The Coliseum & Sports Arena, Oakland
In my quest to visit all the major league baseball stadiums, I arrived at the County Coliseum, or CoCo as it is affectionately known, in Oakland.
There are some nasty rumors that the Oakland A's maybe some day be moving across the bay (which would be ridiculous, since the Giants are already there) or somewhere else, like San Jose, so I knew time was of the essence on this one. When interleague play brought my Dodgers here for the first time in ages, I decided this was the time to go.
Despite the fact that it's not much to look at from the outside and there seemed to be more Dodger caps in the stands than As caps, I had a good time. Here's my review:
1) Arrival & Departure
This is pretty good. I thought it was very easy access off the freeway and getting in and out of the parking lot itself was fairly simple. Parking was expensive although everything is more expensive in the Bay Area so I shouldn't have been surprised. I give this a 4.
I give this one a 4 as well. I was pleasantly surprised, actually. The hot dogs were tasty, buns were fresh. Also, the hot chocolate was surprisingly good. I was expecting the instant stuff swirled in some hot water but I don't think that's what it was. It really tasted like it was made in milk.
Well, I have to give this a 2. I wasn't real impressed. I know the stadium is old but that really didn't have anything to do with my low score. I attended the game with someone who was using a wheelchair because of a recent injury. To get down to where our seats were, we had to go to the far end of the stadium to get one of only a few elevators and then, once down there, we had to go all the way back over to our section. And the seats were SO hard! Even with a seat cushion, I was uncomfortable after less than an hour.
I have to give this a 4. I had a really good time. My grumblings about the cost of parking and the cold weather were placated upon entering and receiving FREE peanuts and a FREE scorecard. I love free!:-) Granted, I did attend on a "Throwback Thursday" so the free stuff may not be a regular thing, but it was fun. They played a lot of nice music in-between innings (they still have an organist like we do at Dodger Stadium!) and they didn't have a lot of dumb stuff going on like cheerleaders or weird mascots. They expect you to be entertained by the game, something a lot of stadiums seem to have forgotten.
The only reason this aspect of my visit wasn't given a 5 is because of the food vendors. I have NEVER seen so many vendors in a stadium! They made a constant stream up and down my aisle blocking my view of what was happening down on the field. That made me mad enough but then getting "CHURROS!" and "SNO-CONES!" screamed in my ear was really too much. I wish someone who worked at the stadium had asked me if I enjoyed my visit because I would've given them an earful.
Overall, I give this a 3 1/2. The inconvenience of the elevators and discomfort of the seats were minor complaints compared to how much fun I had. I really hope they don't move the As out of town. This is a nice city and they have a good team - they deserve to stay put instead of being moved somewhere just because they MIGHT get a bigger audience. I can't imagine that happening somewhere like San Francisco because they already have a team and some place like San Jose wouldn't be a solution either because if people aren't willing to cross the bay to see the As what makes them think people would be willing to travel even further by car or BART?
Although the parking was expensive, this is a fairly inexpensive baseball experience. If you take the BART you don't have to worry about parking and the ticket prices themselves were very reasonable (cheaper than across the bay at AT&T Park, from what I saw when comparing the two).
Equipment: It's the bay area and as such it is COLD. For example, the game I attended was in the last week of June and the temperature at starting time (which was 12:30 in the afternoon) was 55 degrees. Luckily I had a blanket in my car, so I took it in the stadium with me and wrapped up in it and drank hot chocolate so I survived but you might want to pack better than this silly SoCal girl did. Bring a jacket and, if you're attending a night game, bring some gloves and/or a hat. It can get seriously chilly, even in the summer.
Raider Nation ain't what it used to be, but hope springs eternal with yet another new coach (this one likes to punch out the staff)
Equipment: Just my opinion, but if I was a stubborn diehard shamelessly-loyal Raider fan,
(not to mention crazy enough to pony up thousands of $s to sit in that ridiculous stadium for 8 weeks a year plus exhibition)
... I would request the current Raider front office be put politely but firmly out to pasture. The once-proud Raider franchise is now a shell of it's former self.
East Bay sports fans deserve better product than this.
Latest Raider Woes
With the exception of the glory years of the early 1970's, the A's have always been the Bay Area's second choice to the beloved Giants - despite the fact that they have consistently been the better team.
Games here hardly ever sell out and on many nights the park is less than half full. It's the same game, though, and there are lots of die-hard A's fans hailing mostly from the East Bay.
The A's are a small market club in a big market town. They certainly deserve a lot more fans than they get. Crowds get a bit bigger when they're playing major market teams like the Yankees or Red Sox, or when they're playing the hated Angels.
Going to games is easy (BART goes right to the Coliseum), and, depending on the night you go, amazingly cheap - on Wednesday nights upper deck seats are only $2! I wouldn't bother getting tickets in advance (unless it's for one of the exceptions listed above, or if you've got to have the best seats available).
Compared to the hoidy-toidy Giants and their new ballpark and gazillion dollar payroll, the A's are a more down to earth, normal Joe kinda team.
