Single Gal and What Happened to Candlestick?

More news from the “Where have I been?” file, but has anyone noticed what the culture is like at a 49er game now? I went to the game on Sunday, the 49ers vs. the Detroit Lions, and I was shocked at how different the culture of the crowd had become since I last was there.

The last time I set foot in Candlestick Park (it was actually Candlestick then, and I was happy to see it has changed back to Candlestick) was about 1998. And there have been a lot of changes. Mind you, the team itself has gone from perennial powerhouse to basement to working its way back up to respectable, and the Bay Area as a whole has changed dramatically in ten years as far as diversity and makeup.  But nothing could have prepared me for the scene I would see as I drove into Candlestick on Sunday to tailgate.

Before we could even get there, there were two accidents on Highway 101, one going North and the other going South. We were dead stopped on the way up, and again on the way back from the game. Once we got there, it was about an hour and a half from kick off, which I learned was the biggest rookie move of them all. Barely a place to park, and so little room to drive as the place was filled with people who’d been drinking for four hours at that point.

We were good-naturedly heckled through our window because we had no red on (my sweatshirt was in the back seat) but I feared that good nature would change as their blood alcohol level did too (the heckler was carrying a handle of tequila). So we parked and got out of there as soon as we could.

Trying to find our friends who were tailgating was like finding a needle in a haystack, but thank god for cell phones and large 49er Jumpy House landmarks—we finally met up with our tailgate. I found myself sitting in the back of the truck, just marveling at the crowd that was filing in to the game. I never remembered this the last time I was here, and it was night-and-day different when I was a kid. What happened?  Or better yet, when did this happen? And why? It used to be more families and now it was kids and young adults, drinking, blasting music and partying. It was just different—and not in a good way.

Inside the game, we had seats right above the 50 yard line. Not cheap seats by any stretch, and many people have had those seats for years and generations. But many most certainly did not. By the fourth quarter, we looked over and saw all this commotion, and punches being thrown. A 30-something man was throwing punches at a 60-something man, while all the people around them tried to break it up. Once they got the 30-year-old escorted out, I still saw punches landing on the older man’s head. When I looked at who it was, it was a woman, dressed in 49er gear from head to toe. If I were a Raider fan, I might want to point the finger on the other side of the Bay too, because someone else may deserve the same bad rap.

I think I know now why they say football is better on TV.

22 Comments

  1. As the gangsta mentality has crept ever more deeply into many professional sports, so has that mentality crept into the fan base.  Role models—yeah, right!!!

    Far too many professional athletes would either be in prison, on parole, pimping or selling dope on the streets if they couldn’t play ball well.

  2. Who gives a #* about Candlestick?  What has this got to do with SJ?  Also, Single Gal, don’t lie about your statis.  You got a boyfriend; therefore, you’re not single!  Who are trying to fool?  Stick with SJ issues, not SF!

  3. I too have gone to 49er games for many many years.  Long gone are the Wine and Cheese Tailgates, replaced by dead animal flesh grilled over open fire.  THAT IS WHAT FOOTBALL IS ABOUT!!  If that makes you uncomfortable, good riddance!!

  4. As American sports and its hardcore fandom culture slowly degenerate to gangsta life and “ultras” supporters found in overseas soccer, it has largely kept me away from Candlestick and McAfee Coliseum for football games. 

    Given the safety issues, and the rising ticket prices associated with football every season, I watch from the comfort – and safety – of my own home.  I await the day when the TV cameras cut to scenes where flares are being lit in the stands for 49er and Raider home games like they do for major soccer matches overseas.  People like me staying away from football games for the reasons given above are why you rarely see Raiders home games telecast locally nowadays. 

    Perhaps when 49er home games stop being broadcast on TV due to lack of sellouts – not likely for years given generations of season ticket holders – will the troublemaking end.  I’d check if the 49ers have a policy for removing ALL season ticket rights from seatholders who make trouble at the games.  If not, demand that such a policy be enacted.  After all, isn’t the real goal of getting fueled up thru alcohol and making trouble at a football game is to be seen in front of millions throughout the nation?

