Blind Date: For Batter or for Worse
September blind daters take a swing at romance at Petco Park.
September blind daters take a swing at romance at Petco Park.
Is it even summer in San Diego if you haven’t gone to a Padres game? There’s no better or more American way to spend a Friday evening than hanging out at the ballpark, hot dog in one hand, beer in the other, a relative stranger you’re on a blind date with sitting next to you and a photographer trying to inconspicuously take your photo all night for a magazine.
OK, so maybe going to the ball game during a PACIFIC blind date isn’t the most traditional baseball experience, but this month’s daters, Tom and Kristle, are both great sports who are game to take on anything we throw their way.
Tom and Kristle meet for the first time in a pre-arranged Lyft Cadillac Escalade ESV that first picks up Kristle at her place, then swings over to Tom’s and eventually drops them both off near the East Village Gate entrance to the park.
They are both excited and nervous to be on a blind date, but they’re about to be treated to a VIP Padres experience they won’t soon forget.
Before the game starts, let’s get to know our players, er, daters via their pre-date interviews.
KRISTLE: I’m from Riverside and now live in paradise (aka, San Diego).
TOM: I grew up in Wisconsin, but have lived in New Hampshire the last nine years. I just moved to San Diego four weeks ago.
How old are you?
KRISTLE: I’m 33 years old.
What do you do for a living?
KRISTLE: I’m a project coordinator on an innovation and well-being team. We bring innovative technology like Alexa, robotic pet companions, telehealth and virtual reality experiences to seniors to help improve their quality of life.
TOM: I’m a civilian engineering specialist. I work in contract development for the Navy.
How long have you been single?
KRISTLE: Three months.
TOM: About three months.
Currently, what dating apps can be found on your phone?
KRISTLE: Bumble and Coffee Meets Bagel.
TOM: Bumble and Tinder.
Where can you be found on the weekends?
KRISTLE: It’s different each week, honestly. Last weekend, I went to the movies with a girlfriend and we drank wine, ate Milk Duds and watched The Lion King at The Lot in Liberty Station. The next day, I went hiking with my coworkers in the morning and went sailing at Mission Bay in the afternoon. Other weekends, I can be found visiting my family, going to the zoo or training at the MROC obstacle gym in Oceanside.
TOM: Right now, you can usually find me grilling by my pool, kayaking out on the bay or out having drinks with some friends.
What are you best at?
KRISTLE: My top three superpowers are making friends easily, dancing (ballroom and Latin) and singing Disney karaoke. I have no problem putting myself out there starting conversations with random people; I’ve made a lot of interesting connections that way. I started dancing back in college at the San Diego State University Ballroom and Latin Dance Club and still love dancing. And I’m kind of a big Disney fan. That’s probably the quickest way to my heart.
TOM: I feel like I’m a really good listener. I make it a point to give people my full, undivided attention. I’m a pretty damn good cook, too.
What do you suck at?
KRISTLE: I’m absolutely terrible at keeping house plants alive, I’m amazed my bamboo has made it this long. I’m a pretty bad texter and much more of a phone conversation type girl (so I’m extremely grateful for my friends who put up with receiving texts from me days later). I also suck at sports trivia and always over-pack when traveling.
TOM: I am terrible at doing anything for the first time. It doesn’t matter how simple the task; if I haven’t done it before, I will royally screw it up.
What are you looking for in a date, physical or otherwise?
KRISTLE: Generally, I tend to fall for the “boy next door” type, the nice guy who is tall, fit, has a warm smile and is always willing to lend a hand. I think some of the most attractive qualities in a gentleman are kindness, positivity, good communication skills and integrity.
TOM: I would like to meet someone who is spontaneous and will encourage me to get out of my comfort zone.
Why do you think you’ll be a good date?
KRISTLE: I think I’ll be a good date because I’m easygoing, can go with the flow and make fun conversation. Whenever I meet someone new, I like to make them feel comfortable around me while getting to explore who they are and what makes them tick. I’m also game for spontaneity, and will take action if something looks like it could be fun!
