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Tailgate Recap: Chargers/Cowboys NFL Preseason Game

Posted by Dave On August - 10 - 2008

Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, CA in March 200...Image via WikipediaEven though you can tailgate all year-round, we all know that football season, college or pro, is when the major tailgating takes place. Yesterday was the first pre-season game for the San Diego Chargers and of course you know I was at Qualcomm Stadium. A valuable lesson was learned yesterday and it is worth sharing.

The lesson learned? Make sure to have some jumper cables in your car or in your garage before you go tailgating. I learned that lesson the hard way yesterday after packing my SUV to the gills with all my tailgating gear. I had left the doors open and the lift gate up for quite some time and failed to turn off the the interior dome lights. Our friends met us at the house, we all piled in, ready to head to the game for some serious tailgating and the engine would not turn over! You have got to be kidding me!

Deka Commercial Service Jumper Cables (16', 4 Gauge)I jump out and scour the garage for some jumper cables while my wife and friends unpack everything to get to the spare tire compartment to see if there are jumper cables in there. No such luck. So I start going door to door to my neighbors asking them if I can borrow their jumper cables. It’s a Saturday so most people are not home. Finally, the fifth house I tried, my neighbor’s 19 year-old son had a pair of heavy duty jumper cables in his work truck. I run them back to the house, my friends fire up their car and give us a jump. The SUV starts right up and we are on our way. Our neighbor’s son suggested we take the jumper cables with us just in case we had a bad battery and it was not just me being forgetful and leaving the doors open for an extended period of time.

dave_flabongo.jpgTraffic heading down Interstate 5 was a complete joke and it took us 2 hours to travel a distance that normally takes 45. We cut over to Interstate 15 via highway 78 and that was full freeway speeds the whole way in. We were shooting to be at Qualcomm Stadium right at 3 PM when the gates opened but that was not in the cards. A drained battery and So Cal traffic was the thorn in my side and was determined to cut into my tailgating time beyond what the San Diego Police Department has determined is a fair and reasonable amount of time to tailgate. As you can see I had to do a Flabongo just to take the edge off of a long and stressful drive.

Once we were parking and unloaded we had a great tailgate. Great food, great friends and I got to try out a great new tailgating game. (Come back later this week for a product review of this tailgating game that is a new twist on those old school washer toss games.) We even made two new friends and invited over two guys that were hanging out across the way. Speaking of great food, I will also be sharing the recipe for Noelle’s hummus dip. So easy to make and everyone at the tailgate party could not get enough of it.

So what have we learned today class? Close your vehicle doors after packing your tailgating gear to save your battery. Also, make sure to have some jumper cables on hand just in case. The next opportunity for me to tailgate prior to a Chargers game is Monday, August 25th when they take on the Seattle Seahawks. Hopefully my post-tailgate report will have tales of maximum tailgating, zero car problems and no traffic hassles.

If you have recently tailgated and have some sound advice to share, drop me an email or leave a comment below and share it with tailgating nation.

news_wrap.jpgIf you are reading this on Saturday night, 1) you really need to get out more and get off the Internet. It’s Saturday night for crying out loud. 2) I am out tonight tailgating and taking in the San Diego Chargers first pre-season game. (ah, the beauty of writing something and having WordPress schedule to post it for you at a pre-determined time.) Since starting this tailgating blog I have either purchased or received a number of tailgating toys that I have yet to really field test in the parking lot. So tomorrow make sure to come back and get a full recap of tonight’s tailgate at Qualcomm Stadium along with a few photos from the scene in the parking lot. Now on with the links…

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Mailbag: Jim Steeg Responds

Posted by Dave On August - 8 - 2008

Jim Steeg HeadshotYesterday I posted an open letter to Jim Steeg, the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the San Diego Chargers. In a nutshell, I was voicing my disappointment with the combination of increased parking fees and less time to tailgate. Please visit and read the original post to get the full story.

When I checked my email this morning I was pleasantly surprised to find an email from Mr. Jim Steeg himself. It has been well documented, I have had my issues with the NFL and some of their stances regarding the limitations on tailgating. In both instances I was contacted immediately by those representatives close to the issue and was not passed off to some intern or office staff member. In the case of the grilling ban at the Super Bowl, Brain McCarthy, the NFL Director of Corporate Communications, called me and we had a 25 minute phone conversation. In the case of my issues with the San Diego Chargers, Jim Steeg personally emailed me even before I was able to fax and mail my letter of complaint. Although I may still have some issues with the policy changes I have no issues with the way I was treated professionally and with respect.

For those interested, I am providing you with the email response (with his permission by the way) I received from Jim Steeg this morning after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

An Open Letter Of Complaint To The San Diego Chargers

Posted by Dave On August - 7 - 2008

Statue of Jack Murphy and his dog Abe in front...Image via WikipediaAs a fellow tailgater, I have my favorite teams and my home stadium of choice. I happen to be a San Diego Chargers fan and tailgating at Qualcomm Stadium before games has been a highlight since getting season tickets in 2004. I recently found out that parking fees for Qualcomm Stadium will be going up 25 percent from last year ($20 in 2007 and $25 this season). No surprise there. They have steadily increased parking fees since 2004 when they were $10 per passenger vehicle. That’s a 150% percent increase in parking fees in four years if you are scoring at home.