Oh, one warning though... if you drive, park in the lots - do NOT park on the streets surrounding the stadium! Like most big city ballparks, the Coliseum is in a very bad neighborhood, and it's very possible you could have your car broken into or have your battery stolen. I know this because it happened to me!!!
Equipment: ***UPDATE FOR 2006 SEASON! The A's, in an attempt to boost lagging sales and to attract a better class of crowd, have taken the unusual step of closing the entire upper deck! This effectively reduces the capacity of the stadium to around 43,000. So I'm guessing that the previously mentioned cheap nights are gone. In addition, this would also make tickets less readily available for big series (meaning Yanks, Red Sox, and Angels). So I would say that tickets are probably less available than they used to be, but if they're not playing one of the big 3, you should be able to get tickets at the gate.
Okay... I don't give a rat's behind about the NBA, and growing up with the Warriors obviously had something to do with that.
The Warriors, over the past 15 years or so, have been one of the worst franchises in professional sports - if not THE worst. For some unknown, unfathomable reason, people still go to actually see them - usually to root for the team they are playing against. Thankfully... AMAZINGLY... the Warriors are actually improving (finally) and look like they may make the playoffs this year - in a sport where you really have to stink to not make the playoffs!
You'd think the tickets would be really cheap. Guess again. I don't know what they're going for these days (nor care), but it used to be like $42 for lower deck seats! Tickets are usually plentiful, unless they're playing a hot, popular team, or the team that the latest NBA "superstar" is on, or the Lakers (whether they're hot or not).
First off, let me say that I am NOT a Raider fan. I hate the Raiders. I have an affinity for that OTHER Bay Area football team - y'know, the one that won 5 Super Bowls!
It's hard for me to pin down what exactly I hate about them the most. The way they swindled the city of Oakland, the way their thuggish persona brings out the worst in their fans (and players), or that virtually all of their home games are blacked out thanks to owner Al Davis' "creative" deal making. But if I had to pick one thing, I would say what I hate the most is what they did to the Coliseum.
Before the Raiders moved back from Los Angeles, the Coliseum was a very pleasant place to watch baseball. The weather was always great, and the sloped lawns in the outfield were a great backdrop to a summer's evening. Part of the deal which brought the Raiders back was the mandating of building a huge, imposing wall of godawful skyboxes, with what are probably the highest seats in sports at the top. This monstrosity is referred to as "Mount Davis," and totally ruined the aesthetics of the park. In the accompanying photo, you see a picture of Mt Davis from the side. The seats just to the right of it are actually the Upper (3rd) Deck of the old Coliseum!
Equipment: Bring a gun! Okay, maybe that's a bit harsh, but Raiders fans have a reputation of being rowdy and unruly - a reputation that no doubt draws a large percentage of their crowd. Most of these are just lawyers and hospital interns releasing their inner thug, but some of them are downright dangerous. Particularly, you want to be careful in the parking lots. I would NOT wear any gear sporting the logo of the opposing team, and I definitely would not wear anything that says 49ers on it. Yes, it's that bad.
As bad as all this sounds, this is actually BETTER than when they were the Los Angeles Raiders. I had the misfortune of going to a LA Raiders game back in 1986 (AFC Championship where they were crushed by the Patriots, who were later crushed by the Bears). The only way I can describe it was that it was a 90,000 person gang fight.
No offense but KC is not one of my favorite teams. I was even more upset when they won.
Equipment: Layer up, it might be warm in the afternoon, definately warmer than San Francisco ,but it gets chilly at night. So bring sun screen and a blanket!
Go and watch a game of the A's. We saw them playing and winning *g* against the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 11th.
Seats were behind home play which was fine and just $8.
It can get quite cold there at night, so better take a jacket. I learned it the hard way.
As far as looks go this sports complex is not very pleasing to the eye. But since Oakland is a "small market" in terms of pro sports, you can get very good priced tickets. It's a shame the A's don't sell out as much as good as they've been the last few years. The Warriors even advertise on billboards that they have "The Lowest Priced Lower Bowl Seating in the NBA." Of course the Raider Nation is starting to represent the last couple of years (It's so funny that some of those people dressed with the paint and spikes are sometimes software engineers).
One cool thin about this sports complex is that you can ride bart and walk over the parking lot. People even go as groups on the trains and get to talk to other sports fans on the way to the game.
Connie Mack managed the A's for 50 years, (1901-1950).
During their 54 year stay in Philadelphia, they produced such Hall of Famers as: Frank Baker, Chief Bender, Ty Cobb, Mickey Cochrane, Eddie Collins Sr. Jimmie Foxx, Nelson Fox, Lefty Grove, George Kell, Nap Lajoie, Connie Mack, Eddie Plank, Al Simmons, Tris Speaker, Rube Waddell, and Zack Wheat. Some of them are better known for their play with other teams but all were A's at one time.
Going to the Coliseum for a baseball game. Have been here a couple of times now. Have seen the Yanks and the Twins play here against the A's.