As seen in Sandbox Sports
After decades of suffering, the San Francisco Giants are finally moving out of Candlestick Park and into a bright and shiny new ballpark next year. The team has advertisements in local papers encouraging fans to come on out to The Stick for its "Season-Long Going Away Party." "Going Away Party?" It's not as if anybody but a flock of juvenile delinquent penguins could ever miss the place.
The fact of the matter is Candlestick Park is a dump. Truth be told, forget "The Stick" and "3-COM." They just don't fit. Call the place what it is, call it "The Dump." Think about it: a dump smells bad (I invite you to sample the aroma of the not-cleaned-in-30-years Candlestick restrooms); the workers are seemingly in no hurry (who hasn't seen Barry Bonds leisurely approach first base after hitting a ball he believes will be caught?); and, after paying to get in, you can't wait to get out. "The Dump" is perfect.
So why all the nostalgia? For the past decade, in their understandable effort to get a new stadium, the Giants have been complaining about The Dump's unbearable condition, inconvenient location, and weather that more resembles the Siberian coastline in winter than a spot on the edge of the San Francisco Bay. Suffering through a game there a few years ago, I felt as though I had discovered the eighth level of Dante's Hell. Eskimos in the bleachers were looking for seals to kill just so they could harvest the pelts and make a blanket.
Ah yes, Candlestick Park. What grand memories....
It's the 1961 All-Star Game and Giants' pitcher Stu Miller actually gets blown off the mound-not by the opposing hitters but by the wind. Miller was lucky. It was a Candlestick breeze that escaped and ended up in Kansas where it transported Dorothy, Toto and the whole farmhouse to the Land of Oz.
Is the weather really that bad? Puh-leeez! For a while the Giants actually awarded fans a Croix de Candlestick (no, it's not a pastry) if they stuck around through the conclusion of an extra-inning game. Two thoughts come to mind: (1) Soldiers survive Arctic weather conditions for months at a time and that fails to justify a medal but one extra-inning game at "The Dump" and you're flashing the hardware, and (2) was the Croix de Candlestick awarded for putting up with the horrendous weather or the Giants' typically horrendous play?
Despite all of the above, the Giants are throwing a "season-long going away party" for The Dump. Who but the Giants would have a season-long party to celebrate being liberated from the worst park in the baseball? Is there no shame? This is analogous to calling all of your friends and inviting them over to celebrate the flushing of the commode. Talk about bad taste.
Rather than a season-long going away party, the Giants should point out to fans that this is the last season that parents can punish their kids by forcing them to attend a Giants' game on a weeknight at The Dump. From now on, to simulate the same "scared-straight" conditions (and effect), parents will be forced to threaten their kids with three hours in an ice-lined, snow-machine-equipped wind tunnel where they'll have to stand buck naked and watch continuous reruns of Baseball's greatest bloopers and dumbest plays.
In the spirit of truth-in-advertising, the Giants ought to dump the Going-Away-Party theme and adopt any of the following:
At that game that I attended at The Dump, the following occurred to me: Joe DiMaggio's game so often appeared effortless because of his immense talent and fluid play. Barry Bonds' game so often appears effortless because of his immense indifference and lackluster play.