While the Giants make enhancements to the waterfront ballpark each season, The Garden and The Gotham Club made this one of the bigger years on the construction front, said spokeswoman Staci Slaughter during a media open house Wednesday.
“Ten years ago, we were the first professional sports facility to provide Wi-Fi,” she said. “This is our 15th season and people in many respects feel it’s still a new park, and we want to make sure that they feel it is always new.”
The Garden, to be completed below the main scoreboard in center field by mid-May, was announced as the first edible garden at a major American sports facility last July by President Barack Obama.
On game days, fans will get to pick herbs to spice up their flatbread or pizza and access the ballpark’s sod farm. The Garden will serve as an outdoor classroom for youths year-round.
“We’re a business here,” Slaughter said, “and feel it’s important to tackle issues that are facing the community, like healthy eating.”
The members-only Gotham Club harks back to the Giants’ original name, the New York Gothams, when they were established in 1883. The social club has three venues — The Clubhouse, an exclusive dining area opening in late spring; The Bullpen, which provides on-field access to view batting practice before games; and The Game Room, featuring bowling lanes and a billiards table.
“Some of The Gotham Club was just empty space; some of it was storage,” Slaughter said. “When you work here, you discover nooks and crannies that you might not have known of before.”
New premium seating includes The Dockers Deck in the Fan Lot; The Press Club with black, cushioned seats; and The Candlestick Suite with authentic seats from Candlestick Park, the Giants’ old ballpark for 40 seasons.
AT&T Park is also among the first sports venues to permanently install iBeacon technology, which enables the Giants to send information to fans with an Apple iOS7 device. Coupled with the At the Ballpark smartphone app, fans will get to check in and receive exclusive offers.
A wide selection of new food items will be offered this season. The popular Crazy Crab’z stand, for one, has new sandwiches of cod fillet and ahi tuna with wasabi mayonnaise and ginger-lime cole slaw on its menu.
“It’s always high quality here,” said Crazy Crab’z stand cook Matt Banks. “We’re keeping up with the standard.”
The home opener April 8 will mark the Giants’ 247th consecutive sellout, the longest active sellout streak in Major League Baseball, said Mario Alioto, the Giants’ senior vice president of business operations.
“There’s no doubt,” he said, “AT&T Park is still the hottest ticket in town.”
Update: The San Francisco Giants took to Twitter Wednesday evening to apologize to the San Diego Padres for claiming to have the first edible garden at a major league ballpark. The Padres also have a garden.
We weren’t aware of the Padres garden and are thrilled that another organization has such a wonderful space. Here's to a HEALTHY 2014— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) March 27, 2014