This is it for Candlestick Park, long home to the San Francisco 49ers and former home to the San Francisco Giants. The 53-year-old stadium is about to have its last game played in it before its doors close for good, its seats are sold at a very high price, and the concrete is imploded — in that order.
Unsurprisingly, the NFL, 49ers, and ESPN have joined forces to create a media frenzy about the glory of the ‘Stick. “T0p Memories” and “Top Moments” lists are all over the websites of the aforementioned organizations. These lists serve, essentially, as promos. The NFL knew what it was doing when it put the final game in a primetime matchup that could not be flexed out. This is a relatively easy marketing ploy, despite the apparent mismatch on paper. ESPN has done its part, shifting Chris Berman from Bristol, Connecticut to San Francisco to be the “on-site host” due to Berman’s history in the complex. The 49ers can — and have — simply reposted videos and reflections on Dwight Clark‘s “The Catch” and other admittedly awesome plays. Colin Kaepernick has even been asked about his memories of Candlestick. His response: “I don’t quite have the same memories.” After all, Kap was a Green Bay Packers and Brett Favre fan.
Ask any professional writer/player/coach not affiliated with the 49ers, ESPN, or the NFL power structure — and even some affiliated with these groups — about Candlestick, however, and the response is usually something along the lines of: Yes, it hosted some great teams and players throughout the years, but the stadium itself is a dump and it’s a good thing for just about everyone that it’s about to be abandoned.
This may seem heartless, cruel, and any other adjective you want to throw in there. It is true, though. This is a converted baseball stadium with relatively poor facilities and a horrible traffic situation on game days. All of these issues should be improved with the fabulous Levi’s Stadium — if it is anything near what it is cracked up to be.
Candlestick will be missed for its sentimental value, but that is all it should be missed for. Even the best things come to an end — and this stadium was by no means a “best thing.”