Monster Park

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Monster Park (colloquially, The 'Stick or Candlestick, after its original name of Candlestick Park) is an outdoor sports and entertainment stadium located in the San Francisco Bay Area in California.

The stadium is situated on the western shore of the San Francisco Bay. Due to its location next to a hill, strong winds often swirl down into the stadium creating interesting playing conditions.

The surface of the field is natural bluegrass, but from 1971 to 1978 it was replaced by artificial turf.

Park history

Ground was broken in 1958 as the new home of Major League Baseball's San Francisco Giants, which was moving west from New York. The Giants officially named their new stadium Candlestick Park on March 3, 1959. In 1971, the NFL's San Francisco 49ers became tenants as well. Richard Nixon threw out the first ever baseball on the opening day of Candlestick Park on April 12, 1960. The Oakland Raiders played their 1961 American Football League season at the stadium.

As a baseball field, the stadium was best known for the windy conditions that often made life difficult for outfielders trying to catch fly balls. During the 1961 All Star game, Giants pitcher Stu Miller was forced into a balk by a gust of wind. Two years later, wind picked up the entire batting cage and dropped it 60 feet away on the pitcher’s mound while the New York Mets were taking batting practice.

The Beatles performed their last live commercial concert at Candlestick Park on August 29, 1966.

The stadium was enclosed during the winter of 1971-1972 for the 49ers, with stands built around the outfield. The result was that the wind speed dropped marginally, but often swirled around throughout the stadium. Candlestick Park has the distinction of being the sole remaining NFL stadium that started life as a baseball only facility that later had a football field added. Previous baseball parks that had been converted to house football included parks such as Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, and Milwaukee County Stadium. This accounts for the stadium's odd oblong design that leaves many seats on what was the right field side of the stadium behind the eastern grandstand of the stadium during football games. Candlestick also has the dubious distinction of being the last NFL football stadium where upper deck supports obstruct the sightlines from the prime first deck seating.

On October 17, 1989, the Loma Prieta earthquake (measuring 7.1 on the Richter Scale) struck San Francisco, minutes before Game 3 of the World Series was to begin. Amazingly, no one within the stadium was injured, but minor structural damage did occur to the stadium. The World Series between the Giants and Oakland Athletics was delayed for ten days as a result as the overall structural soundness of the stadium (and of Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum as well) was checked by engineers and the area was allowed some time to recover.

In 1999, the Giants moved to a new downtown ballpark, Pacific Bell Park, leaving the 49ers as the lone professional sports team to use the stadium. The final baseball game pitted the Giants against their arch-rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and occurred on an unseasonably hot day.

Name changes

Candlestick Park was named for Candlestick Point, a point of land jutting into the San Francisco Bay. Candlestick Point is itself named for the indigenous "candlestick bird" (Long-billed Curlew), once common to the point.

The rights to the arena name were licensed to 3Com Corporation from 1995 until 2002. During that time the park became known as 3Com Park. In 2002 the naming rights deal expired, and the park then became officially known as San Francisco Stadium at Candlestick Point. On September 28, 2004, a new naming rights deal was signed with Monster Cable, a maker of cables for electronic equipment, and the stadium was renamed Monster Park. Many people erroneously assume the Monster Park name is associated with Monster.com.

The City of San Francisco had trouble finding a new naming sponsor due in part to the downturn in the economy, but also because the stadium's tenure as 3Com Park was tenuous at best. Many local fans were annoyed with the change and continued referring to the park by its original name, and many continue to do so to this day, regardless of the official name. Freeway signs in the vicinity were recently changed to read "Monster Park" as part of an overall signage upgrade to national standards on California highways.

A measure passed in the November 2 2004 election states that the stadium name will revert back to Candlestick permanently after the current contract with Monster Cable expires in 2008. This highlights San Francisco's extreme distaste for corporate naming, especially of this particular venue. The stadium is still almost universally referred to as Candlestick Park despite the name change by both locals and the media. The Monster Park moniker is confined to the 49ers front office and a few national broadcasters just as the 3Com name was years before.

External links

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