Tag Archives: O.co Coliseum

July 4th Baseball in Oakland

Yesterday Pam and I drove to Oakland to watch a baseball game. Last year I spent July 4th at the O.co Coliseum as well (a bit of a tradition is starting). This was Pam’s first baseball game, and it was my first game of the 2014 season. We arrived in Oakland around noon, stopped by In-N-Out Burger for lunch, then walked to the O.co Coliseum. It was a cool, sunny day. We purchased tickets for section 219, row 6.

A view from our seats at the O.co Coliseum.

A view from our seats at the O.co Coliseum.

When I looked at her I could see the field in her sunglasses.

When I looked at her I could see the field in her sunglasses.

The game was cleanly played. Both the A’s and Blue Jays came into the game in first place in their divisions–so I expected nothing less. I had hoped for some offensive fireworks from the powerful line-ups, since things are exciting when runs are being scored, but instead we got a pitchers’ duel (and that was okay).

A loyal fan wearing an Athletics beanie and cape walked by us playing a banjo. I now have a new retirement plan.

An elderly man wearing an Athletics hat and cape while playing the banjo walks by.

A fan walks by.

bp2I usually sprout roots and stay in my seat throughout a baseball game–today was an exception. I wanted Pam to get a chance to see the stadium and take in the various vantage points it offered. So we walked around the concourse. On our way a team photographer asked us to pose for a picture.

We had the obligatory hot dog, popcorn, and souvenir cup soda.

When we returned from the stroll around the park the game was still tied 0-0 in the late innings. The tie lasted right through regulation and free baseball commenced. Right around the time extra innings started a flock of pigeons started flying around the field and over the seats. One of those birds managed to drop a load of what appeared to be mayonnaise and honey mustard right on Pam’s head. I was wanting Pam’s first baseball experience to be very positive, so this bird-bombing was not part of the plan. But we laughed.

A view from our walk around the stadium.

A view from our walk around the stadium.

Extra innings began. Finally in the 12th inning Derek Norris walked and Nick Punto hit a double into the left field corner. Melky Cabrera had difficulty picking the ball up, and just like that the A’s had a walk-off win. The stadium erupted with joyful sounds. The game had lasted 4 hours and 5 minutes.

So Pam got a full dose in her first baseball game: a pitchers’ duel, extra innings, and bird poop. Through this she laughed and smiled a lot, and she told me it was not a terrible experience. I had a wonderful time.

Baseball is beautiful–and so is sharing it with someone.

Postscript: Here is a link to Pam’s account of the game.

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July 4th in Oakland

Last week I spent a couple of days in the Bay area with my PSU friend Andy. On July 4th I drove to Oakland in the morning. It was a beautiful, sunny day in central California. I arrived at my first destination (the In-N-Out Burger at 8300 Oakport Street) at 10:30am, parked my car, and ate an early lunch. I stashed my car at an undisclosed location and walked to the O.co Coliseum (I still think of it as Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum). I think the line to get into the ballpark was the longest line I have ever waited in barring traffic jams. A blanket giveaway was responsible for the early crowds.

A flying Minion entertained those of us waiting in line.

A flying Minion entertained those of us waiting in line.

Despite being at the ballpark two hours early I still failed to be one of the first 10,000 persons through the gate. Before the game started I explored the park. The concourse was very roomy, yet the early crowd resulted in a human traffic jam. As I walked along I repeatedly got stuck and had to just stand in place until I had space to move ahead. It makes me wonder how bad the crowd is during Oakland Raiders games (when they have 60,000 fans instead of the 32,000 the Athletics draw).

The concourse at O.co Coliseum.

The concourse at O.co Coliseum.

Because the stadium was set-up for baseball that meant almost 30,000 seats were covered by tarps. Most of the upper deck was off limits.

A closed walkway.

Stairs leading to a closed section of the upper deck.

You can see those massive tarps in the picture below. The entire upper level that is seen in the photo has tarps covering it. I thought this stadium might remind me of Veterans Stadium since it is a concrete bowl. Alas, it did not. While it is very circular it is not fully sided, there are openings. A small view of hills appears in one of the gaps in right center field. At the Vet you never saw the outside world unless you climbed to the top of the 700 level.

The glimpse of hills in right center field.

The glimpse of hills in right center field.

From center field you can see the small open section in the upper deck that is situated behind the plate.

The view from center field.

The view from center field.

All around the stadium there were signs offering help if you would text “issue” and your location to a specific number. I might keep this number in my phone for future use.

I could use a number like this.

I could use a number like this.

Since it was July 4th the ballpark had a festive feel. A large flag was rolled out in center field. People were dressed up in patriotic attire.

Uncle Sam sat near me.

Uncle Sam sat near me.

During the announcement of the A’s starting line-up the theme from the A-Team played. I loved that.

When Andy arrived we talked about life for the remainder of the game. It was great to catch up. In some ways my time in Happy Valley feels like yesterday and in other ways it feels like an eternity ago.

The game was an interleague affair (an abomination). The Athletics beat the Cubs 1-0. The lone run scored on a passed ball. The last time that happened in MLB was 20 years prior to the day. Bizarre.

Josh Donaldson at the dish.

Josh Donaldson at the dish.

Many sources list O.co Coliseum as the second worst venue to watch an MLB game (ranking it only above Tropicana Field). The stadium lacks individuality and architectural interest, but it wasn’t as much of a disaster as I expected. It is a plain stadium, and the playing field is in very good shape. I won’t pile on the criticism.

After the game we tried to explore downtown Oakland but it was closed. It was eerie. Finally we found a small establishment called the Rosamunde Sausage Grill in Swan’s Marketplace. A beer sausage and a Moose Drool rounded out the day.

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