First friday night game of the season

In Traditions on April 23, 2009 at 11:49 am

First Friday night game of the year was last week. Giants won 2-0 to snap a six game losing streak. Watching the 2009 version of the SF Giants is about as interesting as watching a fly trapped in your kitchen try to navigate its way back to the outside world……….so we spent much of the evening sipping beers from a couple of 1958 Hamms wax beer cups I had found on EBAY and looking at Casey Stengel “Old Perfessor” quotes on Lin’s I-phone. Lin was looking to enhance his profile on his company’s website with a little Stengelese. Settled on the following :

The secret of successful managing is to keep the five guys who hate you away from the four guys who haven’t made up their minds.

As a kid I used to enjoy going to Friday night games at Candlestick Park. In those days night games started at 8:05 which allowed people to eat at home with their families ( at one time in America the family dinner hour was sacred ) and then head out to the ballgame. Contrast that to nowadays when most teams have a 7 pm first pitch which more or less gives fans no alternative but to eat at the ballpark, where they pay inflated prices for food. Foregoing the $ 4.00 parking lot we would park in the dirt lot on the perimeter of the stadium for a buck and then make our way to the ticket booths outside the concourse. The prices in those days: $1.00 for bleachers; $ 2.50 for upper reserve; $3.50 for lower reserve. $4.50 for a box seat. $ 4.50 today doesn’t even get you an order of fries at ATT Park.

It would get bitterly cold at Candlestick (this was before the stadium was enclosed in 1971-72) as the wind used to blow in across the outfield from the bay. We would bundle up with our thermoses and enjoy the game and the organ music between innings, which is about all a baseball game used to consist of.

Inside the ballpark the crowd was diverse. Unlike today when exorbitant ticket pricing has created a caste system at the ballpark, at the old Candlestick Park dishwashers with the buying power to afford a $ 3.50 ticket would sit side by side with lawyers and engage in conversation while watching the game. For a 12 year old kid like myself the diversity was a fleeting escape from the homogeneity of the suburbs , but valuable social education nevertheless. In a society struggling to be fair baseball was the great equalizer. Not any more. I don’t know the last time I sat next to a black person at a baseball game. A sad commentary on our society, and on our National Pastime, I believe.

Final thought on this post: Was reminiscing with Lin about the old days when ballpark Cokes came in waxed cups with cellophane lids. Remember those ? The lids were heat sealed on the cups and crackled loudly when you poked your finger thorough them. Those cups have disappeared meaning, I guess, that not everything about going to a ballgame nowadays is to be lamented. And beer used to be poured in the stands while you kept one eye on the game. It was only $ 0.75 then. Now it is $ 9.00.

Hard to believe, isn’t it

  1. I have always rooted for the Giants. I have always loved Candlestick Park. I have been there 3 times, once in 1982 vs, the Reds, once in ’89 vs. the Pirates, and a few years ago, ’05? when the Cowboys played the 49er’s. As a kid, I remember watching Dodger games on TV, I have always hated the Dodgers, but would watch them anyway, especially when they played at the Stick. Am I the one one who wonders what happened to the chain link fence they had in the outfield? Once they removed it, went to that green wall, well, I felt different about the Stick. I swear, I would pay some money if I could buy a portion of that chain link fence. I loved it because you could see all the kids jumping over the wall to get a home run ball. Sometime in the 1970’s, somehow we could pick up KNBR in Lamont, CA (6 Miles S of Bakersfield) and listen to Lon Simmons and Lindsey Nelson over the radio. I have always loved the Giants. When I saw the Cowboys-49er’s game, I thought Candlestick was very beautiful, I’m sure it gets very cold there, but I thought it was a top notch NFL stadium. I am planning on going to AT&T Park this summer, so I can finally see the new stadium. Also, I am looking for any Candlestick Park photos of when they still had astroturf, so please let me know if anyone here has them. Thanks to Sam for this great website!


    • Hi Joe:
      Thanks for your comments. The chain link fence was great, and is one of my vivid memories of the old park. Some of the other stadiums with fences that I remember were Metropolitan Stadium in Minnesota and the old Comisky Park where part of the outfield area had a fence. But the Candlestick fence – with the padded green sections – very 70s – was great. Like you, I groaned when the Giants managment took down the fence and put up a vinyl wall plastered with ads for the Gap and Chevron ( I guess a fence is not a suitable medium for advertising) . The astroturf went in during the 1971 season when the 49ers began to play at Candlestick.

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