Opened: April 11, 2000
Architect: Populous (then HOK Sport)
Cost: $357 Million
Championships Hosted: 2010, 2012, 2014
AT&T Park (which opened in 2000 as Pacific Bell Park) is one of the true modern gems of the game. I was fortunate to live in San Francisco while it was being built, and cannot begin to describe the night-to-day experience of seeing a game here versus at Candlestick Park. (A team of engineers from my alma mater, UC Davis, was brought in to modify the orientation and outfield design of the park, resulting in winds about half of what they had been at Candlestick.)
AT&T Park really exemplifies the very best of modern ballpark architecture. From the asymmetrical field area (rumors while it was being built were that the short right field and extremely deep right-center field were a reminiscent of the vacant lot where Giants owner Peter Magowan had played stickball as a child. I don't know if that was true, but it made for a good story.)
Magowan, who had been part of the group who bought the Giants in 1993 to save it from being sold to a new owner with plans to move the team to Tampa Bay, knew that the team needed a new ballpark. After multiple tax-supported stadium ideas were rejected, Magowan personally built a consortium of private funders to enable the construction of Pac Bell Park in San Francisco's China Basin neighborhood, at that time a run-down industrial district filled with abandoned warehouses.
The ballpark he built is a true gem; it has that rare combination of a timeless, historic, truly "ballpark" feel; top-notch amenities, spacious concourses, wonderful sightlines, and amazing views of the surroundings, from downtown San Francisco, the Bay Bridge, the bay itself, and McCovey cove. (Only PNC Park in Pittsburgh can match AT&T for having both A++ views both inside the ballpark and outside.)
In addition, AT&T Park has completely revitalized the waterfront area south of the Bay Bridge. The historic streetcar lines that run the length of Market Street and the Embarcadero now continue south to the ballpark, and the entire area is now one of the hottest, most enjoyable parts of the city to visit.
I could go on and on, but the simple fact is San Francisco is one of the best cities in America to visit, and, when you plan your trip, make sure you schedule it so you can fit in a game at AT&T Park. (And don't miss the garlic fries at Gordon Biersch.)
Both the city and the ballpark should be on your bucket list. Perio.d
Put your favorite memories at AT&T Park in the comments below. The best ballpark comments will get a 2017 Ballpark Blueprints calendar!