A Giant fan journeys to AT&T Park South

SAN DIEGO — As I approach the 10th Avenue entrance to Petco Park, my heart is in my throat.

As an avid baseball fan, I’ve set  personal goal to visit every Major League ballpark in the country. Being from the Bay Area, I’ve obviously made it to AT&T Park and O.Co Coliseum.

When I was a kid, my dad took my brother, my grandfather and me to Angels Stadium in Anaheim. And during our annual trip to spring training down in Arizona, my mom and I were lucky enough to catch a World Baseball Classic game at Chase Field, home of the Diamondbacks.

So, for those keeping track at home that’s … four. Four out of 30.

Not an overly impressive number, but I’m become inspired to be more proactive about accomplishing my dream. So when a friend suggested a spontaneous trip to San Diego, I jumped at the chance to visit a great city — and a new ballpark.

So, on a mild San Diego August night, we headed downtown. We paid $8 for parking a few blocks away then walked to the stadium. Ten minutes before first pitch we bought our $15 tickets and walked in.

As we entered, we were handed a players guide booklet (for free!) and climbed up the stairs to the second deck, where we came to an opening in left field. The entire field of Petco Park lay below us, and I was practically giddy as I took it all in.

Then it was time for food. Strolling around the promenade behind center field, we discovered a park with grassy knolls, people having picnics, and, most importantly: Tacos.

Every Tuesday is dollar taco night at Petco. There’re several stands where fans can buy a taco for a buck and then load them up with onions, cilantro and hot sauce, a great bargain.

After grabbing a local San Diego brew, we spent the next few innings wandering around, meeting a couple local fans, and watching the game from different parts of the ballpark.

The evening flew by and, suddenly, it was the seventh-inning stretch. As we root-root-rooted for the away team – I mean, I am still a Giants fan – my heart swelled, thoroughly enjoying our nation’s pastime in this beautiful ballpark with its exposed brick and wide walkways.

All in all, the evening was a rousing success. The Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Padres 8-1, and up north in San Francisco the Giants won.

The beer was cold, the tacos were good, and we spent much less money on tickets, parking, and food than I have ever spent at AT&T Park.

As a baseball fan, Petco Park did not disappoint. And as a lifelong Giants fan, I’d highly recommend a visit to AT&T Park South.