I want to share with you an e-mail I sent to the SF Giants/AT&T Park management about one of their new policies to inspect ticketholders to gain access to the main concourse that covers the bleacher and arcade sections (includes behind the main scoreboard). Here is my letter:
Dear AT&T Park Representative,
I attended last night's game (Friday, May 15, 2009) and I noticed at the pathway where the lower box and bleachers section is located, there were AT&T Park employees inspecting people's tickets to see if they were sitting in the bleacher and arcade sections. I am wondering, why did the ballpark enforce this policy? As I remember the original ballpark policy, any ticketholder, regardless of which section, is free to roam around the main pathways of the bleacher and arcade sections, including the "Build a Bear/Seal" workshop, Coca Cola Bottle, and the specialty vendors behind the scoreboard.
Here is their reply I just received today:
Thank you for writing.
Unfortunately the demographics and behaviors of the audience we have been entertaining at certain Giants games at AT&T Park are changing for the worse. In an attempt to regain control of our ballpark for all Giants games, and have a more family friendly environment, we have adopted several measures that taken singly have little effect, but taken together have had a significant mitigating influence in under age drinking of alcoholic beverages, and aggressive fan behavior. One segment of our program involves a more stringent gate search of packages and containers brought in by our guests.
The general policy is as follows:
Factory-sealed plastic bottles and soft-sided juice containers containing non-alcoholic beverages are allowed in AT&T Park . Unsealed plastic bottles and soft-sided containers will be subject to inspection and may be confiscated. Glass and metal cans are not permitted for any game. Alcoholic beverages are not permitted from outside the ballpark for any game.
For high profile games this policy is enforced as strictly as is reasonable from the point of view of the San Francisco Police, the California Alcohol Control Board, Major League Baseball, and the San Francisco Giants to prevent outside alcoholic beverages coming through our gates. The high profile game policy is in force for all Friday and Saturday night games, and a few other night games that because of the Giants opponent, and related fan behavior challenges we have historically encountered at these games we have labeled as “high profile night games” (i.e. the Dodger, Mets, Cubs, A’s).
I am happy to report AT&T Park remains one of a shrinking minority of Major League ballparks that continues welcome guests to carry in their own food and non-alcoholic beverages to baseball games.
Another segment of this effort is controlling the numbers of guests permitted onto the concourse above the bleachers and the Arcade by limiting it to folks who have tickets in those locations and parents with children who want to go to the Build-a-bear Store, and Coca Cola Fan Lot. This procedure is currently in place only for Friday and Saturday night games
Vice President, Guest Services
San Francisco Giants Baseball Club
This is an odd response from the management. It looks like Rick Mears copied and pasted a template letter and just added the last paragraph about access to the bleacher/arcade section (NOT PROFESSIONAL AT ALL). My e-mailed question didn't ask about the alcohol policy or "high profile" games, I just wanted to know about the main concourse walkway in the outfield areas. The reply should have just briefly stated the Friday/Saturday access policy, and I would have been satisfied with the answer.
For the alcohol policy: I questioned the Giants about it last year at this link.
And just to add a little gas to the fire, what's the policy for SRO (Standing Room Only) ticketholders on Friday and Saturday games? Nothing personal, but with a SRO ticket, the views suck in the lower box behind the last row of lower box seats. Plus, the ticket inspection policy doesn't really work when people enter the gate at McCovey Cove (like the ferry passengers) or claims to have their "family members" at Build a Bear.
Lastly: I don't support underage drinking, and this ballpark will continue to kill-off longstanding policies and privileges to their loving fans. You wonder why the ballpark is losing money, they only limit you to one BEER per visit; they used to allow you to buy two at a time. What's next? No more outside food? Amici's pizza and Starbucks is much better than some of the expensive stuff in the park.