A's Versus Giants Ballparks —
If going to a ballgame at Giants Park in San Francisco is considered a step up in the major league baseball fan experience, well then going to an Oakland Athletics game may be considered a step down, and that is not the fault of the players nor the storied franchise.
I had the joy Saturday of attending an Oakland Athletics home game versus the Kansas City Royals commemorating the Kansas City Athletics of 50 years yore. My favorite moment was when former Athletics John 'Blue Moon' Odom and Bert Campaneris made their way around the field absolutely beaming with a magical glow before simultaneously throwing out the honorary first pitch. Both men were members of the 1965 Kansas City Athletics, and they both looked impressively young and chipper. I absolutely marveled that these men had played pro baseball 50 years ago. Amazing! That alone was worth a trip to the ballpark.
One thing the Athletics definitely got right was these throwbacks, honoring old players and promoting a sense of history among the fanbase, especially in a city like Oakland where the glory of its franchises seems to be a thing of the past (who knows?).
Although I do enjoy both Bay Area pro baseball teams, the A's make it harder to be a serious and consistent fan because frankly their stadium sucks and by extension so does their current semi-absentee ownership (of extremely dubious political and corporate affiliation).
Here are some major differences in the fan experience.
Giants park is always sold out so you know what to expect, a scarcity of seats.
At the A's game my son and I were rousted from our seats in the top of the 4th by an usher. I stood up and said "Really?!?" as I peered at hundreds of open seats in every direction. We moved two seats to the right and the people only sat down for two innings. Amatuer fans.
What actually grinded me was being reminded of seating and sales again. It was annoying to be reminded again about ownership and the financial "tightness" of this seemingly god-forsaken team whose management rides it into the ground without fail nor regard year after year. These types of damning thoughts seem to race through my mind every time something annoys me at A's park, it all comes down to the cursed owners, it gets tiresome.
The MLB All-Star break is fast approaching, and the A's were swept by the Royals this weekend, so just wait for this year’s fire sale brought to you by… Your Oakland Athletics.
On a more vain point, at Giants park the good looking women are over 35, while at A's games the good looking women are decidedly under 25. While the Giants got the southern boy thing going and a slew of foreign players, Stephen Vogt of the Oakland A's looks like a white homeboy straight out of the East or North Bay.
Gotta love that though.
You can get Speakeasy beers at Giants park which is the best beer I have ever had inside of a ballpark.
I skip the 12 dollar Coronas at A's games, cheap beer makes me want to fight especially when consumed inside the Coliseum where one can begin to fume about so many lost opportunities and outright self-defeating moves by the team ownership.
Giants park can take about 30 minutes to get from Bart to the stadium, while the A's stadium is a 2 minute walk from Bart which is a great perk.
I think they should build on the current location for the A's and the Raiders should move elsewhere. But who knows what priority the Raiders may receive in the Bay being that the formerly beloved 49ers went to the darkside and moved to silicon valley over 50 miles away from the cool gray city of love.
You cannot beat the views of the Bay, McCovey Cove and China Basin in and around Giants park.
In Oakland, A's park is in a fairly industrial area, they could build some green spaces in the vast area surrounding the park, but they won't.
The A's Coliseum seems decidedly dumpy and unkempt in a crappy area as an indication that the A's serve a far less wealthy demographic than the Giants do. What does the talk say, the A's don't have the corporate backing in Oakland to fill the skyboxes in order to build a new ballpark.
As far as the views inside the Oakland ballpark — well, it was absolutely ruined by the Mount Davis skyboxes which completely blocks any view of the east bay hills and has fuckall to do with baseball.
Giants park feels intimate at every corner and turn while A's stadium can seem vacuous and abandoned.
The Giants have established a culture of victory and it can't help but be contagious when you experience that ballpark. Conversely the A's have an aura of failed expectations, unmet goals and a culture of mediocrity down to the very physical experience of the ballpark.
I was a bit depressed after attending the A's game on Saturday. I am never depressed after a Giants game, win or loss.
What I am most grateful for though is that we are blessed to have two major league baseball teams in the Bay Area in immediate proximity to one another. So when I wanted to go to a major league baseball game on Saturday afternoon and decided to miss the silly circus in the City this weekend, I simply took a left at downtown Oakland instead of a right and caught a swingin’ A's game in the Town instead.
Two of the greatest teams are in a locale 10 actual miles gate to gate from the National League (NL) to the American League (AL). I cannot help but recall my blessed youth packed full of Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox games, NL and AL respectively, 8 miles gate to gate.
Major League Baseball has been generous to some of us, and we give thanks. Honestly I have four MLB franchises in my pantheon, a wealth by any regard. We wish the tightwads that hold the Oakland Athletics hostage at this time would relent from their damned mediocrity. Their quest for mediocrity does not fit the mold for the honor of major league baseball nor the storied and winning franchise of the Philadelphia then Kansas City and now Oakland Athletics.
Cheers, and here's to three more months of baseball, maybe more!