Brown’s Corner: An introduction
Welcome to Brown’s Corner a periodic and sometimes eclectic sports column that will appear from time to time on this site. Much thanks to the East Village Times and SDSU Sports Editor Paul Garrison for providing me with this opportunity. Paul suggested the name for this column and asked that this first introduction explain how historic Brown’s Corner came about, so here goes.
In another life, I managed the San Diego City Lakes Program for three decades. At the start of my career with that program in 1974, it was part of the Golf/Lakes Division of the San Diego Park and Recreation Department and we were pretty much a self-sufficient organization in terms of equipment to support nine reservoirs along with the Balboa Park and Torrey Pines golf courses. Under my control were a pair of pumper trucks used for the purpose of pumping out portable toilets and holding tanks throughout the division.
One day I received a call from Jack Argent, who many might recall as a multiple World Champion Over-the-Line player. At the time, Argent was the Assistant Manager of what was then simply known as San Diego Stadium. Ironically and years earlier, Jack, as a recreation supervisor, hired me in 1969 to be a playground leader in Barrio Logan. Before that, he was my coach at Golden Hill Recreation Center during my elementary school days.
Jack and the stadium had a serious problem; they needed someone to pump the portable toilets located around the stadium parking lot and didn’t have the money to pay a vendor. They did have a city job order I could use to cover our costs and I couldn’t say “no” to Jack or the compensation we’d receive, but that‘s more than enough to be said about raw sewage in this particular story.
It was not long after that the Stadium Authority decided the nice pine tree-studded islands around the stadium could no longer be used for tailgating, a decision that brought to an end the tailgate location we’d used before Aztec games and other events for many years.
Jack knew that I’d be miffed and called and invited me down to see if we could find an alternative location.
We hopped into a golf cart and buzzed around the parking lot several times without finding anything to match what we’d lost, when Jack had an idea and steered us toward the main entrance under the big flag pole where entrance and exit lanes run perpendicular to Friars Road. Slightly east of the exit lanes was a nice strip of tall pine tree and shrubs that served as a landscaping buffer between San Diego Mission Road and the stadium’s outer parking lot.
I wasn’t very impressed until Jack said, “we’re about to re-sod the field, so I could have our crew remove these shrubs that aren’t doing very well anyway and replace it with sod from the field your Aztecs play on, whadyathink?”
“Perfect,” I said, as Jack reminded that all parking was available on a first-come-first-served basis while also deciding to call it “Brown’s Corner.”
It became home for many years and a lot of good times for our San Diego Stadium Parking Lot Dining and Social Club, as well as visits from everyone from former Athletic Director Jim Sterk (he loved lobster) to former Padres Manager Bruce Bochy, to our benefactor Jack Argent and a host of former players whose time in uniform for Aztec football spanned nearly 50 years.
My sadness at seeing it go has been tempered by completion of our shiny new Snapdragon Stadium and now the relocation of historic Brown’s Corner to the East Village Times in a significantly different form, where I hope it will be a welcoming place for you.
Jim has a long history in San Diego and is a rare native. A graduate of SDSU, but before the U was added, his first by-line appeared in the San Diego Union’s Sports Section in September of 1963, when he was the 16-year-old Sports Editor of The Russ, San Diego High’s school newspaper. He began writing outdoors features for the Evening Tribune in the 1970s and served as The Tribune’s outdoor writer from 1980 until its merger with the San Diego Union in 1990. As a freelancer, his outdoor stories have appeared in regional as well as national publications over many years. As an adjunct professor at SDSU and the former United States International University, he has taught a wide range of courses in the field of recreation.
Proud to call Jim & Andrea friends as we were neighbors also, for over 25 years!