares
December 1, 2003
Dude, you rule! Great pictures, thanks for putting in all that hard work. It s a pleasure to see a photo timeline of the park being built. Keep up the good work. — Brian Esperanza
November 26, 2003
[Regarding the November 25 question and answer on “exterior materials covering the concrete staircases in the upper deck seating bowl…”] Actually, no... I'm wondering about the several sets of stairs that lead up to the upper decks in the seating bowl.  You can see them if you're standing on the field and looking up at the bowl; they're made of concrete (but in some parks are covered with brick, stone, etc.).  Any idea about these? — Jeremy Hogan

I think what he was referring to is in the actual seating bowl. In the walkway, in between the upper boxes and the actual upper deck seats is a tall, drab concrete wall with staircases that go to the upper deck seats. From what they have done so far, it seems as if they are just going to leave this as exposed concrete. — Kevin Thompson

Boy am I obtuse, or what? From all the artwork and models I have seen, I would tend to agree with you. The unfinished concrete appears to be the final surface. — The Photographer
December 10, 2003: Upon consultation with Padres staff, I learned that the concrete facing of the upper decks will remain unfinished. — The Photographer
I think you are doing the best job covering construction of Petco Park. Each update I see makes me more excited about the new ballpark. There are two things about the construction that have intrigued me. First is the progress on the Park at the Park, which seems to be slow compared to the rest of the site. Because of this, I'm wondering if the Park at the Park will open with the rest of the ballpark? Also, do you know if the outfield fence will be made of the mesh-type material that was seen in the conceptual art of the ballpark? Keep up the great work you're doing and I hope you continue to share your pictures with us as we get closer to opening day. — Mike O'Connor
Hmm, more questions I cannot answer… I have tried to document what is, not what will be. However, I will ask next month. But first, my best guesses!

We have been promised an April opening of Petco Park, but no specific mention has been made of timing for the Park at the Park.

As to the outfield fence, I specifically asked about the out of town scoreboard in right field, and was told that there will be some soft-mesh covering on the scoreboard to protect the outfielder from collisions.As to the perimeter fence at the boundaries of the outfield your guess is as good as mine. I remember seeing artist's drawings of a low fence near the first-floor doors of the Western Metals Supply Company building. This is where the Padres Store will be. — The Photographer.

November 25, 2003
Thank you so much for the great photos. Your website has been the perfect solution for a Padres nut like me. I live in Los Angeles, and have been very curious about the ballpark construction. I have visited several other new ballparks in the past few months, and have noticed that all of them have exterior materials covering the concrete staircases in the upper deck seating bowl.  For example, PNC Park has the beautiful exterior yellow stone, and Minute Maid has its signature brick, behind their staircases. It's a nice touch that covers drab concrete. Any idea whether the Padres plan to do the same with their "Padres Gold" sandstone? Keep up the great work! — Jeremy Hogan
The stairwell/elevator structure locations, their finish materials, and level of completion as of November 10, are as follow: In addition to the stairs and elevators there are two pedestrian ramps: These rise from street level to the Upper Level Concourse. These have no decorative surface material.

Also, there are stairwells internal to the First and Third Base Garden buildings, and in each tower, both of which are finished in golden stucco.

Have I answered your question yet? :-) — The Photographer

November 20, 2003
I am a San Diego native and I now live in Las Vegas, therefore I have not had a chance to see the development of the new ballpark. Thank you for providing me with some great photos that I would never have had the opportunity to see.  Thanks, and I look forward to seeing more photos in the future. — Paul
November 18, 2003
As usual, NICELY DONE!! Keep up the good work. — Eric Baum
November 14, 2003
I have a suggestion for your site. I used to have a picture from the San Diego Union-Tribune that was an aerial shot of the ballpark site before groundbreaking where the old streets were still open to traffic. Perhaps if you have it too or can get it, maybe you could post it on your site as a “before and current” thing showing the overall progress up to this point, or if you have any photos of that same time that you could do the same thing with them. — Ken Foster
I would love to have that early photo from the UT! However, I have made a decision to publish only original photography (read: taken by me). Obtaining permission to reprint photographs previously published elsewhere is a painstaking process, and often costly.

I also have screen captures from the Padres’ webcam dating back to mid-2000 when the construction was underway. Because of copyright issues, however, the Padres have declined to grant me permission to post any of these screen captures.

