Major League Baseball Park #2 out of 39
Saturday, August 21, 1993
Florida Marlins 7, San Francisco Giants 4
W– Scott Sanderson
L – Chris Hammond
Attendance – 41,817
Friday, September 10, 1999
Atlanta Braves 4, San Francisco Giants 2
W– Mike Remlinger
L – Russ Ortiz
Attendance – 23,150
Up until that Saturday in August of 1993, my only major-league baseball experiences were Mariners games in the Kingdome. A guy I used to work at the University Bookstore with had traveled to San Francisco on several occasions (usually driving straight to the Bay Area after work on Friday, getting there just in time for the Saturday game, then driving back to Seattle after the Sunday game) and I thought it would be fun to see a major-league baseball game outdoors.
A week later – when I returned from California after visiting five baseball parks in eight days – I discovered two things: the Kingdome wasn’t a very good place to watch a baseball game and I had to find out what the other baseball parks were like.
Candlestick Park first opened for baseball in April of 1960. By the time I arrived in 1993, the seating capacity had changed from nearly 44,000 to 58,000. Having been built on Candlestick Point overlooking San Francisco Bay, the park did a poor job of shielding Giants fans from thousands of windy days and nights. Willie Mays, Giants’ Hall-of-Fame-outfielder once said, "The wind was so bad, what we would do was stick our gloves on the side of the fence and the wind would just hold them there."
Fans brave enough to endure an evening extra-inning game received a “Croix de Candlestick” pin when the game ended. The pin featured the Giants’ interlocking “SF” logo with icicles hanging from it. Fortunately for me, I was there on a sunny Saturday afternoon, so no pin, but I did get to hear the Giants’ foghorn go off when a Giant hit a homer.
Like every other multi-purpose stadium -- except the Kingdome -- Candlestick/3Com Park had a slight overhang at the top and parking for several blocks in every direction.
During the 1993 trip, I had a chance to try something that was then still in its experimental stages and is now long forgotten. A company called The Interactive Network was offering rentals of lap-sized portable machines that allowed fans to not only follow the game -- and other baseball games -- from their seats, but have chances to predict what would happen next and win prizes if they were the best guesser when the game ended. The battery on my machine died before the game ended, but I thought this idea was very cool. I don't know what the teams involved in this experiment (then it was only Bay Area and Chicago teams) thought about some new gadget that would keep people in their seats so they couldn't wander around and buy things, but for my friend on this trip and myself, we were very excited about the possibility of something like this up in Seattle to make Mariners games more interesting. You could guess on bunts, steals, types of hits, types of outs. The more exact you were, the more points you received. The friend with me on the trip won a fanny pack. Rental only required some kind of collateral -- credit-card number -- so you wouldn't walk off with the machine. Very cool thing. It was in Chicago in 1994 when I made it out there, but as far as I know, it never made it anywhere else and I did not see it when I returned to San Francisco or Chicago.
I returned on September 10, 1999 (the name of the place had been changed to 3Com Park by then) and it was an evening game (tied as late as the eighth inning), but no extra innings and no pin then, either. Seemed strange to be rooting for an extra-inning game while I was sitting behind home plate freezing to death.
As for the regular tourist stuff, we rode cable cars down to Fisherman's Wharf and took pictures of the Transamerica building and Alcatraz. Didn't do much in the area because we had to get from a day game in San Francisco to a day game in Anaheim. We didn't do much in the area during the second trip, either, because we had to come back to the Seattle area for a friend's wedding the next day.
Below are three photos. The first two are, obviously, inside the park looking into the outfield area. The third one was taken from the spot where we parked our car. All of these pictures were taken during the 1999 trip.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give this park a 5. Nothing real interesting about it -- except maybe the fog horn in center field that goes off after every Giants homer. The weather was good for us and that probably kept the rating from falling to 3 or 4. :)
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