Being the daughter of a baseball groupie, I grew up with baseball in the background. Every Cincinnati Reds game played on Mom’s radio and I could wile away hours flipping through the signed memorabilia from her youth that Mom had tucked away in cabinets in the basement – scorecards, pennants, balls, and even a cracked bat that an usher sanded down for her when she was a teen. [She collected autographs on that bat all season and then that same usher recoated the bat to protect those signatures forever. Pretty cool!]
I never acquired the baseball bug as much as Mom but I do have my own signed memorabilia from the ‘Big Red Machine‘ of the 70s, I do understand the game, and I can still sing most of the beer jingles that played on Mom’s radio so long ago.
This being said, it came as a bit of a surprise to me as I walked around San Francisco’s AT&T Park the other day, that I was most impressed by a small sign on the exterior of the building. It wasn’t the plaques on the Wall of Fame showing the many super athletes who played for the Giants over the years. It wasn’t the monument or memorabilia case to the great Willie Mays. It wasn’t the brass markers set into the walkways commemorating the many championship pennants won or the records set by players not yet on the Wall of Fame.
Rather, it was a plaque commemorating that AT&T Park was the first major league ball park to earn LEED Silver certification back in 2010. That little plaque caused me to seek out what they did and how they did it. It wasn’t rocket science; it was a bunch of common-sense changes that reduced energy and water consumption and promoted a plethora of public transportation options to get to the park.
Being a designer, I am well aware that earning LEED certification is no simple task, let alone do it with an existing ball park. The whole major league sports experience seems so counter to energy and environmental stewardship when you think about the amount of traffic, electric and water that gets utilized at each contest, as well as all the waste that results from the foods and beverages that we all consume while we take it all in. Don’t get me wrong. I thoroughly enjoy the experience but I do recognize that it comes with a price.
Since 2010, only two other teams have stepped up to the plate and earned certification for their park as well. A standing ovation for the Giants, the Brewers and the Marlins for taking strides to put forth teams that lead on the field as well as fields that ‘LEED’. You’re all champions in my book.