The area of The City south of The San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge to China Basin and bordered on the west and east by Interstate 280 and San Francisco Bay is known as South Beach. The AT&T Park and Willie Mays Plaza construction sparked a real estate boom in South Beach that still continues as older buildings are renovated for new uses and many new structures provide businesses and condo’s in this vibrant area of The City.
The San Francisco Giants home, formerly Pacific Bell Park and now AT&T Park, is undoubtedly one of the most recognized additions to the whole South Beach—SOMA urban renewal of the last few years. Willie Mays Plaza, with its very lifelike statue, anchors the southwest corner of AT&T Park while entrance to the opposite side is from the marina where fans can anchor their sailboats or arrive at the baseball park by ferry boat after a cruise on San Francisco Bay.
Willie Mays played in San Francisco from 1958 when the Giants moved to San Francisco from New York until 1971 and was among the smartest and best-disciplined players in baseball history. A statue of Juan Marichal — the first Dominican inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame — is on the southeast corner of the ball park just outside the entrance closest to the main parking area.
Marichal’s uniform number 27 was retired by the San Francisco Giants. You can see Juan Marichal’s number along with those of other Giants Retired Numbers displayed inside the ballpark in the photo above.
China Basin Park directly across McCovey Cove from AT&T Park is a public open space where you can view the ball park, enjoy a picnic and play America’s favorite game on a small baseball diamond – Barry Bonds Junior Giants Field. There’s a statue of Willie McCovey in action at McCovey Point — the northeastern corner of China Basin Park.
You can stroll through San Francisco Giants history on a walkway around China Basin Park that features a number of historic markers representing San Francisco Giants teams from 1958 through 1999.
Tours of AT&T Park are scheduled at 10:30 and 12:30 every day that no game is scheduled. See places only the players and staff go including the dugouts, field warning track, indoor batting cages and visitors’ clubhouse. Other highlights of the tour are the press box and luxury suite.
I enjoyed an AT&T Park tour on a Friday morning in January with just one other visitor. The tour began at the Giant’s store and our guide was very knowledgeable and while there was a considerable amount of maintenance and cleanup from a party the night before and the recent motocross event we were able see and learn about most of the backstage areas of the park.