In 2000, after forty years, the Giants bade farewell to Candlestick Park and, as long advocated, moved into a privately financed downtown stadium (AT&T Park, originally Pacific or “Pac” Bell Park and later renamed SBC Park) on that part of the shoreline of China Basin known to Giant fans as McCovey Cove, at the corner of 3rd and King Streets (with an official address of 24 Willie Mays Plaza in honor of the longtime Giant superstar), ushering in a new era for the Giants and their fans. While Candlestick resembled the multi-purpose concrete-dominated “cookie-cutter” parks built by so many teams during the 1960s & 1970s, their new home is regarded as one of the most beautiful venues in all of professional sports. Even so, as part of the intense rivalry with the Los Angeles Dodgers, some Dodger fans derisively and jealously refer to AT&T Park as “The Phone Booth” from its current and former names (Pac Bell Park, SBC Park), as could be expected.
The Giants routinely sell out their new nearly 43,000-seat state-of-the-art stadium built for the 21st century, whereas paltry paid attendances of less than 10,000 were not uncommon in Candlestick despite its nearly 60,000 seating capacity, although by the 1999 season the Giants did manage to draw about 25,000 fans per game. The team in its striking new location annually vies for highest MLB season attendance in contrast to often having lowest attendance in the NL (or close to it) before. Still quite breezy in summer compared to other MLB parks, AT&T Park has been a consensus success despite its reputation as a “pitcher’s park” stingy for power hitters. Its state-of-the-art design minimizes wind-chill, it is well served by mass transit and has spectacular views of the bay and the city skyline, traits all lacking at Candlestick especially after it was redesigned in the early 1970s to accommodate the NFL 49ers. AT&T Park is the centerpiece of a renaissance in San Francisco’s South Beach and Mission Bay neighborhoods, known for what has been called sustainable design.