Remembering My AT&T Ballpark Tour on Throwback Thursday

Last Thursday, I wrote about my tour of Angels Stadium on my 40th Birthday last summer. Earlier that summer, my wife and I got to take a tour of AT&T Ballpark in San Francisco, home to the San Francisco Giants. If you’re ever up in the Bay Area, I highly recommend taking this tour. AT&T Ballpark is a beautiful stadium and the tour was a lot of fun. I should mention that this tour cost more money than the Angels Stadium Tour I talked about last Thursday. However, at nearly $20 per person, it’s still worth the money.

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The tour starts off in the Giants store at the stadium. Once everyone got checked in, we made our way to one of the VIP areas to eat at the stadium. This is where you could take a restroom break before we got started. The tour lasted about an hour or so and they didn’t want to make stops during the tour. I really liked this mural.

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With the restroom break out-of-the-way, we made our way down to the press room. Here, we got a brief video on the history of AT&T Ballpark and the San Francisco Giants baseball team. If you’re familiar with the Giants, you know they originally were the New York Giants before moving to San Francisco. Before moving into AT&T Ballpark (which has had a few different sponsors), they played at Candlestick Park which wasn’t the best stadium for baseball. Thus, the need for a stadium just for baseball. When AT&T Ballpark was built, the intent was that it would only be used for baseball games. However, after its opening, it eventually was used for other events.

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After the history lesson, we continued on. Here is the underground batting cages that the Giants players use. It’s a little different from the one we saw at Angels Stadium as it appears they only use it for batting practice. I should mention here that our tour went a little different route than they usually do for their tours because Barry Zito was filming a commercial on the field. So, we didn’t get to go into the visitors clubhouse and started with the on field portion of the tour first (when that is usually how the tour ends).

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After seeing the batting cages, we made our way past the visitors clubhouse and up to the visitors dugout.

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It was fun getting to be in the dugout of a Major League stadium!

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I couldn’t resist the selfie with the field in the background. Oh to be a baseball player!

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Here’s where the batting helmets and bats would go. Also, you see the phones that would be used to call the bullpen to get a relief pitcher ready.

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Here’s the view from field level. The lady standing on the field is our tour guide.

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Here’s how the players would see the field from the dugout.

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And the view of right field from just outside the dugout.

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The reason why our tour started with the on field portion is the commercial they were going to be filming. Here’s what the set up was looking like as we were getting ready to head up.

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You can tell that this is a hallway that only players and workers would walk through. It’s pretty plain.

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Yep, another selfie in the halls.

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From the there we made our way up to the press level.

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I don’t know why, but I found it interesting that they had self-service soda machines for the members of the media.

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Here’s where the line-up for the game would be written for all the members of the media’s reference. There’s one column for the visitors, one for the Giants and a column for the umpire’s names. The visitors are the first column because they start the game batting.

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I must say that the view from the press box is spectacular!

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Here’s Brooke and I from where the writers of ESPN would be sitting.

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Remember the commercial? Well, there’s Barry Zito (#75) getting ready to tape the commercial.

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From the press level, we continued up to the top deck of the stadium.

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Not a bad view from the top deck. Don’t you think? Here’s a fun fact we learned on the top deck. When they were designing the stadium, the original plan was to make home plate where right field ended up…next to McCovey Cove. However, as they got further in the plans, they realized the breeze of the bay would make that a horrible location. Also, by configuring the stadium like it ended up, you got these spectacular views of the bay. I must admit, I like how it turned out.

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On the concourse of the upper level, they have this awesome collection of pictures from Giants history from one side to the other.

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As you can see, the images are from the entire team history, not just their history at this stadium.

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My wife is a huge J.T. Snow fan. So, as we made our way along the tour, we were on the lookout for J.T. Snow sightings. The image above is one of the more famous moments of his career. It’s from the 2002 World Series. The manager of the Giants, then, was Dusty Baker. His kid served as one of the bat boys. During this moment, Dusty’s kid came out to pick up a bat at a bad moment (while there was game action). J.T. Snow, after scoring a run, quickly grabbed Dusty’s kid to get him out of harms way. Also, in case you’re wondering, J.T. Snow is also the guy holding the statue with a giant baseball glove in the top left hand corner.

