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Oracle Park, where the home runs crash into the sea

Real Madrid and América will face each other in a stadium so close to the Bay that some home runs go straight into the water. It’s the land of the Giants.

San FranciscoUpdate:
El Oracle Park de San Francisco.

It’s not easy, but Real Madrid or Club América can manage today to join one of the most colorful traditions of sport in San Francisco. Oracle Park will host today’s duel in a stadium as it takes a break from hosting San Francisco Giants baseball games. What makes the stadium special is it’s proximity to the Bay in right field. It’s so close in fact, that when a batter hits a homerun to right field it plummets over the fence, and the small bleachers on top of the wall and splashing into McCovey Cove.

It is what is known as splash hits and on certain days there are fights between fans mounted on kayaks and boats to get the home run ball before it sinks forever. The record is held by Dave Edlund, who has managed to catch 44 during the 15 years he sat and waited for incoming homers in his canoe during every match. Although the special arrangement of the soccer field inside the stadium, which has the traditional diamond shape, will make it difficult for a ball to find the cove, because unlike baseball, the objective is not to send it out of the stadium, unless on a powerful clearance by a defender that could perfectly put soccer into the tradition of the splash hits...

La cercanía del Oracle Park con el agua de la Bahía.
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La cercanía del Oracle Park con el agua de la Bahía.

Built in 2007 for $357 million after ownership of the Giants threatened to take the baseball team to Florida, the Oracle will be filled with a significant percentage of the Latino community in San Francisco Although surprisingly, the city is best known for having the largest number of inhabitants of Asian origin in the entire United States. Tuesday’s tickets will be much more reasonable in San Fran than in the Las Vegas Classic ($115 for today, for the $265 of the cheapest for Real Madrid- Barcelona last Saturday). That’s why all 42,000 seats will be filled.

There is soccer fever among the Sanfrasciscans. The big European clubs usually drop by the Bay, but there is no team of their own in the MLS, perhaps one of the strangest cases of soccer in the US, although in recent years there have been business initiatives pressing to get a franchise. More than anything because the oldest League in the country was organized in San Francisco in 1903, in the midst of the gold rush. The presence of Real Madrid brings the same golden glow to the city of the Golden Gate, even if it has to be in the form of a summer friendly.

Vistas del Oracle Park desde fuera.
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Vistas del Oracle Park desde fuera.

Oracle replaces Candlestick, where the Beatles said bye bye

It won’t be anything new for Madrid to play in a stadium designed to host baseball games. In 2010 they already played in San Francisco against América (3-2, goals by Cristiano, Higuaín and Canales) but they played at Candlestick Park, curiously the venue of the last Beatles concert . It was in 1966, 17,000 tickets were left unsold and the promoter even lost money. But as far as Madrid and América are concerned, the important thing is that they no longer have to suffer from the icy microclimate that only affected Candlestick Park and was unbearable even for the locals. It was one of the reasons for demolishing it in 2015. Even so, San Francisco is located in a climatic ‘trap’ that makes its temperature average six degrees lower than the rest of California. Mark Twain said it best when he said … “the worst winter I have ever experienced was a summer in San Francisco”.


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