29 Halos in 29 Ballparks: Oaktown Power, Halo Number One, The Oakland Coliseum

The beauty of baseball is indescribable. It is often referred to as “the thinking man’s game”. Each ballpark has its own unique feel, traditions, character, and environment, a unique aura that is not shared with any other ballpark in the major leagues. In an earlier entry, I stated that I would leave 29 Halos in 29 ballparks, is only fitting that I start with the Oakland Coliseum.

The Oakland Coliseum was the first ballpark that I had the opportunity to visit outside of Angel Stadium. It is a very unique ballpark, the last remaining ballpark in Major League Baseball that still is a shared facility with the NFL. I was very lucky to live near a ballpark in the Angels’ division during my college years. I tried to go to the Coliseum every time the Angels visited the Athletics. For the very first time and only time so far, I went to a game that the Angels weren’t participating, in that venue, the Athletics hosted the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Oakland Coliseum itself, is very accessible. The BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) subway train has a station right outside the ballpark. It’s really nice to arrive without having to worry about paying for parking. Upon arriving at the station, one can already feel the green and gold soul that resides within the unique confines of that ballpark.

Upon entering the gates, one gets emerged in the pageantry of the ballpark whether it’s the sound of the bats during batting practice, and/or the drummers warming up in the left-field bleachers. The drummers are just regular fans that one day brought their drums into the ballpark and have been there ever since, supporting the team they love.

The ballpark itself is very accommodating; it is one of the few ballparks that I know of, where a wheelchair using patron can sit in the first level on the field. (As a result of a successful lawsuit by fans) and were one can sit with their companion for half of the regular price. I used to sit there all the time, in section 115 row 20, seats 20 and 21. I still have fond memories of the Oakland A’s’ Usher, Rodney, who would give me a hard time, but was also very fond of conversation. From what I understand, he is still there.

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The Oakland A’s fans are very passionate. As every baseball fan should be. I distinctly remember for the Angels’ games people would walk in with rally monkeys at the end of the stick hanging from a noose. The beautiful women of Oakland would walk into the ballpark wearing devil horns, and the kids would shout At the top of their lungs, “let’s go Oakland!”

As an Angels’ fan I was very lucky and spoiled to have the experience that I had in that beautiful ballpark. I was able to see the Angels clinch the American League West championship in two consecutive years, 2004 and 2005. In 2005, I met the Angels current owner, Arturo Moreno the very night the Angels clinched the division title. A fond memory that I still carry with me today.

Arturo Moreno and Isaac Lopez

Eight years have passed since I left the Bay Area, however I still hold the Oakland Coliseum very close to my heart. I hope that I will one day be back to once again partake in the beauty of Oaktown Power.

-ICE

3 Comments

This post reminded me of how going to A’s games to watch the Angels was my own personal form of torture…from 1999-2001 or so, the Angels just couldn’t seem to beat the A’s and the Coliseum was a house of Horrors for me.

That 2002 season was great, and I will always remember the thrill of the Angels’ finally beating the A’s when it counted. My most viviv memory was seeing Tim Salmon crack a winning HR off Billy Koch to break a 1-1 tie in the 10th (complete games by both starters too I think).

And of course my best memories were of watching the Angels beat up the A’s with my buddy, Isaac-a bigger Angels’ fan than me.

First off, let me say a couple things – thank you for not, as expected, calling my home a “dump, a pit, or a sewage waste plant or (insert another insult here)” that was extremely refreshing. Another thing people don’t seem to truly understand is that is REALLY (and I mean really) sucks sharing our park with an NFL team. They ruin the field during the playoffs and upon returning from LA they built the monstrosity we all call Mt. Davis. The park used to be quite pretty back when I was a little kid a (by coincidence I was also four when I became a fan but that was also when I went to my first game at the Coliseum, I was born in Houston and can remember watching the Astros on TV with my grandmother but never went to the Astrodome) but back to the park used to be beautiful – you could see the a view of the Oakland HIlls. I’ll never forget the years of that.

