Friday, April 16, 2010

Oakland Coliseum

The Oakland Coliseum is a pretty ugly building from the outside.  The pink flowers they have surrounding it try to give it a little bit of dignity, but they just look funny next to the gray cement.  It's currently the fourth oldest stadium in MLB (can anyone name the three that are older?), and it definitely shows it.  Nondescript, rarely any pictures, paintings, or color at all.  I guess it makes sense that it's called the Coliseum.

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.

Food: The food selection was pretty average, probably worse than AT&T Park.  I had a "famous" park tip sandwich that was essentially a roast beef po-boy.  Mark had a chopped BBQ beef sandwich that he said was pretty good.  I'll be forced to believe him.  The Coliseum offered $5 domestics in a cup about the size of those from AT&T Park, but they offered larger ones for $8.  Definitely a better value.  Unfortunately, my beer was K.I.A. in about 5 minutes by a group of bleacher bums arguing about their seats.  Also, saw someone walking around with garlic fries. 2-2 there.

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.

Location: 4
Ballpark: 4
Food: 5
Game: 9
Amenities: 0
Overall: 6.5 (the Snuggie probably added half a point)

My Record: 2-0


Alan said...

Obviously Fenway and Wrigley are older. Without looking it up or thinking about it for very long, I'm going to guess that Chavez Ravine is the other stadium that is older.

Joe Herman said...

Mr. Blackburn for the win! The Angels stadium actually opened the same year as the Coliseum, so technically Oakland and Anaheim are tied for fourth.

Alan said...

Maybe as part of your blog there can be a daily trivia question related to the team that you are visiting.

Joe Herman said...

Good idea. I'll try to figure out a way to put the question on the sidebar...if not I'll put them in the write-ups.

Steve Scott said...

Anaheim Stadium opened in April, 1966 for baseball, while the Oakland Coliseum didn't open until September, 1966 for football, and the A's didn't move there until 1968. So, Anaheim is older.