East Bay Baseball

Tonight was a rare evening on the road with no travel, no customers to entertain, and no obligations. We finished up our meetings at 4pm, and were back to our hotel in Burlingame with no plans for the evening so we decided to take in a baseball game.

Since the Giants were in Cincinnati this week, we headed across the San Mateo bridge to the East Bay, to see the team of Connie Mack, and Charlie O. Finley, the World Champions of 1911, 1912, 1913, 1929, 1930, 1972, 1973, 1974, and 1989. The Oakland Athletics.

Oakland Alameda County Coliseum

When I was 4 I had an A’s cap. That was back in their technicolor, “frog in a blender”, green and yellow polyester days. Thankfully, after Cheap Charlie O. sold the club the new owners re-instated the Athletics name, and toned down the Kelly Green to a more muted hue.

Their ball park was once a beautiful facility, with a gorgeous view of the hills above Oakland out beyond the center field fence. That was a long time ago, because when the Oakland Raiders returned to the McAffee Coliseum, Network Associates Coliseum, Oakland Alameda County Dump, they erected a gigantic slab of concrete in the outfield, known as “Mount Davis”. The looming hulk of empty stadium just overwhelms the place now, and made me feel a little claustrophobic.

Oakland Coliseum in the old days

If we’d have been here a few days earlier we’d have seen the Twins. But tonight they were playing the Los Angeles Angels. This being the Bay Area the temps were in the low 60’s by game time. Thankfully, we had stopped at a box store to pick up some sweatshirts on our way to the game. Best $25 I ever spent.

As you can tell from the pictures, Athletics tickets aren’t exactly in high demand…

There is something beautiful about the symmetry of a baseball field

The announced attendance was just a little over 10,000 in a cavernous concrete stadium that seats +60K. Walking up to the gate 10 minutes before game time, $35 got us seats directly behind home plate, 29 rows back. At Target Field these would have cost us over $200. Viva le Dump!

Hats off to the diehard fans that were in attendance. Like our days in the Metrodome, watching a ball game here is a labor of love. You sure don’t come here for the ambiance. It’s a place that fits well with the Oakland image, as much as Pac Bell fits the image of uppity San Franciscans. There’s talk of them building a new park out in Fremont, but with the State of California barely solvent, I can’t imagine it happening anytime soon.

All in all, it was a lovely night for a ball game and it wasn’t hard to look past the decrepit surroundings and enjoy the game. The home town team roughed up the guys from SoCal, and by the end of the 7th the game was pretty much over. Of course, crowd watching was still enjoyable.

His and Her mullets aren't just a Western N.Y. thing

Tomorrow morning I fly out to Phoenix for meetings, before returning to Minnesota tomorrow night. It promises to be a long days journey into night. See you on the other side. Peace.

even this dump looks lovely in the soft glow of the stadium lights, no?

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