- AT&T Park
stadium_name = AT&T Park
nickname = "The Phone Booth",
"The House that Bonds Built", "Pac Bell"
location = 24
San Francisco, CA 94107
coordinates = coord|37|46|42.14|N|122|23|22.88|W|type:landmark_scale:2000_region:US-CA|display=inline,title
December 11 1997
March 31 2000
owner = China Basin Ballpark Corp. (
San Francisco Giantssubsidiary)
surface = Grass
construction_cost = $357 million
architect = HOK Sport
former_names = Pacific Bell Park (2000–03)
SBC Park (2004–05)
San Francisco Giants(MLB) (2000–present) Emerald Bowl( NCAA) (2002–present) San Francisco Demons( XFL) (2001)
seating_capacity = 41,503 (2004–present)cite web |url=http://mlb.com/sf/ballpark/sbcpark.jsp | title=The San Francisco Giants' AT&T Park| work=SFGiants.com| accessdate=2007-09-17] 41,059 (2001–03) 40,930 (2000) 1,500 standing room capacity
dimensions = Left field line: Convert|339|ft|m|0 Left field: Convert|364|ft|m|0 Left-center field: Convert|404|ft|m|0 Center field: Convert|399|ft|m|0 Right-center field: Convert|421|ft|m|0 Right field: Convert|365|ft|m|0 Right field line: Convert|309|ft|m|0
AT&TPark is an open-air ballpark, home to the San Francisco Giantsof Major League Baseball. The park also hosts the Emerald Bowl, a college football bowl game, every year. The park is located at 24 Willie MaysPlaza, at the corner of 3rd Street and King Street in the South Beach neighborhood of San Francisco, California.
Formerly known as SBC Park and
Pacific BellPark, the stadium was officially renamed AT&T Park on March 3 2006, just two years after it adopted the SBC Park name. SBC Communications, the flagship sponsor of the park, merged with AT&T Corp. in 2005 and the new AT&T Inc. took the more iconic name for their company. This marked the third official name for the park since its opening in 2000.
Design and construction
Groundbreaking on the ballpark began on
December 11 1997in the industrial waterfront area of San Francisco known as China Basin and South Beach. The stadium cost $319 million to build and supplanted the Giants' former home, Candlestick Park, a multi-use stadium in southern San Francisco. A team of engineers from UC Davis was consulted in the design process of the park resulting in wind levels that are approximately half those at Candlestick. Fans had shivered through 40 seasons at "The Stick" and looked forward to warmer temperatures at the new ballpark.cite web| url=http://ucdavismagazine.ucdavis.edu/issues/win00/News_Baseball.html | title=Engineering: Taking the Wind Out of Baseball| work=UC Davis Magazine| accessdate=2007-09-18] But because AT&T Park, like its predecessor, is built right on San Francisco Bay, cold summer fog and winter jackets in July are still not unusual at Giants games, despite the higher average temperature.
When it opened on
March 31 2000, the ballpark was the first Major League park built without public funds since the completion of Dodger Stadiumin 1962.cite web| url=http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2002/oct/22/privately_built_pacific/ | title=Privately built Pacific Bell Park a curse to other teams| work= Associated Press| date= 2002-10-22| accessdate=2007-09-18] However, the Giants did receive a $10 million tax abatement from the city and $80 million for upgrades to the local infrastructure (including a connection to the Muni Metro).cite web| url=http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2004/05/14_gordonj_sanfranpark/ | title=In San Francisco, the Giants went private for their stadium| last=Gordon| first=Jon| work= Minnesota Public Radio| date= 2004-05-14| accessdate=2007-09-17] The Giants have a 66-year lease on the convert|12.5|acre|m2|sing=on ballpark site, paying $1.2 million in rent annually to the San Francisco Port Commission. The park opened with a seating capacityof 40,800, but this has increased over time as seats have been added.
The opening series took place from April 11-13, 2000 against the
Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Giants were swept in three games. In the first game of that series, the Giants lost 6-5, highlighted by three home runs from the Dodgers' Kevin Elster.
In just its first few years of existence, the ballpark has seen its share of historic events primarily due to veteran Giants outfielder
Barry Bonds. On April 17, 2001, Bonds hit his 500th career home run at then Pacific Bell Park. Later that year, he set the single season home run record when he hit home runs number 71, 72, and 73 over the weekend of October 5to close the season. On August 9, 2002, Bonds hit his 600th career home run at the park. On April 12, 2004, Bonds hit career home run 660 at SBC Park to tie Willie Maysfor third on the all-time list and on the next night, he hit number 661 to move into sole possession of third place. On September 17 2004, Bonds hit his 700th career home run at the park to become just the third member of baseball's 700 club. On May 28, 2006, Bonds hit his 715th home run at the park to pass Babe Ruthfor second place on the all-time list. On August 7, 2007, Bonds hit his 756th home run, breaking Hank Aaron's record.