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Major League Baseball may not be a fan of Barry Bonds anymore. However, the Giants fans still celebrate his moment in passing Hank Aaron to become the all time home run king in baseball history.

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After walking around the top deck, we made our way to the suite level. The first stop was the Tony Bennett Suite.

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As you can see, it’s a pretty nice set up.

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If I remember correctly, you can rent the suite for select games. Included in the price would what you negotiate for catering.

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The suite is right off the right field area. Behind right field is McCovey Cove. As you can see, there are only two rows of seats in right field behind the fence. Then, there’s the concourse to walk and you see the bay. This bay is called McCovey Cove and is named after Willie McCovey, a famous hall of fame Giants player. Baseballs that get hit into McCovey Cove could have a “splash zone” home run. Earlier on the tour we learned the criteria for an official “splash zone” home run. First, the ball has to be hit by a Giants player (so the visitor player home runs won’t count). Second, the home run has to be hit during a game that counts. In other words, it has to be a regular season game, playoff game, or World Series game. Third, the ball has to land in McCovey Cove first. So, it can’t hit the ground and bounce into the water. If it meets all of those criteria, it’s an official “splash zone” home run. It should surprise no one that Barry Bonds has the most “splash zone” home runs.

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The view from the Tony Bennett Suite is pretty great too!

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Yep, Brooke and I…chillin’ in the Tony Bennett Suite!

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Fun fact…the suite level is officially the Virgin America Club Level. Who knew that sponsorships would include ONE level of stadium seating?

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Behind home plate, they had this cool area for eating in the Virgin America Club Level. There were a couple of counter service places to eat.

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Just outside of the eating area, I saw these two comfy looking seats. I wonder how you get to sit there?

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Also behind home plate was a really cool area with all sorts of Giants memorabilia. Here, our tour guide is talking about the “shot heard round the world.” It’s the world-famous home run that Bobby Thompson hit against the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1950’s that gave the New York Giants the pennant over the heavily favored Dodgers.

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Here’s a more up close shot of the picture. As you can see, there is a line that traces the route the baseball took.

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Though not in the same area, here is the famous commentary of the Giants baseball announcer.

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They also had these guys! At Angels Stadium, I saw Angels Mickey Mouse. I guess the San Francisco Giants have the Peanuts gang.

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Here’s a display of some of the give aways at the stadium.

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I think this collection is from the 2010 World Series Championship season.

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This collection is from the 2012 World Series Championship season.

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I’m sure that all of these bases have stories behind them.

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The 2002 World Series base. As both an Angels fan and a Giants fan, this is a great World Series to remember. I should tell you that I wasn’t a Giants fan back in 2002. It wasn’t until I met my wife that I became a Giants fan.

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On our way out of the tour, we saw this pretty cool display of bats representing various moments in Giants history. This isn’t behind the scenes and you can see it at any Giants game.

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Below the bats, were the baseballs and gloves. Again, there are too many stories to recount here.

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With that, our tour was over and we headed back to the Giants store.

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This is a statue, outside the stadium, of Willie Mays, one of the Giants hall of famers. We looked at this statue from above on the tour and had it pointed out that the circle surrounding the statue is in the shape and design of a baseball.

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See the bricks? They’re in the shape and representing the stitches of a baseball. This stadium was designed to be a total baseball stadium. After seeing it from above, I wanted to get a more close up picture. This was the best I could get. Oh well.

Since I live in Southern California, I don’t get up to see this beautiful stadium very often. So, it was hard to leave. However, I’m so glad that Brooke and I took this tour and got to experience some of the behind the scenes areas as well as the areas we probably could never afford to see. I hope you enjoyed coming on this tour with me today. I know that this is not running related or Disney related. However, it is sports related. So, hopefully, it was okay to take this look back from last summer with y’all. They run this tour all year-long on most days. So, if you’re ever up in San Francisco, I highly recommend taking the time to do this tour of AT&T Ballpark (even if you’re not a Giants fan). Tomorrow, I’ll be back to covering a run related topic…an overview of the Hollywood Half Marathon. See you then.

 

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