Somewhere I have some undeveloped film from before ground was broken. To keep interest alive after the 1998 season was over, and Proposition C passed, the Padres held a news conference to fix the location of the three bases. They painted a square on the pavement at first, second, and third base (the latter is at the southeast corner of Eighth Avenue and L Street). I took photos of the “bases” sometime after that. At the same time I may also have shot more film from around the site. I haven’t yet found that film, after having taken several used disposable cameras in for developing but still have a couple of rolls to turn in. Pray for results...
— The Photographer

November 10, 2003
I love the shots, but who are you, and how are you able to get the up-close shots? Thanks. — Vinny Specioso
Thanks for asking. I am a private citizen, a season ticket holder, and an unabashedly obsessive fan of the ballpark since mid-1998: I was at the “Yes on Proposition C” headquarters at the U.S. Grant Hotel on election night 1998, and was in the room when the balloons dropped at the announcement that the proposition had gone over the top. I was in the audience in the San Diego City Council chambers the night Larry Lucchino made the formal multimedia presentation to the City Council.

I have mementos of the site, some even from before construction began: a brick from a pile of rubble made from the first building to be demolished in the footprint of the future ballpark site; some concrete ‘slag’ from the indoor pitching tunnel; a circular piece of drywall cut out for an electrical junction box in the Padres’ clubhouse; a palm-sized piece of structural steel scrap that had been cut from the framework of the field level grandstands; a shard of brick that had fallen from the northeast corner of the Western Metal Supply Company building.

I used to monitor the construction progress via the webcam mounted on the Transit Center clock tower. After construction restarted in February 2002 the webcam was not reactivated. I inquired of the Padres on numerous occasions, including asking a friend in the media to put the question to them, which he did on-air during spring training in 2002. The on-air personality got basically the same response I had been getting, and the result was that the webcam was still not doing its job.

It occurred to me that there were probably others who had depended on the webcam for news about the construction, especially people outside the San Diego area who could not get the sparse-at-best news coverage on the local television stations. So, I began to shoot photos onsite starting in April 2002. Having sought and obtained permission from the San Diego Padres, I am given a half-hour or so on a monthly basis to shoot all over the ballpark with a staff member either from the Ballpark Development Office or the Padres’ front office as an escort.

Each month I try to focus on a particular aspect -- seating areas, concourse, clubhouse, concessions, main entrance exteriors, etc. My requests have been met with gracious approval, and I will be forever in the debt of the Padres and their great staff -- and, in particular, owner John Moores (see the September 2003 page).

This has been a labor of love, for which I receive no monetary compensation. I have been contacted by people all over the country who have expressed their appreciation for keeping them up to date on the ballpark, and the website has received an average of over thirty visitors a day since March 2003.

Just to be able to say I was there is compensation enough, and I hope my work will be of some historical value in the future. — The Photographer

