The original DuBois Baseball Tour ran from 2004-2016, taking in 15 stadiums around the country. We would have revived it in Dallas for 2020 but the pandemic quarantine said no, so I guess 2022 will have to do. Since we couldn’t resume it this year, we decided to hit all three SoCal stadiums:

Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles

2021-05-15, vs San Francisco

For some reason I got it in my head that the most desirable post-quarantine sports-related thing I wanted to do was “drink watery ice cream out of little baseball-helmet-shaped souvenir plastic bowls,” so at Chavez Ravine I did just that. This was in the heady days of post-vaccination, pre-Delta—when our Padres were briefly in first place and stomping everyone, instead of scraping the second Wildcard spot.

The game itself was forgettable except for the fact that LA lost to the juggernaut Giants, and that our supposed “vaccinated only” section lacked anyone to check us for that status. Stadium staff did, belatedly, make a show of sending us all the way back to the parking lot to put one “oversized” bag back in our car, something which countless other staffers we passed never warned us about. The aforementioned watery soft-serve in a helmet almost made up for it.

Petco Park, San Diego

2021-08-06/07, vs Arizona

A deuces wild weekend in the Gaslamp: two wins for the Padres, with two soft-serve helmets, two breakfast bagels at Spill the Beans, and two snaps with two Hall of Famers for me and Em. We didn’t see Fernando Tatis Jr., (he was on the injured list for the nth time), but Yu Darvish and Blake Snell combined for 20+ strikeouts over the course of both games, which would be the Pads’ last gasp of consistency for all of August as they later slid out of playoff contention for the first time all year.

If we watched closely, though, all the signs of future collapse would be there. Scattershot offense and an overworked bullpen led to too many moments almost too tense to bear, but our brains cleverly rationalized all that away as “well at least they had the decency to win for us when we saw them in person.” Plus Petco remains the best ballpark we’ve visited in our (so far) survey of half the major league stadiums currently in operation. It’s just a fabulous place to see a game.

Angels Stadium of Anaheim

2021-08-28, vs San Diego

Final regular game of the season for us, and the first time back at the Big A in about a decade. A win the previous day under Joe Musgrove set up the Pads for a second stomping of the Angels, but that was not to be as another Ominous Bullpen Day saw SD fall apart early. At least we looked good in our cheapie obscured-view seats. Lots of brown and gold (and #PadresTwitter?) in the stands, enough to get a Dodger fan ejected for being a Dodger fan.

Random notes: Eric Hosmer was out there just trying to make Jurickson Profar look bad. Ryan Weathers was almost disowned by the Friar Faithful for hitting Shohei Ohtani on the hands during a strikeout. We moved to the upper decks, but the game was still dumb and got dumber, so we left in the top of the 9th to beat traffic, which we mostly did. I once drove from Anaheim to Ventura in a cool 90 minutes. That did not happen this time.

Last but not least: a study of SoCal soft-serve!

San Diego: Mister Softee 😋
Anaheim: average, acceptable 🙂
Los Angeles: mostly water 😕

This totally unbiased scientific research brought to you by the DuBois Baseball Tour, 2021 SoCal Edition. Go Padres!