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Surflining to and from Petco Park 4/16/2004

by Chris Guenzler

I wanted to see a baseball game at the new Petco Park in downtown San Diego and choose a Friday night that I thought I would be able to stay over in town for. My Mother then got invited to go to our Ranch with my brother Jon so that would mean I would have to come home that night. There is Surfliner 597 on Friday night at 9:15 PM I could catch but that would mean I would not get to see the whole game. At least I would get a chance to experience the new Petco Park for part of a game. I checked the trolley schedules and found one that could get me back in time for my train departure. Since it was Friday I picked up a Business Class ticket three weeks in advance for my trip south and I was set to see another new major league ballpark.

Surfliner 578 4/16/2004

The southbound train pulled into Santa Ana right on time and I boarded a very full Pacific Business Class car taking an aisle seat. I studied the new Amtrak National Timetable as far as Oceanside until I got the window seat. We met Surfliner 579 at Irvine and once into San Diego County we met Metrolink 609 at San Onofre. Further south at Oceanside we took the siding to meet Surfliner 583 and at Solana Beach waited for Coaster 645. Continuing south at Sorrento Valley we took the siding for Surfliner 785 before we crossed Miramar Hill. In Rose Canyon we slowed as Coaster 647 blew by on the double track. We arrived San Diego a few minutes early and I was off the train for a photo our 578 having arrived in San Diego.

San Diego 4/16/2004

I missed a Green Line Trolley at the station at the depot by a few seconds so I walked across the street to the American Plaza Station to catch the Orange Line Trolley to 12th and Imperial. I had to walk through a turnstile to exit the station before walking the three blocks to Petco Park.

Petco Park 4/16/2004

I picked my ticket up at Will Call before walking around to see the distance to the Gaslamp Trolley Station for my trip home tonight. I went through the bag search before entering the park. The staff is by far the friendliest that I have encountered yet in my trip to the 21 ballparks that I have visited so far. I felt really welcomed at this park. I took the escalator to the top level and stopped for a picture overlooking the trolley yard.

Following a good look at the great view Petco Park offers, I went to the snack bar for two hot dogs, fries and Coca-Cola. {I knew I was going to like Petco with its Coca-Cola}. I found my seat in Section 301, row 16, seat 19 right behind home plate on the third deck. I took pictures from my seat.

I enjoyed my feast as I watched the Padres take batting practice. That was followed by the Arizona Diamondbacks taking batting practice. I really lucked out picking this game as Randy Johnson, one of my all time favorite pitchers is tonight's starting pitcher for Arizona. I relaxed until game time at 7:05 PM as the wind really picked up and blew cold. I felt like I was in Comisky Park last May. Good thing I had my sweats pants and heavy jacket. I learned that lesson from wearing just shorts and a T shirt to Candlestick Park in San Francisco in 1990. A saxophone player played the Star Spangled Banner before the game. Luis Gonzalez got the first hit of the game and it was great to see Randy Johnson pitch again.

The Diamondbacks scored in the second when Alex Citron walked and scored on Danny Bautista's fielder's choice. In the fifth, Steve Finley walked and Roberto Alomar had a RBI double which he tried to stretch to a triple but got thrown out. I left at the end of the fifth with Randy Johnson still in total control of his game and it seemed to me he was getting stronger.

After I left in the 6th Inning Randy helped his own cause by hitting a bases loaded double bringing in a pair of runs. The Diamondbacks got 3 runs that inning giving them a 5-0 lead which they won the game with in front of 37,300 baseball fans. Randy Johnson pitched a complete 2 hitter and a shutout was the 36th of his career and this was his 89th complete game. He had 8 strikeouts and retired his last 16 hitters in his outstanding effort.

I hated to leave Petco Park but did have a train to catch at 9:15 PM. I took the stairs down to the exit and started to walk to the Gaslamp Trolley Station. I saw a trolley coming and made a run for the station. At the turnstile they made my me show my tickets before they would let me board the Orange Line back to American Plaza. I walked across the street back to the Santa Fe depot and waited for the boarding of my train home.

Surfliner 597 4/16/2004

We left on time and met Coaster 658 at Old Town before heading up Rose Canyon where flashes were coming from between the engine and business class car. We stopped at Cumbres to meet the BNSF 5637 South before heading down to Sorrento Valley where Amtrak 590 was tucked away. The light show continued to Solana Beach where our great crew fixed the problem by short looping the Head End Power cables. The one cable had been dragging and every time it came in contact with the steel rail it arced thus causing the flash of light I saw. While the crew fixed that problem, I recorded the consist of Train 597.

458 F-59PHI

6852 Pacific Business Class

6303 Coach/Cafe

31018 Superliner Coach

6307 Coach/Cafe

6451 Coach

6903 Baggage Cab Car

With no further problems we continued north towards Santa Ana. We met Surfliner 590 on double track at the Tustin Metrolink Station with both trains doing 90 MPH. We arrived into Santa Ana a mere two minutes late and I detrained to head home ending an excellent trip via Amtrak to the new Petco Park in San Diego.