    As a consumer, you have the power to help decide how safety at Candlestick for 49ers games is determined.  Nothing changes policy faster than empty seats, leading to lack of ticket and stadium concession revenue.

    There is a San Jose connection to 49er football, kept largely a secret: besides the possibility of the team moving to Santa Clara, VTA provides and has provided express bus service to 49ers home games for nearly 20 years.

    http://www.vta.org/schedules/SC_49ers_Express.html

    The buses leave from the Capitol light rail station, Vallco Park & Ride in Cupertino, and VTA headquarters at the River Oaks light rail station.

  5. My intuition suggests that this whole mortgage bailout situation originated because liberals in Congress wanted the likes of “Tiger Woods” and “East Side Dre” to be able to own a house.
    Just read remarks #7 & #8. THIS is the sort of person we are going 700 billion dollars in debt for.
    Thanks Nancy Pelosi.
    Thanks Barney Frank.
    Thanks Zoe Lofgren.
    Keep up the good work.

  6. 10 – Your world must be an interesting place. How convenient to blame everything on liberals. In fact, your comment is so foolish I hesitated to even dignify it with any kind of response at all.
    In the real world, where many of us reside, we know who the culprits are in this fiasco. Although there is enough blame to go around, your pal, W, and his robber baron buddies are the ones to blame.
    Take a look outside of your hole someday, you might be surprised what has happened to this country. As much as you might want to, you can’t blame it all the liberals.

  7. Ray Markable 11,
    I don’t excuse Bush. Bottom line is this all came down on his watch. I blame him. But at the same time it’s clear to me WHY this is happening. And it will continue to happen until you finally figure it out.
    Who’s really responsible are the millions of Americans who keep insisting that the Government hold their hand all their life and protect them from their own ill fortune, bad luck, and stupidity. As long as we keep asking our politicians to provide for all our needs we will perpetually be let down by them whether they are Democrats OR Republican.

    What is wrong with a system in which a mortgage loan is a private transaction between the lender and the borrower? It is a calculated risk on the part of both parties and it is unfair to ask uninvolved persons to assume ANY of that risk.
    If a third party is willing to buy that loan from that lender, fine. But once again why should that not be a private transaction between that buyer and that seller? Why is the g**d***** government getting involved?

    When we involve the Government we take what should be cold, calculated, economic decisions and we introduce politics. Without fail. The balance is upset. Large piles of cash start floating around and there will ALWAYS be some hyena ready to pounce on it, whether it’s a mortgage broker, an unemployed lowlife who gets a loan he knows he can’t pay back, or a presidential appointee to the directorship of Fannie Mae.

    No, Mr. Markable. I see things quite clearly. I just happen to reserve my most intense hatred for that most slimy and egregious of panderers- the Liberal Democrat Politician.

  8. A friend of ours who has Sharks season tix let my 11-year old boy and I have their invite to the Teal and White night last night at the hp Pavilion. This is like a fanfest for Sharks season tx holders: autographs, scrimmage game, etc. Big fun all around.

    While I haven’t been to a 49er game ever, my advice for Single Gal: Stay Home for Sports. HP pavilion is spanking clean, the crowds—even for the less toney sports like Arena Football and Indoor Lacrosse—are respectful and family-friendly. And if you need the drink, just go to Poor House Bistro beforehand. grin

    I don’t know the economics and if there’s a city subsidy behind it, but, boy, hp pavilion delivers fun pro sports in a sweet environment nearly year ‘round.  And for those extra summer months, there’s always the short drive to the historic Municipal Stadium for SJ Giants baseball!

  9. San Jose Giants cannot be beat. 

    Hands down better than the sterile, overpriced, squeezed in like sardines, PacBell experience.

  10. A buddy of mine also has Sharks season tickets and went to the Teal and White scrimmage game.  Former Shark Jeff Friesen played in that game, in an effort to rejoin the team.  I have had good experiences in going to Sharks games and Sabercats arena football at the HP Pavilion.

