Plus the last Beatles concert
One of the more colorful, maligned, iconic, and idiosyncratic sports spots in America has very likely hosted its last ball game. The great Candlestick Park of San Francisco. Many are indulging in their memories of The Stick this week, as it hosted on Monday night what is very probably the last game to ever be played there. I'd like to jump on this dog pile, too.
First, major kudos to the usually groovy citizens of San Francisco, who in 2008 did something that not many cities, if any, have ever done. After the naming rights to Candlestick had been sold to 3 Com in '95, and then to Monster Cable Company in '04, righteous Friscans had had enough of 3 Com Park and Monster Park, and voted to forbid the city from ever selling the name of their beloved dump to any other corporate sponsor. For the rest of its six years, the place would be known once again as Candlestick Park. That makes it, arguably, the best named football stadium in the USA. And it will remain so until it gets blown up sometime early next year.
My favorite football memory of Candlestick is one that I'm sure not a single writer for the Chronicle or Examiner has mentioned. That's cuz they're all a bunch of no good flatdick homers. But I have no problem naming my fave game at the Stick, being a lifelong Viking fan. It was on Jan. 9, 1988, when the 8-7 Vikes rolled into Candlestick for a semi-final playoff battle against the mighty 49ers of Joe Montana and Steve Young. Everybody pretty much figured the Purple People were just fodder upon which the Niners would chomp and snack. So we rolled in there and shocked Walsh's Weiners by a score of 36-24. This was the infamous A.C. game, where my wideout Anthony Carter caught 10 passes for 224 yards and burned the Niners all damned day. I still love the memory of that phone call to my old man after that game. He was steamed beyond big time!
There are choice baseball memories, too. My first big league games ever, back in '62, when dad took the family to see two games between my team, the Braves (then of Milwaukee), and the Giants, who my brother and dad loved. Mom, in her eternal feminine goddess wisdom, didn't really give a poop. The first game was on a Friday night, and it was classic Candlestick—foggy and colder than a welldigger's ass. The Braves won, 5-4, as both Eddie Mathews and Hank Aaron, my fave players, homered. I was in baseball nirvana. The Saturday game was in the afternoon, and it was sunny and gorgeous. Eddie and Hank each homered again, god bless 'em, and I thought I was in Fat City. But then that bastard Mays hit two homers, including a grand slam, and the Giants won 8-6. So everybody, as it turned out, had something to be happy about from the two games, as we left the park and experienced our first gnarly ass Candlestick traffic jam. How totally perfect.