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McCovey Cove (2002)

McCovey Cove is the unofficial name of a section of San Francisco Bay beyond the right field wall of AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, coined after famed Giants first baseman Willie McCovey. The proper name for the cove is China Basin, which is the mouth of Mission Creek as it meets the bay. The cove is bounded along the north by AT&T Park, with a ferry landing and a breakwater at the northeast end. The southern shore is lined by China Basin Park and McCovey Point. To the east, it opens up to San Francisco Bay, while the west end of the cove is bounded by the Lefty O'Doul Drawbridge, named after San Francisco ballplayer and manager Lefty O'Doul.

The name was coined thanks to two sportswriters. Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury News wrote an article suggesting naming the body of water after McCovey, though his original suggestions were 'McCovey Channel,' 'McCovey Stream' or 'McCovey Run.' Purdy then noted the more 'lyrical' name of 'McCovey Cove' was suggested by his colleague Leonard Koppett, a writer for the Oakland Tribune.[1] The name did not take long to become very popular, although the moniker has never become official.

On game days, fans take to the water of McCovey Cove in boats and even in kayaks, often with fishing nets in the hope of collecting a home run ball. This echoes what used to happen during McCovey's playing days. Before Candlestick Park's upper deck was extended, the area behind right field was occupied by three small bleacher sections and a lot of open space. Kids in those bleachers would gather behind the right field fence when "Stretch" would come to the plate.

Just beyond the wall is a public waterfront promenade, where fans can watch three innings of a game through the wall's archways, free of charge, albeit with a somewhat obstructed view. Across the cove from the ballpark is McCovey Point and China Basin Park, featuring a statue of McCovey at the mouth of the Cove. At his feet are small plaques commemorating the winners of the Willie Mac Award, named in McCovey's honor. Along the southern shore of the cove, between McCovey Point and the O'Doul Bridge, is a walkway featuring plaques showing the Opening Day Roster of every Giants team from 1958 through 1999. Just south of the statue is Barry Bonds Junior Giants Field, a t-ball sized baseball diamond. [2]

Contents

Splash Hits

Splash hits are officially recorded only as Giants players who have hit home runs that have landed in the cove on the fly. As of August 29, 2009, 50 "Splash Hits" [3] had been hit into the Bay by Giants players since the park opened; 35 of those were by Barry Bonds. The only Giants other than Bonds to have done it more than once are Felipe Crespo (in 2001), Michael Tucker, Ryan Klesko, and Pablo Sandoval. 7 other Giants' players have accomplished the feat just once.

Non-Giants players have hit the cove 17 times. Of visiting players who have hit the cove, Carlos Delgado of the New York Mets has performed the feat the most, doing it three times. Luis Gonzalez who is currently a free agent and Cliff Floyd of the San Diego Padres are the only other visiting players to do so twice.

Pablo Sandoval hit the 49th splash hit on July 30, 2009 against the Philadelphia Phillies. He also hit the 50th splash hit on August 29, 2009 against the Colorado Rockies.[4]

When AT&T Park hosted the 2007 All-Star Game, McCovey Cove was heavily featured in promotional materials, and the namesake slugger presented each participant with special bats before the competition. However, the difficulty of hitting McCovey Cove with a home run was shown, as none of the eight sluggers competing were able to hit water, and all four left-handed batters (who are more likely to hit home runs to right field, and thus, to the Cove) were eliminated in the first round of the contest. The only player to hit water was Prince Fielder of the Milwaukee Brewers, who hit one into-the-water foul.[5] Fielder would eventually hit McCovey Cove with a fair ball on July 20th, 2008, as the 17th visiting player to hit a home run into the Cove.

Most Hits

Barry Bonds - 35
Carlos Delgado - 3
Ryan Klesko - 3
Pablo Sandoval - 2

References

External links

Coordinates: 37°46′38″N 122°23′17″W / 37.77722°N 122.38806°W / 37.77722; -122.38806

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