AT&T Park

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To be distinguished from AT&T Stadium in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex; AT&T Center in San Antonio; AT&T Field in Chattanooga, TN; or Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, TX.
AT&T Park
AT&T Park Logo.png
ATT Sunset Panorama.jpg
Former names Pacific Bell Park (2000–2003)
SBC Park (2004–2005)
Location 24 Willie Mays Plaza
San Francisco, California 94107
Coordinates 37°46′43″N 122°23′21″W / 37.77861°N 122.38917°W / 37.77861; -122.38917Coordinates: 37°46′43″N 122°23′21″W / 37.77861°N 122.38917°W / 37.77861; -122.38917
Broke ground December 11, 1997
Opened April 11, 2000
Owner China Basin Ballpark Corp.
(San Francisco Giants subsidiary)
Operator San Francisco Baseball Associates LP
Surface Grass
Construction cost $357 million
($489 million in 2014 dollars[1])
Architect Populous (then HOK Sport)[2]
Project manager Alliance Building Partners[3]
Structural engineer Thornton Tomasetti[4]
Services engineer M-E Engineers, Inc.[5]
General contractor Hunt/Kajima[6]
Capacity

Baseball:

  • 41,915 (2007–present)
  • 41,606 (2006)
  • 41,584 (2005)
  • 41,503 (2003–2004)[7]
  • 41,059 (2001–2003)
  • 40,930 (2000)

1,500 standing room capacity

NCAA Football:

  • 45,000 (2011 season only)[8]

Soccer:

  • TBD (per event)
Record attendance 44,046 (2010 NLDS, Game 2, Braves)
Field size Left field line – 339 feet (103 m)
Left field – 364 feet (111 m)
Left-center field – 404 feet (123 m)
Center field – 399 feet (122 m)
Right-center field – 421 feet (128 m)
Right field – 365 feet (111 m)
Right field line – 309 feet (94 m)
Public transit access BSicon LOGO SFmuni.svg 2nd and King Station
Tenants
San Francisco Giants (MLB) (2000–present)
Fight Hunger Bowl (NCAA) (2002–2013)
San Francisco Demons (XFL) (2001)
California Redwoods (UFL) (2009)
California Golden Bears football (NCAA) (2011)

AT&T Park is a ballpark primarily used for hosting Major League Baseball games. It is located in the South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood of San Francisco, California, at 24 Willie Mays Plaza, at the corner of Third and King Streets. It has served as the home of the San Francisco Giants since 2000.

Originally named Pacific Bell Park, then SBC Park in 2003 after SBC Communications acquired Pacific Bell, the stadium was ultimately christened AT&T Park in 2006 following SBC's merger with AT&T.

The park also hosted the annual Fight Hunger Bowl, a college football bowl game from 2002 to 2013, and other occasional sporting and musical events. For the 2011 season, the park served as the home of the California Golden Bears football team. The park is also included as a playable gig in the music video game Guitar Hero World Tour.

History[edit]

Prior to 2005 purchase by SBC[edit]

Main article: History of AT&T

AT&T can indirectly trace its origin back to the original Bell Telephone Company founded by Alexander Graham Bell after his invention of the telephone. One of that company's subsidiaries was American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T), established in 1885, which acquired the Bell Company on December 31, 1899 for legal reasons, leaving AT&T as the main company. AT&T established a network of subsidiaries in the United States that held a government-authorized phone service monopoly, formalized with the Kingsbury Commitment, throughout most of the twentieth century. This monopoly was known as the Bell System, and during this period, AT&T was also known by the nickname Ma Bell. For periods of time, the former AT&T was the world's largest phone company.

In 1984, US regulators broke up the AT&T monopoly, requiring AT&T to divest its regional subsidiaries and turning them each into individual companies. These new companies were known as Regional Bell Operating Companies, or more informally, Baby Bells. AT&T continued to operate long distance services, but thanks to the breakup, faced competition from new competitors such as MCI and Sprint.

Southwestern Bell was one of the companies created by the breakup of AT&T. It wasn't long before the company started a series of acquisitions. This includes the 1987 acquisition of Metromedia mobile business, and the acquisition of several cable companies in the early 1990s. In the later half of the 1990s, the company acquired several other telecommunications companies, including some baby bells, while selling its cable business. During this time, the company changed its name to SBC Communications. By 1998, the company was in the top 15 of the Fortune 500, and by 1999 the company was part of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Since 2005[edit]

In 2005, SBC purchased AT&T for $16 billion. After this purchase, SBC adopted the AT&T name and brand. The original 1885 AT&T still exists as the long-distance phone subsidiary of this company.

