The popularity of McCovey Cove has dwindled since Barry Bonds’ exit from baseball and the Giants’ lack of a consistent power threat.
But now that the team is back in the playoffs for the first time since 2003 — and because tickets for the first round sold out in 30 minutes — the waters beyond the right-field wall are again the place to be with your baseball gloves and fishing nets.
City Kayak already has 11 bookings set up for today and Friday, the first two games of the National League Division Series. But on game day, more people are expected to stop in the shop looking for kayak rentals.
“These are significant games and it seems people are very interested in being out there as a way to celebrate,” said Ted Choi, owner of City Kayak.
During Sunday’s game — when the Giants’ postseason was still in limbo — the downtown shop rented around 60 kayaks, an unusually high number for a regular-season game. While he will not know exact numbers until game day, Choi said he is expecting around 20 renters this weekend.
After a lull following Bonds’ retirement, the increased number of nautical Giants fans will bring in more revenue for Choi during the playoffs. He rents the boats for $44 per day.
The City’s renewed pride in the Giants has boosted downtown businesses and has led local law enforcement officials to step up the patrols.
To deter rowdy crowds floating in McCovey Cove, the Coast Guard and San Francisco Police Department Marine Unit will have vessels nearby during the entire game, a precaution not usually taken during regular-season games.
Police Capt. Greg McEachern could not disclose details, but said officers will be taking the same precautions during the playoffs as they have during other high-profile events.
“We are not putting in an official security zone, we’re just there to show our presence,” Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Laura Williams said. “We want to keep people safe so everyone can enjoy the game.”
While City Kayak is not expecting anywhere near the number of kayakers this weekend as during the All-Star Game in 2007, Choi said that if there is a high volume of renters, someone from the shop will be out floating around the cove ensuring the safety of the customers.
City Kayak rents out boats for Giants fans to fill up McCovey Cove.
Where: South Beach Harbor, just up The Embarcadero from AT&T Park
Cost: $44 (standard rate)
On the Web: citykayak.site.aplus.net
Phone: (415) 357-1010
Right-field viewing area expected to be packed for playoffs
With National League Division Series tickets selling out within 30 minutes, many Giants fans will still be itching to catch a glimpse of playoff action this weekend against the Atlanta Braves.
Ticketless fans will still have access to the popular standing area on the public promenade along the right-field waterfront at AT&T Park, where they can watch the games through the fence for free.
However, AT&T Park personnel will be regulating the area, circulating crowds in and out every three innings.
“We want to make it fair so that people aren’t camped out in the area,” Giants spokeswoman Shana Daum said. “Regardless of when you got there, you will be asked to leave at three innings; no one is guaranteed any time there watching.”
The promenade is expected to see more traffic this weekend than at any time during the regular season, but Daum said as of yet, no extra precautions are being taken and security presence will not be amplified.