There is a place in San Diego where fans can watch live baseball games
Chris Volk and his family took their seats for the ballgame a half hour before the first pitch Tuesday. He ordered his first Hazy IPA — it was his 51st birthday after all — and turned his attention to the field where the Dodgers and the San Diego Padres looked like ants warming up for the second game of their three-game series.
Volk was 250 feet high and 1,000 feet from home plate on the rooftop of the Marriott across the street from Petco Park with his wife, Amy, and two children. His view was obstructed — most of the outfield was covered — but it’s the best Southern California has to offer in 2020.
“We try to get at least one or two games in every year,” said Volk, an assistant men’s soccer coach at UC Riverside who drove from Costa Mesa to see the Dodgers. “I was talking to my wife and I said, ‘You know what? This is probably the closest we’re going to get to a game this season.’”
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced Major League Baseball to hold games without fans, leaving most people to satisfy their baseball fix only through television or the radio. But there are a few loopholes across the country.
Fans can watch games at PNC Park in Pittsburgh from the Roberto Clemente Bridge. People can take in a Cubs games at Wrigley Field from the famed rooftops across the street. A hotel rooftop in Washington offers a view into Nationals Park.
Altitude, a restaurant and bar atop the San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter, is the only option available to the public in San Diego.
Jeffrey Berg, the hotel’s general manager, said the rooftop’s capacity was reduced from 315 to 84 after it reopened July 2 following a 105-day shutdown. Patrons must wear face coverings when not at their seats. They’re not allowed to roam; they can leave their seats only to take a closer photo of the stadium. Alcohol must be ordered with food. They open at 5 p.m. and close at 10 p.m., though guests can stay until 11.
Four drop screens and a television show the games. The broadcast is piped in on the surround sound systems.
There are 28 seats on the drink rail with the best view of the field. A $50 minimum for food and beverage secures you one. Packages are also offered for hotel guests.
The Dodgers’ bats came alive late to score five straight runs and beat the San Diego Padres 5-2.
“We tried to make it as close to being in the park as possible,” Berg said.
Danny Alvarado, 32, watched Tuesday’s game with his girlfriend in a customized white No. 3 Alvarado jersey after driving from Santa Clarita. He attends around 15 games in a normal season at Dodger Stadium, where his father is a season-ticket holder, and he was eager to see this team live again.
Brian Anhalt lives just a five-minute drive from the hotel in San Diego’s North Point, but he bought the $299 package with a room and $100 voucher for food and drinks anyway. He heard about the view from a friend at work and decided to surprise his wife, Gaby.
“It’s kind of weird spending the night away from your house when the hotel is so close, but it was whatever, man, it’s a cool view over here,” said Anhalt, a Santa Clarita native. “I thought about wearing a Dodgers shirt, but the last time I wore one in the stadium I got bombarded.”
Anhalt was surrounded by a pro-Dodgers crowd Tuesday, but they had little to cheer about during the game’s first five innings as Padres starter Dinelson Lamet held the Dodgers hitless. The loudest contingent was a group of five Padres fans.
“We’re in the nosebleeds of the nosebleeds,” one joked.
Volk put on his black mask and headed to the bathroom when the fifth inning concluded.
“Time to change the mojo,” he said.
Minutes later, Cody Bellinger singled to center field to ruin Lamet’s attempt to throw the first no-hitter in Padres history. That prompted the heartiest cheers of the night. Another roar erupted when Corey Seager followed Bellinger with a run-scoring single that tied the score with the help of a Padres error.
The Dodgers were on their way to a 5-2 win with an attendance of 84 people peeking in to witness it.
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