or: Sitting on the Wall of the Bay
Last night I made my second foray into Southern Bell Communications Ballpark. While certainly a belle of a ballpark, one might accuse its design and concept of having about as much to do with baseball as its namesake.
No matter. My buddy was visiting and the A's were out of town - plus I had taken him to the Coliseum on his last visit (game 5, 2003 DS), so the time was ripe for a visit. Taking a step back, though, my first visit was earlier this year when the A's were in town. I sat in the CF bleachers and I can honeslty say that I found the fans there to generally be drunk, only semi-committed, and quite annoying. Seriously, how clever do you have to be in order to think up calling the center fielder a bum over and over again? The view was marginal and, honestly, I didn't get what all the hubub was about.
Fast forward to yesterday evening. My friend and I walked into the stadium, exchanging calls of "Lets go Oakland, clap, clap, clap clap clap" with his "Lets go Red Sox" and, seeing me decked out in full A's apparel, you might have thought we were lost. No, in fact, we just didn't care. We were there to watch some baseball, drink some beer, hang out, and just generally have a good time - not necessarily in that order.
See, much like most social gatherings, the key to fully enjoying SBC Park is not caring all that much. Kick back, have fun, be entertained, enjoy the food, enjoy the view, and, most of all, don't let the baseball game interfere with your evening. Speaking of the food - it was spectacular. My Brat was about two cuts above the ones they serve in Oakland and the Garlic Fries absolutely blew away any I had enjoyed previously. And the American commercial lagers were, well, quite similar to any you'd find across the bay - and for pretty much the same price.
Back in our seats, I must say, they were really frickin cool. We were in Sec 146, Row 1 - on top of the brick wall in right field, where we could look straight down and see dirt - and my buddy could spit his sunflower seeds onto the field. While the view of the action was little better or worse than bleacher seats elsewhere, it just had the feel of hanging out in a special, unique place.
For me, the key to appreciating the park was to just stop caring about the game. That wasn't possible when the A's were in town, but last night, I had a blast. So for those fans who don't do the term fanatic proud - ie, most of them - I've come to realize that a place like SBC is a great place to kick back, enjoy some beer and some great food - and if there happens to be a baseball game going on, all the better.