The longest nine-inning game in National League history
took place right here at San Francisco's AT&T Park back in 2001; the Los Angeles Dodgers outscored the hometown boys, 11-10, in a heart-breaking, ass-crack-numbing four hour and 27 minute Wagnerian opera of a ballgame.
Even still, the game would have been over by "just" 11:45 p.m. So it was confusing to see the lights of AT&T Park blazing away at 1 a.m. on Monday morning -- especially because the team was in Pittsburgh.
After a couple of calls to the team, we had our answer -- it's all Kenny Chesney's fault. The country music superstar played a near sold-out concert at AT&T on Saturday and setting up and breaking down those shows is more labor intensive than you might think. Setup commenced back on July 14, and didn't finish until Monday night/early Tuesday morning. In fact, any time you see the stadium's lights on late at night or in the wee hours when the team is hundreds of miles away, it's a good bet that someone is setting up or breaking down a non-baseball event; AT&T Park hosts far more non-baseball events than most Big League parks. Since the team owns the stadium outright, it doesn't need to get a dozen signatures to schedule a concert or festival. And, as the ballpark was largely privately financed, the team could use the money.
Jens Wein, the marketing manager for Giants Enterprises -- which organizes all the non-baseball events at the park -- said that one of the most labor-intensive elements of hosting, say, a concert at the park is setting up the seating on the grass. The team rents huge swaths of perforated plastic flooring called "teraplast" which covers the entire infield and outfield. The material keeps the stadium's infield and outfield grass from suffocating and turning yellow like the grass beneath the kiddie pool your parents put in the yard way back when. It's also reusable; the teraplast beneath concert-goers' feet during the Kenny Chesney show was recently used at a Coldplay concert.
Coldplay? Can we blame this for the Giants' cold bats this year? Is an exorcism in order? Get me Willie Mays in a voodoo priest's skeleton tuxedo -- on the double!