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The O.co Coliseum is a multi-purpose facility in Oakland, California and the home of the Oakland Athletics. It first opened its gates, as the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, to the Oakland Raiders in 1966 and the Athletics in 1968 when they moved west from Kansas City.
Occasionally referred to as The Mausoleum, this gargantuan concrete monster, made popular in the 70s and 80s, is the only stadium that still operates for both NFL and MLB teams. When the Raiders moved back to Oakland from Los Angeles for the 1996 NFL season an extra set of luxury suites and deck of seats were installed in center field, blocking the previously viewable Oakland Hills. You could even see on to the field from the BART approach, a very cool feel. This has prompted the behemoth's nickname, Mount Davis (referencing the infamous late-Raiders owner) to be uttered in many circles.
The Coliseum shares a parking lot with Oracle Arena, home of the Golden State Warriors. Like the Warriors, the A's draw about 17,000 spectators consistently. Unlike the Warriors though, they only fill half the available seats. Green tarps cover the third deck at The Coliseum in hopes to offer a more intimate atmosphere for those particularly quiet nights, dropping its capacity to 35,067. However, for big games like the Bay Bridge series against the Giants, or when the Red Sox and Yankees come to town, they still don’t remove the tarps to up the capacity. Many believe this is a way of keeping their average attendance low as even a half dozen games of over 50,000 patrons would make a bit of a difference on the mean.
For more than a decade, the A's brass have been looking for a new stadium in the Bay Area. Recently they've commented on how signing potential free agents is difficult because of the outdated ballpark and the amenities provided. Visiting players consistently rank the clubhouses as some of the worst in baseball. Recently former A’s second baseman Mark Ellis noted that none of the Dodgers players enjoy their time in Oakland. This is perhaps two-fold as Los Angeles was swept by Oakland in late June.
There is no doubt that the A's and their fans would benefit from a new park as the age of the facility and its dual purpose nature are starting to wear on fans and players alike. However, the Coliseum has a ton of historical significance as the Raiders have won two of their three Super Bowls and the A’s four World Series’ while calling the Coliseum home. Beyond that it has been the home to the Oakland Invaders (USFL), and the Oakland Clippers and Stompers of the NASL. Teenagers and young adults of the 70s and 80s will remember it as the home to the “Days on the Green” concert series presented by famed San Francisco Bay Area promoter Bill Graham.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
There's a decent lineup of food and drink in the ballpark though nothing too exciting. What can be particularly frustrating are the stands that closed in order to cut labor costs, while the open stands back up with hungry customers.
Gone are the days of the infamous $5 Coors Lights as well as the free hot dog Thursdays.
16oz domestic bottled beer is $8 while premium pours are $8.75. Some of the premium options include two selections from New Belgium, two from Sierra Nevada, and one from Lagunitas.
The nachos are one of the more popular items at the ballpark. You can go the standard nacho cheese and jalapeno route or dress it up with the delicious chicken nachos or the huge Kalua Pork Nachos ($9). I'm particularly a fan of the greasy garlic nachos ($6).
Though many seats go unfilled, it's still a Major League Baseball game with major league fans. The fans that turn out bleed Oakland green and gold and can bring their cheering up to a healthy roar when feeling optimistic. Sitting in the bleachers is an especially entertaining experience as many of these patrons are at the Coliseum day in and day out. I have found that there has been much more support for the A's in 2012, perhaps due to the more exciting team or the economy picking up a bit.
With all that being said, the A's are a long way away from their glory years when they were winning World Series titles and making consistent playoff appearances, and O.co Coliseum is no different today. Particularly weathered portions of the stadium are eyesores and have no place in a professional building. They use awful screens for replays and outdated and almost comical graphics on "Diamond Vision."
The gray cement structure makes walking around behind the outfield bleachers feel like the halls of a prison with no natural lighting for your path. There are parts of The Coliseum that can be downright eerie for those not used to its "character."
Still you can't beat a beautiful day out in the bleachers. It doesn't often get up over 90 degrees in the Bay Area so you can certainly be comfortable even on the hottest of days.
