Crews reducing Candlestick to rubble

CANDLESTICK PARK — After decades of exciting and painful San Francisco sports history, Candlestick Park is officially seeing its final days.

Lennar Urban and Silverado Contractors began tearing out the bright orange stadium seating Wednesday morning, the first step toward total demolition of the 55-year-old facility.

Tucked away in the farthest corner of Bayview-Hunters Point since 1960, the delicate old stadium will be taken down with care after members of the community addressed concerns that demolition would spread dust and debris to the neighborhood, site manager Jermaine Smith told SFBay.

As a giant crane gobbled the most expensive seats at San Francisco sports fans’ favorite place to be miserable, workers were hosing down clouds of crushed concrete with water to minimize the spread of dust.

Photos by Scot Tucker/SFBay

According to Smith, Candlestick’s demise will not come at the hands of explosives or 1950s-era wrecking balls:

“This is more precision demolition, so we’ll be using cutters and hammers. No swinging swinging of wrecking balls like you see in movies, this is more precise demolition. You don’t do that with wrecking balls.”

Many fans probably remember “The Stick” as the place they caught their first game with dad, or the place they saw Dwight Clark cement his legacy on every poster in San Francisco, or maybe where they were proposed to via Jumbotron. But today, the stadium is literally a shell of its former self.

Two steps into the apocalyptic stadium, it’s hard to shake the feeling that you know the building — and its accompanying sentiments — are coming down sooner rather than later.

Tired piles of red, white and blue bunting are draped over piles of trash, waiting to be thrown out along with the very house that a quaking World Series shook but couldn’t break.

Old posters of ex-49ers from the 2013-2014 season still hang above nosebleed seats where many fists flew and drinks spilled. “Ray (McDonald’s) Renegades” and other banners hung eerily along the ring of honor, showing Candlestick could care less about any goings on in Santa Clara.

You’ll actually be able to walk around the expensively-redeveloped Candlestick area in 2017. According to Smith, Lennar Urban and The City — along with retail developer Macerich — will begin construction on a new mall after Candlestick Park is nothing but a memory.

Until then, head wrecker Larry Thomas said Candlestick Park will remain upright for about three more months.