Baseball stadium number 11: the McAfee Coliseum, home of the Oakland Athletics (and football’s Oakland Raiders). Sadly, I’ll be seeing no game here. The A’s schedule meant that I would’ve had to leave the Oregon Country Fair early to get to see a game. But, I’ve kinda convinced myself that going on the stadium tour is an acceptable alternative and does count as an official part of my trip. Maybe it needs an asterisk, but, it still counts.
It was a bit of a worry that I’d actually get on the tour or not, though. I emailed them several days ago regarding a place on the tour, I got an automated reply asking for my details, and then, err, nothing. It was a bit of a worry because the website clearly says “no walk-ups on Tour Dates.” Undeterred, I walked-up. Well, I got the BART train, which, to me, is a fantastic-looking system, with its chunky, angular trains that look like airbrushed sci-fi depictions of a better world.
At the stadium, I went to the ticket office, and, well, the no walk-ups thing was easily got around, seeing as though there was only one other person on the tour. And it was a fun tour. I’ve only been on one other stadium tour, and that was way more polished, mainly, I suppose, cos it was the Yankees, and their tours are understandably very popular.
Donnie, our tour guide, began by giving us a calendar with pictures of A’s players cuddling up to puppies, and took us around the restaurant area, the expensive corporate boxes, and then into the guts of the stadium. That was pretty cool.
We got to see the indoor batting cage that the teams use, and he gave us each a ball from the big tub in there. Yay! I’ve got me a baseball that Real Life Proper Baseball Players have hit and scuffed up! Onwards, and we’re in the visitor’s clubhouse. That’s “changing room” in English.
That place must be a bit stinky on game days, and the DVD selection is, well, it’s not gonna be stimulating many minds, let’s put it like that.
They have a kitchen area, just like any regular office, too. Except this one has a crap load of water, Gatorade, bubble gum, candy, ice cream, and enough sunflowers seed to, if they were planted, make North America look really yellow on Google Earth.
Donnie, being a relaxed kinda tour guide, took an ice cream, and offered us both one. Yes please. Mmmm, Choco Taco…
Onwards, and we’re in the seats behind home plate, and then, sitting in the dugout.
There was loads of bubble gun stuck underneath the bench. And one rather grim-looking toilet there. OMG! OMG! That’s where Johnny Damon and Jason Giambi might’ve one day done a poo! *Flappy hands near face*
We sat there having a chat about the A’s and baseball in general, then went up to the press box, and that was about it. An enjoyable tour. The other tour-taking person then revealed herself to be a journalist from San Diego on a trip taking in the stadium tours of California’s five MLB stadiums. Donnie’s brain seemed to visibly have its cogs clicking over what he’d said during the tour, and she and I bid farewell to the fella and chatted about this and that until we were back on the BART train.