There is no better place to be a baseball fan than in San Francisco, and San Francisco Bay is one of the reasons.
I was raised by diehard S.F. Giants fans, and earned my stripes bundled up at windswept Candlestick Park. My father and I would sit in our car in the driveway at night to get the best radio reception. This week's pennant fever reminds me of the playoff game I attended at The 'Stick in 1971 against the Pittsburgh Pirates, sitting on the first base line near the great Roberto Clemente.
One of the great features of AT&T Park is its embrace of our beautiful San Francisco Bay. The Bay itself is a central player, as thousands of fans arrive on ferries and anticipate a Splash Hit home run into McCovey Cove, sprinkled with kayaks and sailboats. I love sitting in the stands, admiring the beautiful views or the fog curling over the hills. Unique and unforgettable.
This week I'm nostalgic and excited about what Giants baseball means to me and the whole Bay Area -- fans and non-fans. We're celebrating the Bay and our quality of life as much as we are rooting for our home team. If it hadn't been for citizens who stopped the Bay from being filled in 50 years ago, this atmosphere would not exist today. Nearly every city on the Bay had plans to fill in the marshes and mudflats on their shorelines, urged on by big corporations like Standard Oil and Santa Fe Railroad who wanted to "make land." They would have shrunk the Bay to a narrow river.
Citizens rose up and halted the massive landfill plans. We don't build in the Bay anymore. But incredibly, two companies from Minnesota and Arizona are trying again today to destroy the Bay we all love. Cargill and DMB Associates want to fill 1,400 acres of Bay salt ponds with a massive new development of 12,000 homes, even though urban sprawl has already reduced the Bay's size by one-third and destroyed more than 90 percent of the Bay's wetlands. These salt ponds can and must be restored to natural tidal marsh to benefit people and wildlife, according to scientists.
Cargill and DMB are two giant corporations that don't care about our environment. They don't share our Bay Area values. They don't care that these ponds are a top priority for addition to the S.F. Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
But opposition is growing to their offensive plan. In an unprecedented showing of regional unity, more than 150 elected officials, Bay Area city councils, environmental groups, industry, labor unions and thousands of residents have demanded a halt to the project. Cargill should sell the salt ponds at fair market value, or donate them to a public agency for restoration to wetlands.
So, I'm calling on all lifelong Giants fans, Oakland A's fans, and all who love San Francisco Bay: Help stop greedy corporate outsiders from destroying the bay we've worked for 50 years to protect and restore. Learn more and take action at www.DontPaveMyBay.org.