In September 2013, AT&T announced it would expand into Latin America through a collaboration with Carlos Slim’s America Movil.[9] On December 17, 2013, AT&T announced plans to sell its Connecticut wireline operations to Stamford-based Frontier Communications. Roughly 2,700 wireline employees supporting AT&T’s operations in Connecticut will transfer with the business to Frontier, as well as 900,000 voice connections, 415,000 broadband connections, and 180,000 U-verse video subscribers.[10]

On May 18, 2014, AT&T announced it had agreed to purchase DirecTV. In the deal, which has been approved by boards of both companies, DirecTV stockholders will receive $95 a share in cash and stock, valuing the deal at $48.5 billion. Including assumed debt, the total purchase price is about $67.1 billion. The deal was aimed at increasing AT&T's market share in the pay-TV sector; its existing U-Verse brand has modest market share (5.7 million users compared to DirecTV's 20 million US customers as of 2014) and operates in only 22 states. It will also give AT&T access to fast-growing Latin American markets, where DirecTV has 18 million subscribers. Additionally, the purchase will allow the AT&T to offer TV through both fiber-optic lines and satellites by maintaining the DirecTV brand as a separate subsidiary, and give the company greater flexibility in creating TV/phone/Internet bundles.[11] The deal will face regulatory approval by the FCC, the U.S. Department of Justice, and some Latin American governments. It is expected to take about 12 months to complete.[12]

Features[edit]

The 24-foot (7.3 m) high wall in right field

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, Monte Irvin, Willie Mays, Juan Marichal, Orlando Cepeda, Jackie Robinson, Willie McCovey, and Gaylord Perry as well as the retired uniforms, denoted "NY", of Christy Mathewson and 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.

AT&T Park has a reputation of being a pitcher's park and the most pitcher-friendly ballpark in the National League due to the depth of the outfield limiting home runs, according to ESPN.[13]

Right field and McCovey Cove[edit]

The most prominent feature of the ballpark is the right field wall, which is 24 feet (7.3 m) 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 309 feet (94 m) 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 421 feet (128 m) from home plate. Atop the fence are four pillars with fountains atop. These four pillars will burst jets of water when the Giants hit a home run, win a game, and at the end of the National Anthem.

The 50 "Splash Hit" counter

In the past, rubber chickens put up by fans whenever a Giants player (especially Barry Bonds) was intentionally walked, would line the foul portion of the wall. The fans would do this to show that the opposing team is "chicken" for not pitching right to the Giants players. In recent seasons, as the team's strength has shifted from hitting to pitching, fans will line up "K" signs with each strikeout by a Giants pitcher. To some seniors, 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 Suzuki hit 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. Nate Schierholtz performed the same feat in the 2009 season as a pinch hitter. Aubrey Huff did it again in the 2010 season. So did Conor Gillaspie in 2011. Ángel Pagán ended a game in May 2013 with a two-run walk-off inside-the-park home run, the first of its kind at AT&T Park.

Beyond right field is China Basin, a section of San Francisco Bay, which is dubbed McCovey Cove after famed Giants first baseman and left-handed slugger Willie McCovey, and into which a number of home runs have been hit on the fly. As of May 14, 2014, 66 "splash hits" have been knocked into the Cove by Giants players since the park opened; 35 of those were by Barry Bonds, and the most recent being Brandon Crawford hitting one off of David Carpenter in a 10-4 Giants victory over the Braves. These hits are tallied on an electronic counter on the right field wall. Opponents have hit the water on the fly 31 times; Todd Hundley of the Los Angeles Dodgers was the first visitor to do so on June 30, 2000. Luis Gonzalez of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Cliff Floyd of the Chicago Cubs are the only visiting players to do so twice, while Carlos Delgado of the New York Mets has performed the feat three times. Adam LaRoche has also hit three splash hits, twice with the Arizona Diamondbacks and once with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Curtis Granderson of the New York Mets most recently hit one into the water - part of a 2 home-run effort in a game the Giants still managed to win 6-4. On June 27, 2010, David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox became the first American League player to hit a splash hit. The only other AL player who has done it is Mitch Moreland of the Texas Rangers. Barry Bonds is the Giant who has hit the most home runs into "The Cove" as Giants fans call it and is the only one to have had hit 2 splash hits in one game (a feat he accomplished twice).[14]