I also learned that in addition to getting stuck with increased parking fees that the stadium gates will open four hours prior to kick off. Last year the gates opened five hours before kickoff.

So let me get this straight. You are going to charge me more money yet reduce the amount of time I can tailgate? Is that a great way to treat your customers? Charge them 25% more yet deliver 20% less? This prompted me to put together a letter of complaint that I will be faxing to the San Diego Chargers front office in the morning. I would highly encourage everyone reading this to do the same. It does not matter if you are a Chargers season ticket holder or not. This issue confronts all tailgaters who support the 32 NFL franchises. If the Chargers are allowed to get away with increased parking fees yet reduced tailgating time, what is to stop the other 31 NFL teams from doing the same?

Fax your letter to the following number: (619) 281-6974. If you prefer the old fashioned mail, send it to:

San Diego Chargers
Attn: Jim Steeg
P.O. BOX 609609
San Diego, CA 92160.

Here is my letter I will be faxing and mailing to Jim Steeg.

Dear Mr. Steeg,

I am writing to you today to express my disappointment and frustration with the way Chargers fans; tailgating fans in particular, have been treated by the San Diego Chargers, Qualcomm Stadium and Ace Parking.

I have been a season ticket holder since 2004 (account No. XXXXXX) and in that time I have seen parking fees jump from $10 in 2004 to $17 in 2005, $20 in 2006 and 2007 and now this year, $25 to park a single passenger vehicle. If that were not enough now comes news that the stadium gates will open four hours prior to kickoff. I ask you, how can the Chargers, Qualcomm Stadium and Ace Parking justify raising parking fees by 25 percent while taking away 20% of time spent tailgating in the parking lot?

I’d like a few questions answered. Is the extra $5 collected per vehicle going to improve the parking situation at Qualcomm? Will there be more portable toilets this year due to the increased parking fees? Will the portable toilets be cleaner and maintained better than in years past? Will the increased fees go towards more parking attendants available to assist fans park faster and more efficiently? Will the increased fees go towards more traffic police officers directing traffic in and out of Qualcomm Stadium? Or will the increased parking fees go towards Ace Parking’s bottom line?

In today’s declining economy when expendable and discretionary income is getting smaller and smaller, how do you justify charging more but delivering less? I have heard and read that reducing the tailgating time from five hours to four hours is an attempt to cut down on drunken fans becoming disruptive and unruly. While I would agree that we all want to enjoy the game and pre-game tailgating festivities responsibly, do you really think someone who is determined to get intoxicated can’t be successful at that task in two hours? People who are going to consume too much and create problems can achieve that goal is a short amount of time. Whether they can do it in five hours or four hours, irresponsible fans will get drunk no matter how much time they have to tailgate. By reducing the tailgating time from five hours to four you are actually hurting responsible tailgaters. It is my belief that the decreased tailgating time will not decrease the amount of alcohol related incidents inside or outside the stadium this season.

With the stadium gates opening only four hours prior to kickoff, have you considered the traffic raminifications that will stem from this? Congestion on Friars Road and the subsequent back up onto Interstate 15 is already a major issue. By reducing the time the parking lot is open you are now forcing the same number of vehicles to park in the same limited space in a shorter amount of time. The traffic congestion and potential gridlock could create a very disappointing and frustrating fan experience.

I would strongly encourage you, the Chargers organization as a whole, Qualcomm Stadium management and Ace Parking to reconsider this policy of reduced tailgating time. We all want to enjoy the Chargers’ march to another successful season in a responsible way. Taking away our tailgating time only hurts those that tailgate responsibly. If the Chargers are trying to win over fans in order to keep the team in San Diego County, raising ticket prices, increasing parking fees combined with reduced tailgating time is the wrong way to gain support.

Soldier Field Parking Now Available Online

Posted by Dave On July - 25 - 2008

Anyone that has been to Chicago’s Soldier field knows that parking there is quite limited. The overall tailgating experience suffers because of this fact and many fans would have to get to the lots so early that some would start lining up at 4 am. Although I admire that kind of commitment to tailgating a 3 am wake up call is tough on the body. (Especially after a long night on Rush Street.)

Standard Parking, the company that owns and operates the parking lots around Soldier Field, is offering Chicago Bears tailgaters the opportunity to buy their parking passes in advance and online. Buying stuff online? What a concept!

And don’t think that you can be a venture capitalist and buy up all the spaces and then start selling them off on game days for a profit. You’ll need to have a Bears ID which I am assuming is your Bears season ticket account number.

Bravo to Soldier Field for thinking ahead and having the tailgater in mind for once. Can you convince the folks at Qualcomm Stadium to do the same? If so that would make my life as a tailgater a lot easier this coming season.

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About Me

TailgatingIdeas.com is a tailgating blog dedicated to bringing you the latest and most intriguing tailgating ideas out there. Whether it is the latest tailgating gear reviews, a great new recipe or a funny list to make you smile, our goal is to inform and entertain the avid and the casual tailgater alike.

Started in August 2007 by tailgating enthusiast Dave Lamm, TailgatingIdeas.com has evolved into an advocate for tailgaters rights and is not afraid to touch on controversial issues confronting those who frequent the tailgating parking lots.

To learn more about TailgatingIdeas.com and our team of writers, reviewers, cartoonists and contributors, please visit the About Us page.

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