Just like Oracle Arena, the Coliseum suffers from a nearly vacant immediate neighborhood. Old warehouses line the streets surrounding three sides of the complex and a freeway, the other. There is no panoramic view to enjoy and the only energy given is from the colorful characters in the parking lot. In fact, the parking lot prior to the game would be the best place to enjoy the "neighborhood" as lots of people are in high spirits. That certainly is one of the pros compared to the cross-bay AT&T Park that doesn't have much of a tailgate experience.
There are no legitimate bars or restaurants in the immediate area, convenient for meeting up, and walking to the game. However, because of the convenient access to the complex and the fact that Oakland is a big city with big city dining choices, eating before arriving to the neighborhood is a reasonable option.
Oakland has a few neighborhoods worth checking out if you have time for dinner, within a few miles. Downtown, Temescal, and Rockridge are the hot dining areas. You're also near the beautiful Lake Merritt if you're up for a stroll.
Francesco's is on the other side of the 880 freeway, between the Coliseum complex and the Oakland Airport. It serves well-priced and delicious Italian food in very nice portions. This place tends to get busy on game days so a reservation is recommended. However, because it is so busy the staff is super speedy.
At the Coliseum, it is more likely to find a person writing in a scorebook than texting on their phone. I did a small test to prove that hypothesis by sampling four different sections (it was easy because of the small sample size of spectators) for a few minutes. Of course this isn't an ironclad way to reason passion among one team's fans versus another's but it certainly was a welcomed sight to see.
The best place by far to engage with these knowledgeable and passionate fans is in the parking lot before the games as their jovial parties are scattered everywhere. The parking lot can become a neighborhood in and of itself and is the perfect place to prepare for the game.
These fans truly are passionate and knowledgeable and are deserving of a better fate. More butts in the seats would prompt a higher score from me, but the inconsistency of quantifiable support is too overwhelming.
The fans have become increasingly disenchanted with A's ownership over the years as they continue to try to move the team south to San Jose. The owners aren't investing in the team or the stadium and now, neither are the fans. It seems to me like a bit of a catch-22 as the owners blame fan-support for needing to move to the South Bay. So what's the answer to that? Go to the game to prove them wrong? Or is that just lining the pockets of the owners that have no intent of staying while they continue to collect revenue sharing checks? I certainly understand the predicament.
One of the more refreshing things about Oakland fans in general, and A's fans in particular, is that there are no gimmicks. They're there for the game.
It's my belief that the Coliseum Complex is the most convenient large-scale stadium or arena to get to in all of Northern California.
The most convenient way to get to the stadium is by taking BART which stretches over much of the Bay Area. The Coliseum/Airport Station is right on the other side of San Leandro Street accessible by the pedestrian overpass. Other public transportation options are AC Transit buses and Amtrak trains, both with stops for the Coliseum.
If you're taking your car (convenient for tailgating) you can get off of I-880 at either Hegenberger or 66th and fork over your $17 (with one exception below) to park in the parking lot. Getting into the stadium is a breeze due in part to the lack of competition to do so.
Though the overall experience isn't that of a top-notch MLB ballpark, you can't beat the deal to get in the door. Tickets start at just $12 and those seats are only $2 on Wednesdays! The view from the Plaza Outfield section isn't great when sitting in fair territory as some of the outfielders aren't visible from your seat (you can thank football for that). However, they have expanded the $2 seating on Wednesdays and you can get a much nicer seat near the foul pole for the same price.
The A's have started to do more dynamic pricing this year. While bleacher tickets start at $13 for weeknight games against non-rivals, they can get up over $20 for big games.
The crown jewel of Return on Investment has to be the free parking on Tuesdays. It is available for every Tuesday game when there isn't a simultaneous event at Oracle Arena.
There's certainly some history here, both baseball and football. Championship banners (1972, 1973, 1974 and 1989) fly alongside the flags of the United States and California. A few retired numbers (9-Reggie Jackson, 24-Rickey Henderson, 27-Jim "Catfish" Hunter, 34-Rollie Fingers, 43-Dennis Eckersley) allow fans to reminisce about the good ol' days. They steer away from most cheesy gimmicks because if they were to rely anymore on their mascot Stomper, it would just be depressing.
