A Giants Season Ticket Holder Remembers
This is the last season that the San Francisco 49ers will play at Candlestick Park. Tonight is the last game. The Giants abandoned the much maligned object for greener pastures in 2000 with the construction of their new downtown gem, PacBell Park, or whatever it's been called over the years. With this last season, KNBR, the big sports radio station in SF has been airing a series of great memories of the 49ers playing at the 'Stick. Fans have called in to give their memories.
Well, as a season ticket holder for the Giants' last 15 years at the 'Stick, I have some memories of my own on the 49ers playing in the same yard as my beloved boys of freezing cold summer.
During the 80's when the Giants totally sucked and the 49ers were winning Super Bowls, all "improvements" to the 'Stick authorized by the City were solely for the benefit of the 49ers. Every baseball season was a 49ers construction zone. Scaffolding, yellow tape, sections of the stadium blocked off. Then, construction was miraculously completed and debris was removed coincidentally during the week of the 49ers first pre-season home game in August. Wow, what an annual coincidence!
The worst slap in the face occurred in the late 80's when the box seats were eliminated. Each aisle in the box seat sections were filled in with seats to increase 49ers season ticket sales. Box seats traditionally had two to four seats across, then a bar to divide the small sections for easy seatability. My box had two seats, then a bar. Nobody ever climbed over me to reach the aisle. But when the box seats were eliminated, the section rows grew to maybe 20 seats across. This was a severe downgrade in seating that caused masses of Giants fans to complain. The Giants, however, were powerless in the face of 49er-revenue-loving politicos and they caved to the cause of 9er gold. In typical political spin fashion, the Giants issued a letter to season ticket holders assuring the mass of whiners that filling in the box seats with extra butt holders would actually increase the enjoyability of watching a baseball game at the 'Stick! The Giants' security and usher staff, having fewer aisles to deal with, would now be better able to patrol the box seats and ensure safety, keeping riff raff out, and would allow ticket holders an increased ease in finding their seats! What bullshit. The writer of that letter needs to run for office somewhere.
Then adding insult to injury, after the boxes were completely eliminated from Candlestick Park, the Giants kept calling the lower orange seat sections....box seats! False advertising at its bait-and-switch maximum. The next season - and every season after that - were filled with drunken morons sitting in the middle of the section climbing all over me and guests to get out to the aisle to buy more beer. Nothing against drinking beer, but the spill rate was unacceptable. Having everybody in the middle of the section climb over you every inning for years was unacceptable. But what could one do? There was nowhere else to sit that was any better. Developing a greater dislike for the 49ers was my solution.
I did see a handful of 49er games at the 'Stick, and enjoyed them, but any enjoyment I got out of football pales in comparison to having my favorite baseball team and venue compromised. Sadly, my most vivid memories of the 49ers playing at Candlestick were negative.