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  • Writer's pictureChris Green

Excite Ballpark – San Jose Giants

Photos by Chris Green, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.00

Excite Ballpark

588 E Alma Ave

San Jose, CA 95112

Year Opened: 1942 Capacity: 4,200


A Giant of a Gem

Take a historic stadium that oozes memories of the past greats with architecture that harkens back to baseball’s golden age. Mix in a loyal fanbase that is among the best in the Bay Area. Sprinkle in some stellar weather and add a pinch of minor league magic. This may well be the recipe that one would use to create the magic that is the San Jose Giants. This gem of a ballpark features everything that makes minor league baseball the wonderful draw that it is. This single-A affiliate for the San Francisco Giants has seen over 200 players make it to the big leagues via their home in San Jose, which is part of what makes this team such a draw for locals.

Food & Beverage 5

Tackling the menu at the home of the San Jose Giants means bringing a hefty level of hunger. As usual, the standard baseball stadium fare can be found, thanks to a menu of hot dogs ($7-$9), nachos ($7), chicken tenders ($12-$14), and the like. Drinks are also plentiful with water, soda, and Gatorade ($5) easily found. However, unique finds are also available, including wine ($14), local beers ($11), and even alcohol-infused ice cream ($12). But without a doubt, the biggest draw is the BBQ at Turkey Mike’s along the third base line. Fans line up for some of the best stadium food you will find. This world-famous offering includes special ticket packages that include reserved seating and a BBQ meal.

Atmosphere 4

The stadium itself harkens back to baseball’s golden age. Simple in design and layout, it features one lower concourse with concessions and restrooms, with first and third-base line seating patios. A large trophy case greets fans who come through the main entrance, showcasing the rich history of success the Giants have had in San Jose. In the outfield, countless flags fly for the team’s numerous championship titles. It is hard to understate how great the aesthetic is here as it relates to old time baseball. While not modern in design, it remains a simple and clean place to watch baseball under the California sun. The outfield also features a large video scoreboard, ensuring nothing gets missed by the fans in the stands.

Neighborhood 4

The area around the stadium features other sports facilities, including Sharks Ice at San Jose. Across the street is Kelly Park, featuring a zoo and gardens. The stadium is also not far from downtown San Jose, which features historic buildings, hotels, dining, and shopping.

Not far to the north is San Francisco and Oakland, with San Jose Airport your closest airport of choice. Numerous state parks are in the mountains just to the west, featuring hiking and camping for those who want to experience the redwood forests of California.

Fans 4

The fans at Excite Ballpark are among the best in the minor leagues. Routinely filling the stands on weekends and specialty nights, the Giants rank among the top of the California League. Even during midweek games, the fans who attend are loyal, knowledgeable, and absolute diehards. Without a doubt, the fans here make the game day experience as enjoyable as it is. Every range of fan can be found, from the longtime fans who record every play on a scorecard, to the youngest fans watching tomorrow’s stars.

Access 3

To get to the stadium you have multiple options via the local freeways. Exits from US-101 and I-280 are nearby, and parking ranges from free at some home games to $15. Getting around the stadium itself is easy, as signage is plentiful. The downside is of course the Bay Area’s notoriously heavy traffic – a drive from San Francisco airport would normally take 30 minutes without traffic, but can take upwards of an hour and a half at times with the heavy congestion on the roads.

Return on Investment 5

Tickets to Giants games are inexpensive, ranging from $5 to $29. The season also features numerous themed nights, giveaways, and special packages for fans. The price of tickets and parking together make for an affordable night out with the family.

Extras 3

The left field line features a team store that offers an impressively wide variety of items for a minor-league team. There is also a kids play area outside the stadium’s left field area that features bounce houses and games. Finally, a walk through the inner concourse might as well be a museum to baseball in the bay area, with trophies, stadiums, and photos all over.

Final Thoughts

Going to Excite Ballpark may be an exciting adventure into baseball’s history. While many still call it Municipal Stadium, this ballpark continues to impress regardless of the name. A must-see for any Giants MLB fan, or baseball diehards in general, the San Jose Giants have cultivated an atmosphere that is among the best in baseball. Quaint, cozy, historic, and full of character, a visit to this home of Bay Area baseball will not go unrewarded.

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