TOM: I’m polite, respectful and easy to talk to. I’m pretty good at making people laugh, too.
Rate yourself on a scale from one to 10 for looks.
TOM: I don’t know what number to put here. I’m happy with what I have, but I’m always looking to improve on myself and my appearance.
Rate yourself on a scale from one to 10 for personality.
TOM: I feel like I’m a pretty good-hearted, genuine guy. I have some flaws, though. I’m working on that, too.
What’s your cocktail of choice?
KRISTLE: I’m not a huge drinker, but when I do, I like Malibu [rum] and pineapple juice.
TOM: All depends what I’m in the mood for. Lately, I’ve been drinking Old Fashioneds.
KRISTLE: Smoking, disrespect to me or to others, inappropriate sexual or profane comments.
TOM: If she’s rude to people, especially people in the service industry. That is my biggest pet peeve.
Fill in the blanks: I want my date to be “blank” and “blank.”
KRISTLE: I want my date to be thoughtful and fun.
TOM: Genuine. Adventurous.
Will the night end with a kiss, something more or something less?
KRISTLE: I’m not sure how I’d feel about having a first kiss caught on camera. If things are going well, it may be better to save it for another time off camera, or maybe the chemistry will be crazy amazing and I’ll be open to the idea.
TOM: Call me crazy or old-fashioned, but I’m a kiss-her-on-the-second-date kinda guy... most of the time.
Tom and Kristle might just be the sweetest daters in the history of PACIFIC’s blind date. They’re both genuine, down to earth and thoughtful. Also, what a coincidence: they’ve both been single for three months. And they also agree that kissing on camera isn’t exactly their speed.
As soon as Tom and Kristle arrive at Petco Park, they’re taken down to the field to watch batting practice, which is a very cool experience, whether you like baseball or not.
Speaking of practice, it seems like Tom and Kristle are warming up to each other. They ham it up for the camera and they can’t stop giggling at their surreal date experience. They’re thrilled they get to hang out on the field, and they happily pose for photos.
Soon after, they head out to enjoy a few brews at Beerfest, which takes place before tonight’s game. Finally, after loading up on more standard ballpark fare like hot dogs and pretzels, they make their way to their seats for the game.
Blind daters load up on ballpark treats
When you think about it, a baseball game is the perfect spot for a date. It’s a more casual environment than a normal first date, and you can talk throughout the game, plus rooting for the same team is a good bonding experience. And, if you’re lucky enough to be at San Diego’s own Petco Park, the food choices are next level. Fancy a plate of Cardiff crack (aka, tri-tip) nachos? Hit up Seaside Market. What about a Neapolitan style pizza? Buona Forchetta’s got you covered.
And you really can’t beat the view of the city from Petco, particularly at night.
As Tom and Kristle settle in to watch the Padres take on the San Francisco Giants, they appear to be more and more comfortable with each other. They jump up out of their seats when the Padres score a run and high-five each other as the park’s fireworks explode over Austin Hedges’ homer.
They also continue to load up on tasty ballpark goodies, like Dippin’ Dots and churros.
Toward the end of the fifth inning, Tom and Kristle are even caught on the park’s big screen. And just when they think they’ve had all the surprises they can get, they are treated to a special dessert of chocolate-covered strawberries and pastries, delivered by the Padres Pad Squad and the Swinging Friar himself.
The Padres really pulled out all the stops on this date, and the daters are loving every minute of it. You might say they hit this one out of the park.
Sometime after the sixth inning, it’s time to separate Tom and Kristle for their mid-date interview.
How’s it going so far?
KRISTLE: Good, it’s fun. I’m having a good time.
TOM: It’s going great. I think we really hit it off. It kind of felt unnatural for me at first. Just at first, like getting into a Lyft with somebody that you don’t know for a blind date is horrifying. We’re having a great night. I’m just really enjoying her company.
Is this the type of person you’d normally date?
KRISTLE: No, probably not. I wouldn’t have picked him for myself, but I’m glad anyway.
