Regardless of how ugly I found the stadium, I think tonight's experience was essential to proving that opulence doesn't necessarily translate into a good game day experience, and vice versa. Maybe when you hear about Yankee Stadium or the new Busch Stadium and all of the ritzy amenities, you expect so much glamour and pizazz that in the end you might be disappointed. This most definitely was not the case in Oakland. Walking up to the gate, I wasn't expecting much out of the stadium or Billy Beane's Athletics.
The game day experience got off to a GREAT start. Why, you ask? Because my trip happened to coincide with "Sluggie" night. Yes, you guessed it, I came home with a brand new, A's tattered snuggie to call my own. They actually came in handy, since I was wearing shorts when it became chilly.
And now to the write-up...
Location: It's definitely in Oakland. There is a BART stop there, but Mark and I had to drive from Palo Alto and it took us about an hour in traffic. We were able to park at the BART stop for free, though, and had a short walk to the stadium. The money we spent on parking was definitely used for my first In 'N Out burger stop on the trip. The neighborhood around the stadium is less than spectacular, and I did feel a little uncomfortable leaving the stadium.
Ballpark: As described above, it looks like your typical mid-1960s construction project. It's one of the few hybrid football-baseball stadiums left in the country, and the center field bleachers looked massive from behind home plate. That view is completely different than AT&T Park yesterday. Anyway, we sat in the outfield bleachers and had a pretty good view of home plate. That's the first picture. The second picture is from our temporary stop behind home plate.
Game: I would describe this as a "pure" baseball experience. No extravagance, few sponsors, no BS. Actually, there were so few sponsors that the virtual race they show on the scoreboard in the 4th inning were unsponsored dots. Did I say dots? Yes - red, white, and blue poker chip-looking dots racing around a track. Mark and I thought this was absolutely hilarious. The people in the bleachers were incredibly friendly. Just a different type of fan than AT&T Park or The Juice Box. Just fans watching baseball. No fluff, just a good time. The game itself was another victory for Joltin' Joe - Ben Sheets looked really good despite his funky delivery as the A's won 6-2. I thought I was going to get to see my first ejection the day after my first inside-the-park home run, but it didn't happen. Despite the poor 17,382 paid attendance, it really was an awesome experience.
Sheets pitching a gem...
Dave Trembley almost getting tossed in the first
Summary: The ballpark was mediocre at best. Location wasn't so great. The food was OK, the beer was cheap, the SNUGGIES WERE FREE, the people were very nice, Ben Sheets pitched well, and I never felt hassled, rushed, or like someone was trying to impress me for three hours. It was a ball game as ball games are meant to be played. You won't be going to the Oakland Coliseum to be wowed or have a chardonnay with your strikeouts and home runs, but you'll certainly enjoy the crowd and the game.
Overall: 6.5 (the Snuggie probably added half a point)
My Record: 2-0