The tight-knit group of stalwarts who froze their asses off at The 'Stick during the Marvin Benard era has given way to an influx of wealthy, tech-savvy strangers. One of the guys in Buhner's row moved to New York City, but still peddles his tickets on the internet for every game. The season ticket-holders, seduced by an influx of cash and the technology to cash in, have taken on the role of absentee landlords.

Transforming a rent-controlled apartment into an Airbnb timeshare allows a greater array of people to enjoy a taste of our city. But only people willing to overpay for a temporary experience. People hoping to put down roots — which you could do when box seats cost $4.50 and houses cost $50,000 — have been hopelessly priced out of the market. AT&T Park has, in large part, become a haunt for tourists and affluent transients. As has San Francisco, of course.

There goes the neighborhood.

On a recent tour of Candlestick Park, your humble narrator had the opportunity to stroll through the team locker room, down the tunnel, and onto the field. Ballplayers are a superstitious lot and, stretching back further than even the Evans-Thomas-Clark years, the carpeting has never been changed. A half-century of sweaty athletes' feet trod upon its surface; it smells of YMCA shower togs and E. coli and Gorgonzola and sweaty athletes' feet.

They can't blow this place up soon enough.

Just as the demographics within AT&T Park mirror the city's own, the abandonment of The 'Stick in favor of a gorgeous, privately funded gem marks some manner of progress. A frigid, windswept, misbegotten stadium has given way to a transit-friendly destination in the heart of a thriving retail and residential community it begat. San Francisco may never have been more beautiful than it is right now.

But that beauty comes at a price. The cost of remaining here is growing ever more untenable. We have become a city of strangers. We are all alone, together.

Buhner, meanwhile, isn't going anywhere. The Giants' play of late has been painful, but the team is his passion. Pain is the price of passion and a down payment on joy.

Giants fans know this to be true. They also know his solution for surviving the real estate crunch both inside and outside the ballpark: Wait till next year.

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3 comments
Judith Henderson
Judith Henderson

That's a crock, the city is spinning out of control with made-up pricing in housing and every other grey area. Get real and then play ball.

Rachel Leung
Rachel Leung

The case shows the #1 reason to attend a giants game was social reasons. #2 ballpark food #3 baseball (finally)

Rachel Leung
Rachel Leung

The transformation to sell out crowds came from a new strategy from a marketing agency set to highlight social experience at games. The repositioning of the. "Product" is what drive demand. Dynamic pricing came after and was just byproduct of the repositioning.

 
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