Wednesday, July 30, 2014

FIELDS OF DREAMS: O.Co Coliseum, Oakland, California

It's almost a given that when you ask baseball fans what the worst stadium in Major League Baseball is, the answer is this park.  Built in the mid 60's to accommodate the Raiders of the American Football League, baseball was shoehorned in here. After a few years of contentious residence, the Raiders (now in the NFL) are back and baseball still takes a backseat to football.

Here are the stats:

Opened: 1966
Surface: Bluegrass
Construction cost: $25.5 million
Capacity: 35, 067 - expandable to 55,945
Field dimensions: Left field – 330 ft.; left center – 367 ft.; Center field – 400 ft.; right center – 376 ft.; Right field – 330 ft.
Home teams: Oakland Raiders (1966 – 1981 and 1995 - present), Oakland Athletics (1968 – present)
Events attended: Two.

Because of the dual purpose of the stadium, it isn't perfect for either sport. For baseball, the foul territory is the largest in the MLB. That also means the seats are the farthest away.

Site lines are poor. If you're sitting in accessible seats, you will have to figure out a way to look around the large, concrete supports...not the mention the see the game.

Concourses are extremely crowded. Lines are long and move slowly. Power outages and sewage spills have also occured here.

The Raiders have installed a very unsightly balcony over right-center field. Fans mockingly call it "Mt. Davis" in honor of the Raiders owner.

Ticket prices used to be known as cheap but our obstructed view seats at the top of the lower deck, between first base and the right field foul pole were dynamically priced at $43 for our recent game against Detroit. All ticket prices are dynamic, meaning they can change depending on the demand for the game.

Parking is $20, tailgating is vast, and at least ignored by the authorities.

Wheelchair seating is adequate and fairly easy to buy. Mostly around the top of the field section. 

BART opens up a bridge to the stadium from the nearest station, providing easy acessible transit access to games.

Food is adequate, nothing too special. Not nearly as good a variety or taste as their triple A team in nearby Sacramento.

But...and this is a big "but"...the team is spectacular. It is well managed and, in 2014 at least, on fire. At this moment, there is not a better playing team in baseball.

They are very exciting to watch and more than make up for the failures of Major League Baseball's most obsolete, uncomfortable, crowded, and worst stadium.

Copyright 2014 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

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