Take Me Out to the Ball Game is a Cubs DNA series where our staff visits ballparks . Today, Staci takes you on just a few of her many visits to the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
I've mentioned a few times on this site that I grew up watching the A's play at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum--read my account of meeting Harry Caray if you want to know a little more about that. The Coliseum gets a bad rap from people who haven't been there--mostly due to the stories of overflowing sewage and the history of sharing the stadium with the Raiders. But seriously, going to an A's game has always had its own vibe. Fans still show up early to tailgate in the expansive parking lot, and it's much more of a family-type atmosphere than many of the parks I've been to.
Right now the naming rights to the Coliseum are up in the air, and thank the baseball gods for that! Regardless of whether it was the O.Co Coliseum, the Network Associates Coliseum, the McAfee Coliseum or the thankfully short-lived RingCentral Coliseum, no one in Northern California knew it as anything but the Oakland Coliseum. Calling it by it's "proper" name is the fastest way to get marked as a tourist... it's the Coliseum, and has been since 1966.
In 2016, I was able to catch two Cubs games in Oakland during their march to the championship. The first was a 7-2 victory started by BDJ Jon Lester. I cannot overstate how much foul territory there is in Oakland, if you've never watched one of their games.
I mean, just look at the distance between the foul line and the dugout!
"Wait," you might be thinking. "That's not a Cub!" No, it's not. When you're in a mixed marriage like I am, sometimes you have to compromise. The upside is you get to go watch Giancarlo Stanton hit dingers and you can take pictures of him walking to the dugout.
That second 2016 game was a 4-0 Jake Arrieta shutout. All in all, that was a successful trip to Oakland, and also the last time I saw the Cubs win in person. Just hoping to break that streak this year.
They have fancy food now at the Coliseum, too, and you can read about it all here. But for my money, it's not a real A's experience if you don't just go get a Colossal Dog, slather that sucker with ketchup (this ain't Chicago, people), buy some nachos and settle in for the game. Leave that fancy stuff for the folks across the Bay, eh? If you really need something extra, you can have your frank wrapped in bacon.
Oh hey, Krazy George! Did you know Krazy George Henderson there invented the Wave? Yes, That Wave. The one we all hate except for Dodgers fans, because they're dumb. Well, that guy is the guy who for some reason takes credit for inventing the cursed game disruption during his time as a cheerleader at Stanford University.
This was that second 2016 game, by the way.
You can still find Krazy George running around the Coliseum ginning up fans to this day... here he was right after he came and literally sat next to my daughter while working everyone up for a Wave.
The Wave notwithstanding, going to the Coliseum isn't fancy, and the stadium isn't pretty, but it's fun! Despite what you might hear, A's fans love and support their team--they're ride-or-die of the highest order. That said, they're also generally good and nice people when you're a fan of the visiting team, and willing to chat you up about general baseball stuff.
Soon, the Oakland Coliseum will be no more as the A's plan for their fancy new ballpark at the Howard Terminal in the Port of Oakland. The Coliseum will be replaced by a tech and housing hub, which is the most Bay Area thing they could possibly think of.
To their credit, the A's are funding this thing completely with private money. That said, I'll miss the kitschy old stadium where I learned almost everything I know about the game. Hopefully the new place doesn't take the "Yay!" out of the A's.