Every so often we come across an opportunity to favorably position ourselves toward achieving a goal we have long sought after. This past week the city of San Diego had that opportunity right at our feet, or shall I say, the proverbial fastball right down the middle of the plate on a 3-1 count (excuse the terrible pun).
As a whole the city absolutely hit it out of the park with its All-Star Game showing; from the numerous festivities happening throughout the week, the combined use of the convention center and Petco Park and the influx of tourists from around the country. Fan-fest was an immersive experience, albeit very similar to the NFL experience, which was a hit for both the casual fan and baseball junkies.
Having the opportunity to see future Padres big leaguers and others showcase their skills during the Futures Game gave us Friar faithful a glimpse into the recent talent stockpiling and overall work being done by A.J. Preller and co. The home run derby was an absolute blast to attend and definitely continued to disprove the notion that Petco is pitchers park after seeing that awesome display of power as moonshot after moonshot was launched into the stands. And lastly the midsummer classic was what we have all come to expect, the absolute best in the majors facing off for one day while most of us geek out in our childlike giddiness seeing the likes of Big Papi saying farewell; or the local guy Will Myers hitting a double in his final at-bat of the day.
All in all our city put on a first-class event, as seen by the reactions of several key MLB executives and media members. Having partook in a large portion of the All-Star Game festivities, I can confidently back these sentiments. There were countless occasions throughout the weekend where I would chat up individuals and get nothing but positive reviews about their experience. This solidified the notion that we, as a city, are deserving and aptly prepared for the construction of a new, state-of-the-art venue to house the San Diego Chargers during the NFL season along with hosting numerous events throughout the calendar year.
Now I am not here to argue and discuss tax dollar allocation, hotel tax spikes, etc. that is for another time. San Diego simply has too much to offer, there is no justifying a new venue not getting done. Examining the sheer number of activities at one’s disposal backs my argument. For starters we are the mecca of the craft beer scene (which was an overwhelming favorite for tourists), the proximity to Tijuana which is also in the midst of a burgeoning foodie/craft beer renaissance itself, and the classic and worn out (in my opinion) weather argument.
The ongoing gentrification of the Downtown/East Village and surrounding areas can be a sensitive subject, having grown up near there myself, but I believe it is ultimately a good thing. Change is inevitable and necessary for progress; imagine what the current Petco Park site looked like before its construction, not much. The same can be said for the potential new venue site, as it is a whole lot of underutilized space begging for a face-lift.
This venue would not solely be a football stadium, rather a shared space where the NFL, concerts, NCAA basketball tournaments, dozens of conventions and soccer matches, to just name a few possibilities, would attract top talent and consequently attract top dollar in the process. The bottom line is that San Diego is a big, first-class city whether or not we care to admit/ embrace it. Currently ranked as the eighth largest city in the United States, it is time that an investment reflecting this fact be made. It’s in our hands come November.