On Tuesday night’s broadcast, Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper started talking about day games vs. night games, and they referenced the 1985 experiment where the vast majority of home games (65 out of 81!) at Candlestick Park were played during the day. And while I probably went to 20 of those games, I had no idea that the ratio was so unusual. The Giants were trying everything.
Did it work?
Attendance by year
1983 - 1.2 million (9th of 12)
1984 - 1 million (11th of 12)
1985 - 818,000 (11th of 12)
It did not work. It was also the only season in team history with 100 losses — this year’s team has already won 71 games, so this isn’t a jinx — and that couldn’t have helped, but the experiment sure adds some flavor to one of the most fascinating disasters in the history of the franchise.
While going down the rabbit hole of 1985, I found some hilarious box scores. Like this one from September 4, on a beautiful 72-degree afternoon. The sun was shining and the Giants won 4-3 on a three-run homer from Rob Deer in the bottom of the ninth inning. Had you been there, it would probably have been one of the best games you would ever attend.
You did not attend.
That’s the announced attendance. With the worst team in baseball down by two in the ninth, how many people do you think stayed? Marjorie, sure. Bradley, right. Albert was always optimistic, so she definitely stuck around, and that probably meant Carla was there, too. So four. There were four people there.
I’m so jealous.
Anyway, there’s a game starting in an hour, so we’ll get to the best find of the rabbit hole, which is this video from a local newscast about the Giants’ 1985 season.
I’ll do my best to tally up the amazing parts.
- The first commercial shown. It’s a commercial that glorifies Candlestick’s reputation as Hoth’s rectum. Everyone in the commercial is miserable. The commercial invites you to be miserable, too, because if the game ends in extra innings, you’ll get a button.
- Pat Gallagher admitting that Candlestick is a frozen death tundra at night, which everybody knew, but it’s still worth remembering that it was so obvious that team officials didn’t even have to pretend.
- Bob Brenly talking about underwear
- The talk of putting a dome on Candlestick
- The amazing Doofus Dome commercial clip, which made me desperate for the full commercial. THE INTERNET DELIVERS
Decades later, it’s hard to imagine just how things have changed. The Giants play in the best ballpark in baseball, and it will still be around in a century, sea levels permitting. They don’t run ads that glorify nihilism and hopelessness. They are still tripping over bullpen mounds, but they’ll actually catch some of the balls.
So thanks to Kruk and Kuip for reminding us about the 1985 Giants and just how weird the whole scene was. This video deserves to be remembered for that reason alone. And then you get to the guy falling down! It’s an embarrassment of riches, really.