I’m a very minor fan of baseball.
I don’t follow any teams. I don’t have a favorite player. I don’t really think much about it.
However, in the past week I’ve been to two different Major League Baseball games and enjoyed both experiences in different ways.
The Bay Area is home to two teams: the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A’s. During the time I’ve lived in the Bay, the Giants won the World Series, so it’s easy to forget about the Oakland A’s. However, with one visit to the A’s O.co Coliseum in Oakland, I was easily reminded that Oakland fans are loyal, and the A’s are alive and kicking.
The biggest differentiator between going to a Giants’ game or an A’s’ game is the setting. The Giants play in a shiny new, state-of-the-art waterfront ballpark in the city of San Francisco, next to urban bars, restaurants and culture. AT&T Park has been called one of the top five baseball parks in the nation. The A’s play in an old, dual-purpose stadium also housing the Oakland Raiders, which is right off the freeway and has concrete views. O.co Coliseum has been called one of the worst baseball ballparks in the nation.
Dave and I could walk to the Giants game, along with hoards of other game attendees from the City donning their orange and black. The stadium has its own diverse eateries and bars, fancy big-screen TVs on the scoreboards and interesting architecture above the outfield.
Dave and I had to drive to the A’s game. As we arrived, groups of people in yellow and green were tailgating in the parking lot with coolers and grills. The stadium was a bit old, just offering seats and a field. The vendors are your typical hot dog and sauerkraut concessions, but the lines were long, and people were buying.
A’s fans seemed a bit more into the game. In fact, they did the wave, which went around a few times, and, there were some creative musicians in the nosebleed seats playing cowbells and trumpets throughout the game. You could say they were riding a high of excitement since the A’s had been winning lately, but apparently the A’s fans are ones that stick around no matter what the scoreboard says.
I hadn’t been to a baseball game in so long, but the second I sat down in my seat and took in the sights, sounds and smells, I was relaxed. There aren’t many expectations of a baseball fan other than to sit back and chill. Both the Giants game and the A’s game provided that experience. To top it off, Dave and I were lucky enough to score Diamond Level seats for the A’s game, which included sitting three rows back from home-plate and catered all-you-can-eat fare. We even shared a hallway with the players, so we weren’t allowed to use our cell phones on the walk to the seats. This added element of luxury was a nice way to take in a game, but it might have been fun to sit next to the cowbell too …
After attending both games, where both home teams won, I don’t think I can choose a clear favorite. While the Giants have a better setting for their sport, the A’s have a leg up on the fan-tertainment — both are worth the visit.