Off-Season Events at Petco Park Should Not Be A Priority

Let’s make one thing clear, Chicken Friars is not a political blog nor will it ever strive to be one. Chicken Friars is a blog for loyal Padres fans and die-hard baseball fans in general; therefore it will never blog politics, unless of course, it involves the San Diego Padres, which this blog post does.

Now, before I get started on a rant let me just apologize to my editor, Justin Hunter, for posting this blog without his notice, but I really need to get this off my chest.

According to a recent story by 10News in San Diego, the San Diego City Council has discussed increasing special events at Petco Park during Major League Baseball’s off-season. The reason for this is to help ignite a lacking business/restaurant economy around Petco Park during the off-season, according to the mayor’s office.

Restaurants, bars, and neighboring businesses around Petco Park thrive during baseball season, but once the off-season hits, business is terribly slow.

The Downtown San Diego Partnership surveyed Downtown retailers, and 70 percent said their business suffered when the Padres were not playing, mainly because of a loss of foot traffic, according to 10News.

In the 10 News story, Councilman Todd Gloria called the park “a public asset that’s under-utilized.”

Now, I’m not one to knock businesses for trying to prosper, especially during difficult economic times like today, but when did the Padres become the savior of the city?

The Padres spend a lot of time, money and energy giving back to the community as it is, for which I applaud them. They help build little league ball parks through their Little Padres Parks foundation, they always honor the military, and the organization rewards students for their hard work by giving them a scholarship through their Padres Scholars program. The Padres for a fact do much more in the community than what is actually reported.

I know when Petco Park was first being built it was the cornerstone to help with the redevelopment of the ugly Downtown area. Now, thanks to the ballpark Downtown is really the place to be, or at least for the baseball season.

In the past, the city and Petco Park held events such as a Rolling Stones concert and a rugby match during the off-season.

I don’t believe the city and the Padres should plan off-season events to help bolster the Downtown economy. There is a much bigger problem at hand that should take priority. It is a problem that is in Petco Park’s front yard.

Once again, I don’t have a problem with the city trying to host events at Petco Park during the off-season to help businesses, but there is a much bigger problem than this.

I’m a recent college graduate and throughout my whole college life I relied on the San Diego Trolley system to get me to and from school. One of the places the trolley passes on my way to and from school is the designated tailgate parking lot at Petco Park. Any trolley passenger looking out the window they can see the tailgate area littered with homeless people. If the Padres and city really want to help out Downtown, they should help these people.  I know after a home stand, there is lots of food left over that is just dumped into garbage cans. How about giving that food to the homeless people? Or better yet, how about employing some of them. Now that would really boost the economy. There is just a big problem at hand.

Padres owner Jeff Moorad should also give some of the leftover give away shirts from T-shirt night to these homeless people.

It is not the restaurants the city should worry about, because at the end of the day these restaurant owners will have a job to comeback to. But these homeless people will end up staying in the street.

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