Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum – Oakland Athletics
Rooted In Oakland
The 2018 season has brought many a memorable moment for the Oakland Athletics. Celebrating their 50th season in Oakland, The Oakland Coliseum has been home to the A’s since their first day in the East Bay. While The Coliseum is hardly at the top of any fans ballpark experience (to put it kindly), the A’s have had quite a history with the old lady, appearing in the post-season 18 times and winning 4 World Championships. Their 18 post-season appearances are tied with the Dodgers for third most post-season appearances in that span behind only the Braves and Yankees. Some of baseball’s best, Reggie Jackson, Ricky Henderson, Dennis Eckersley, Rollie Fingers and Catfish Hunter called Oakland their home at some point in their illustrious careers.
Food & Beverage 3
The dining and drinking options have improved. Though the selections will likely never make the top of any ballpark foodie’s list, there are some options worth checking out, such as Empanadas Argentinas. Located in the left field corner concourse, these pastry appetizers come with your choice of meat, cheese and other tasty fillings, or the sweet empanada, filled with milk caramel with your choice of dark chocolate or bananas and walnuts.
A huge hit with the fans is the addition of Championship Plaza. Located in the park’s west side between the yard and Oracle Arena, the plaza features a large video screen as well as picnic tables and games for both kids and adults. Each night, fans are treated to a different variety of food trucks from throughout the Bay Area.
Other additions where fans can gather for some of their favorite craft beer are Shibe Park Tavern and The Treehouse. Fans entering Shibe Park Tavern can view a bit of A’s history on display dating back to their days in Philadelphia when they called, Shibe Park their home. Bricks from old Shibe Park are also incorporated into the tavern.
The Treehouse is the newest addition directly above left field. In addition to a patio deck with drink rails allowing fans to view the game and socialize, The Treehouse also includes a bar with lounge seating, a TV wall as well as pool and foosball tables for fans wanting a break from the action on the field. Oh yeah, inside the bar in The Treehouse, fans can place their drinks on tables built into…TREES!
Need some bites to go with your craft beer from The Treehouse? Big City Country Boy serves up some tasty HogWild Nacho’s with slow smoked pulled pork, nacho cheese sauce, peppers and a creamy BBQ & chipotle sauce.
Your standard ballpark favorites, hot dogs, brats, and Anheuser Busch products (Budweiser, Bud Light…) are also available. 7-Up carbonated beverages are available throughout the yard as well. This has to be the first MLB park where I’ve been where neither Coke nor Pepsi is the soda product of choice.
The Coliseum will not rank at the top of most any ballpark travelers list. Most seats are a good distance from the field. The concourses in this humongous concrete structure can be cramped, cold and soulless. Walk through the concourse behind the bleachers and you might think you were in a warehouse rather than a ballgame, or, as stated in our previous review, “The halls of a prison.” This yard has taken its share of abuse over the years, both physically and verbally.
Having said all that it’s still Major League Baseball. If you’re as big a baseball fan as me, you’ll agree that a day at any ballpark beats a day at the office. The fans that turn out bleed Oakland green and gold and can bring their cheering up to a healthy roar when feeling optimistic. Sitting in the bleachers is especially entertaining and an experience that should be experienced at least once. Many of these bleacher creatures are regulars at the Coliseum and are known for their unique cheers, songs and rituals, and of course, the drums leading the cheers. The fans here will tell you they are here for the grit and experience, not the posh and charming settings offered from their rivals across the bay.
Though it will never be associated with charm and ambience, one of the more notable fan enhancements is the removal of the tarps from the third level that stretched from foul pole to foul pole. Because most games don’t come close to selling out, ticketed fans are free to roam throughout various areas of the upper deck, opening up options for fans on a budget. The removal of the tarps from foul pole to foul pole also gives the place a more natural setting instead of a forced and artificially intimate atmosphere.
The Coliseum suffers from a nearly vacant immediate neighborhood. Old warehouses line the streets surrounding three sides of the complex and a freeway, the other. Thanks to the addition of Mt. Davis in 1996, views of the distant hills that ACTUALLY added some charm to this concrete monstrosity are non-existent.
Econo hotels such as the Comfort Inn & Suites and Motel 6 are within walking distance of the yard however if you are not familiar with this end of town you may want to make the short drive or use an alternate transportation mode such as Lyft or Uber. Oakland Airport is a short drive away and has other hotel options as well.
Up for some post-game dining? In N Out, a California favorite, is just on the other side of the 880 freeway and is open late. An In N Out in the neighborhood is enough to bump the score up one notch.
They won’t set any standards for yearly attendance. In spite of this year’s (2018) on-field success, on many nights, they’ve struggled to draw over 10,000. During a recent series against the Seattle Mariners with both teams fighting for a spot in October, A’s infielder Matt Chapman made a plea for the fans, practically begged for the fans to come out to the yard.