The park hosted the
2002 World Seriesagainst the Anaheim Angels, which the Giants lost four games to three. It also hosted the 2007 MLB All-Star Game, which the American Leaguewon 5-4 over the National League.
Pacific Bell, a local telephone company in the San Francisco Bay Area, purchased the naming rightsfor the park for $50 million over 24 years when the park opened. Pacific Bell's parent SBC Communications eventually dropped the Pacific Bell name and reached an agreement with the Giants to change the park's name on January 1 2004. The name change upset some fans, leaving them in the awkward position of desiring the park's former corporate name.
After SBC merged with AT&T on
November 18 2005, the name of the merged company became AT&T, Inc. As a result, the stadium was given its third name in six years: "AT&T Park." Fans still refer to the stadium as "Pac Bell Park", as it was the first name given to the stadium. Others have named the stadium "The Phone Booth" or "Telephone Park", for the constant name changes, as well as "Mays Field" in honor of Giants great Willie Maysor simply "The Bell". Many also refer to the stadium as "China Basin" after its location, which would be immune to changes in sponsorship naming. The city and Caltrans required PacBell/SBC/AT&T to reimburse them for costs associated with changing signs on streets, freeways and public transport vehicles.fact|date=February 2008
Giants Enterprises, a wholly owned subsidiary of the San Francisco Giants created and headed by longtime team executive and marketing legend Pat Gallagher, brings non-baseball events to AT&T Park on days when the Giants do not play. The park was home to the
XFL's San Francisco Demonsin 2001, was the home of the East-West Shrine Game(until 2006) and is the current home of college football's Emerald Bowl(since 2002). In 2006 the park hosted ICER AIRthe first ever stadium big-air ski and snowboard competition to be held in the United States. The park has also hosted several concerts from big name musical acts, including Kenny Chesney, Green Day, The Rolling Stones, Dave Matthews, and Bruce Springsteen. A virtual recreation of the park, has been announced from the Activisionand Neversoft, the current creators of Guitar Hero, will be created for Guitar Hero World Tour.
The stadium contains 68 luxury suites, 5,200 club seats on the club level and an additional 1,500 club seats at the field level behind home plate.
On the facing of the upper deck along the left field line are the retired numbers of
Bill Terry, Mel Ott, Carl Hubbell, Willie Mays, Juan Marichal, Orlando Cepeda, Jackie Robinson, Willie McCovey, and Gaylord Perryas well as the retired uniforms, denoted "NY", of Christy Mathewsonand John McGraw who played or managed in the pre-number era. These two pre-number era retired uniforms are among only six such retired uniforms in all of the Major Leagues.
Right field and McCovey Cove
The most prominent feature of the ballpark is the right field wall, which is Convert|24|ft|m|1 high in honor of former Giant
Willie Mays, who wore number 24. Because of the proximity to the San Francisco Bay, the right field foul pole is only Convert|309|ft|m|0 from home plate. The wall is made of brick, with fenced off archways opening to the Cove beyond, above which are several rows of arcade seating. The fence angles quickly away from home plate; right-center field extends out to Convert|421|ft|m|0 from home plate. Atop the fence are four pillars with fountains atop. These four pillars will burst jets of water when a Giant hits a home run or win a game.
Lining the foul portion of the wall are rubber chickens, which are put up by fans whenever a Giants player (especially
Barry Bonds) is intentionally walked. The fans do this to show that the opposing team is "chicken" for not pitching right to the Giants players. To some old-timers, the right field area vaguely suggests the layout at the Polo Grounds. This deep corner of the ballpark has been dubbed "Death Valley" and "Triples' Alley." Like its Polo Grounds counterpart, it is very difficult to hit a home run to this area, and a batted ball that finds its way into this corner often results in a triple. Triples' Alley is also infamous for bad bounces, most notably when Ichiro Suzukihit the first-ever inside the park home run in an All-Star Game by lining the ball off one of the archways and sideways past the outfielders.
Beyond right field is a section of the bay, dubbed
McCovey Coveafter famed Giants first baseman Willie McCovey, into which a number of home runs have been hit on the fly. As of July 2, 2008, 47 "Splash Hits" had been knocked into the Cove by Giants players since the park opened; 35 of those were by Barry Bonds. Opponents had hit the water on the fly 17 times; Todd Hundleyof the Los Angeles Dodgerswas the first visitor to do so on June 30, 2000. Luis Gonzalez of the Arizona Diamondbacksand Cliff Floydof the Chicago Cubsare the only visiting players to do so twice, while Carlos Delgadoof the New York Metshas performed the feat three times. Lance Berkmanof the Houston Astrosbecame the first Astro to hit a "Splash Hit" on May 15, 2008. Barry Bonds is the Giant who has hit the most home runs into "The Cove" as Giants fans call it.cite web |url=http://mlb.com/sf/ballpark/splashhits.jsp | title=Splash Hits| work=SFGiants.com| accessdate=2007-09-18]
Behind the scoreboard in center field there is a pier where ferries can tie up and let off fans right at the park. On game days, fans take to the water of McCovey Cove in boats and even in
kayaks, often with fishing nets in the hope of collecting a home run ball. (This echoes what used to happen during McCovey's playing days. Before Candlestick Park's upper deck was extended, the area behind right field was occupied by three small bleacher sections and a lot of open space. Kids in those bleachers would gather behind the right field fence when "Stretch" would come to the plate). Just beyond the wall is a public waterfront promenade, where fans can watch three innings of a game through the wall's archways, free of charge, albeit with a somewhat obstructed view. Across the cove from the ballpark is McCovey Point and China Basin Park, featuring monuments to past Giants legends.
