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Stadium 29: Our Visit to Oracle Park

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Move over Wrigley! You have competition from Oracle Park!

The most common question we are asked about our trip is which stadium we liked the best. Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, took first place mid-way through our trip. Not only is it filled with history, Wrigley is old enough not to be equipped with as many of the electronic bells and whistles of modern stadiums. That makes it feel like the park is about baseball, rather than the production of a game. We also found the staff and fans to be welcoming, and the park was both beautiful and easy to navigate. Finally, we took the tour of the stadium (with Roger) and thoroughly enjoyed it! It was an easy number one for us. Until Oracle Park.

Oracle Park doesn’t have the history of Wrigley Field (or Fenway Park, for that matter). What made Oracle special was a combination of their hospitality and the beauty of the park. Let me start with hospitality.

Oracle Park Hospitality

When we visit a field, we enter in the gate that opens earliest. At Oracle, that is the Willie Mays gate. Once we’re inside the park, we go directly to the nearest view of the field to get our first impressions.

When Ryan and Brad arrived at the top of the first aisle they saw, there were two ushers standing there chatting. One of them turned to Brad and said “there you are!” He then proceeded to ask Brad about the trip and which stadium we liked best. A few minutes later, another usher arrived. Her name was Jane, and she had been with the Giants for 36 years! She was the head usher for the right half of the stadium.

Jane immediately asked whether we would like a private tour of the stadium! For the next hour, Jane gave us a tour of the stadium’s lesser seen highlights! We checked out exclusive seating areas, the access doors to the players’ club house and the dugout, the inside batting cages that the players use for practice, the Club level and hall of fame area, and the display of World Series rings and trophies.

After we said goodbye to Jane, we found our seats in the outfield, visited the team store, and grabbed some food. Then we settled in for the game.

Suddenly, we realized that we were on the big screen! We were so taken by surprise that we completely missed our opportunity to turn around and show off the “Stadiums – 2023: 30” on the backs of our jerseys. But we did wave like mad! And once again, the Bollman family managed to snap a photo for us from their seats elsewhere in the stadium.

About an inning or two later, the usher we spoke with stopped by our seats.

“Stadium People,” he called out. “Which stadium is your favorite now?” To which we responded “Oracle Park,” of course!

Our Impressions of Oracle Park

In addition to the exceptional hospitality we experienced, Oracle Park is a lovely stadium. It sits right along the Bay, with a walkway that allows fans to enjoy the views of both the park and the water. It is well laid out, clean, and easy to navigate. If you are visiting with children, they will enjoy the giant slides in the outfield. Fans of all ages can jump on a stationary San Francisco streetcar in the concourse for a photo.

Our Seats: We were in Section 150, Row 1, Seats 20 to 23. These seats are in a narrow section of 4 rows in the outfield between McCovey Cove and the outfield. They were great seats! However, you’ll definitely want to bring layers for an evening game. I was wearing long pants, a t-shirt and jersey when I arrived. By the end of the game, I was also wearing a heavy base layer that I use for backpacking, a down vest, a down coat, and a rain jacket for wind protection. While I was comfortable, I was still happy that Emma ran to the store to pick up two fleece blankets for the four of us to share!

The Food: While the vegetarian restaurant was closed, they did have a gluten free stand that also offered vegetarian options and salads! Ryan and Brad took a more traditional route and had pizza. We all enjoyed Ghirardelli’s hot fudge sundaes for dessert. Yes, even though we were shivering our way through them. They were totally worth it!

Non-Alcoholic Beer Review: Oracle Park offers Heineken Zero Zero, but you do have to ask around. I finally found it at a bar near the Ghirardelli stand.

The Game Recap: 6 Home Runs for Housing!

This park set another record for our trip: the number of home runs scored. We saw six home runs, bringing our total for the trip to 83! So far, we have raised $30,553 for people who are employed but still struggling with housing instability. Check out this post to learn more about their plight. Visit this one to learn more about Wellspring Family Services and what we are doing with Home Runs for Housing.

In addition to scoring lots of home runs, this game was close, making it even more exciting! The San Francisco Giants took on the Colorado Rockies, who took an early lead. The Rockies brought in three runs in the top of the 2nd, and the score stood 3 – 0 until the sixth inning. Then, things got very exciting!

In the top of the sixth, Rockies third baseman Nolan Jones hit the first home run of the game, giving the Rockies a 4 – 0 lead. But then, in the bottom of the sixth, the Giants got on the score board with three back-to-back home runs. Second baseman Wilmer Flores hit a two-run home run. Then, outfielder Mitch Haniger hit a home run. Finally, third baseman JD Davis smacked another run into center field, tying up the game!

The Rockies jumped back into the lead in the top of the 7th when catcher Elias Diaz hit a three-run home run. The Giants fought back with a two-run home run by catcher Blake Sabol in the bottom of the 7th. However, the Rockies remained in the lead by one run.

The Rockies were unable to add to their lead in the top of the 8th, but the Giants added three runs to their score in the bottom of the inning. While the Rockies added a single run in the top of the 9th, they lost the game 8 to 9.

After the game, the Giants hosted a drone show for its exuberant fans!

Goodbye, for Now

We also met up, for the last time on this trip, with the Bollman Family. Like us, they were on a quest to see all 30 stadiums during one summer. Annemarie and Brett, along with their four children, spent a much more reasonable 100 days on the road visiting stadiums, national parks, and other sites. What a wonderful trip for the family!

We were at the same games five times. We connected at the Cubs, the White Sox, the Brewers, the Athletics, and the Giants. They stopped by our seats to say goodbye at the end of the game. We look forward to keeping in touch!

Up Next:

The next morning, we dropped Emma at the Marin Airporter bus stop near our campsite. Then, we packed up the trailer and hit the road. We had originally intended to take two days to get back to Edmonds. However, after seven weeks on the road, we were anxious to sleep in our own beds! We arrived home at about 1:00 a.m. on Sunday morning. My next post will cover the final stadium, our home field: T-Mobile Park. We will wrap up our journey in the company of friends, cheering loudly for the Mari