It’s the worst stadium in professional sports. It’s literally craptastic! It’s not located downtown or in an up and coming warehouse district where fans can distract themselves from, you know, the actual game. There are no views. There’s no faux retro charm. They have to share the stadium with a football team so the field gets beat up at the end of the year, just when the A’s are hoping to be on the national stage.
There are no micro-breweries or Japanese – Scandinavian fusions restaurants where you can grab a bite before or after the game. Nope, it’s located between a freeway, an industrial complex, recycling yards, train tracks and some pretty dicey public housing. Yep, that’s what you get when you come to a baseball game in Oakland. And that is EXACTLY why a game in Oakland should be on your bucket list!
Because, see, what you get is the best crowd in professional sports. Not the biggest mind you, but the best. Last night in Oakland the A’s and Tigers played the first game of their 5 game playoff series. And this is what the crowd was like – WITH THE A’S LOSING – going into the bottom of the 9th inning!!!
And here is the reaction in the 7th inning when Yoenis Céspedes of the Oakland Athletics blasts a two-run homer to pull the A’s within 3-2, sending 48,000 fans into delirium.
Games at the o.co Coliseum are a mixture of college football, European futbol game and minor league baseball all in one. The fans – by far the most diverse group in pro sports – non-stop chant, bang drums, honk horns, sing and wave towels and banners. It’s one of few stadiums left where handmade signs are draped around the railings throughout the stadium. And it’s all just so sort of ironic given the fans are the farthest away from the field, there’s no roof or baffling to keep the sound it. But don’t just take my word for it, Detroit manager Jim Leyland talks about it here:
And the players interact with the fans in way no other players in any professional sport in America do. That last point is due in large part because with the A’s small payroll, the vast majority of the players are making not insanely more than the fans who fill the stadium do. They can relate with the fans and the fans with them. And even the few players who make in the millions for the A’s get caught up in that. There is a camaraderie between player and fan you see nowhere else (with maybe the exception of Green Bay and the Packers).
So if you’re sports fan, and you long for what you think professional sports should be all about, do yourself a favor and head to a game at the o.co Coliseum in Oakland. And just for that night, no matter who you normally root for, go ahead and let out a few hearty “LET’S GO OAKLAND” chants with the rest of the crowd!