I am feeling refreshed! I don’t know how long it will last but it felt great to sleep in a bed the last two nights along with taking three long hot showers. I slept in until almost noon both days. I went to a San Jose Giants game last night. They are the Advanced-A Affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. The game was fun to watch even though they got beat, 5-3, by the Stockton Ports. What I loved about the experience was overall feel of the stadium.
San Jose Municipal Stadium was built between 1941–1942 as a WPA project at a cost of $80,000. It was one of the first stadiums to be built entirely of reinforced concrete and opened in 1942. The stadium has remained largely unchanged from its original configuration. However, renovations to the bathroom facilities and clubhouse were done in 1994. Three extra rows of box seating were added in 1996. In 1999, the dugouts were expanded toward the field.
If you have read my any of my past blogs, you know that I love these WPA stadiums. They are a throw back and I am a nostalgic guy through and through. I have gone to many of these complexes on the trip, Carson Park in Eau Claire, Grayson Stadium in Savannah, and a few others. The key for places like this is to embrace the tradition and feel of the stadium. Trying to be something you are not turns fans off and just does not work. I am happy to report that the people running the San Jose Giants have whole heartedly embraced who they are. They have improved the stadium without comprising the history of the place.
When I arrived, I was caught off guard by the amount of people that were attending the game! The reason being is that they have two successful MLB options in San Francisco and Oakland. I am guessing the attendance was about 3,000-plus at the game. The fans were into the game and understood the situational aspects of what was happening on the field. The concessions were very busy as well as the vendors running the stairs. And, the ushers managed the fans with a smile. Everywhere I went I was acknowledged and encouraged to enjoy the game. I had to hunt down the customer service supervisor, who was manning a booth, to express this joy and she thanked me with a smile. People seemed happy to be at the game, along with those working.
I wandered around the stadium and looked at the old murals that have been maintained. Someone was documenting them all. There was a great feel to the place as I sensed a lot of history and a connection for the people who attended. This felt like Americana, same feeling I had in Rapid City, Alexandra, Starkville, Evansville and Lexington.
I pulled the following review from Yelp, by Vanessa D. “The first thing visiting team fans will notice about Muni – for better or worse – is its age. This stadium is at best, an homage to old-time Minor League ball and at worst, a run-down, hot and crowded old ballpark in need of a facelift.
“I tend to side with the former, as I find SJ Muni to be filled with charm and appreciation for the game’s history. You’ll notice the pennants painted on the concourse walls featuring now-defunct Major and Minor League teams. Ladies: You won’t want to miss the women’s restroom, which is a tribute to the locker room from “A League of Their Own.”
Churros is a way of life here, so you’ll want to flag down the Churro Guy. The team store stocks some good merchandise, and the food selection is the best I’ve seen in the California League.”
To me, Vanessa is absolutely spot on with her assessment. It is a homage to old-time minor league baseball and I, too, had my very first Churro at the game and loved it! I hope San Jose continues to expand on their traditional baseball image. This was a great overall experience with that “hokey hometown” feel! I will definitely want to come back and explore this place again!
Tonight, I will be attending an Oakland A’s game against the Kansas City Royals. I’m supposed to have an interview before the game and when I’m given the link, I will post it. I am excited to see the A’s as they currently hold the best record in the MLB. However, the real reason I want to see them is because of their General Manager Billy Beane. I just completed reading the book Moneyball, which is based on the A’s and specifically Billy. I admire people that do it their own way; and, Billy has definitely done it his own way.
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