Candlestick Park

Gone with the wind: Candlestick Park on borrowed time

According to a report in the SF Examiner, Candlestick Park will be demolished soon after the 49ers play their last game in the multipurpose facility.

The company overseeing the redevelopment of the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard indicated Wednesday that without the 49ers, there is not much use for the 52-year-old concrete stadium.

“If and when the 49ers abandon Candlestick, we will initiate discussions with The City to accelerate plans to demolish the stadium,” said Kofi Bonner, Lennar Urban’s president.

Not only will we never again set foot in the stadium where hot dog wrappers never die, we’ll also miss having something halfway interesting to look at while driving on that stretch of Highway 101. There’s a few reasons why 280 exists, not the least of which to give people a better-looking drive than 101, which is only going to get worse:

Bonner said the Candlestick site will be repurposed as 6,000 new homes in the Hunters Point redevelopment project, which calls for 10,000 new residences total in southeast San Francisco.


For those who want to live on the periphery of a fairly dangerous neighborhood, in an area completely unprotected from 50 mph wind gusts, this is fantastic news. For drivers commuting from the Peninsula to San Francisco and vice versa, well, they’ll have no reason to stop paying attention to the road — so perhaps demolishing The Stick will bring some indirect health benefits.

It’s too bad for the sappy, nostalgiac, sentimental sports fans (translation: 98% of all sports fans) who grew up attending games at Candlestick, because there’s really no logical reason for the demolition not to occur. Besides the occasional international friendly, nothing happens at Candlestick anymore besides 49ers games.

What else would you build there, anyway?

An amusement park? No way, it’s freezing. You might as well stick a water slide in there so kids have an easier time succumbing to hypothermia.

A mall? Malls are dying since you can buy everything at home and not have to walk behind a family pushing a double-stroller at 0.3 mph. Who wants to go to a mall in Hunter’s Pt. anyway? As much as I wish the 49ers were staying in San Francisco, it’s probably a good thing that whole Eddie D. StadiuMall thing didn’t work out.

The only true logical uses for that area would be either a huge kite park or a Windsurfing Hall of Fame. Neither one of those would be big moneymakers, so McCondos it is.

So now that we know The Stick is on life support, what do we do?

First, treat the place with respect. Just because it’s old, cold and full of mold doesn’t mean you should demean the place by breaking stuff, throwing things, knocking over porta-potties, puking on the floor during the 3rd quarter (happened to the girl sitting two seats over from us at the Saints game), fighting, or wearing Kentwan Balmer jerseys to games.

Second, take pictures and videos, celebrate the great moments (No, those don’t include “Stu Miller getting blown off the mound,” “the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake,” or “Remember when it was called 3Com and Monster?” I’m talking about “The Catch,” Will Clark’s single up the middle, Steve Young running around after the 1994 NFC Championship Game like a lunatic — that sort of thing.) and pretend for three or four years that Candlestick isn’t a dump. It’s not the building’s fault that 1960 was a terrible time for stadium architecture and nobody planned the place based on anything besides putting a two-sport facility next to 101.

Third, start thinking now about what kind of liquor you’re going to pour out at The Stick on the days before its demise. My choice: Jose Cuervo. Not because it’s a good tequila by any means, or something I’ve even consumed in the past 10 years. But Cuervo plays an integral part in one of my strangest Candlestick Park memories.

Giants game, weekend afternoon, late-90s. When I got to my seat, I had this unshakable feeling that I had forgotten to lock my car. When you get that feeling at The Stick, it’s pretty tough to ignore. There was still 20 minutes before first pitch, so I told my friends I’d be back in a bit. Ran up the aisle, then down the ramp to the gate. Got my hand stamped, ran between a few rows of cars, and on my right I see a guy drinking.

He had light brown hair and a lighter moustache, and he was chugging a nearly full fifth of Jose Cuervo Gold, straight from the bottle. And as I was running past, he kept drinking. And drinking and drinking and drinking. And I’m still running, but looking over to my right the whole time. Finally I stopped for a bit (Cuervo guy didn’t), but I really didn’t want to miss the first pitch so I forced myself to keep moving and lose sight of moustachioed Cuervo guy.

I imagine he finished that bottle seconds later. And if you care, I did forget to lock my car. Pretty sure I saved myself from the pain of losing several Tribe Called Quest and Wu-Tang Clan CDs that day. Didn’t have to buy Midnight Marauders twice. Miracle? No, just another magical moment at The Stick.

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