My trip to California ended with a cool Monday evening game featuring the Oakland Athletics and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Athletics and their NFL counterpart, the Oakland Raiders, share a stadium. That being said, the stadium itself is probably one of the most run down stadiums I have ever seen. This particular evening consisted of a touch over 12K fans, but the small crowd was enthusiastic from the start. The notably vocal crowd was sitting below us to our right in the center field bleachers, cheering and waving three large flags dedicated to the home green and yellow. Oddly enough, it all was all a very familiar feeling.
The stadium only filled 1/3rd to capacity. The lone group of super-supporters. The all too relevant feeling of playing baseball, not for the playoffs, but to muster a little bit of hope for the offseason and a hopeful start to the next season. I found myself cheering for the Athletics because of the familiarity with their situation and if I didn’t know any better, I could have been at Safeco watching the Mariners. It’s always interesting to watch a team that is in a similar situation to your own. You become a supporter of them because you know what it feels like, you know what it’s like to hold on hope for these lofty goals put on you by your fans, the organization and even the sport itself. You also know what it’s like to lose that hope. Then at the end, you finally realize that no matter what happens, the good memories will always outweigh the bad and you will always have your team. That is what it is like to be apart of the baseball community, and dammit it is a good feeling. Goodness I love this sport.
Overall, It was a pleasant evening spent with good company, $5 blue moons and a part of the AL West I don’t normally get to see outside of Safeco. The Athletics ended up winning decisively against the Angels, 11-4. Everyone goes home happy… Except the Angels fans. They probably went home sad. Sorry guys.
A QUICK GUIDE TO O.CO AND ATHELTICS BASEBALL:
- The Athletics Franchise has won 9 total World Series wins (1910, 1911, 1913, 1929, 1930, 1972, 1973, 1974 & 1989) and 15 American League Pennants (1902, 1905, 1910, 1911, 1913, 1914, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1988, 1989, 1990)
- O.Co Coliseum (or Oakland-Alemdia County Coliseum) was built orignally in the mid-1960s. The first professional game was played by the Raiders in 1966, but the newly named Oakland Athletics played their first game Oakland Coliseum to begin the 1968 season baseball season.
- The Oakland Athletics were once named the Philadelphia Athletics (1901-1954) and the Kansas City Athletics (1955-1967). They have been the Oakland Athletics since 1968.
- Mascot: Stomper (the elephant)
- Colors: Green, gold
- The Athletics have retired 5 player’s jersey numbers: Reggie Jackson (9), Rickey Henderson (24), Catfish Hunter (27), Rollie Fingers (34), Dennis Eckersley (43) & One owner: Walter Haas (WH).
- Dennis Eckersley, Rollie Fingers, Rickey Henderson, and Dick Williams all have gone into the National Baseball Hall of Fame as Oakland Athletics. Overall there are 36 players that are inducted into the HOF that have played at least one full season in an Athletics uniform.
- You might have heard of the movie Moneyball (2011). Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill… It’s a good time. It tells the story of the 2002 Oakland Athletics, and their GM Billy Beane and their quest back to relevancy after free agency had depleted their “talent”. This money does a wonderful job speaking about some of the most notable figures in Oakland this century, and sets up Oakland’s journey to their World Series victory in 2004. It’s also tells a horrifyingly true story of the ideal of money in baseball, and how hard it is to compete with big teams and their big payroll dollars.
- O.Co Coliseum can hold upwards to 61,000 fans at its capactity.
- Oakland’s seating is extensive. They have many different levels, including: field level, plaza seating, value deck, club level, BBQ deck seating and suite options.
- Oakland’s ticketing is similar to Safeco. It changes with the market & mainly with the outside demand for tickets. On a Monday in September our tickets were only #13 and we sat in Center Field of the plaza level. From speaking to fans at the games and looking up tickets myself, I would say the range is anywhere from $10-$50, depending on your proximity to the field.
FOOD/DRINKS (*my group had gone to dinner before so this, so this section is done strictly on internet research & what looked good as I walked by):
- Gastropub: Craft beer and brick oven pizzas (West Side Club) – one of the newer restaurants in the ballpark. Has freshly made brick oven pizzas which are priced accordingly to the pizza places around the area, and the pizza special changes every homestand.
- Burrito District (Section 220): When I think California, I think good Mexican food and this is one of the better places recommended for taqueria-like eats.
- A’s Grill (Section 205): similar to Saag’s on the first level, has the same selection of sausages without the the intense line.
- Hot Dog Nation (Section 111 & 123): a twist on a baseball park staple. A variety of different, unique hot dogs for an average of $9 each. They also have regular hot dogs available and an assortment of premium and craft beers.