TOM: I don’t know. I think under normal circumstances, I don’t think we would have met.
How has your experience here been?
KRISTLE: Good. He’s very easy to talk to. It’s very easy to have fun, going back and forth. That kind of energy is feeding off each other, so that’s nice. [The experience at Petco Park has been] so good, it’s been fabulous. I’m having so much fun.
TOM: It’s been awesome. There have been a lot of surprises. I felt a lot more comfortable with her by my side. We’re both in this together.
What did you guys eat?
KRISTLE: What did we not eat? Hot dogs, pretzels, Dippin’ Dots, cotton candy, we had a beer, we had lemonade, we had the dessert they brought us from the Padres (laughs). Oh, churros!
TOM: Where do I start? We started with hot dogs, a pretzel, which we shared. Churros. Dippin’ Dots, cotton candy. I haven’t eaten this much sugar since I was in grade school.
What’s the most attractive thing your date has done so far?
KRISTLE: He’s done little things that are very sweet, like he’ll hold the door open as we’re walking through or he’ll guide me through the crowd, like take my hand and guide me through, which was nice. So he seems like he has a good heart.
TOM: I think just the way she’s interacting with me. She keeps [playfully] pushing my hat down. I like it when she does that.
Rate your date on a scale from one to 10 for looks.
KRISTLE: Not my typical type, but I’d say seven or eight.
TOM: I don’t like rating people. I think she’s very attractive.
And for personality?
KRISTLE: Again, seven or eight.
KRISTLE: His eyes.
TOM: I really like her smile. I don’t know if this is a physical feature, but I think she looks really cute in glasses.
What’s your date’s least attractive physical quality?
KRISTLE: I don’t think he has a bad physical trait.
TOM: I don’t have anything.
Do you want to kiss your date right now?
KRISTLE: I mean, at one point it did cross my mind… But I definitely am too nervous.
TOM: I would like to, but I’m reserved. I’m old-fashioned. I believe first dates are all about getting to know somebody and even seeing if you could make it work. She and I talked about it earlier. We’re both really open and upfront about it. We’re not that kind of people. I’m over the hook-up culture in San Diego.
Does your date want to kiss you?
KRISTLE: If I were to take a guess, I’d say, maybe.
TOM: I don’t think so. I think we have the same attitude. Like I said, we talked about it. I was really relieved when we started talking about it, because I don’t want that kind of pressure.
Is this someone you’d take home to mom, or just take home?
KRISTLE: Definitely somebody you could take home to mom.
TOM: Oh, she’s totally a take-home-to-mom type.
How and when will the date end?
KRISTLE: I don’t know, but he’s already alluded to going on other dates.
TOM: I don’t know, it depends what she wants to do. I’m absolutely fine with going home, or taking a walk, maybe getting a cocktail somewhere. I don’t think we’re going to go home right after the game. I think we’ll probably hang out.
Tom and Kristle seem to be a match made in baseball heaven. They’re both sugared up and loving the atmosphere —and hanging out with each other.
Tom says he loves the way Kristle is playfully batting his hat down, and Kristle said she appreciates Tom’s gentlemanly manners.
And they both agree they’re not the kind of people who would kiss on a first date (another first for a PACIFIC blind date!).
In that case, it looks like the only ones getting to first base tonight are the ball players.
Nonetheless, Tom and Kristle are having a great time on their first date. We hope that means this date can be considered a home run.
Could daters be ready for the big leagues?
Things are looking good for our baseball-loving blind daters. Things are looking good for our baseball-loving blind daters, even as their favorite team starts to struggle on the field.
After we wrapped up our mid-date interviews, the PACIFIC crew leaves Tom and Kristle alone to watch the rest of the game. Hopefully, the Padres’ loss to the Giants didn’t sour the evening for them.
After the date, we called Tom and Kristle to find out just how their night ended.
How did everything go?
KRISTLE: It went well. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I still had fun. It was different, but fun.
TOM: I thought it went really well. We hit it off. We’re keeping in touch. We’re going to hang out again tomorrow, actually. We’re going to go out on another date. It went really well. It was really surreal, the whole experience. I had a ton of fun.
