Thursday, September 07, 2006

McAfee Coliseum

Not that I went into this game with any kind of expectations, but this park was still a let down after seeing Safeco and AT&T. I was pretty fired up for the game itself, though: it was Schilling (going for his 3,000th strikeout) vs. Zito, the one chance for the Sox to salvage a shred of dignity on the west coast before heading home. I actually considered wearing a paper bag on my head for this one, but we ended up going with Danielle's great-aunt and great-uncle (and they got us great seats), so I had to pass.

And it's too bad I did, because it would have been a great time for it. After the powerhouse Red Sox lineup, featuring a 3-4-5-6 of Loretta-Lowell-Kapler-Mirabelli, took an early 1-0 lead, the A's scored the next seven. Bobby Kielty and Mark Ellis took Schill deep for the first homeruns we'd seen on the trip, and the banjo-playing weirdo's "beat the Laughing Stox" rallying cry had come embarrassingly true.

As for the "ballpark experience," um, you know. There wasn't much. The fans were pretty into it, but also pretty harsh, yet unoriginal. They were all over Kapler for "shrinking" in recent years, which is quite funny because their franchise has given us Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, the Giambi brothers, and Miguel Tejada. Then there was my favorite taunt, which went something like this:

"Pedroia... Pedroia! Hey, Pedroia! (five second pause) Hey Pedroia! (ten second pause including first pitch of at-bat) HEY PEDROIA!!!"
That was it. No short joke, no punch line, no "stand up!" - nothing. It was kind of sad. And I wish I could have given something back to them, but, again, we had company.

For all of its faults, though, the facility itself was very hospitable. The ushers were nice, there were plenty of concession stands, and the prices were reasonable (we happened to be there on $1.00 hot dog day, but the hot dogs weren't very good). The PA guy even made an announcement when Schilling struck out Nick Swisher for number 3,000, resulting in a pretty cool reaction from the mostly-Oakland (but still well-represented by Red Sox fans) crowd.

The thing is, it's a football stadium. It was made to be a football stadium, and, even with the upper deck completely closed off, it felt like a football stadium. There's a reason the A's are courting San Jose (and I saw more than a few "Keep our A's in Oakland" signs/t-shirts).

Updated Rankings:
  1. PNC Park
  2. AT&T Park
  3. Great American Ballpark
  4. Fenway Park
  5. Camden Yards
  6. Comerica Park
  7. Citizens Bank Park
  8. Safeco Field
  9. Kaufman Stadium
  10. Jacobs Field
  11. Yankee Stadium
  12. Rogers Center
  13. Shea Stadium
  14. McAfee Coliseum
  15. Veteran's Stadium

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