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[edit]

When the park opened in 2000, taking residence on the right field wall was Rusty, the Mechanical Man based on a theme of Old Navy since the wall was sponsored by the company. Rusty was a two-dimensional robotic ballplayer that stood 14 feet (4.3 m) tall and weighed five and a half tons. The Valencia, California firm, Technifex, engineered, fabricated and programmed Rusty to appear after major plays, during games, as a fully animated giant 1920's era tin "toy". After technical problems arose with Rusty, it was removed from the Old Navy Splash Landing, though the enclosure that housed him remained for years. In 2006 the Old Navy sponsorship of the wall was terminated and renamed "Levi's Landing". In 2008, the enclosure was removed as that area near the right field foul pole was renovated for a new luxury party suite called the "McCovey Cove Loft".[15]

The Coca-Cola bottle and old-fashioned glove

Behind the left field bleachers is "The Coca-Cola Fan Lot". The ballpark features an 80-foot (24 m) long Coca-Cola bottle with playground slides that will blow bubbles and light up with every Giants home run, and a miniature version of the stadium. "The Coca-Cola Superslide" is popular with children as is with adults, and the terraced levels of the slides is a fun way to catch the game. 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 "Giant 1927 Old-Time Four-Fingered Baseball Glove" — this particular one is made of steel and fiberglass. Behind and farther to the left is "The Little Giants Park" – a miniature baseball diamond — sort of a minor league tryout for Pee-Wee Ball.[16]

To the right of the glove sculpture is the elevator and large plaza area for functions and parties to be held during games. It's also the site of "Orlando's", the concessions stand of Giants great Orlando Cepeda. The signature fare at the stand is the "Caribbean Cha Cha Bowl". 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". The fog horn — a feature introduced at Candlestick Park by the current Giants ownership group – was transferred to AT&T and hung underneath the scoreboard. It blows when a Giants player hits a home run or at the conclusion of a Giants win. 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.

@Café[edit]

Lou Seal has served as mascot of the San Francisco Giants since 1996.

Located behind the centerfield bleachers, the ballpark features the @Café,[17] a social media café, which opened in the 2013 season. The cafe serves Peet's Coffee and features large screens that show off fans' social media posts from Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, which are curated by the Giants organization.

The cafe replaced a team-themed Build-A-Bear Workshop store, where fans could build their own stuffed Giants' mascot, Lou Seal, or create other Giants-themed stuffed animals.

Scoreboards[edit]

In addition to the automated scoreboards, which now include a new high-definition video board 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.

Wireless internet[edit]

Starting in 2004, the Giants installed one hundred twenty-two 802.11b wireless internet access points, covering all concourses and seating areas, creating one of the largest public hotspots in the world[18] at the time.

San Francisco Giants Wall of Fame[edit]

For the inductees' names, see: San Francisco Giants#San Francisco Giants Wall of Famers

On September 23, 2008, the Giants Wall of Fame was unveiled on the King Street side of the ballpark,[19] as part of the 50th-anniversary celebration of the Giants' move to San Francisco. Forty-three retired players were inducted, based on longevity and achievement.[20] Eligibility requirements for players to be on the Wall are either five years as a San Francisco Giant with an All-Star Game appearance or nine years as a Giant.[21] Rich Aurilia and Shawn Estes were added in 2010.[22] In 2011, the Giants announced that pitcher Jason Schmidt and outfielder Marvin Benard would be added in an August 27, 2011 ceremony.[23]

Giants Home Attendance at AT&T Park
Season Attendance Avg./Game Rank
2000 3,318,800 40,973 2nd
2001 3,311,958 40,888 1st
2002 3,253,203 40,163 1st
2003 3,264,898 40,307 1st
2004 3,256,854 39,718 3rd
2005 3,181,023 39,272 3rd
2006 3,130,313 38,646 4th
2007 3,223,215 39,793 5th
2008 2,863,837 35,356 7th
2009 2,862,110 35,335 7th
2010 3,037,443 37,499 5th
2011 3,387,303 41,819 2nd
2012 3,377,371 41,696 2nd
2013 3,326,796 41,584 3rd
Source:[24]

Statues[edit]

Outside the ballpark are five statues, four of which are dedicated to San Francisco Giants all-time greats.

