I was reading the Joy of Sox article “21 Ball Parks” and thought I would write my own version about my ballpark visits. Being English and resident in the UK I don’t get to see many Major League baseball games and can’t even rely on getting to a game every time I go to the US, so not only can I list all of the parks I’ve visited – all three of them – but I can recall each of the eleven games I’ve seen.
OAKLAND-ALAMEDA COUNTY COLISEUM
April 29, 2007: Tampa Bay Devil Rays 5, Oakland Athletics 3.
My first ever game, which I was really excited to attend. I was on a two-week work trip to Scotts Valley, CA and determined to squeeze in a game or two as it was my fourth trip to the US but the first that fell in the baseball season in a location remotely near a ballpark. I was staying in San Francisco the weekend I arrived and my friend Jason drove up from Santa Cruz with his son Orion, for whom it was also his first ever MLB game. We had seats along the first base line just beyond the opposition bullpen which afforded a pretty good view. The game itself wasn’t very exciting and I recall little about it.
What I do recall vividly is discovering for myself the truth of the MLB TV ads that ran a couple of years earlier: you really won’t see anything as green as your first sight of a Major League baseball field. It was a strange day – we discovered that a gasoline tanker had crashed and exploded on I-580 that morning causing a section to collapse; luckily Jason had taken a different route to the Coliseum from the Bay Bridge otherwise that would have caused us considerable delays. We sat in glorious sunshine during the game but as we drove back through San Francisco and over the Golden Gate Bridge the weather turned and became very cold, overcast and then foggy; typical weird San Francisco weather.
September 24, 2009: Texas Rangers 3, Oakland Athletics 12.
My second visit to the Coliseum was Erin’s first Major League game, swiftly followed by her second later that day. These were actually her first ever baseball games of any form, even though she was born in Massachusetts and grew up in Maine and so is definitely a natural-born citizen of Red Sox Nation. So it was nice that we had a blazing hot day (I got sunburned), she got the ballpark hot dog she wanted, we had a fantastic view from seats a dozen rows back from home plate and the A’s put on a show for her, including a gargantuan Jack Cust homer way over the center field wall.
We both really liked the experience at the Coliseum, even though it’s a terrible facility by modern standards. It’s a cheap day out at an A’s game; tickets, parking (comparatively) and food are all reasonably priced. Of course, the blazing sun each time I’ve been there has helped. Jason and I went to a Raiders game there against Seattle on Hallowe’en and sat up in Mount Davis and even then it was great. But I imagine it’s very different and altogether less fun when it’s cold and wet.