I’ve been in love with AT&T park since I first laid eyes on it during its inaugural season in 2000, when it was first called Pac Bell Park.
The uniqueness of the park is what fuels my attraction. Its irregularly shaped outfield, the giant glove behind the left field bleachers, its location next to McCovey Cove. There’s no other major league park like it.
That’s why I believe, with time, this ball yard by the bay has all the potential to become one of the cherished cathedrals of major league baseball joining Fenway Park, Camden Yards, Jacob’s Field, Dodger Stadium and of course, Wrigley Field.
It took me six years before I was able to make my first trip in June of 2006 to see the Pirates play the Giants on an overcast and cool day, thanks to a strong bay breeze.
At the time Jose Bautista was batting leadoff for the Pirates. Sean Casey manned first base and Jason Bay played left field.
The Giants countered with Steve Finley in center, Ray Durham at second and former-Cub Moises Alou in left field. Manager Felipe Alou gave the 41-year-old Barry Bonds the the day off.
Bautista homered off Giants starter Noah Lowry (a sign of things to come for the young slugger) and the Pirates won 2-0. But that did little to damper the afternoon or the overbearing smell of San Francisco garlic fries.
It’s been noted this postseason how loud and enthusiastic the Giants fans are, giving their team something of a home field advantage we’re more use to associating with football stadiums.
It’s not surprising. The Giants are a World Series team playing in a jewel of a ballpark. What’s not to get excited about?
Luckily, as Cubs fans we understand the beauty and drawing power of a charming ballpark. And soon, I would hope, we’ll have a championship caliber team to go with it, much like they do in San Francisco.