Like I’ve stated many times before, I refuse to call this place the “O.Co Coliseum.” It’s a horrible name for such a great stadium with such unique, awesome fans. So when you read these entries regarding my visits to the Oakland Coliseum, you will always, always read “Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.” Period.
When I arrived at the coliseum, I met up with a long time friend, Deirdre. She drove up from southern California to attend this game with me and we had a blast! I never knew the Oakland Coliseum could be so much fun and I urge anyone that’s in the area when the Athletics are playing at home, to attend at least one game. Tickets are dirt cheap and there are plenty of seats available!
We hit up the ticket window to get our seats for the day, and this was the line:
After we got our tickets (which I may add right now, these seats will play a pivotal role in my success later on…) we got a lady to get our picture before she hurried off…
…after that, we visited the team store to try on some Athletics swag…
…and as you can tell, like in Japan, I’m wearing my “Chuck Knoblauch Follows Me” shirt, again! Why? Because it’s become one of my most favorite baseball shirts, kind of like this one that I wore at Safeco Field last year, and because Chuck Knoblauch was, and still is, one of my favorite baseball players to this date. I even wrote a special blog entry called “An Ode to Chuck Knoblauch“. Check it out if you have the time.
After clowning around in the Athletics team store, Deirdre and I did a lap around the Coliseum just so she could see this old relic. Deirdre told me she hadn’t been to the Coliseum since she’d attended high school. That was roughly ten years ago. Not much has changed. I was a little shocked to see the lack of fans tailgating in the parking lot as we walked around the stadium and I was a little shocked at the lack of fans in general. I still can’t get over the fact that hardly anyone comes to these games. The stadium isn’t that bad on the inside, and even though I’ve called the stadium a “dump” and a “relic” it’s actually very beautiful in a sense that so much baseball history has happened here. I’d seriously hate to see the Athletics go anywhere else, and rumor has it, by the year 2015, they won’t be in Oakland anymore.
One thing that caught my eye while we were walking around is this:
The Athletics put this entry together a week or so ago to allow season ticket holders a special entrance into the Coliseum. Although, there aren’t any special perks to entering the Coliseum through this way, it just allows people with season ticket credentials to enter without having to deal with the other 25 people entering at D gate.
Deirdre and I sat down at D gate for the remainder of our time while we waited for the Coliseum to open at 5:35pm. The gates open roughly 90 minutes before game time, just for your information. While we were waiting in line, I told Deirdre that this was my third visit to the Oakland Coliseum. I visited the Coliseum last season on opening day and on April 2nd 2011. I also made a last-minute trip to Oakland on September 21st 2011 as well. So this would be my fourth game at the Coliseum, and as I explained all of this, Deirdre said, “Wow, Wayne. You’ve been to more games at the Coliseum than regular Athletic fans that actually live in Oakland!” There might be some truth to that.
Right before the gates opened, the line looked like this:
And when the gates “opened”, everyone scampered (including me) to the security tables to get their bags checked and to gain entrance inside. Three young boys in front of me got their bags checked and were allowed all the way to the second security gate seen here…
…but were instantly recalled. I’m not sure why, I guess someone jumped the gun in the management department. So more waiting. Another five minutes passed and I was able to see inside to view which team was on the field for batting practice. I saw one player wearing a blue jersey…so that meant the Athletics were already off the field and the Royals were out taking BP.
Once all 30 fans were allowed to enter the stadium, I ran inside and made a bee-line for foul territory that eventually would lead me up to the right field seats near the foul pole. I’ve always had great success in this spot, so I didn’t want to go elsewhere. Besides, when I initially ran in, I found this:
And within the next five minutes I was able to get a toss-up from an unidentified player in the right field (I think it’s Eric Hosmer). Here’s a picture of him:
I’ll admit; it’s a crappy picture, and you really can’t see his face. I looked through my MLB At Bat app on my iPhone trying to find this guy, but the only person I came close to was Joakim Soria. But he’s out for Tommy John surgery. If anyone can help me identify this player, shoot me a comment. Much appreciated.