Rusty, the Coke bottle, and the glove
When the park opened in 2000, taking residence on the right field wall was Rusty, the Mechanical Man. Rusty is a two-dimensional robotic ballplayer who stands Convert|14|ft|m|1 tall and weighs a hefty 11,000 pounds. Technifex (a Valencia,
Californiacompany) engineered, fabricated and programmed Rusty to appear after every Giants win in 14 different poses. After experiencing technical difficulties, Rusty was removed, though the enclosure that housed him remained for years. In 2008, the enclosure was removed as that area of the right field wall was partially removed and renovated for a new luxury suite.
Behind the left field bleachers, the ballpark features an convert|80|ft|m|sing=on long
Coca-Colabottle with playground slides that will blow bubbles and light up with every Giants home run, and a miniature version of the stadium. If one were viewing the outfield promenade from home plate, directly to the bottle's right is another oversized representation of a ballpark stalwart, the baseball mitt—this particular one being a detailed replica of a vintage 1927 glove. Behind and further to the left is a miniature baseball diamond—sort of a minor league tryout for Pee-Wee Ball.
To the right of the glove sculpture is the elevator and large plaza area for functions and parties to be held during games. Right-center field features a real San Francisco cable car (retired cable car #4, formerly #504), with a label that states "No Dodgers Fans Allowed", and a fog horn—a feature transferred from Candlestick Park—that blows when a Giants player hits a home run. Continuing right takes one to the promenade above the cove, so that one can make a completely uninterrupted circuit of the park at that concourse level. Both levels of the concourse, inside the stadium, feature not only concession stands of all sorts, but other attractions as well.
In addition to the automated scoreboards, which now include a new
high-definition videoboard by Mitsubishi, the park has enormous, manually operated boards on the right field wall, which display the scores of Major League games played elsewhere. These manual scoreboards are operated by three employees, whose work on game days starts at least two hours before the first pitch.
Starting in 2004, the Giants installed one hundred and twenty-two 802.11b wireless internet access points, covering all concourses and seating areas, creating one of the largest public hotspots in the world. The stadium could thus be said to be one of the largest
Outside the ballpark are five statues, four of which are dedicated to San Francisco Giants all-time greats. The
Willie Maysstatue is located in front of the ballpark entrance at Willie Mays Plaza and is surrounded with 24 palm trees, in honor of his number 24 uniform, retired by the Giants. Another statue is located at McCovey Point across McCovey Cove, and is dedicated to Willie McCovey. Around McCovey's statue are a number of plaques that celebrate the winners of the Willie Mac Award. A third statue, dedicated in 2005, honors former Giants pitcher Juan Marichal, and is located outside the ballpark at its Lefty O'Doulgate entrance. The fourth statue is located at the park's ferry plaza, also known as Seals Plaza; a statue of a seal bobbing a baseball on its nose honors the memory of the San Francisco Seals, the minor league baseball club that played before the arrival of the Giants in 1958. On September 6, 2008, during a series against the Pittsburgh Pirates, a fifth statue depicting former Giants great Orlando Cepedawas dedicated at the corner of 2nd and King Streets next to the ballpark. All four statues of Giants Hall of Fame players were created by sculptor William Behrends.
49-Mile Scenic Drive
* [http://www.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/sf/ballpark/ AT&T Park Information (Official SF Giants website)]
* [http://map.sanfranciscohiltonhotel.com/?bid=207&vid=30774 AT&T Park Interactive Map]
* [http://www.runmuki.com/paul/writing/bikesbaseball.html Bicycle Parking at AT&T Park]
* [http://view2.fatspaniel.net/SolarDesign/sfgiants/HostedEndUserView.html AT&T Park solar panels] operated by PG&E
* [http://terraserver.microsoft.com/image.aspx?T=4&S=11&Z=10&X=1384&Y=10452&W=1&qs=%7csan+francisco%7cca%7c Recent USGS aerial showing ballpark]
* [http://www.goveg.com/feat/ballpark/1.asp PETA's 2005 Top 10 Vegetarian-Friendly Ballparks ]
* [http://usfmbapodcast.com/2007/05/06/27-att-park-tour/ Listen to the Director of Sales for the Giants] USF MBA Podcast, May 2007
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.