The ones that do show up are some of the games most engaged and boisterous. Some of the most passionate fans can be seen in the bleachers, especially in right field, where fans are known to engage other fans throughout the stadium with their flag-waving and drum beats. Fans in the right field section have also been known to celebrate a visiting players misfortune as well. Fans in the right field bleachers are so loud and passionate once during a series against the Astros viewers in Houston complained about the bleacher creatures incessant noise.
The fans don’t show up in large numbers. There’s no way around that. The ones that do show bring with them a fervor and uniqueness that exemplifies the true character of Oakland without the frills. If you have a chance, spend an inning or two, or even an entire game in the right field bleachers. You’ll be among some of baseball’s most passionate, knowledgeable and engaging people.
If driving to the game, from I-880 you can exit either Hegenberger or 66th. In spite of meager attendance, like the cost of most things in the Bay Area, the cost of parking will put a dent in your wallet, $30 folks, unless attending a Tuesday night game when parking is free.
The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) runs subway service throughout the Bay Area and has a stop conveniently located across the Coliseum’s east entrance connected by a pedestrian bridge. As for the walk toward the yard from the Coliseum BART Station, I can’t guarantee you a sight to behold as you approach the ballpark.
With less than average crowds on most nights getting in and out shouldn’t be a struggle, though walking the concourses especially in the bleacher section may leave you wondering if you’re at a baseball stadium.
Return on Investment 4
You’re not here for the charm. You’re here for the game and you’re here for the experience. Thanks to the removal of the upper deck tarps along the foul lines toward the foul poles, fans can purchase tickets for as low as $16 and wander throughout the entire upper deck. OK, let’s not lie, you know you want to wander the yard and experience the action up close. Most night’s, stadium personnel will make hardly an effort to stop anyone from seat hopping.
Another value is The Treehouse Pass, allowing fans admission to the newly added Treehouse as well as 2,000 general admission seats in the outfield’s second level. The monthly subscription is $29.99 with the option to upgrade seats on a game-by-game basis.
In 2019, the A’s will be offering A’s access, starting at $240 for the entire 81-game season. With the A’s march toward post-season, fans devoted to attending all 81 games next season can attend every game for about an average of $3 a game. For a team that has exceeded expectations and could contend into the next year, this may really turn out to be a bargain.
There’s certainly some history here, both baseball and football. A few retired numbers (9-Reggie Jackson, 24-Rickey Henderson, 27-Jim “Catfish” Hunter, 34-Rollie Fingers, 43-Dennis Eckersley) not only allow fans to reminisce about the good ol’ days but are put to good use as tarps to cover the infamous Mt. Davis section.
One of the things A’s fans are particularly proud of is the history of great announcers they’ve had. Bill King, a very underrated announcer, is immortalized by the “Holy Toledo” sign behind the center field wall that lights up for every great play by the home team. He’s a point of pride for the East Bay as he called championships for all three Oakland franchises.
The A’s also do a “legends” race where mascots of Henderson, Fingers and Eckersley race across the field.
The recent additions of Shibe Park Tavern and The Treehouse have been a welcomed addition for the fans. While most professional sports organizations limit these so-called exclusive areas to those privileged in the luxury suites, the A’s invite all fans to come in and experience some of the game’s additional luxuries.
It’s been an exciting season for the A’s filled with many memorable moments. It’s a young team that’s heading toward post-season play. This should make for another exciting team as they head toward 2019 with high expectations.
The A’s continue to work toward a new yard by 2023. The future of a new ballpark is looking very promising. However, given the on-time history of Bay Area sports venues, 2023 is anything but.
OK, so she’s not a thing of beauty. But she’s still worth visiting if to say you hit up one of the last remaining multi-purpose yards, or to just knock it off your 30 ballparks list. Besides, wouldn’t you rather be at the old ballgame than a day at the office?
In the meantime, the home nine of the green and gold will continue to call Oakland Coliseum home. It’s been their only home since day one in Oak-Town in 1968. In spite of lacking charm, fans can expect continued enhancements until the arrival of their new yard.
With the Raiders moving to Sin City and the Warriors moving to more luxurious settings across The Bay, the A’s will eventually be Oakland’s only professional sports team,. With the new yard expected at this moment to open in 2023, the A’s are working hard to ensure that they remain…Rooted In Oakland.
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Oakland, CA 94607
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Oakland, CA 94621
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Latest Crowd Reviews
The last of the multi-purpose venues in the major leagues and a stadium well past its prime the building never had much charm and was built to lure a baseball team to play alongside its NFL team. Concrete, drab walls, and Mt. Davis make this place a dreary and sad. However, when the A&#039s are playing winning ball the place shines a bit--but it&#039s time for a new ballpark, whenever that will happen.
It’s clear that the blemishes of the A’s venue is pronounced by the rise of beautiful ballparks across the nation over the last decade. In fact, before the Raiders moved back to Oakland, the Coliseum was a ballpark held in high esteem for its time. It is also clear that A’s ownership has zero interest in making amenity upgrades in any way while they position themselves for a move to the Silicon Valley.