Ballpark Roadtrip: Oakland Coliseum
The essence of the original Oakland Coliseum wooed the Kansas City A's franchise to Oakland. The first Oakland A's game was played on April 17, 1968 vs. the Baltimore Orioles. (Photo: Gordon Donovan)
O.co Coliseum – also known as Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, and commonly The Oakland Coliseum or The Coliseum; and formerly known as Network Associates Coliseum, McAfee Coliseum, and Overstock.com Coliseum– is a multi-purpose stadium, located in Oakland California in the Coliseum Industrial area.
It is the only remaining multi-purpose stadium left to serve as a full-time home to both a Major League Baseball team (the Oakland Athletics) and a National Football League team (the Oakland Raiders).
In recent years, the Coliseum has been criticized as being one of the "worst stadiums in baseball". Problems cited include the large amount of foul territory and the addition of Mount Davis. The former allows for more foul-outs while the latter has been criticized for "ruining" the ambience of the original configuration.
The playing field at the Coliseum is 22 feet below sea level and the pitcher's mound is 10 inches above the playing field, making the pitcher stand slightly taller than the other teammates at 21 feet below sea level.
In 2006, the Athletics covered the entire third deck with a tarp, reducing capacity to 34,077—the smallest capacity in the majors.
For the 2008 season, Sections 316–318 of the 3rd deck behind home plate were reopened as the A's introduced their own "All-You-Can-Eat" seating area, similar to the right field bleachers at Dodger Stadium.
This has increased the Coliseum's capacity for baseball to 35,067. For the 2009 season, seats were $35 and only sold on a single game basis; All-You-Can-Eat seating was offered for every game in 2008, but for 2009 the section was only open for weekend games (Friday-Sunday) & all games against the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and San Francisco Giants. For 2010, the A's discontinued All-You-Can-Eat, instead rebranding the area as the "Value Deck".
Prices for these seats have decreased to $12 and are sold for every game ($15 price for premium games). To help compensate for the loss of AYCE, the A's have introduced Jumbo-Tickets that have stored stadium credit for food & merchandise ($10 on Plaza Club tickets & $6 for Value Deck tickets).
Ballpark: D - A bad baseball environment. The upper level is covered up and is for sale as ad space. Smallest seating capacity in baseball. Fans need a new venue badly in Oakland. They should build a new stadium in the same location and play at alternate locations for two seasons. The field level seats don't descend probably and you cannot see parts of the field, just the back of someones head. No tours or hall of fame.
Fans & Atmosphere: C - It's a football stadium where baseball is being played. Red Sox fans outnumbered the A's fans at the game. The bay area belongs to the Giants. There's a few hard core fans still from the 1970's and late 1980's. Some did not realize the team played in Philadelphia once.
Food: D - Two Coliseum Hot Dogs and soda for $14.25 dollars! No debit cards, they just take cash. No signature food, no Charlie Finley fries or Catfish pies?
Mascot: B - The A's mascot Stomper is very fun and is available for photos. Stomper is an elephant who has been entertaining fans at the Oakland Coliseum since 1997. The use of an elephant to symbolize the Athletics dates from the early years of the franchise in Philadelphia.
Staff: D - Security guards, ticket window and ushers were unfriendly or just plain rude to many fans. Ladies in clubhouse shops were kind and helpful. A's should consider hiring another security company and arrange for HR to do some training with their staff.
Team Tradition: D - They have won 4 world championships in Oakland, but you would never know that in this concrete donut. No mention of their days in Kansas City (maybe skip this one) and Philadelphia. It’s Raider Nation here at the stadium, the Raiders left once and will probably vacant this dump again. Need to wear 1973 A's jerseys for Sunday home games only.
Location: D - In Oakland, across the bay from where the Giants play in their world-class ballpark - but without a championship to date. Took BART from the airport, took forever. Plenty of parking available. Need some silicon valley influence in the new park, which means leaving Oakland.
Photos taken July 19, 2010 using a Canon EOS-1D Mark IV Digital SLR with a EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Standard Zoom Lens, EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens.