formerly Pacific Bell Park
|Location ||San Francisco, California |
|Opened ||March 31, 2000 |
|Capacity ||41,503 |
|Owned By ||China Basin Ballpark Corp. |
(San Francisco Giants subsidiary)
|Architect: ||HOK Sport |
SBC Park (formerly Pacific Bell Park) is a baseball stadium, home to the San Francisco Giants of the National League. The park is located at 24 Willie Mays Plaza, at the corner of 3rd Street and King Street in the South of Market neighborhood of San Francisco, California.
Groundbreaking on the ballpark began on December 11, 1997 in the industrial waterfront area of San Francisco known as China Basin. The stadium cost $319 million to build and supplanted the Giants' former home, Candlestick Park, a multi-use stadium in southern San Francisco.
When it opened on March 31, 2000, the ballpark was the first Major League Baseball stadium built in the U.S. without public funds since the completion of Dodger Stadium in 1962 (though the Giants did receive a $10 million tax abatement from the city, which also paid for upgrades to the local infrastructure, including a connection to the Muni Metro). The park opened with a seating capacity of 40,800, but this has increased over time as seats have been added. The first Major League Baseball game took place on April 11, 2000 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
In just its first few years of existence, the ballpark has seen its share of historic events primarily due to veteran Giants outfielder Barry Bonds. On April 17, 2001, Bonds hit his 500th career home run at then Pacific Bell Park. Later that year, he set the single season home run record when he hit home runs number 71, 72, and 73 over the weekend of October 5th to close the season. On August 9, 2002, Bonds hit his 600th career home run at the park. On April 12, 2004, Bonds hit career home run 660 at SBC Park to tie Willie Mays on the all-time list and on the next night, he hit number 661 to move into sole possession of third place. On September 17, 2004, Bonds hit his 700th career home run at the park to become just the third member of baseball's 700-club.
Pacific Bell, a local telephone company in the San Francisco Bay Area, purchased the naming rights for the park for $50 million over 24 years when the park opened. Pacific Bell's parent SBC Communications eventually dropped the Pacific Bell name and reached an agreement with the Giants to change the park's name on January 1, 2004. The name change upset some fans, leaving them in the awkward position of desiring the park's former corporate name.
In addition to the Giants, the stadium was home to the XFL San Francisco Demons in 2001, is the current home of the Shrine Bowl (since 2001) and college football's Emerald Bowl (since 2002). Numerous concerts are also held at the park.
The stadium contains 63 luxury suites, 5,200 club seats on the club level and an additional 1,500 club seats at the field level behind home plate.
The most prominent feature of the ballpark is the right field wall, which is 24-feet high in honor of former Giant Willie Mays who wore number 24. Because of the proximity to San Francisco Bay, it is only 309 feet to the right field foul pole. The fence curves quickly away from home plate; right-center field extends out to 421 feet from home plate. This deep corner of the ballpark has been dubbed "death valley" because it is very difficult to hit home runs to this area of the ballpark.
Beyond right field is a section of the bay, dubbed McCovey Cove after famed Giants outfielder Willie McCovey, into which a number of home runs have been hit. Only a few dozen "splash hits" have been knocked into the bay due to the height of the wall and the fact that the wind usually blows in towards the field. Just beyond the wall is a public waterfront promenade, where fans can watch games for free through the wall's archways. Across the cove from the ballpark is McCovey Point and China Basin Park, featuring monuments to past Giants legends.
The ballpark also features an 80-foot Coca-Cola bottle with playground slides and miniature version of SBC Park behind the left field bleachers. Next to the Coke bottle is a giant baseball mitt, a replica of a vintage 1927 glove. Right-center field features a small cable car and a fog horn that blows when a Giants player hits a home run.
Starting in 2004, the Giants installed one hundred and twenty-one 802.11b wireless internet access points, covering all concourses and seating areas, creating one of the largest public "hotspots" in the world.
- Maps and aerial photos
- Street map from Mapquest (http://www.mapquest.com/maps/map.adp?latlongtype=decimal&latitude=37.7788&longitude=-122.3898&zoom=9)
- Topographic map from Topozone (http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?lat=37.7788&lon=-122.3898&s=24&size=m)
- Aerial photograph from Microsoft Terraserver (http://terraserver.microsoft.com/map.aspx?t=4&s=8&lon=-122.3898&lat=37.7788&w=600&h=400)
- SBC Park (http://sanfrancisco.giants.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/sf/ballpark/sf_ballpark_history.jsp)
- SBC Park splash hits (http://sanfrancisco.giants.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/sf/ballpark/sf_ballpark_splashhits.jsp)