November 8, 2003
Some of us were wondering about food in the new ballpark, maybe you could shed some light on this for us. You have been all over the Park, do you remember seeing any names of food joints in there? Maybe some pics of them next time. — Eric Baum
I haven't seen any brand names yet, only some limited signage indicating types of food, i.e.; Friar Franks,Padres Pizzeria, Sweet Spot, etc. There are pics on the site from October, 2003 showing the latter two of these. I will be at the park tomorrow & will see what else I can see. — The Photographer
November 7, 2003
I check there everyone once in a while, you're doing a great job with the pictures. — “Friaraces”
November 6, 2003
Great pictures Vincent. I especially like the one you took from the 31st floor of the Omni. — “crazyinleft”
October 31, 2003
Great pictures!!! Being born and raised in San Diego, but now living elsewhere, I'm obsessed with the new ballpark and its progress. I will always be a Padre fan, and look forward to my first visit sometime next year. Until then, keep up with the photodocumentry and I'll keep visiting. I would like to see the pictures of the bullpens. Is it true that the visitors will be on the field and the Padres beyond the outfield fence? Also, are the Padres going to provide something better than metal folding chairs? I know they are the opponents, but it's time to show some class... — Don Schager
Don, thanks for your kind words, and for your interest in my work. I was born elsewhere and live in San Diego, and I am obsessed with the ballpark! I have even ordered a personalized license plate which demonstrates my obsession with the ballpark. The Padres' bullpen is outside the Left Field wall: click here and here. And the visitors' bullpen is outside of the right field foul line: click here. If we put Barcaloungers out there, how will the visiting pitchers be able to move them to enable our right fielder to throw to home plate for an out? ;-)  — The Photographer
October 25, 2003
Excellent! — “Triton3”
October 19, 2003
 I enjoy your monthly photos of Petco Park! How can I arrange to go on the ballpark tour on November 2nd? — Wayne
Wayne, the following is from my season ticket renewal package:
PETCO Park Accessibility — Compadres Club Tours
All members of the Compadres Club that have earned a minimum of 300 points over the course of the 2003 Padres season have been invited to attend a guided perimeter tour of PETCO Park on either November 2nd, 2003 or November 16, 2003. These tours are an opportunity to see the progress of construction and learn more about your Ballpark. During these tours, Compadres Club members will not be able to visit specific seat locations in the seating bowl. If you have questions regarding your Compadres Membership or one of these tours please call Compadres Member Services at (619) 881-6500 extension 7293.
Elsewhere in the materials a ‘Behind-the-Scenes’ Tour (including Padres clubhouse, Press Box, and premium-access facilities) for season ticket customers that pay their season ticket account in full by November 5, 2003. — The Photographer
Great photos. I check the progress myself every once in a while, but from the outside. I look forward to seeing the new ballpark photos each month. Thanks for going to all the effort. How many more months are you going to do? — Mark McGlone
Mark, I hope to have a monthly appointment right up to March. As of April I will consider the project complete and will post photos taken when I go to games. — The Photographer
October 16, 2003
Thank you so much for your photos of our new ballpark. I visit your website about 5 or 6 times a week. I’m amazed at how beautiful it is. I can’t wait for my tour on Nov 2nd. Once they put down the grass, it became the ballpark for San Diego. I can't wait for opening day on April 8, 2004. — Elaine Ball
October 15, 2003
I look forward to seeing the pictures, I visit the site often. Once again nicely done!! Have a good time at the ballyard. I was noticing that the first pic overlooking the field from the Omni, there were a lot of shadows on the field. What time of day did that shot take place and do you think it will have an effect?  You know about the shadows we got at the Q later in the afternoon. What are your thoughts? Thanks again for all your hard work. — Eric Baum
Eric, the photos were taken between 3:30 and 4:00 pm IN OCTOBER!!! The sun will be higher in the sky for afternoon games during the regular season. Also, the Padres may elect to have day games earlier in the day (not based on any insider information, just my guess — they polled season ticket holders last year and one of the questions was about preference of starting time on Sunday day games). — The Photographer
September 25, 2003:
Your site has been great. I go down to Petco about every other month to see the progresss. I never get as good a view as your pictures. I'm scheduled for a tour on November 2nd. Besides Sunday, it will probably be the best day of the year (oh yeah, I'll have my camera). Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for the pictures. By the way your grandson is lucky. Make sure he holds onto those pictures of him on the new field. Go Padres! — Mike Whitaker
September 2, 2003:
Thanks for the pictures, those are just the most awe inspiring pictures that I can imagine of the construction of the ballpark. — Hank Chase
August 25, 2003:
I look forward to your updates each month. This is truly a wonderful site! — John Koepke
August 18, 2003:
Excellent website. Great pictures. This looks like it is a nice photo essay. Great job. — “DustinUCSD”
July 24, 2003:
Continuing to admire the pictures on your website (makes me homesick though). Things are looking great! I was also happy to read, in the San Diego Union~Tribune, that the Park at the Park will remain as close to originally envisioned as possible. That was a good move by the Padres, and San Diegans will appreciate it. It's good to see others appreciate your hard work on the site too. Like I said, you're doing a great job. Thanks again, keep up the good work. — Ryan Calahate

Thank you for sharing your amazing photos. Since I no longer live in San Diego, I feel I can experience the building of the new ballpark through you. Thanks again. — Ryan Wong

July 22, 2003:
Thanks for the photodocumentary. I make a trip to San Diego about twice a year, and the last couple of times I drove by the new ballpark to see the progress. The photos are fantastic. — “DFW Padre”
June 27, 2003:
I've been a fan of the Padres since birth and have followed the trials and tribulations of the Padres' Ballpark very closely. Your site is a great way for me to keep abreast of what is going to be the best baseball park in the world. Thanks. — “Gollumsd”
June 25, 2003:
Just wanted to drop a line from South Dakota to say thanks for the pictures. I only get to watch the ballpark being built from a distance. I'll see it in September, for the first time since before construction started and I went downtown to see where the ballpark would eventually be built. Pads fan forever. — Ken Foster
June 2, 2003:
I just wanted to send you a note thanking you for this website. I am a San Diegan now trapped in Los Angeles, and have been feverishly seeking Petco Park information ever since construction restarted. You are providing many of the faithful who can't visit America's Finest City on a regular basis, a great service. Please keep up the good work. I thank you again. — Ryan Calahate
May 7, 2003:
Thanks for posting the great pictures . . . nice job! — Ed Benes
Not sure how often you follow the SignOnSanDiego board, but I just wanted to personally drop you a quick thanks for the photos. Just wanted to show my appreciation.  Keep up the good work, and we'll keep up the faith.  I just received my seating assignment for the new park, Section 109, Row 31.  Can't wait, and your photos got me even more excited. Cheers my man. — Jeff Swem
March 19, 2003:
I checked out your site and found it interesting. I will link to your site. Thanks for exchanging.— Paul Healey, Project Ballpark


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