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The Giants moved from blistering Candlestick Park five miles north to their new penthouse at 3rd and King Streets in downtown San Francisco for the start of the 2000 season. AT&T Park immediately became an icon in the baseball park landscape and paved the way for the renaissance of new parks in the early 2000's.
The brick exterior makes for an old-timey, aesthetically pleasing monument to San Francisco baseball fifty years in the making. One of the few items to make the trip up to King Street is the old foghorn played loudly and proudly after every Giants homerun, a perfect Ode to San Francisco.
At just under 42,000 seats, AT&T Park has a much more intimate feel than the football stadium they played in prior to their move. Seats along the first and third baselines are closer than they had been before and the short porch in right field allows fans a close look from any angle. Just beyond the aforementioned right field wall is McCovey Cove, an inlet of the San Francisco Bay that has seen dozens of homerun balls splash down after a serious poke from a certain burly left-handed hitter.
With the move to the new park came a recommitment to Giants history, both New York and San Francisco. Plaques along the exterior of the park facing King Street represent the Giants Wall of Fame. Requirements to be immortalized are eight years with the club or five and at least one all-star appearance.
World Series Champion flags fly high above the clock in center field representing the New York championships from decades ago. Alongside now is a bright orange banner from last year representing the sole San Francisco championship.
At the three main corners of the ballpark are statues representing the San Francisco Hall-of-Famers. Orlando Cepeda claims 2nd and King, Juan Marichal's high leg-kick can be seen along 3rd Street at the Lefty O'Doul Gate and Willie Mays has his own plaza (the ballpark's address is 24 Willie Mays Plaza) front and center at the main entrance. Right across the cove you can find Willie McCovey looking over his namesake.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
In true San Francisco fashion, AT&T Park offers cuisine from seemingly every corner of the world. Sushi and fried chicken are equally available. As is popcorn, cotton candy and Mexican food. Also in true San Francisco fashion, it'll cost you an arm and a leg to be a consumer.
Domestic, craft and imported beer is available all around the park, as well as other adult beverages including premium liquor and wine.
The pride and joy according to the locals are the garlic fries, made by Gordon Biersch and the Cha-Cha Bowls, named after Giant great Orlando Cepeda.
The ballpark is nearly always packed, particularly after the Giants magnificent run to the World Series Championship in 2010. The crowd is abuzz with baseball action and they swoon over charismatic favorites. "Panda", "Timmy", and "B-Weezy" roll off the tongues of the patrons.
The crowds are further bolstered by the standing room only section just above the right field wall along a promenade overlooking McCovey Cove. Just below the people standing are chain link fences where passer-bys can look through and view the game from field level, free of charge.
The fans are particularly close to the action down both foul-lines since there is no real bullpen for relief pitchers. Instead there are a couple of mounds available for the pitchers that need to warm up, when they warm up. All relievers on both sides stay in the dugout until instructed to throw.
This renovated area South of Market Street in San Francisco has gotten a complete face-lift in the last ten years. Once an industrialized area along the waterfront, its new identity is baseball-centric. Abandoned warehouses turned into fine-dining establishments and empty piers turned into waterfront bars and cafes.
Along with increased foot traffic from people going to games, high-rise condominium buildings have sprung up along King Street and South out along Third Street. This area has been deemed by many to be the future of downtown San Francisco, with many tech-savvy companies moving into the neighborhood.
This is a neighborhood that is continuing to evolve and is still expanding from the boom the ballpark brought the area. It will be interesting what finally comes of the area in another ten years.
After the move from The Stick, Giants fans who frequented the new park were much maligned for their constant phone calls and text messages during the game. The addition of baseball's first in-stadium WiFi network allowed for more scrutiny of the perceived yuppie fans, particularly from their neighbors just a few miles east.
It seems that over the course of the last couple of years as steroid clouds started to fade, a new energy came to the clubhouse, and to the stands. Sure, there will always be people there for reasons other than the game but it seems they are less prevalent. Over a million people welcomed the champions at their parade down Market Street, many waiting their entire lives to do so. Besides, you can't very much argue with sellout after sellout after sellout.
This is one of the more successful downtown facilities when it comes to accessibility. The ballpark is just south of the Bay Bridge when coming from the East Bay and 280 dead-ends into King Street when coming from the Peninsula or South Bay.
Parking lots are available from the Giants just across the Lefty O'Doul Bridge for $30 as well as city or privately-run lots for a somewhat lower clip.
Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) has a stop at Embarcadero Station, a short one mile walk along the waterfront away from the park. If your legs or the weather isn't up for the walk, the MUNI T and K light-rail trains run along King Street in front of the ballpark. Along with the trains, MUNI also has city buses that will get you there. The 30-Stockton, 47-Van Ness and the 45-Union all have stops just outside AT&T Park. The last public transportation option comes from San Jose and the peninsula by way of Caltrain. The Caltrain service terminates at 4th and King, one block away from the Mays statue.
