AT&T Park is a baseball park located in the South Beach neighborhood of San Francisco, California. Since 2000, it has served as the home of the San Francisco Giants, the city's Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise. 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 AT&T's buyout of SBC. The park stands along the San Francisco Bay, a segment of which is named McCovey Cove in honor of former Giants player Willie McCovey.
AT&T Park has also played host to both professional and collegiate American football games. The stadium was the home of the Foster Farms Bowl, an annual college postseason bowl game, from its inaugural playing in 2002 until 2013 and also served as the temporary home for the University of California's football team in 2011. Professionally, AT&T Park was the home of the San Francisco Demons of the XFL and the California Redwoods of the United Football League.
The stadium can be reached via San Francisco's Muni Metro; the 2nd and King Station is directly outside the ballpark.
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, Barry Bonds, 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, because the depth of the outfield limits home runs, according to ESPN. ESPN's MLB Park Factors lists AT&T Park as having the fewest home runs per game 6 out of the past 7 years, the one exception coming in 2013, when it was the 3rd lowest.
In 2014, PETA declared the park to be the Most Vegetarian-Friendly MLB ballpark in the country. It held the top spot on the same list in 2011, 2006 and 2005.
Right field and McCovey Cove
The most prominent feature of the ballpark is the right-field wall, which is 24 feet (7.3 m) high in honor of former Giants 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. Jets of water burst from the four pillars at the end of the National Anthem and also when the Giants hit a home run or win a game.
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, as 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 April 4, 2018, 77 "splash hits" (all by a lefty batter) 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 Pablo Sandoval hitting one off Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners on April 4, 2018. These hits are tallied on an electronic counter on the right field wall. Opponents have hit the water on the fly 42 times; Todd Hundley of the Los Angeles Dodgers was the first visitor to do so on June 30, 2000. Curtis Granderson of the New York Mets, 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. Max Muncy of the Los Angeles Dodgers most recently hit one into the water as a visiting player on September 30, 2018 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 players who have done it are Mitch Moreland of the Texas Rangers on June 9, 2012 and Adam Dunn of the Chicago White Sox on August 13, 2014. 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).
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 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 5½ 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".
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 lights 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 are a fun way to catch the game. Bubbles originally accompanied the bottle, but never worked as intended and were removed. 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.
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 numbered 44 (retired cable car #4, formerly #504) in honor of Giants great Willie McCovey. Originally, the cable car had a label that stated "No Dodgers Fans Allowed", as well as one end of the car numbered 24 in honor of Willie Mays and the other end numbered 44 in honor of Willie McCovey. 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.
Located behind the centerfield bleachers, the ballpark features the @Café, 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.
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. A members-only bar (Gotham Club) is located behind the manual scoreboard, complete with bowling alley and pool tables. Former players and VIPs are the only patrons of this exclusive area.
Starting in 2004, the Giants installed 122 wireless internet access points, covering all concourses and seating areas, creating one of the largest public hotspots in the world at the time.
San Francisco Giants Wall of Fame
On September 23, 2008, the Giants Wall of Fame was unveiled on the King Street side of the ballpark, as part of the 50th-anniversary celebration of the Giants' move to San Francisco. 48 retired players were inducted, based on longevity and achievement. 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. Rich Aurilia and Shawn Estes were added in 2010. Jason Schmidt and Marvin Benard were added in 2011, and Barry Bonds was added in 2017.
Outside the ballpark are six statues, five 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.
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.
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. A sixth statue, dedicated on August 13, 2016, honors former Giants pitcher Gaylord Perry and is also located at the corner of 2nd and King Streets next to the ballpark. All five statues of the Giants Hall of Fame players were created by sculptor William Behrends of North Carolina.
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