In my wayward ramblings online, I have discovered that Rohnert Park Stadium is scheduled for demolition. For those of you who remember the old bench style bleachers ere Mt. Davis bubbled forth from the concrete mixer, it marks the end of an era.
In the before time, in the long, long ago, bleacher seats at the Coliseum were cheap, plentiful and comfortable. I was a Bay Area kid who had loved the A's since the 72-74 run and I had a partial season ticket package for the bleachers for a few years in the late 80s and early 90s. Even in those heady days, the benches were sparsely filled on many Friday nights, allowing one to spread out over three benches and watch the game the same way you would watch Carson in bed. The bleachers had their own communities, and I sat nearby to Hindu's Bad Boys. I learned the chants, I joined in when appropriate, and I always gauged my alcohol consumption by them. To my detriment. Nearby, there were families, kids and other die hards that I got to know by name. Even going to the game alone was cool, because I was guaranteed to know at least one or two other people nearby. Most of my Coliseum experience came from those benches in right center. Best seats in the house.
I grew up in Santa Rosa when the Raiders had their training camp there, so I have been a Raiders fan as long as I can remember. I wanted them to come back and I wanted to forgive and forget, but when they returned and molested the Coliseum, something in my passion for them died. The bleachers were removed and concrete, plastic, metal and more concrete replaced them. Now there isn't a comfortable seat in the house, only tightly congested rows of hard plastic seats. But I digress.
The bleachers ended up being incorporated in the Rohnert Park Stadium that was built for the Sonoma County Crushers, who crushed their last baseball a few seasons back. Despite teases from other teams, no one has occupied the stadium since the previous occupants left. Now, bids are being taken on the demolition of the stadium.
I am still a die hard A's fan, perhaps more so because of some of this. I still root for the Raiders, but I can't defend Al Davis as I used to. I am pretty excited about the new ball park plans even though I do miss the Coliseum Drive In as well. But nothing can match those cold May nights with my feet up, drinking smuggled in cocktails, close enough to yell rude things at the opposing outfielders (and Jose on occasion); there still lies the kernel of my A's fandom. The Bleachers are dead, long live the bleachers!