No. 22: Oakland Coliseum

The Oakland Athletics are in need of a new stadium. The question is where to put it. There have been plans proposed to move the A’s from their current location just off Interstate 880 south of downtown to the Oakland waterfront, near Jack London Square.

Former owner Lew Wolff hated the idea and we do as well.

The A’s will soon have their current location all to themselves. The NFL’s Raiders, who share the Coliseum with the A’s, are moving to Las Vegas following the 2019 season. The NBA’s Golden State Warriors, who currently play at the adjacent Oracle Arena, are getting a new stadium in San Francisco and will move to Chase Arena for the 2019-20 season.

If and when the A’s build a new stadium, it should be on the land they already have. The A’s would assume the full costs of the property, but it’s been their home since 1968. There is ample space near the Coliseum and it’s in a convenient location right next to a BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) station.

ACCESSIBILITY:

Patti says  (3.5 RVs)

The highway system around Oakland is easy to navigate and the A’s stadium is not far from Interstate 880. If you choose to drive, you can park for free as we did or you might choose to enter the parking lot and tailgate. Don’t want to drive? Try the BART or the Capitol Corridor Train as noted on the A’s MLB transportation page.

Ron says

The Coliseum is very easy to get to, whether by car or public transportation. We drove and found free street parking just a few blocks from the stadium. There was still plenty of open space on the curbs near us.

The parking lot, which costs $20, is huge and there was another large lot that was fenced off. (Possible new stadium site?)

The A’s are actually very good this year, and we saw them trounce the Toronto Blue Jays on July 30. It’s a shame they’re not drawing many fans, but that did mean traffic getting to the stadium was not bad.

ATMOSPHERE:

The shoes racked up a win at Oakland Coliseum

Patti says

The A’s stadium is an interesting one. I noted that it felt like a football stadium, and for good reason. It is one. I actually liked that vibe and especially enjoyed the enthusiasm of the fans in the right field bleachers. They waved signs and banged drums to cheer their team to victory. I like to think my shoes played a role as well.

The concourse is a bit claustrophobic and it is clear the venting system for the concessions could use some work, as the smell of grease pervaded the area. Outside is nice, open, and airy.

Unfortunately the ballpark is also rather empty.

Ron says

The walls that align the ramp behind home plate are dedicated to the team’s history

The Coliseum is definitely not aesthetically pleasing, but it does have a certain charm considering the team has played there for 50 years. The fans who were in attendance were definitely into the game and the right-field percussion group was active from start to finish.

But there just isn’t much to the Coliseum. There are plenty of tributes to the team’s history and Hall of Fame players like Dennis Eckersley, Rollie Fingers, Reggie Jackson, Jim “Catfish” Hunter and Rickey Henderson — after whom the field is named. The A’s are sort of in limbo with stadium renovations because they know they’re getting a new one. It is needed and, despite that charm, it likely won’t be missed by many.

FOOD: 

Patti and Ron both say:

The Coliseum offers the traditional baseball items — hot dogs, burgers, sodas, beer, popcorn, etc. But there really isn’t anything that stands out as especially unique to Oakland — aside from the deep-fried crickets, which we did not try.

The food trucks in Championship Plaza

Give the A’s credit, however, because they recognized this and, instead of creating a whole new food area, they use Championship Plaza to host food trucks for every home game. We walked up the ramps behind home plate out onto the plaza, situated between the Coliseum and Oracle Arena, and found half a dozen food trucks and a beverage stand outside.

Ron had a wonderful Texas barbecue plate while Patti ate sushi — but no California rolls. The food trucks were a wonderful and creative addition to the Coliseum.

VALUE: 

Patti and Ron both say: 

Despite poor attendance, A’s tickets don’t come cheap. They’re not terribly expensive, but we paid $64 for a pair of seats in section 211. The food and drinks are also what you’d expect in California, though not nearly as pricey as we found across the Bay at AT&T Park.

The lot does cost $20, but parking can be found for free on the street and the BART is only $2.50 per ticket.

MISCELLANEOUS / EXTRAS: 

The Treehouse at the Oakland Coliseum

As stated above, the A’s are sort of in limbo with stadium upgrades, but the food trucks aren’t the only thing new this year. The A’s opened The Treehouse, a large rooftop bar area with pool tables, ping pong and other games inside and a large patio area overlooking the field outside.

There are plenty of televisions to watch the game if you decide to stay inside the bar area. Orders can also be made outside with servers attending to fans.

THE CITY OF OAKLAND: 

Inside Oakland Cathedral

Oakland is a dirty city riddled with graffiti. The waterfront area has a couple of small parks by Jack London Square, but it is mostly an industrial port.

We did find a beautiful church near Lakeside Park on Lake Merritt. The Cathedral of Light is stunning with its avant-garde architecture that incorporates wood with a lot of glass that lets in plenty of natural light.

We also found a small beer garden to do some work after Ron checked out San Francisco 49ers training camp. Telegraph is a dog-friendly spot with an outdoor patio and has plenty of drink options and serves food.

We didn’t see much else in Oakland because most of the sightseeing was spent on the San Francisco side of the Bay.

Home Run On Wheels, Home Run On Wheels

Follow Ron and Patti as they travel in their RV to all 30 MLB stadiums in 2018. Along the way, they will write stadium reviews, talk about food, baseball and life in an RV, and how you can help a child in need.
There will also be features with MLB players and other sports figures along the way.

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