Getting into the park isn't usually a problem, though I've found the less traveled entrances are usually better flowing than the main one. Restrooms can be an issue particularly later in games when lines wrap several concession stands long, intertwining with hungry patrons.
Your best bet for cheap tickets is to go to games against non-rivals during the week. Standing room only tickets start at $20 but fill up fast and you may have to go the route of a re-seller who will jack up the price because of the simple laws of supply and demand. Infield seats can get well over $100 on the weekends, particularly against teams like the Oakland A's and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The fact of the matter is the Giants are good, people want to see them, and tickets are hard to come by.
With parking as high as it is, public transportation and walking may be good options especially on a nice day and if you're planning on eating in the park.
On the plus side, Tim Lincecum and Buster Posey are worth the price of admission and there is tons of historical value for a park less than ten years old.
AT&T Park has everything for a baseball junkie from pewter statues to retired numbers (Mays, McCovey, Cepeda, Marichal, Perry, Ott, Terry and Hubbell). It has everything for a casual baseball fan from food and beverages to panoramic views and a world-class city. It has everything for your little ones from miniature baseball diamonds to a giant Coke bottle slide in left field. It is a wonderful baseball experience and the pride of the Bay Area.
The only bad day (or night) at AT&T Park is one where the home team gets annihilated. If the San Francisco Giants are in the game, forget about where you're sitting or who's playing or what season it is. To prove it, I chose a meaningless game in late September against the vanilla Arizona Diamondbacks for my visit.
Arguably Pac Bellâ?¦sorryâ?¦AT&T Park's best feature is that the entire thing is accessible with the price of any ticket unless you're talking about the real rarefied seating areas. Of course, it had to be that way given the volume of sensory input.
A simple walk around the concourse is anything but simple.
There is a dizzying array of foodâ??everything from garlic fries to crab sandwiches to standard ballpark franks and even a selection of California. There are a plethora of options to keep youngsters busy behind the leftfield bleachersâ??a mini-diamond for actual use, the huge Coke bottle slide, and an arcade though this I've never seen. Furthermore, the water cannons following splash hits are always good for an ooh or ah.
For those adults who've been dragged to the stadium, the whole thing is one huge wireless hotspot so you can hop online.
However, the best is saved for those in the audience who are there for the beautiful game.
There aren't any bad seatsâ??the lower boxes are excellent, the skyboxes are as luxurious as you'd imagine (fine catered food, good wine, better beer, HD televisions inside and out for a closer look or should the mild NorCal climate take a turn, etc.), and the upper deck hangs over the action for a better-than-it-should-be perspective. Plus, the higher up you go, the more the lovely San Francisco Bay stretches out as the backdrop.
I attended a game at AT&T back in 2002, and was lucky to be able to catch Greg Maddux as the opposing pitcher. I was there for my first anniversary with my wife (who was still bringing books to baseball games at the time). What I remember most is the amazing food that the ballpark has to offer, and the accompanying smells.
We sat in the upper deck in the first row abou teven with third base, and it felt further away than some upper deck experiences at other ballparks. While, I can't say that I'm a huge fan of the giant coke bottle in left center field, I do like McCovey Cove, and the great tribute statue to Willie Mays outside. San Francisco (besides the hills) can be a very walkable city, and the area around the ballpark was no exception. I am really looking forward to a return trip to AT&T Park sometime soon.
I recently attended a 3 game series at AT&T Park this was the 11 different MLB Park that we have visited. The facility itself was like stepping into a postcard. The View from your seats was everything that has been advertised but the good experience seemed to end there!!
Moving around inside the park was a NIGHMARE!! The walkways all around the field are way too small to handle any crowd at all. They were appox. 10 feet more narrow than most parks. This was by far the worst Stadium for fan movement that we have been too, for example it too us 45 min to get out of the park at the end of the game. People were shoulder to shoulder and not moving because the walkways were jammed. At the beginning of the game they give emergency evacuation procedures. They might as well throw them out the window unless they give an hour warning before the Earthquake or other disaster hits There should also be double the amount of toilets that there are the lines at the bathrooms were CRAZY!!
What is the deal with NO VENDERS? Yes, there was the occasional Cherro (however you spell it). But it was very rare to see any other vendors at all, even Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, and NEW YORK Sell beer with vendors. No Dogs Either. This just forced you to go back and fight the crowds shoulder to shoulder through the narrow halls.
The worst part were the ushers!! The game was over and they were in your face telling you that you had to leave. They said they had to let the seagulls in to clean or something. Where were you supposed to go? Back into the Hurd of people waiting to get to the crowded stairways and ramps to inch your way to freedom out of that Hell Hole!!
Needless to say ONE Visit was more that Enough!! I just hope that another 1989 World Series game never happens again because if it does I really fear for those people. I am Just glad to say that I won't be there.
If you are a Fan Make one visit and mark it off your list. Spend the rest of your time in San Fran at the Warf or Alcatraz they were much nicer
760 2nd Street
San Francisco, CA 94107
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San Francisco, CA 94107
701 2nd Street
San Francisco, CA 94107