But it didn't come from a turnaround in the downtrodden Internet business. Rather, the jump start came from a decidedly low-tech business: baseball. The San Francisco Giants won the National League pennant at their 2-year-old downtown ballpark in "SoMa," bringing more happiness to the neighborhood than it has seen in years.
"This is going to revitalize the area," said one fan as she left the ball game to the sound of a street celebration. "The dot-coms cleaned up this neighborhood real well--then they went out of business."
Added another, whose shout competed with the sound of honking horns: "SoMa is back in business."
The Giants beat the St. Louis Cardinals 2-1 on three straight singles, with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning at Pacific Bell Park. When the game ended, the airwaves became so loud and congested that this editor couldn't make a cell phone call from the park to relate the good news to his wife--not exactly a ringing endorsements of "SoMa's" high-tech status.
When Pacific Bell Park first opened in 2000, Internet companies were still riding high. For example, the Giants struck a deal with Internet grocer Webvan for the company to plaster its logo on cup holders on most seats at the ballpark. But Webvan, along with countless other Internet companies, has shut down since then. The Blue Diamond Almond brand has replaced Webvan on the cup holders.
Despite the downturn, a few Internet companies remain in SoMa. Tenants still include CNET Networks, publisher of News.com, and LookSmart, among others.
Although the dot-com fallout has hurt restaurants and bars in the once-high-flying area, most of them were jam-packed Monday night. The customers were dressed in black for the most part. But that didn't signal a renaissance in dot-com fashion: The Giants asked their fans to dress in black, one of the colors in their uniform.