Here’s me chillin` out in my spot in right field:
It wouldn’t be long until I snagged my third baseball on the night. And this would be a good one, too! Remember when I bought my ticket? I specifically asked for section 218 and asked for an aisle seat that was as close to the field as possible. Well, this is where I ended up sitting with my friend, Deirdre:
Can you believe that?! Four rows from the field behind home plate! Foul ball heaven, right? Oh, you are so right, my friend! Three foul balls came relatively close to where I was seated and one man to my right decked out in Giants swag was able to nab one of them and the other floated to my left where it banged off the railing. If perhaps the two fans that were in pursuit would have pursued a lot faster, I’m sure someone would have come up with it. The foul ball that I caught came off the bat of Coco Crisp in the bottom of the first inning. Well, I can’t say I really caught it. It was more of a high arching foul that drifted about two rows behind me. I made an attempt to my left for it but I was blocked by fans. So I turned to my right, took about two steps up and watched a fan holding a beer take the ball off his chest. The ball landed in the row right in front of me and I was able to snatch it up pretty quickly:
In all the 132 games I’ve attended, this was my first foul ball during the game. Well, except for a foul ball that was tossed to me by an umpire at Kauffman Stadium years ago. In 2010, I caught a lot of third out baseballs from players at Busch Stadium. But those weren’t foul balls. They were actual baseballs used in live games, though. So that’s pretty special.
During the fifth inning, Deirdre treated the both of us to this:
I’m telling you; this was a massive bowl of nachos. It was more food for any one man to defeat but I accomplished that feat. I can now say I’ve officially conquered a nachos bowl at the Oakland Coliseum. It was so awesome-ly good, I considered eating what Deirdre couldn’t finish. But I was so overly worried about another foul ball coming my way, I decided to pass on the second nacho bowl (even though I think I can eat two). And just for the record, it took me an entire Major League baseball regulation inning to finish this bad boy.
Around the 6th inning or so, as I was sitting there kind of staring off into la la land, someone approached me.
“Are you Wayne?” the guy said.
“Huh? Me?” I responded sort of half dazed and surprised that someone out of no where knew my name.
“Yeah. Is your name Wayne?” he said again and extended his hand for a handshake.
My initial thought? I was in some sort of trouble or something. But there was no trouble. No trouble at all. It was an employee from Major League Baseball here to interview me regarding my charity work for the Seattle Humane Society. Earlier in the day, I had sent out a bunch of tweets on Twitter that I’d be attending the Athletics game in Oakland. I’m not sure if that’s where they got my information, or even who got my information or even how they found me in the Oakland Coliseum! But they found me! Anyway. I was able to speak about my charity and talk about my trip to Japan and all that, and I was told that the interview would be posted on MLB.com/Cutfour. It’s a new website that Major League baseball has came up with to involve fans in the game. It’s a pretty cool sight and all the teams have one. Here’s the tweet after the game:
The Athletics actually played some very good baseball. Josh Reddick was able to throw out Kansas City Royals baserunner, Jason Bourgeois, from right field to third base in the first inning on an amazing throw off his back leg. Donaldson, at third, made a great tag on Bourgeois and essentially blocked him from even getting in to touch the base. Athletics rookie, Tom Milone pitched eight shutout innings, gave up three hits and walked three. Pretty impressive. I can’t say the same for Royals rookie pitcher, Mendoza as he picks up the loss. And history also visted the Oakland Coliseum tonight. Kurt Suzuki played in his 600th game as an Athletics catcher! I was surprised when he got absolutely no recognition other than the tweet I sent to @TheAsGame on Twitter!
I’m snagging baseballs for puppies again this season for the Seattle Humane Society! If you want to check out my charity information, just click here!
Last season, with the help of all of you, we were able to raise over $250 dollars! This year I’d like to break $300!
Today’s game snagging Highlights: Kansas City Royals vs. Oakland Athletics- Attendance- 10,054
Baseballs snagged: three (found , toss-up by Eric Hosmer and snagged Coco Crisp foul ball)
Total baseballs snagged this season: 8
Total baseballs snagged last season: 135
Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies this season: $7.72
Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies last season: $257.00
Total number of donors this season: 6
Total number of donors last season: 7
I had the day off from work today so guess what I did? I booked a flight to Oakland California and attended an Oakland Athletics baseball game at the Oakland Coliseum. The Coliseum is now re-named to the O.co Coliseum or some stupid name like that. I refuse to call it anything but the Oakland Coliseum. It’s been named that for a million years and I’m not going to call it the “Oh Co Coliseum”! Ridiculous! Here’s a crappy picture of the Coliseum as I rode past it in the shuttle van from my hotel room.
