Posted on 24 May 2010 by Wanna Be Sports Guy
The saga of San Francisco’s Candlestick Park testifies to its status as one of the most bumbling, poorly conceived, and hilarious structures in the history of professional sports. Indeed, the legend goes that the man who sold the land to the stadium developers would only take them to the site during a certain daylight window. He had, as it turned out, timed each showing to the few minutes of each day when the wind didn’t send hats, coats, and and small children into the Pacific Ocean.
The gusts that howled through the field were so terrible, in fact, that at one point it picked up an entire batting cage and deposited it some sixty feet away.
And so, rather than endure sub-zero temperatures and biting winds, many fans chose to listen to the radio broadcast of the games from the comfort of their own homes. With attendence dropping and the frachise nearing financial trouble, Giants management turned to a man named Pat Gallagher to save their collective skins.
Gallagher had been working for several aquarium parks before tackling the ‘Stick. And all his time spent around intelligent marine life must have had some positive effects.
First, the man realized that Giants fans weren’t dumb. Not matter how good he tried to make the park look on television, attendees could not be enticed. So, rather than dress it up, he decided to do something radical: Make the park look even worse than it actually was.
Soon, television commercials began to appear, featuring fans huddled together cheering on their Giants, complete with icicles hanging from their noses. Despite the harsh conditions, these diehards made it plain to all: If you were a loyal fan, braving the games at Candlestick was a point of pride.
To add to this, Gallagher instituted a new award to be given free to any fans who stayed through to the end of an extra-inning night game. Known as the “Croix de Candlesticks”, these badgers featured a Giants logo partially obscured by snow, complete with the Latin inscription “Veni, Vidi, Vixi.” The meaning?
“I came, I saw, I survived.”
This was not the only stroke of genius by Gallagher. During a time when mascots were a big deal in baseball, it was obvious that the hardcore fans who braved the elements were not interested in jumping on the foam rubber bandwagon. So, rather than risk backlash with your average cheesy mascot, the brilliant man created the worst, most pathetic mascot he could concieve. It’s name? The Crazy Crab.
The Crab was a horribly cobbled together suit, intended to be so bad that fans would find it entertaining. And again, Gallagher’s plot worked to perfection. Fans would playfully boo the creature, while players would lob rosin bags off it’s poorly constructed shell.
So, while the ‘Stick may have been an architectural disaster, it was at least saved by the shrewd marketing mind of Pat Gallagher.
- Taylor Maxwell
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