SAN DIEGO — Baseball fans know it’s hard to beat an early summer evening at Petco Park, taking in panoramic views of downtown from your seats and the harbor from the stadium concourse.
But when Major League Baseball recently highlighted a San Diego baseball field as “America’s Most Scenic Ballpark,” they weren’t talking about the home of the Padres.
No, that honor goes to the breezy home of the Point Loma Nazarene Sea Lions. As MLB.com reported earlier this year, it’s been touting that title since baseball writer Kevin Kernan called it that in the mid-1990s.
“They put it on their scoreboard and all over their athletic website and, I mean, why not?” MLB’s Matt Monagan wrote in his piece highlighting the field. “It fits.”
PLNU took the article as an opportunity to promote America’s Most Scenic Ballpark, a diamond of checkered green grass and infield dirt that gives way to sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, extending all the way to the horizon.
Solid padding is now affixed to long stretches of the outfield fence, including the portion directly in the batter’s line of sight when they’re trying to hit. But the university left in place “windows” of chain link fence that reveal the crashing surf. Above the wall, only the scoreboard and a few palm trees obstruct the view.
“The turf has also been meticulously cared for by a turf specialist who learned his craft from a Petco Park groundskeeper, making it one of the smoothest playing surfaces in college baseball,” PLNU said in a news release. “The ballfield has helped to recruit a strong team with an impressive 27-3 record, and is ranked number 3 in the nation in the latest NCAA Division 2 poll.”
The field is officially called Carroll B. Land Stadium after a longtime coach and athletic director at the school. PLNU says Land’s “dedication and hard work over the years transformed the park from a literal diamond in the rough into the gem it is today.”
The Sea Lions’ next home game is at noon on Saturday, April 16 against Biola.