Before I launch into flowery language about AT&T (formerly SBC, formerly PacBell) Park, I want to point out that as a young’un, I spent a fair number of games (night games!) at Candlestick (latterly 3COM) Park.
I don’t really care about the dismissive “bandwagoners” labels thrown on Giants fans nowadays because 1) that’s the price of winning and 2) bitch, please, give me two minutes and I’ll prove to you that I’ve been a fan since birth, but I’d rather drink my beer and watch the game than waste my breath talking to you.
So anyway, the ‘Stick.
Hard to believe my last game there was over 16 years ago.
While I am not old enough to actually have any “Croix de Candlestick” pins, or remember the Crazy Crab, I am plenty old enough, and have been a fan long enough, to remember those long, cold, windy, foggy nights at Candlestick.
As a kid, it was as good a park as any. My favorite players — Matt Williams and Barry Bonds and Rod Beck and Shawn Estes and JT Snow and Bill Mueller — played there 82 times a year and we got to go see them at least a couple of those times and I would always, always get a chocolate malt, no matter how cold it was, and I cheered when that foghorn sounded and it was a great place to be a kid on a Saturday. It’s not like I knew any better.
As I got a little older, and plans for the new stadium were in the works, I became more aware of all the terrible things about Candlestick — the cold, the fog, the wind — but it was like, intellectually, I knew it wasn’t a quality ballpark, but I didn’t really have anything else to compare it to, and I always enjoyed myself when we went to games, so I liked it. (Also, my parents must have been pretty good about bundling up me and my brothers, because I honestly don’t remember being terribly cold.)
That said, my parents took me on a stadium tour shortly before what was then PacBell Park opened in 2000 and it was love at first sight. Like, Oh, *this* is what a ballpark should be!
I miss AT&T terribly, but I enjoy games at Petco. I was impressed with Coors Field and the Nationals Stadium (despite the stink of Bryce Harper).
Really, I’m going to be happy with a park if the concessions are easy to find and the lines aren’t ridiculous (and if there’s decent variety — I’m un-American and don’t like hot dogs, so please, please, make it easy for me to find pizza or nachos or something — and by nachos, I mean chips loaded with toppings so it can kinda be a meal, not just covered with that fake cheese stuff. Also, craft beer please), the sightlines are good, and it’s in a downtown or urban setting, so either before or after a game it’s easy for me to grab food or a beer (and I don’t need to sit in the parking lot for hours trying to get home).
One of the big things that can sour an experience for me, though, is the fans. I don’t care who you’re rooting for, but I hate it when people are swearing loudly and obnoxiously during games. This may surprise you, as I have no problem dropping f-bombs here, but I’m actually pretty good (usually) at censoring myself in situations where little kids are present. And cheering, even heckling is one thing, but having to listen to someone swear profusely throughout a game is distracting, and I always feel bad for parents sitting near me. So having security to deal with loud and obnoxious people is also a plus.
Man, I can’t wait to go to some games this year.