Smith: Bittersweet trip back to the 'Stick

Chris Andrian played hooky Monday afternoon.

The acclaimed Sonoma County criminal defense attorney shot home about noon, changed into red-and-gold and headed south with his wife, Margaret, to bid a fond farewell to a steely but big-hearted friend.

"It's an epic moment for me," Andrian, 70, said of the last regular-season 49ers game at Candlestick Park.

That makes the finale at the 'Stick an epic moment for an epic fan.

Andrian grew up in San Francisco and began eating and breathing the Niners when he was 6 and they played at Kezar Stadium in Golden Gate Park. That was 1949.

Also a great baseball fan, Andrian was at Candlestick Park on the day it opened in 1960 as the new home of the Giants. He remembers late, great Giants announcer Russ Hodges triumphantly asking the opening-day crowd, "What do you think of the Giants' new ballpark?"

Of course, the crowd roared its approval of the new digs. But then San Francisco's infamous summer wind and fog howled in. Candlestick was never to be a good place for baseball.

But the Niners moved there in 1971 and Andrian became one of the bedrock fans who found that thanks to S.F.'s typically temperate fall/winter season, it is quite a comfortable football stadium. It's certainly been a second home to him all these many years.

The team isn't making life any easier on him by moveing to Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara. But he'll be there.

"It's my 64th year," he said before driving for perhaps the last time to Candlestick. "I'm not going to give up now."

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