Tuesday, May 13, 2014

San Francisco Giants

If you build it, they will come. And so it seems at San Francisco’s AT&T Park. The night I attended was the four hundred and something consecutive sold out game.

My memories of baseball in Frisco (yes, I know residents of SF hate it when people say Frisco. I use it just to tick them off) were mainly of the cold. I last saw a Giants home game in old Candlestick Park. A vaunted venue known for making Mark Twain’s famous quote a reality. He said: “The coldest winter I ever spent was the summer I spent in San Francisco.” All I have to say is thank the gods for the heat island effect. The Giant’s new downtown ballpark was unusually warm on Monday night, and if that is an effect of global warming I am yanking my catalytic converter off my car tomorrow.

I was also super excited to finally see the ballpark so many fans rave about. And frankly, it is a sight to behold. A beautiful red brick affair that sits right on the bay, so close that home runs over the right field wall often land in the bay, as did two of them at my game. High angled decks ensure a good view for all fans and the wide concourses are easy to navigate. Getting there is a breeze with so many options, and the entire facility is extremely well designed. It is a hybrid of old-style ballpark with many angles in the outfield wall along with brick and iron construction. In reality, there are only two detractors from AT&T Park: price and distractions. I sold my Toyota and bought a Yugo for the rest of my trip so I could afford a general admission seat with the difference. I won’t have AC or reliable transportation for the rest of my trip, but hey, I got to see a Giants game.

The other negative consists of a huge disney-like playground for kids in the outfield that has a large coca-cola bottle and baseball mitt in it. It was only missing people in animal costumes. And there is a mini Fisherman’s Wharf in the same area that further detracts from the baseball vibe. The real Fisherman’s Wharf is walkable from the ballpark so why bother? I think this is a case of AT&T trying to be all things to all people. How about just trying to be a great baseball venue? It could be done.

That aside, I really liked the park. Clean, pretty good baseball feel, and great fans. Yeah, I know...Giants fans, but fans nonetheless.

Bun-fresh, not steamed. Still soft.
Taste-Alpine meats make the frank and while not the best I have had it still ranks pretty high according to my taste buds.
Toppings-fabulous. I was asked if I wanted grilled onions and kraut before it was handed to me. Yes, please. Add PUMP BROWN MUSTARD and SF gets top score.
Price-Considering the ticket price I was amazed that the dog was affordable (for the size and toppings) at $5.25.
Portability-hard to keep all those grilled onions on the dog in a cardboard boat. A wrapper would be better.
It Factor-SF does have some specialty dogs available. The Super Dog and a few others. For being such a foodie town I expected more.

Location-it doesn’t get any better than being downtown AND on the bay.
Access-walk, bike, BART, bus, cable car, taxi, unicycle….SF scores big.
GA Ticket-after being revived by the paramedics I forked over $23 for a GA ticket. And you ask why I sleep in my car?
Fans-a sellout crowd that was really cheering on the team. Great fanbase in SF. Even if they are Giants fans.
Ambiance-AT&T would get top score if it were not for all the ancillary, amusement-style distractions.

DogBallparkTotal Dog/Game
Portability3GA Ticket Price2
It Factor4Fans5

Unlike it’s ugly cousin across the bay in Oakland, San Francisco has an absolutely beautiful ballpark. Combine that with a damn tasty dog and you have winner combo. If headed to the bay area I would recommend planning the trip when the Giants were in town and catching a game.

Oh-the game. Giants beat the Braves 4-2. Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum racked up 11 strikeouts.

No comments:

Post a Comment