Thursday, September 26, 2013

Turn Out The Lights...

Woody with his legendary vintage autographed pajama top.

Candlestick Park was built the year I was born. I don't consider myself "old" but as sports stadiums go, in this day and age, Candlestick Park is ancient... and dying. The flame of Candlestick is barely flickering. Last Sunday, I paid my final respects to the "Stick" along with a couple buddies and many lasting memories.

I was taken back to 1974 and my first Monday Night Football game with the iconic broadcasting trio of Frank Gifford, "Dandy" Don Meredith, and Howard Cosell. Those early years, my childhood buddy liked the Cowboys, for me, the Forty-Niners were a chapter of a history lesson in middle school.

Then came the glory years of the 80's~~~ the 49er Dynasty. Yea, we all remember the Super Bowls, Joe, Jerry, Roger, Ronnie, and the Wersching Machine?? But on this glorious day, out on Hunters Point, it was clear, Candlestick had seen better days, and we were reliving them again, with our final tailgate party.

Memories of magical moments, like the time Jennifer Montana's young girls pressed each of the buttons on my shirt and counted down, "red button, red button, red button." Or when Paul jumped over the rail at halftime, grabbed a candle and chorus sheet, and marched mid-field with the local choir. The rest of us, enlightened, in the end zone wearing Santa beards.

Once, Murray was spotlighted with a T-shirt that read, I AM BOB UECKER. Then again, spotted and scolded for breaking a stadium seat.

Although the 49ers enjoyed their decade, the Giants were dismal. Candlestick hosted the 1984 MLB All-Star game. The lone Giants all-star, catcher Bob Brenly. How do I remember this? Well, after failing to score tickets to the game, we settled with sneaking in as parade attendants in the fourth inning. Bob Brenly? He struck out.

I was reminded of the Rolling Stones concert, when Mick Jagger could strut, Start Me Up, like a middle-aged Mick. That day we tailgate partied like it was 1999. Keeping up with Keith Richards? No way! We remembered the show.

So, with our last good-byes at the "Stick", we will sing the final song "Dandy" Don Meredith made famous, Turn out the lights, the party's over... It's time to go Candlestick Park. We'll miss you, but the grieving process should be pretty easy. Only about a third of the stadium lights still glow, after all these years.
Bring on the demolition TEAM!!

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