Earlier in this 2011 baseball season, as noted by my ifollosports.com stories, I attended games at a few different baseball venues, including Busch Stadium in St. Louis. The fan experience at each of these Big League and minor league stops was very solid. Then, I went to a game in Oakland.
In August, I attended an Athletics game at the recently renamed O. co Coliseum (O.co is short for Overstock.com). The park is more commonly known as the Oakland Coliseum. The 45-year-old venue is part of a sports complex that also houses the Oracle Arena, home of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors. The respective buildings stand very close to one another, sharing the same massive parking lot.
The experience was far different than the other stadiums I visited. I can now see why the Athletics so desperately want a new place to call home. The ballpark is very old and the concourses are really outdated. As the above picture shows, the area of covered upper deck seats, also known as “Mount Davis,” is a disgusting monstrosity. The additional seating area was built to lure controversial Raiders owner Al Davis back to Oakland from Los Angeles. The plan may have worked, but the construction totally ruined the venue for baseball. The seating capacity for baseball is nearly 30,000 less than for football.
Overall, it was just a dull and lethargic place. The crowd was sparse and the action felt far away because of the massive amount of foul territory. Even though it's an outdoor stadium, you are watching a game in a very ancient “cookie cutter” style park, void of any character or distinguishing features. The A’s facility is very behind the times.
Along these lines, the Coliseum is one of only two US stadiums still shared by an MLB and NFL team. After the Florida Marlins move into their new ballpark next season, this place will be the only shared MLB/NFL venue remaining.
I'm glad I was there, but I would not run back, it was an awful fan experience.
It's amazing to think that on the other side of the San Francisco Bay, AT&T Park is perhaps the best and most scenic stadium in all of baseball. In terms of quality of ballpark and caliber of team, Bay Area baseball is very much a situation of the haves and the have-nots these days.