Kevin Elster of the Dodgers hit three home runs. Not only did Elster hit three homers that day, he hit the first homer in the new park in the top of the 3rd inning. Barry Bonds had doubled in a run in the 1st inning, but had to wait until the bottom of the 3rd to hit the first Giants home run. The Giants lost 6-5, but my main memory of that day was leaving. The staircase down from the upper level (we had "View Box" seats) to the O'Doul gate was jammed with fans and hit gridlock almost immediately. I never used that exit again, learning that a dash down the escalator and out to the Plaza was a lot faster. We had "Charter Seats" for the first six seasons (up to 2005, when it was "SBC Park"), but the distance and expense got to be too much and we had to give them up. It was a great run, and we got to see a lot of exciting baseball. These days it is mostly electronic Giants, with satellite TV, internet radio, and blogs, but we manage at least one road trip south for real-live ballgames each summer. We had the chance to see baseball in some other great venues like (old) Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Safeco Field, and Petco Park, but nothing compares to our emerald gem by the Bay. We've also seen baseball in Vancouver, Canada (Nat Bailey Stadium) and Oaxaca, México (Estadio Eduardo Vasconcelos), but still we longed for views of Berkeley and the Bridge. I've spent far, far more of my life in Candlestick Park than I care to admit, and that place had its charms. Dollar nights in the bleachers for one, and wide seats with lots of leg room. And easy egress. Otherwise, the Giants built an outstanding place to see a game. Now we just need a "World Series Champion" banner to complete the décor. Go, Tim, lead us to the Promised Land!
Kevin Elster and Barry Bonds were both born in 1964. Elster retired after the 2000 season. Bonds went on to win four more MVPs and set the all-time home run record.