The Willie Mays Statue is located in front of the ballpark entrance at 24 Willie Mays Plaza and is surrounded with 24 palm trees, in honor of his number 24 uniform, retired by the Giants. It was dedicated at noon on March 31, 2000, prior to the opening of the ballpark and was commissioned by Giants Managing Partner Peter Magowan and his wife Debby.[25]

Another statue is located at McCovey Point across McCovey Cove, and is dedicated to Willie McCovey. Around the Willie McCovey Statue are a number of plaques that celebrate the winners of the Willie Mac Award. The statue is located at China Basin Park next to The Barry Bonds Junior Giants Field, a T-ball park. Also located on the sea wall promenade are plaques showing the Opening Day roster of every Giants team from 1958 through 1999. Giants fans who contributed funds to China Basin Park, had their own tiles with their own inscriptions set into the wall.[26]

A third statue, dedicated in 2005, honors former Giants pitcher Juan Marichal, and is located outside the ballpark at the Lefty O'Doul Gate entrance. The fourth statue is located at the park's ferry plaza behind center field, 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 Cepeda was dedicated at the corner of 2nd and King Streets next to the ballpark. All four statues of the Giants Hall of Fame players were created by sculptor William Behrends of North Carolina.

AT&T Park, with the Bay Bridge in the background and McCovey Cove on the right

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  2. ^ "AT&T Park". Populous. Retrieved June 9, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Team". Alliance Building Partners. Retrieved December 4, 2013. 
  4. ^ "AT&T Park". Thornton Tomasetti. Retrieved December 4, 2013. 
  5. ^ King, John (April 11, 2000). "Neighbor-Friendly Lighting At Stadium Earns a Halo". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved May 8, 2012. 
  6. ^ "AT&T Park". Ballparks.com. Retrieved December 4, 2013. 
  7. ^ "The San Francisco Giants' AT&T Park". Major League Baseball Advanced Media. Retrieved September 17, 2007. 
  8. ^ Crumpacker, John (May 11, 2010). "Cal Football to Temp at AT&T Park". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved December 4, 2013. 
  9. ^ Sinead Carew (18 September 2013). "AT&T to expand in Latin America with America Movil deal". Reuters. 
  10. ^ AT&T (17 December 2013). "AT&T Announces Plans to Sell Connecticut Wireline Operations to Frontier Communications for $2.0 Billion". AT&T. 
  11. ^ "AT&T buys DirecTV for $48.5 billion". USA Today. May 19, 2014. Retrieved May 20, 2014. 
  12. ^ Marek, Sue (May 18, 2014). "AT&T to purchase DirecTV in $49B Deal". Fierce Cable. Retrieved May 18, 2014. 
  13. ^ "2013 MLB Park Factors". ESPN. Retrieved June 9, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Splash Hits". Major League Baseball Advanced Media. Retrieved September 18, 2007. 
  15. ^ AT&T Park's new McCovey Cove Loft "Suite Of Dreams Debuts At AT&T Park" March 7, 2008
  16. ^ "AT&T Ballpark Attractions". Major League Baseball Advanced Media. Retrieved December 4, 2013. 
  17. ^ Elder, Jeff (June 18, 2013). "Welcome to AT&T Park’s New Social Media Cafe – Home of the Giant Tweetdeck". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved June 9, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Giants Wi-Fi Network". Major League Baseball Advanced Media. Retrieved December 4, 2013. 
  19. ^ Haft, Chris (September 23, 2008). "Giants Honor Greats with Wall of Fame". Major League Baseball Advanced Media. Retrieved June 9, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Wall of Fame". San Francisco Giants official website. MLB Advanced Media, L.P. Retrieved April 8, 2012. 
  21. ^ Haft, Chris (September 22, 2008). "Giants to Unveil 'Wall of Fame'". Major League Baseball Advanced Media. Retrieved June 9, 2014. 
  22. ^ Haft, Chris (July 24, 2010). "Aurilia, Estes to Join Giants Wall of Fame". Major League Baseball Advanced Media. Retrieved December 4, 2013. 
  23. ^ Haft, Chris (August 21, 2011). "Schmidt, Benard Set for Wall of Fame". Major League Baseball Advanced Media. Retrieved December 4, 2013. 
  24. ^ "San Francisco Giants Attendance". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved August 13, 2012. 
  25. ^ Epstein, Edward (August 7, 1998). "'All Choked Up / Giants Legend Willie Mays Is Moved By Statue of Him for New Ballpark'". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved December 4, 2013. 
  26. ^ "San Francisco Giants McCovey Point And China Basin Park". Major League Baseball Advanced Media. Retrieved December 4, 2013. 

External links[edit]