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Douglas “Chuck” Booth (Baseball Writer)- I will have the chance to meet Tike for the Season Opener for the San Francisco Giants. Tike knows his stuff around the bay area and it today’s featured expert for AT&T Park.
DB: “Welcome to the MLB Reports Expert Interview For AT&T Park Tike. Please tell us about yourself and then give us a bit of background information on your life as a baseball Fan?”
TN: “I’m 39 years old, and attended my first baseball game at age 10. I have been a Giants fan my whole life, and have been a Season Ticketholder at AT&T Park since its opening in 2000. I have attended 679 games Major League, regular-season games entering 2012, with a goal of reaching 1,000 by my 50th birthday, and have attended games in 32 different MLB parks (23 current).”
DB: “As one of the ballpark experts who seen virtually every park, how do you rank
AT&T Park versus the rest of the home venues?”
TN: “The only park that can come close to matching the setting of AT&T is PNC Park in Pittsburgh. It is spectacular, on the waterfront in China Basin in San Francisco, with a view across to the East Bay. Seats from right field can see the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, and there are very few seats with a bad sight-line in the park. My only complaint about AT&T, and it’s a minor quibble, is the width of the concourses, but that’s to be expected when building a park on just 13 acres.”
DB: ” Despite winning the World Series in 2010, the Giants couldn’t recapture the
glory in 2011. In your view, how do the 2012 Giants stack up against the NL?”
TN: “The Giants will go as far as their meager offense will take them. Their pitching stacks up with any team in the league; with their bullpen edge, I’d give them top spot over the Phillies for best pitching in the League. In 2010, they scored 697 runs (9th in the NL), and hit 162 homers (6th, only 4 behind the powerful Phillies); in 2011, they were dead last in run scoring with 570, and hit 41 less homers. Buster Posey missed two-thirds of last season, Freddy Sanchez missed almost half, and the offense sputtered mightily with its two and four hole hitters missing.
If they can score 700 runs, they’ll run away with the West, and they can win any series where Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain get 2 of the four starts. Madison Bumgarner, penciled in at #3, would be the ace for a lot of teams, and the bullpen is healthy again, and will be the best in the National League.”
DB: AT&T Park has been rated #1 by several ranking publications and even by my baseball panel of stadium experts, give us a few reasons why the park offers so much?”
TN: “As I mentioned before, it’s location, location, location. It’s easy to get to by transit or walking; the sight-lines are spectacular from every section (excepting the upper deck in the left field corner); like many of the new parks, the lower concourse connects all the way around, giving fans an opportunity to see from many different angles; it has a wide variety of concessions; and the team is good…you usually see good baseball.”
DB: “What is your favorite method of transportation to and from AT&T Park?”
TN: “I do typically drive; I have a couple of parking areas that work well for night games and Sunday games. Any street parking east of Bryant Street is enforced until 10 pm, 7 days a week; stay away from there. However, the meters on Bryant Street (four blocks from the Park), and all streets west of Bryant toward Market, end enforcement at 6 pm on weeknights, and don’t enforce at all on Sundays. I usually park there on Bryant.
For midweek day games, however, I find BART from the east bay to be a very easy method of getting to the Park. Fans have a few options upon arriving in San Francisco. First, they can get off at Embarcadero Station, walk one block to the Embarcadero, and take the 20-minute leisurely stroll along the Embarcadero to the park. Second, they can also disembark at Embarcadero and take the MUNI streetcar, one level up from BART, right to the park.
Finally, and my favorite option when BARTing in, is to go one more stop to Montgomery, and walk over Second Street (which runs right into the King Street gate). This allows me to stop at the 21st Amendment Brewery (at 563 2nd Street) for a pre-game meal and pint.”
DB: “What advice would you give for somebody experiencing AT&T Park for the very first time?”
TN: “Get to the park at least an hour early, so that you have time walk around the outside of the Park to see the statues of Mays, Cepeda, and Marichal, and, once inside the Park, to “take a lap” along the lower concourse. This will allow you to visit the Coca-Cola Fan Lot (and enjoy the slides!), watch a little BP, check out the variety of concessions, and see the views across the bay from the Arcade section.
I also find that the easiest entrance to the Park is the 2nd Street Gate (left field corner, at 2nd and King). The Willie Mays gate (home plate) seems to see far more traffic than the other two gates, the other being in right field.
Also a must for a first-timer, the Garlic Fries ($6). They’re great…especially when you get them fresh.”
DB: “How is the food at AT&T Park? What is your favorite ballpark food there?”
TN: “I won’t lie…it’s expensive, even when compared with “ballpark prices” at other venues. Beers ranged from $8.50 to $9.75 last year, while some of the more popular food items also topped $9. However, the Giants, unlike every other team in the majors except the Dodgers, financed their park privately (NO public money), so some of that cost was built into the food. Additionally, the Giants have incorporated value items into the menus at the Doggie Diner stands, and have a $5 kids meal with a hot dog, juice, raisins, some stickers, and a bucket to take home with them.
There really is great variety. If you’re a sausage lover, find one of the grill stands and get a Sheboygan Bratwurst ($7.50). The grill stands all have hot kraut and onions right there to load on. Another unique item at AT&T is Orlando’s Caribbean BBQ, where you can get the Cha-Cha Bowl for $9. Grilled chicken, black beans, and rice, with Caribbean spices and slaw. Orlando’s also has a Baby Bull sandwich, sliced tri-tip (beef) roast. My personal favorite, however, is out in center field, the Crazy Crab sandwich, on grilled sourdough bread. It’s $15, but it’s well worth it.”
DB: hat is your favorite all time game that you have been in attendance for at AT&T Park?”
TN: “That’s tough. Coming into 2012, I have been to 197 regular-season games at AT&T. Opening Day in 2000 was something else, seeing Barry Bonds hit #71 and #72 in 2001 in an 11-10 game was spectacular, and the one game I attended in the 2002 World Series was amazing. But I don’t think anything can top August 7, 2007, the day Bonds hit home run #756, becoming the all-time record holder. It’s one I won’t forget.”
DB: “Thank you very much Tike.”
*** A big thank you goes out to our AT&T Park Tike Narry for participating in the expert article Series.***
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