From what I read it appears that we might be the same-ish age, you said you were in college in the Bay Area, correct? As well as around the same age as “calphilly” who commented above. I remember that game – Tim Salmon walk off off of Billy Koch in the 10th. He was a great pitcher but he’d give up the long ball from time to time as most fireballers tend to do. This little girl in front of us stood up and was yelling “fishy, fishy, doo, doo” at Salmon (what IS it with you guys and your fish named players?! LOL!)

Anyways, I was in college from 2000-2005 and I hardly ever missed a game. During the now-infamous 20-game win streak I drove back and forth from Monterey everyday once they came back from their undefeated road trip – I ended up finishing school at St. Mary’s in Moraga because all that driving was getting kind of ridiculous. LOL! AND I have to say I never wore the devil horns or anything but I was the girl with the rally monkey tied to a rope with a noose around his neck. Said dead rally monkey (and he is legit – I got him AT Angel Stadium while working at a game – I interned in television during college – and he still hangs in my living room to this very day!) It was a very pleasant experience and towards the end of the game I was able to walk around and get a feel for the stadium and even sat in the outfield for what was I believe a 9th inning homer by Bobby Kielty that broke a tie and won the game for Oakland).

What impressed me most about your experiences in Oakland were that you remembered your usher and yes, while I don’t know him personally I am sure he still works there. It’s interesting AND true that the majority of my close friends are either season ticket holders or ushers who work at the games! Oakland really does have a great staff, they act quickly, take their jobs seriously and know when to make friends and joke around. I swear – if what went down in Toronto during the ALCS with all the garbage being thrown had gone down in Oakland – well, it 1. wouldn’t have or 2. they probably would have kicked out the entire stadium full of people …serious. But I appreciate you mentioning the staff. They really are great!!

Anyways, I’m sorry for the long and laborious comment here on your blog but I will come back and read it again absolutely and not just because you said nice things about the Coli. I enoyed your piece above that made a fair and honest assessment of your team as it stands today. We can be against each other when we are fighting you for the division title (probably not this year! LOL!) but otherwise I hope we can be friends. I enjoyed your writing, realism and honesty. It’s refreshing. If you ever want to talk baseball you know where to find me. http://bbstmlb.com (it REALLY blows that if you move your blog to WP.org that they do not have the MLB themes! I really miss my old A’s one but you can do so much more on WP.org. It’s also unfortunate that you can’t be counted for the “Latest Leaders” or “Top 100” but that’s ok! They still hook up my RSS feed and throw me nods on the blog so I don’t care!) It’s all for fun anyway and for the love of the game! Thanks for a couple of good reads so far. I look forward to more! Again, I’m extraordinarily long-winded, so I apologize for the length!! Hope you have a great day!

~ Jen aka the original “Oakland A’s Socks Girl” šŸ˜€

Hello Jen,

Thank you for the elaborate response, I really enjoyed reading it. There was nothing “laborious” about it. It was quite refreshing to hear from a true diehard fan, who knows her team’s history and knows her stuff. Believe it or not, your comment came as an early Christmas present for me. I’ve been looking for a true Oakland A’s sparring partner for a while now, hopefully we can have a friendly back-and-forth during the 19 games they play against each other next season. I’m really looking forward to it, yes, indeed I went to college in the Bay Area, let’s just say I bleed blue and gold and I strongly dislike cardinal trees from Palo Alto, California. It would be my honor to follow you, and begin a beautiful baseball journey with you. I hope you are prepared for this passionate Angels’ fan who appreciates nothing more than an equally as passionate fan, even though they may root for the wrong team. šŸ™‚ Rally Monkeys are way better than elephants. LOL šŸ™‚ I appreciate insightful comments no matter how long they are. Have no fear, speak your mind as I will do the same. šŸ™‚

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