Thursday, December 19, 2013

Farewell Candlestick Park

I wanted to say my fond farewell to one of my favorite places to visit once or twice a year, the once home of the San Francisco Giants and soon to be final game for the San Francisco 49ers... Candlestick Park. Some people might be happy to see it go and some like me will always remember the stick for many memories with loved ones and good friends. I can't recall my first experience at Candlestick but this will be a sort of trip down memory lane (of what I can remember) with my experiences at Candlestick.

The reason I believe why my mothers side of the family loved the 49ers and Giants was because my Grandma on that side was a die hard fan. It also helped that they were living in San Francisco at the time. Fast forward some years and I was a young kid with a special present, every year my grandparents would take me and my brother (3 years my elder) to one 49er game a season. This was during the mid to late 80's and what some consider the best years of 49er dynasty.

A typical weekend we went to a game would go like this: We would spend the night on Saturday with my grandparents and leave early on Sunday morning to head out to the stadium. It is funny because as a kid I remember it seemed to take forever to get into the stadium and watch the games. My grandparents had a legendary tailgating party every time we went. If I was older I would have loved it even more. It wasn't always boring though. Some people would bring TV's and have them playing in the back of their trucks and there was always tons of food and soda around for us kids.
Sometimes my cousin Adam or  Rob would come and we would bring a football and play catch for hours on end just waiting for the game to start. As a kid these were some of my fondest memories hanging out with my brother and grandparents seeing Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Charles Haley, Steve Young, Ronnie was heaven on earth. Candlestick was always a place of fun and excitement for me back in those days.

I also have many memories of baseball and seeing the San Francisco Giants playing. I was very elated in 2010 when the Giants won the world series but it made me sad they never were able to win it all when playing at Candlestick. One of my favorite memories of going to the stadium was with my dad. It was the mid 90's and the Giants weren't doing so well but they had a player named Matt Williams who was just killing it and hitting home run after home run. We went to a night game at random since my dad lived close to San Francisco. We ended up losing the game but my dad for some reason wanted to go back so we ended up seeing two games in a row and went the following night in the freezing cold. The funny thing is that Matt Williams fouled a ball of his foot and missed the rest of the season after that game.

In the last ten or so years I have gone to the stadium about once a year. The Giants moved out and into on of the best baseball stadiums in the majors. The 49ers had the stadium to themselves but there was talk every year about how the 49ers needed a new stadium. It didn't help that the 49ers were the laughing stock of the league from 2003-2008. I would go to a game and lucky enough they would usually win. I sort of felt I brought good luck with me to the stick. I have gone to games with my future wife, my roommate, and my best friend and we usually always had a good time. Sure the stadium was older and had parking system that was seemingly set up my cavemen (leaving the outer lots could take up to 2 hours, sometimes more) but I usually managed to have fun.

The last time I stepped into the walls of the stick was October 13, 2013. My brother wanted to take in one last game and I found it fitting that my last game at the stick would be with the person who I bonded with most at the games as a kid. We got food, shirts, and overall had a great time. Sure guys were barking like dogs for no reason but hey this was our stadium! I was also happy to say the last game I saw the 9ers won 32-20 over the Arizona Cardinals. I was invited back to the stadium after this game but felt that this was my final experience and wanted to leave it that way.

The new stadium will be nice and new (hopefully they figure out the parking and exit strategy) and while I look forward seeing a game there it won't hold the mystique that Candlestick Park did for me. My future child will never be able to say they went to see a game at Candlestick and it makes me sad. The new stadium will be for new fans, fans who will have experiences of Colin Kapernick, Vernon Davis, Navarro Bowman, and Patrick Willis.

I will always have Candlestick and the memories in my heart. Bye Candlestick Park, I will miss you.

I will leave you with what is I think the most important play ever to happen at Candlestick Park:


Wesley said...

Nice blog - I only saw one baseball game there back in the days where I didn't hate the Giants as much because I was playing on a little league team that was also the Giants... so this was in 1991 - anyway, I remember seeing guys like Kevin Bass - and I got to see the now no longer a team, Montreal Expos.

And of course, I never saw a NFL game of any kind in person until you took me to a game at the Stick.... I believe it was the buttkicking of the Seahawks! I then think we followed that up by seeing games against the Raiders and Browns.

I wonder what the parking situation will be like for the new stadium - that was only the real downside to me about Candlestick - oh, and the video board wasn't the greatest.

Katie said...

It's a great stadium for sure. Lots of awesome memories there for me too! I am excited about the new one though :)

le0pard13 said...

Been by this stadium many times (via the airport) when in town. Never been in the stands, but surely have watched on TV many great and memorable Dodgers/Giants and Rams/49ers clashes. Always sad to see a place like this come to an end.