Monday, April 08, 2013

A Walking Tour of AT&T Park

And Beyond That Wall: McCovey Cove
The walking tour of AT&T Park is roughly two miles. It starts at one of the two gift shops (and woe betide you if you don't realize there are two gift shops) with street entrances, winds through the club level, the press box, the terraces, the visitors clubhouse, the awards cabinets, the indoor batting cage, and finally, both dugouts (though you are warned to never, ever step on the grass).
From behind home plate
From the Giants' dugout
You learn about the ways in which Willie Mays' number, the legendary 24, is worked into the stadium architecture in ways cunning and esoteric enough to make Ken Hite blink. You learn that Charles Schultz was a Giants fan, and that the only team apparel the Peanuts characters are allowed to appear in is, of course, Giants gear. You learn that the stadium layout was adjusted 105 degrees after a wind study was done, and that the reason the visitors' dugout is along the first base line instead of the normal third base line is because there's simply more room along third base - first base runs you right into the water.
From the Visitors' Dugout
Looking down the Press Box
You learn why there's a Cubs clock in the visitors' clubhouse, and you see the door on the old visiting manager's office door, signed by everyone who went through in that last season at Candlestick. You learn about dustless dirt and why the percentage of balls hit into McCovey Cove by Barry Bonds is still remarkably high. You learn that Omar Vizquel does abstract art, a piece of which hangs in the stadium. And you learn that the Giants have very small elevators to cram 20 person tours into.
Indoor Batting Cage
The view from the AP seats in the press box
But mostly, you get out on the field and you look down the right field line, at the wall there. You think back to when you saw this park on television, and it seemed small, and hitting a ball into the water didn't look all that hard for a slugger of suitable sluggosity.
And you look down that long line, and up that wall, which is much, much bigger when you're standing on the field, and you realize what an absolutely remarkable feat plunking one into the Bay actually is.

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