While the Giants are down in San Diego taking on the Padres this weekend, their home field has been transformed into a soccer pitch.
In anticipation of Saturday’s World Football Challenge that matches Manchester City and Club America, groundskeepers at AT&T Park had the field pretty much set for action on Thursday.
Senior Vice President of Ballpark Operations Jorge Costa told local media that if the match were to take place Thursday, it would be ready.
Immediately following the match, the grounds crew will be converting the field back to a baseball field and plan to have it ready by Monday’s Giants game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“We’re all about challenges here at [AT&T Park] and we have a great grounds crew here,” Costa said. “Whatever event we hold here in this facility, we’re built to do, and do it well. When baseball comes back here, the team won’t even notice the difference, and that’s the goal.”
The grounds crew laid out the soccer field Wednesday and took 1 inch off the infield dirt, removed the portable pitcher’s mound and laid sod to cover the diamond.
The goals will be placed behind first base, in front of the visitors’ dugout and in left field, just right of the 2010 World Series champions banner that’s placed on the left-field wall.
There have been six major soccer matches held at AT&T Park, with three of the matches having sold out. The last match held there was more than five years ago on Feb. 10, 2006, when the United States men’s soccer team defeated Japan 3-2.
“We sold out that match, it was great with a World Cup-type feel to it, and that is what we’re looking forward to this [Saturday],” Costa said.
President of Rezin Marketing, Peter Moran, who has had a big hand in getting this match here in San Francisco, didn’t give an estimated number on ticket sales, but expects a big crowd with a good walk-up for Saturday’s match.
Rezin noted that working with AT&T Park officials on hosting a soccer game in the middle of baseball season was fairly easy.
“It’s exciting and pro sports at its finest. It’s pretty exciting to do a match here at AT&T Park,” Rezin said.
WHAT: Match is part of the World Football Challenge
WHEN: Saturday, 5 p.m.
WHERE: AT&T Park