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This article is meant for San Francisco visitors who are interested in catching a baseball game. Major League Baseball in the United States is played from April through early November. The regular season runs through September and the post season starts in October and culminates with the World Series in the late October, early November timeframe.
There are 162 games in the regular season and half the games are played in the team's home ballpark. Typically a visting team will play an average of 3 games on 3 consecutive days. Day games start around 1pm and evening games, around 7 pm. A typical game lasts approximately 3 hours. The ballpark opens two hours before the first pitch and for visitors, it may be fun to get in early to explore the park, scope out the food and drink counters, take photos, watch player batting practice and to allow kids in your party to stand in line for a player autograph.
This article is not meant to be a primer on baseball. Here is a one pager on the game from the LA Times.
There are two Major League Baseball teams so there is a very good chance that one of the teams will be playing when you visit. The two teams are the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A's. This article will cover each team separately.
(AT&T Park during the opening series in 2014)
Where : AT&T Park, San Francisco (The link will take you to Google maps and you can see the location of ballpark with respect to the rest of SF)
When: Here is the SF Giants Schedule for their games. The games marked in ORANGE boxes are home games at AT&T Park
Getting there: From the major hotel areas, you can take MUNI to the game. Bus routes 30 and 45 from the Fisherman's Wharf area can get yiu to the ballpark. From the Union Square are the N, K/T Muni streetcars as well as the 30 and 45 buses will take you to AT&T park. Visitors can go here to get information on the bus routes. If one drives, parking is expensive and will cost between $30- $45. Walking to a game with fans dressed in Orange and Black is fun. It is an easy walk from the Union Square area down 3rd street or via the Embarcadero. Purchasing a ticket for the return bus or streetcar trip is recommended unless the visitor has a MUNI Passport. It is perfectly ok to walk back after the game. It may actually be faster to get back to Union Square
Tickets: The official site for tickets is the SF Giants Website There is an after market website called Stubhub (an eBAY company) which is the official reseller of SF Giants Tickets. Both sites guarantee the tickets purchased on their sites. Tickets holders are guaranteed seats and there are personnel available at the park to help if an issue arises. Please do not purchase tickets from other unofficial websites such as craigslist.com. Print at home tickets are availble from both sites for visitors from outside the SF Bay Area. International visitors can also purchase tickets in advance from the comfort of their home. PLEASE DO NOT PURCHASE TICKETS FROM SCALPERS
(View of the Park at night from the View Reserve left field. Note how small the players look . That coke bottle is a slide for kids to enjoy. Come early and they can have fun on that slide)
It all depends on what one wants to get from a game. If one wants to just watch an American Sport, feel the excitement with 41,000 other fans, get great views of the SF Bay, one can pretty much get the lowest priced tickets available and have a wonderful time. In fact there are people who just walk around the ballpark and watch the game from different angles while checking out the various beer and food counters.
Baseball games in American ballparks are a family event. Kids, grandmas and grandpas, adults, friends and family all go to a baseball game and have a great time While there are some incidents with a few rowdy fans during a few games, in general AT&T ballpark is completely family friendly and visitors should not feel worried about their security. It is ok to sit anywhere in the Ballpark. Ushers are found in each section and there are security personnel all over the park
The seating chart is shown here You can check out the view from the seats using the SF Giants 3D viewer Allow a few minutes for the viewer to load and then click on the various sections to get a view from the seats. The information below references the seating chart
(Above View from the First level Right Field under the overhang. Great on a Sunny day)
(Below Same view as the sun sets and the lights come on, Note the fan in Orange. The SF Giants colors are Orange and Black)
(Above Go early and you can see the Giants warm up and play catch and get pretty close. Kids line up for autographs in left field)
Where : O.co Coliseum in Oakland.
Getting there: It's very safe and easy to get to the game from Union Square or downtown San Francisco. Just hop on BART to the Coliseum/Oakland Airport station (about 25 minutes) and stroll across the BART pedestrian walkway to the game. For disabled guests, there are attendents with wheelchairs waiting at the BART elevator to whisk you to your seat. If you do decide to drive, parking is $17-$20 -- except on many Tuesdays when parking is free.
Tickets: There are many different ways to obtain tickets:
Ticket prices and availability will depend on the teams playing (Giants, Cubs, Yankees, Red Sox are more popular) and the situation (opening day, fireworks, free gifts, playoff-implication games). Unsold group tickets are typically released 2 weeks before the game so there might be additional tickets that come on-line then. Of course, if you do not want to miss the game or if you have a large group that need to sit together, purchase your tickets early.
Wheelchair accessible seating can be purchased over the phone or online. Children 2 and under can enter free but everyone else needs a ticket.
Discount Tickets: There are several ways to get discounted tickets:
What to bring: Large backpacks, firearms, weapons, cans and coolers are just some of the prohibited items that are not allowed in the Coliseum. Be sure to bring a jacket for night games and sunscreen / hat for day games. Bring rain-gear if the forecast calls for rain.
Ground Rules: Watch out for foul balls as people have been hit by baseballs while in the stands. Do not reach over the railing to try to catch fly balls or interfere with balls in play. Be careful as people have fallen from the upper deck. Do not smoke. If you should experience any problems while at the game, contact one of the many ushers or security personnel or text
Batting Practice: The A's do not normally open the gates early except for special promotions.
There are three main levels (see seating chart):
The most expensive (and best) seats are in the field boxes right behind home plate (Section 111-123). Note that the seats close up are in the sun (if you're going to a day game).
Most seats are out in the open. If you do not want to be exposed, choose a seat in the back rows of the Field or Plaza sections where the overhang provides shade.
The lowest priced seats will be in the outfield across from home plate and the value deck section. The value deck tickets come with food and the bathrooms on the top floor are often the cleanest and least busy. All seats are reserved except for the bleacher seats which are first come first served and have a life and fun culture of its own.
Be careful of seats in Row 1-3 on the Plaza level: Your view will be interrupted by people walking back and forth and you might find the railing in the way.
If you have kids, you can sit near the Stomper Fun Zone in Sections 218/219.
Some traditions are the same across all ball-parks and some are unique to Oakland:
In the Coliseum: Dining options include the standard nachos, hot dogs, beer, soda and hamburgers. They also include: