Go Giants! Hey baseball fans, spring training is over and Giants games are back in San Francisco! If you’re in town for a few days, or if you live here, taking in a Giants game is a great way to spend a day or evening. Dress in orange and black those are the team’s colors. With a world-class ballpark, delicious food, and one of the most exciting teams in baseball, there’s no reason you shouldn’t go!
History of the San Francisco Giants
The Giants didn’t always make their home in San Francisco. The team, which was founded in 1883 in New York under the name of the New York Gothams, remained in New York as the Giants until 1957. It then moved cross-country to San Francisco, setting up shop at Seal Stadium until it moved to Candlestick Park (former home of the San Francisco 49ers) for the 1960 season. In 2000, the Giants moved to their current location at AT&T Park.
Since moving to San Francisco, the Giants have won five National League pennants and two World Series Championships, those coming in 2010 and 2012. In 1989, the Giants played the Oakland A’s in the World Series, known as the “Bay Bridge Series.” On October 17, 1989, just before Game 3, the Loma Prieta Earthquake struck the Bay Area, causing a delay in the Series and subsequent sweep by Oakland.
The Giants have had many notable moments in its history: from the New York days, there were the 1951 Shot Heard ‘Round the World and The Catch by Willie Mays in 1954, while in San Francisco, it’s seen triumph and controversy with Barry Bonds’ homeruns and steroid allegations, JT Snow’s famous save, World Series’ victories, and much more! Today their biggest rival are the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Things to know for your day at the Giants Game
Purchase your tickets on the Giants website or visit Stubhub for additional ticket options. There are several other ticket sites to purchase off of but these are the two most reliable. If games are not sold out, tickets can be purchased at windows along the north side of the ballpark. If you have a Groupon account, the company has connected with the Giants to offer deals in the AT&T Park area. Click here to view.
Slumber Party in the Park
On July 30 this year, following the Giants/Pirates game, AT&T will host its annual Slumber Party in the Park. To purchase tickets and learn more about the event, follow this link.
For those of you who don’t regularly follow the Giants, we’ve compiled a few key notes for you to jot down before game time:
AT&T Park – If you hear fans call it PacBell or SBC, don’t be confused. Those were its names prior to the AT&T buyout, leading some fans to call it “The Phonebooth.” The ballpark faces the San Francisco Bay and is remembered not only for its pleasant brick exterior but also for the giant Coca Cola bottle and baseball mitt which shoot out from beyond the left field bleachers. To the south side of the ballpark is McCovey Cove – in the days of the Barry Bonds homerun chase, the cove was constantly full of eager kayakers looking to catch a splash hit.
Names to drop this season:
- #28 Buster Posey – Everyone’s favorite catcher, Buster typically bats fourth for the Giants and is arguably the nicest and most humble guy on the field. He’s also the 2010 National League Rookie of the Year, 2012 National League MVP and batting title holder, and clutch in games that count. Check out his 2012 World Series homerun against the Detroit Tigers.
- #9 Brandon Belt – At first base, “The Baby Giraffe,” as he is affectionately known, played a key role in the Giants’ 2012 World Series victory.
- #48 Pablo Sandoval – One of the Giants’ most well-known players, aka “Kung Fu Panda,” was the 2012 World Series MVP, clinching his title with three homeruns in Game 1 against Detroit. This year, the buzz in spring training surrounded the Panda’s weight loss.
- #40 Madison Bumgarner – The Giants left-handed pitcher has earned his status both on the mound and at the plate. On April 13th of this year, Bumgarner became the first pitcher of the year to hit a Grand Slam.
- #55 Tim “The Freak” Lincecum – Every Giant earns his nickname and Timmy’s no exception. The formerly shaggy-haired pitcher has wowed Giants fans, winning the 2008 and 2009 National League Cy Young Awards, the 2010 Babe Ruth Award, and led the National League in strikeouts for three consecutive seasons, from 2008 through 2010.
- Bruce Bochy – Since Bruce Bochy began managing the Giants in 2007, San Francisco’s team has won two World Series titles.
- Lou Seal – The Giants’ mascot.
Willie Mays, legendary Giant and namesake of Willie Mays Plaza at the entrance of AT&T Park, was one of a long line of Giants to receive a nickname that stuck. In 1979, “The Say Hey Kid” was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame, the crowning achievement on a brilliant Giants career.
Fun Fact: Willie Mays is the godfather of another Giants legend, Barry Bonds.
Try the Gilroy Garlic Fries!
You can expect to find traditional hot dogs, pretzels, and peanuts and Cracker jacks at AT&T, but one treat that drives Giants fans crazy enough to stand in long lines are the garlic fries. Though there are many decadent food and beverage options at AT&T, from famous Buena Vista-style Irish coffees to Crazy Crab Wharf grilled crab sandwiches, Gilroy garlic fries reign supreme at Giants games. For a run through of what else is cooking at AT&T Park, check out this Eater SF article.
Fun for Kids at the Giants Game
Sitting through nine innings can sometimes be a tedious task. Calls to the bullpen, time between innings, and generally boring opponents can result in antsy children itching for something to do. Never fear! Beyond the outfield bleachers are several fun activities:
- The giant Coca Cola bottle doubles as a slide. Make that two slides: the “Guzzler” and the “Twist-Off.”
- Speed Pitch is a great opportunity to clock your fastball.
- Little Giants Park gives kids the opportunity to hit a few balls and run around a downsized baseball field as the game continues behind them.
How to get to AT&T Park
AT&T Park is located at the southern end of the Embarcadero in what is known as the China Basin neighborhood on the corner of Third and King streets. Getting there by public transport is fairly easy, though on game days the Muni streetcars can be jam packed with fans.
Driving – Getting to the ballpark via automobile is quite simple and there are several parking lots in the neighborhood. For complete driving directions, click here.
Public Transport – Within San Francisco, you can take the Muni Metro Streetcar to AT&T Park. You’ll want to take either the N Judah or the T Third to the Second/King stop. Muni buses 10 Townsend, 30 Stockton, 45 Union/Stockton, and 47 Van Ness also take you to the ballpark.
Bike – Biking to the baseball game is a very San Francisco thing to do and AT&T is prepared. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition provides secure bike parking on the south side of the ballpark along the Port Walk. The facility opens two hours prior to each game and closes half an hour following.
Free Tours by Foot wishes you a great game! Check out our walking tours as well!