    The last Earthquakes game I went to was the Western Conference final vs. Kansas City in 2003.  I had a fun time even with the rainstorm and mud that took place at Spartan Stadium.

    Also, agreed on the San Jose Giants baseball at Municipal Stadium.  I had a chance to go to several games a few years ago and had a great time there.  Too bad the SJ Giants lost in the first round of the playoff series – even with the California League’s best regular season record and record-breaking attendance for the third straight year.  By the way, Municipal Stadium and Spartan Stadium is about a 5-minute bus ride from light rail in the downtown area.

    http://www.vtaridersunion.org/guides/transit2stadia.html

    Did you know that San Jose’s Sabercats, Earthquakes, and the Giants are the only Bay Area sports teams to have won their sports league’s championships in this decade.  Several more reasons to support what we have and to promote them in our local papers as needed.

  11. Hey, let’s celebrate diversity. The 49ers fanbase isn’t just the wine-sipping, cheese-eating crowd people think. Yeah, man. Far out. We are the world.

  12. Guys, Single Gal should call herself “Attached Gal” since she has a boyfriend most likely and or call herself “Girlfriend” instead of “Single Gal”. San Jose is my issue since I have families there and also work there.  I hope you get this, Harmony#6, duh duh! As for all yall all, Single Gal needs to be truthful and relevant to all of us and the issues she brings up.

  13. Of course! I knew it was Clinton’s fault. Anything else that you want to blame on him while you’re at it? Why not blame the Iraq war on him as well. How about the Giants miserable season? Probably Clinton’s fault, too.
    The Clinton haters are so pathetic and lacking credibility that they are laughable.
    So, thanks for the chuckle.

  14. Hey Mating-Ritual Gal (or whatever nom de guerre you’re stuck with),

    I was there on Sunday. Great game! Offense looked good, although the Niner defense had a couple of huge holes here and there.

    I thought the game was downright tame this time. You haven’t been there for a Philadelphia, Chicago, or God-forbid, an Oakland game. New fight every 5 minutes at the Oakland-SF pre-season last year.

    I agree with you—I won’t take my wife or parents to these games anymore. Just guys day out once or twice a season.

    Thug life is here to stay. Can’t undo it. Especially if you’re going to stick around SJ. To keep it in perspective, though, remember that every generation has their ‘schtick’ meant to piss off the previous generation. Beatnik, hippie, greaser, thug—whatever offends our mature sensibilities, that’s what our children’s generation becomes. I don’t get angry or offended—I just ignore them, or laugh right in their face when enough underwear is showing (I suppose it helps that I’m 6’0” and had a short stint boxing Middleweight in the service).

    Taking a bus is the only way to go. I take the chartered one from ‘The Dell’ bar in Campbell.

  15. Obvioulsy you really don’t know what your talking about.  Bill Clinton is responsible for this whole Fannie Mae Meltdown.  In this 1999 New York Times article, it talks about how Fannie Mae was pressured by the Clinton Administration to increase mortgage loans to low and moderate income people.  Check it out for yourself.

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0DE7DB153EF933A0575AC0A96F958260&sec;=&spon;=&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

  16. Wow, I was at the same game and didn’t experience any of this mayhem. My seat was also on the 50 yard line, but all the surrounding fans were orderly with the exception of a few seat interlopers. The tailgate I attended was the best ever.  Interesting how we can attend the exact same event, sit in the same area, but have totally different experiences and memories.  I had a great time, expecially rooting for #85.

  17. I remember going to friday night Giant-Dodger games at Candlestick in the mid 70’s and seeing many fights out in the bleachers. Also seeing the burning of dodger pennants, F the Dodger bumper stickers, and “Bill Buckner” harassments ! 
    So let’s just say these 60 year old “fathers” at 49er games have retained some of their old “spirit” even though some of their middle and top parts have lost some of “Their Spirit”. Also, It’s amazing what a Venta coffee can do to a 60 year old !
    Bottom line … Nothing at Candlestick has changed. ( Thank goodness ! )