The good thing about this trip is I stayed in a hotel within walking distance to the Coliseum. But I didn’t have to walk. The hotel room also had a shuttle service to and from the Coliseum. So I took advantage of that. I got dropped off at the Coliseum, well the BART station, at around 3:30pm. Had I went to the stadium at noon I would have got to meet Josh Hamilton, and Nomar Garciaparra. I found out from the Ranger fans that were already at the stadium that they got to meet both of those guys, plus get their autographs, AND got pictures with them both!
This is the gate I entered in. I came to this stadium because of the low attendance and I really wanted to break out and have a monster day collecting baseballs. I didn’t expect $2 dollar ticket day. More people showed up for that than I expected. But there were only a handful of people with baseball gloves. Nearly everyone else headed to the dugouts to seek autographs. Something I’m not entirely into anymore. I wasn’t quite used to the stadium because I have only been to two games there. One on April 1st and another one on Apri 2nd where I collected my 100th baseball from Jason Phillips. When I ran into the stadium I immediately headed out to the outfield to find any loose baseballs rolling around in the rows. I took a wrong turn and ended up in the 200th level. I turned around and headed back to the first base seating bowl and found this:
Moments later Josh Hamilton drilled one deep to right field. I ran out onto the main concourse while tracking the ball and made the catch just in front of the railing. Had I not made the catch? The baseball would have ended up down here with this one:
There was no possible way I was going to retrieve that baseball. The Coliseum has strict rules on baseball retrieval devices. The security guard that I asked told me that I could be arrested if I were to use one. I didn’t believe they would go that far but I didn’t want to try anything. Home was 800 miles away. And when Josh Hamilton smacked another baseball into home run land I was so tempted to go after it when the kid that was trying to catch it failed to come up with the ball. The ball landed on the staircase out in right field. Here’s a picture of the staircase:
And here’s a picture of where the baseball landed:
When baseballs are that close and someone tells me I can’t try to get it, it makes me want to try to get it even more. But with that lingering thought of being arrested over a Major League baseball still fresh in my mind I decided to leave it be. Even though I could have probably snagged it and got away with it…I just didn’t want to risk it. I could have claimed that I was an out of towner and didn’t know the rules, (which is true, sort of) or I could have just gone for it and not worried about anything. I decided to use my better judgement and just leave it alone. That baseball would have been my third baseball.
I didn’t bother with any toss-ups from any Rangers players even though I was wearing my Rangers hat and I could have probably gotten at least two more. While I was watching the Rangers field baseballs in the outfield another line drive home run was hit my way. unfortunately I was standing on the second tier seating area and I wasn’t able to move down fast enough. The baseball smacked off the picnic table and some kid ended up getting the ball. This was my view as batting practice came to an end:
My problem with the Oakland Coliseum is this; the gates opened up at 5:35pm, which meant I wouldn’t get to see the Athletics portion of batting practice. The Rangers ended their portion of batting practice at 6:15pm. Batting practice was over and done with so fast! It felt like as soon as I ran into the stadium batting practice was coming to an end. For me I felt fortunate enough to find a baseball and catch another. The good news is I had awesome seats for the game. I was sitting right behind home plate. What does that mean? Foul balls.
Here’s a picture of the two gems I snagged:
The concourse was absolutely crowded but I was able to grab a hotdog and a free soda for signing up for the drunk driver program thing they had at the Coliseum. I was only allowed to get a small drink and when they meant small they really meant small. They gave me a 4 oz dixie cup jammed full of ice and some soda. I felt ripped off but hey, it was free. The hotdog was like, $5 bucks though.
Here’s a view from my seat:
When I got these tickets I researched the best possible spot that I thought would be ideal for a foul ball. I figured directly behind home plate would be the best spot and when I bought the tickets, which were $26 dollars, I asked for an aisle seat as close to the field as possible. I was put in row seven, seat one. The rows around me were empty.
Every foul ball that would have come my way it would have been an easy snag. But for that to happen foul balls would need to come my way. During THIS particular game when I was sitting in foul ball territory with no one around me not one foul ball came even close enough for me to snag. I was shocked.
As the game went on I pretty much gave up on catching a foul ball while I sat in the perfect seats in the Coliseum. I thoroughly enjoyed the game though. It was well-played and I got to see Josh Hamilton and Ian Kinsler blast some home runs. The Rangers ended up winning the game 3-2 and I went home with only two baseballs.
Game; September 21st 2011 Texas Rangers vs Oakland Athletics
Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $189.20 this season.
Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $47.80 this