Inside the Ballparks: AT&T Park
- Opened on April 11, 2000
- Groundbreaking: December 11, 1997
- Building Cost: $357 Million ($482 Million 2012 dollars)
- Capacity: 41,915
- 2011 Attendance: 3,387,303
- 2011 Attendance/Game: 41,819 (2nd in NL)
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AT&T Park just might be the most beautiful ballpark in baseball. Located right on the San Francisco Bay, it offers a breathtaking view of the bay area. The Giant Coke bottle and Glove located in left field provide yet another spectacular view. But AT&T Park doesn’t need to provide any view outside of the game itself because the it is a great place to catch a game. Every seat at AT&T Park offers an amazing view of the action on the field, and seats behind home plate are closer to the hitter than the pitcher is.
The new Giants home, which was built between 1997-2000, was born into the new era of ballparks feature an old style baseball feel while providing the comfort and amenities of a new ballpark. The design team used the model created by Oriole Park At Camden Yard in Baltimore to base their design off of. They used the old style feel of an intimate ballpark and combined the many amenities that can be found in newer ballparks. It really is a Fenway meets Camden Yards type of ballpark situated right on the bay which makes it nearly impossible to find a better place to catch a game.
Before the Giants played in AT&T Park, the fan base wasn’t strong and season ticket sales were among the lowest in the league. Since the unveiling of the ballpark in 2000, the Giants have only entertained less than 3 million fans twice and both of those years they came up just short with around 2.8 million fans each. The ballpark made watching baseball fun and much more comfortable than it had ever been before.
In its short existence, AT&T Park has seen its fair share of important moments in the history of baseball. Its played host to four division series, two championship series, and two World Series. In addition, Barry Bonds broke Hank Aaron’s home run record for most home runs over the course of a career at AT&T Park. Former Giants starter tossed the first no hitter in the ballpark’s history as a member of the Giants back in 2009.
AT&T Park is one of the 18 ballparks I have attended in my life. In my opinion, it is without a doubt in my top four and may be my personal favorite. Now I may be a little bit biased considering that one of the two games I saw at the ballpark was the August 7, 2007 game where Bonds broke Aaron’s record. However, the beautiful sights around the park, the amazing atmosphere, the great view of the playing facilities, and the outstanding teams the Giants have fielded over the past few years place AT&T Park very high on my list, and is a can’t miss for anyone, not just baseball fans.
So what are some of the must see attractions at AT&T Park? First off, there’s McCovey Cove beyond the right field wall. Named after Giant great Willy McCovey, the bay area that sits just beyond the right field wall has seen many a splash hit in its day. Splash hits are home runs that clear the right field wall and land in McCovey Cove. Many kayakers and other boats situate themselves beyond the right field wall in hopes of obtaining a splash hit home run ball.
Beyond the left field seats, the Giant Coke Bottle and the Glove reign supreme. The Giant Coke Bottle features slides that many children, and adults, enjoy throughout the game. It also blows bubbles and lights up when a Giants player hits a home run. There is also a fog horn that sounds at the conclusion of games the Giants win as well as after Giants home runs. The Glove is a huge model of an old baseball mitt featuring a four fingered design. Its an impressive sight to see from up close.
Finally, there are four statues dedicated to some of the best players to put on a Giant uniform. The statues commemorate Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Juan Marichal, and Orlando Cepeda. AT&T park offers so much value out of a viewing experience for fans that it truly is a can’t miss attraction.
Can’t make it to a game and still want to feel the magic of AT&T Park? The Giants offer tours of their ballpark throughout the season and off-season. For more information checkout: http://mlb.mlb.com/sf/ballpark/information/index.jsp?content=tours
Looking for more information on AT&T Park? Here are a few links to help make your experience at AT&T Park a great one.