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Pac Bell Park
In relocating north a few miles from Candlestick Park to Pac Bell Park, the Giants moved to smaller, neo-traditionally designed quarters, gained a picturesque waterfront location, and, if technical prognostications prove correct, will benefit from a more comfortable microclimate than prevailed at their previous home of 40 seasons. Although the designers also promise that the structure will be effective in blocking the notoriously strong Bay winds, that claim was also made when Candlestick was enclosed for football.
The brick-faced, open-air park is located on a 13-acre site at China Basin, just north of the Lefty O'Doul Bridge, in a rapidly gentrifying industrial neighborhood. It is served by several forms of public transportation, and can be reached from downtown by foot in about 20 minutes.
Candlestick Park was a suburban stadium ringed by parking lots, but Pac Bell is a compact urban building shaped by its tight surroundings. Sandwiched between King Street and the bay, it has a 309-foot right field line, and most home runs to right will fly or bounce into the water. The other dimensions are 335 to left field, 404 to center, a 420-foot deep point in right-center and a much smaller foul area than Candlestick's immense expanse. The 42,000 seats extend around three sides, with only one seating deck in left field. Right field is left open by necessity and provides good water views.
A waterfront promenade beyond the right field fence allows free views of the game. Climate and dimensions suggest that this might be more of a hitter's park than its predecessor.
This $255-million project has the rare recent distinction of being 96% privately financed (the most since Dodger Stadium in 1962, although, just as in the Los Angeles project, substantial public money has gone into infrastructure improvements), showing that new facilities for field sports need not rely heavily on taxpayers for their construction. (JP)