Where did you go and what did you do for the rest of the evening after the game?
KRISTLE: We stayed for a little bit longer to watch a little bit more, but then we just kind of went home. To get a Lyft, we went a little bit further out, so we took one of those neon rickshaws (laughs). We took one of those to a further-out street where we knew we could get a Lyft. So that was actually fun taking that a few blocks. And then, it was really sweet, Tom took the Lyft with me to make sure that I got home safe. It was nice. He walked me to my door and then said goodnight, and then he took the Lyft to his place. That was a very gentlemanly thing to do.
TOM: Well, we went back to our seats for a little while and then we ended up going outside, we took one of those pedicabs to a little quieter part of town so we could catch a Lyft. I ended up riding with her, we dropped her off at her place first. I walked her to her door and then I went home.
Did you guys exchange numbers?
KRISTLE: Yeah, we actually did on the field, when we were at the game. (Laughs) He took a picture and he was like, ‘Oh, what’s your number? I’ll send it to you.’ I was like, ‘That’s so smooth.’ I would do that too if I was a guy.
TOM: Yeah, we did pretty early on in the date, actually. So we’ve been texting back and forth and, like I said, we’re going to go do a dinner cruise tomorrow night.
KRISTLE: It was slightly cuddly in the Lyft home, just because it was freezing in there. The air was on, I was freezing. So he was like, ‘I wish I had a jacket or something to give you.’ And I was like, ‘Well, you can come a little closer if you like.’ And he just kind of put his arm around me and kept me warm, so that was nice. (Laughs) That’s about as romantic as it got.
TOM: The Lyft was a little cold, so we kind of snuggled up together in the back. But I’ll admit it, no kissing. We’re both kind of reserved and a little old-fashioned.
What’s the funniest thing that happened during the date?
KRISTLE: (Laughs) Oh my god, I know exactly what it is. And if you ask him, he’ll know exactly what it is too. There was a foul ball that went up to the left of our section, and the whole section turned to the left. And it was so funny, because out of nowhere, [the photographer] pops up with his camera, a section over, and he’s the only one pointed [our] way, looking at us, while everyone else was looking at the ball. I started cracking up. How did he know where to be? I was cracking up for literally five minutes, I could not stop.
TOM: I’m sure she probably said the exact same thing. It was when they hit a foul ball and everyone was looking in the direction towards the ball and [the photographer] happens to pop up, slow motion, from behind all the people. He was the only guy looking our way. We were cracking up, we couldn’t stop.
What was the best part of the date and why?
KRISTLE: Everything was just nice. Everything was awesome: the food, the drinks, all those desserts, having the Pad Squad come up to meet us was fun. It was just all a nice, good time.
TOM: I think the ride home was fun. I mean, being at the ballpark was great. Being on the field was really cool, you know, but as far as our interactions together, we kind of loosened up on the way home. I wasn’t quite sure how she was feeling about me. I knew we were having fun and having a good time. But I wasn’t quite sure if she was really digging me or not. (Laughs) I kind of figured it out on the way home. When we kind of snuggled up, I thought, ‘OK, she likes me.’ She kind of had her arm on my shoulder. It was nice.
KRISTLE: We actually do have a date planned for tomorrow. We’re doing a little dinner cruise.
TOM: Yes, because we both seem to really get along, seem to like each other. I think we like each other’s energy.
Tom and Kristle’s answers to the post-date interviews were so similar, we wondered if they planned it in advance. They both thought our stealth photographer’s moves were the funniest thing to happen that night, and they each described their snuggly Lyft ride home as a romantic exchange.
It seems like Tom and Kristle are both on a winning streak, and they even have another date, minus the cameras, already lined up. We can’t help but think these two are well on their way to never having to play the field again. Who knows? Maybe they’ll be sliding into something more serious
Here’s to a grand slam of a blind date, and to kissing on the second date.
Editor’s Note: Daters’ answers may have been edited for length and clarity.
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