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Friday, September 30, 2011

Ballpark Rankings Update - O.co Coliseum

While I was in the San Francisco area I was able to get to an Oakland Athletics game. They play in what is now called the O.co Coliseum. O.co is the new name for Overstock.com. It's a terrible name but the sponsorship makes sense, since the whole Moneyball theory the A's operate on is based on trying to get quality players at a cheap price. Anyway, O.co is an old place -- older than the Vet. It opened in 1966 for the NFL Raiders and the A's moved in from Kansas City in 1968. So old that the men's room had troughs instead of urinals. I've taken a vow to never use a trough.

Being one of those multi-purpose places, the sightlines aren't so great in some areas. And even where I sat (seven rows behind the visitors' dugout; thanks for not buying up the good seats, A's fans), it seemed far away because there's a lot of room between the stands and the foul lines. That helps pitchers a lot, because foul pops that go into the seats in many places are easily caught here.

I stood up between innings of the game (in which the former Philadelphia A's beat Detroit, the day after the Tigers clinched the AL Central title) and circled around to take this video. YouTube is having issues again, or something, because the sound
is missing. As you can see, the entire upper deck is covered by tarp in an attempt to create artificial demand for tickets by reducing the seating capacity. As you can also see, it hasn't entirely worked. Lots of empty seats. Of course, the poor status of the A's has something to do with that (how's that Moneyball thing working out now, huh, stat geeks?)

The concourse is small, so I imagine it'd get really packed if the place were sold out. I only had a hot dog, but it was a nice size and had a pile of stuff on it, and they seemed to have some variety from what I noticed walking around. Like in AT&T Park in San Francisco, no lids were on the soda cups. I assume there were no straws either -- my brother actually got my food and drink while I stayed in my seat, so I don't know this with absolute certainty. Maybe it's a law in the Bay Area for concessionaires to make it easier for drinks to spill?

So, with another notch in my ballpark belt, here are my updated rankings of the parks I've visited for baseball. (This post has some notes and comments from when I originally put my rankings together.) I've now seen games in 21 stadiums, seven of which have been abandoned by teams for newer places. Those are in italics. And I missed another opportunity to see a now-out-of-service ballpark with the Marlins moving into their new digs next season.

The A's have the distinction of being in the worst of the still-active parks on the list. But at least it was a beautiful afternoon -- sunny and warm, a far cry from my visit to that other old Bay Area ballpark, the one at the very bottom of the list.

1. PNC Park - Pittsburgh
2. Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia
3. Oriole Park at Camden Yards - Baltimore
4. PETCO Park - San Diego
5. AT&T Park - San Francisco
6. Wrigley Field - Chicago Cubs
7. Nationals Park - Washington (I should drop them down because they got rid of the Five Guys burger stand, but they now have Shake Shack, which I hear is good)
8. Yankee Stadium - NY Yankees
9. Fenway Park - Boston
10. Dodger Stadium - LA Dodgers
11. Progressive Field - Cleveland
12. Chase Field - Arizona
13. US Cellular Field - Chicago White Sox
14. Rogers Centre - Toronto
15. Veterans Stadium (R.I.P.) - Philadelphia
16. Qualcomm Stadium - San Diego
17. O.co Coliseum - Oakland
18. RFK Stadium - Washington
19. Olympic Stadium - Montreal
20. Shea Stadium - NY Mets
21. Candlestick Park - San Francisco

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