Last night's exhibition match between the US and Azerbaijan World Cup teams may have seemed sentimental for some -- particularly those nostalgic for the old 49ers games at Candlestick.
For others, it was a concatenation of horribles. Attendance was dismal, concession lines were interminable, and, despite the balmy spring evening, fans were wind-bitten in the stands. Apparently, wind was also buffeting the US players, who played an utterly uninspired game against their 85th-ranked rivals.
But the real headaches happened at the gate, where numerous fans were turned away for bringing bags or backpacks, which are permitted at just about every sports venue in the Bay Area.
At AT&T park, right across the city, Giants fans freely toted all variety of carry-ons to watch their team beat the Chicago Cubs.
It's not immediately clear why more security controls were required at Candlestick, or why two national soccer teams would engender a greater bomb threat -- particularly at a friendly exhibition match -- than two baseball rivals.
The new bag rules on Candlestick's website prohibits anything except small clutches and clear plastic totes, in accordance with current NFL policies. But the same restrictions don't necessarily apply to baseball and soccer.
And anecdotally, they weren't enforced in previous years, which suggests that San Francisco only recently became more neurotic about security. Or that it decided to impose new rules now that its prized stadium is on the verge of being razed.
A spokeswoman from San Francisco's Recreation & Parks Department, which oversees Candlestick, has yet to comment.
Security expert Bruch Schneier says the new rules are completely random, and mostly inconsequential -- unless the point is to prevent patrons from bringing in food, so the park can sell more concessions. Otherwise, he says, "they don't even pass the cursory stupid test."
Ostensibly, park officials want to drive away terrorists. In reality, they're driving away the well-intentioned fans who just want to watch crappy soccer.