One of the things A's fans are particularly proud of is the history of great announcers they've had. Bill King, a very underrated announcer, is immortalized by the "Holy Toledo" plaque above the announcer's booth. He's a point of pride for the East Bay as he was the radio announcer for championships for all 3 Oakland franchises, including the only one in the Warriors' west coast history.
There is also a promenade between the two buildings with championship plaques of all three teams that currently play at the complex.
The newly named O.co Coliseum is a multi-purpose facility in Oakland, California and the home of the Oakland Athletics. It first opened its gates to the Oakland Raiders in 1966 and the Athletics in 1968 when they moved west from Kansas City.
Occasionally referred to as The Mausoleum, this gargantuan concrete monster is one of only two stadiums that still operate for both NFL and MLB teams. When the Raiders moved back to Oakland from Los Angeles for the 1996 NFL season an extra set of luxury suites and deck of seats were installed in center field, blocking the previously viewable Oakland Hills. This has prompted the behemoth's nickname, Mount Davis (referencing the infamous Raiders owner) to be uttered in many circles.
The ironically named O.co Coliseum shares a parking lot with Oracle Arena , home of the Golden State Warriors. Like the Warriors, the A's draw about 17,000 spectators consistently. Unlike the Warriors though, they only fill half the available seats. Green tarps cover the third deck at The Coliseum in hopes to offer a more intimate atmosphere for those particularly quiet nights, dropping its capacity to 35,067.
For more than a decade, the A's brass have been looking for a new stadium in the Bay Area. Recently they've commented on how signing potential free agents is difficult because of the outdated ballpark and the amenities provided. Visiting players consistently rank the clubhouses as some of the worst in baseball.
There is no doubt that the A's and their fans would benefit from a new park as the age of the facility and its dual purpose nature are starting to wear on fans and players alike.
The Overstock.com Coliseum opened in 1966. It became home to the Athletics in 1968 following the franchise's move from Kansas City to Oakland. Designed as a multi-use facility, the Coliseum has, for most of its years, served as home to both the A's and the NFL's Oakland Raiders. (The Oracle Arena, home to the Golden State Warriors, sits right next door.)
A 1995 renovation, spurred by the Raiders return from Los Angeles, added over 20,000 seats. The addition, nicknamed Mount Davis for Raiders owner Al Davis, completely enclosed the field, shutting the stadium off from what used to be a beautiful view of the Oakland hills. In doing so, the last gasp of charm was squeezed out of this aging, yet purposeful ballpark.
I'm from Utah, but have some family and friends in NorCal, so I've seen the A's quite a bit for a non-native. (I'm pretty sure the place has had a different name each time I've been.)
Whenever I go, the pricing and the weather are sensational, but my spirits sink when I see "Mount Davis" dominating the area behind the fences. The organization has done the best it can to deal with it (e.g. retired numbers) but the enclosed-ness of the place is a downer.
I really feel for the die-hards who endured the transition from the wide-open view to the current set-up. Their perseverance ought to be commended. It's too bad the team will probably have to leave Oakland to get the park it wants.
As an outsider visiting the Oakland Coliseum (I refuse to call it the O.co Coliseum), I was sorely disappointed by what is clearly an outdated stadium from an era that ballpark builders need to forget. Most of those 1960s-era cookie cutters (Shea Stadium, the Vet) are long-gone, replaced by modern ballparks designed to appeal to both the baseball purist as well as the casual fan. I took the BART to get to the stadium, but it was still an hour-long trip from San Francisco on a rickety train. I highly recommend not using Will Call if you take the train--you have to walk entirely around the stadium, which is not exactly a fun walk right after you've been standing on a noisy, smelly train for an hour. The food wasn't too bad, but there was absolutely nothing around the ballpark (or inside the ballpark) worth seeing or doing other than the action on the field. And, while I admire Billy Beane and his "Moneyball" tactics, they don't exactly make for the most exciting on-field product. Long story short, the Coliseum is very similar to the Athletics product on the field--not too bad looking from the outside, but sorely lacking and in need of a major facelift once you get to know it.
8520 Pardee Drive
Oakland, CA 94621
Oakland, CA 94607