San Fransisco Supposedly Mark Twain once quipped that the coldest winter he ever saw was the summer he spent in San Francisco.
That comment may be apocryphal, yet it’s no secret Baghdad by the Bay can be frightfully chilly during the summer months. So when I read last Sunday that the high temperature would be 65 degrees, I made sure I dressed accordingly for my first visit to AT&T Park.
Outfitted in slacks and carrying a jacket to ward off the winds that would surely blast off the Bay, I boarded a trolley along with several relatives to watch the Giants play the Padres as part of a family reunion.
A few minutes later that trolley — AT&T Park is served by more public transportation than any ballpark in the country — belched us out right in front of a gate.
After we had our tickets scanned we were handed a Brian Wilson bobblehead. Who’s Brian Wilson? He’s not the Beach Boy. Wilson is the Giants’ Joakim Soria.
As we walked to our seats, I made a quick check of prices at the first concession stand we passed. I rarely drink beer at a ballpark, but since all ballyards sell suds I can use beer for comparative purposes.
Here’s the skinny: A bottle of beer at AT&T Park sells for $8.75. That’s $2 more than at Kauffman Stadium and $1.75 more than Busch Stadium in St. Louis. So, yes, AT&T Park is very pricey indeed.
As we walked down the aisle to our seats, I noticed many people were wearing jackets even though the sun was shining brightly. But they were fans sitting under the overhang in the shade. Our seats were in the sun and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. None of that famous ’Frisco fog, either.
Pretty soon we were basting, cooking and then finally roasting. Good grief. Who would have thought we would need sunscreen in San Francisco?
Only one of us had lugged sunscreen along and that was, of all people, my brother from Seattle where the sun shines about as often as Bill Gates stands in the unemployment line.
After slathering on the sunscreen, we turned our attention to the game which quickly became a Barry Zito conflagration. Much ado was made a few years ago when the Giants lured Zito from across the Bay in Oakland with enough money to wipe out California’s budget deficit.
But Zito has been a bust with the Giants and I think I know why. Oakland, with all of its foul territory, is a hitter’s nightmare. But AT&T Park has a 364-foot power alley in left centerfield with only an eight-foot fence.
Zito surrendered a pair of three-run homers and both of them were only a few rows deep into the seats in that alley. Both, I’m pretty sure, would have been doubles in Kauffman Stadium.
Anyway, Zito didn’t last long and was booed unmercifully as he headed for the dugout. Later, another Padre hit a home run off a Giants’ reliever into virtually the same easy-to-reach area.
The rightfield wall, by comparison, is 25 feet high and has no seats because McCovey Cove — receptacle of many a Barry Bonds’ home run — is directly behind it.
AT&T Park is a great place to visit, but I prefer The K because the Kansas City stadium’s concourses are wider, the rest rooms are larger and you KNOW you’ll need sunscreen for day games.