The Coliseum. A place filled with history and traditions and passionate fans.
Despite its continuous bashing from fans everywhere, especially those of the Giants, the place is still immensely special to me. To the fans who go to their shiny new ballpark and bemoan ours, I have nothing much to say. Their view is that a good baseball environment includes gimmicks and fancy food. So I can't properly explain to them the magic that is the Coliseum.
My pre-game routine is consistent. I get on BART in San Francisco and watch as fellow A's fans pack the train downtown. Upon getting off at the stadium stop, excitement and pride fill me. Pride. I am proud as I walk up the steps and onto the fence enclosed overpass. I am part of the mass which approaches the building's stained concrete exterior. These stains serve as a reminder of what the team and fans are up against (a struggle that endears me even more to the green and gold) but also of the history of the place. The overpass is alive with a collection of scalpers, churro sellers, and that one guy who markets his hawaiian beads.
I always take the same route to my section and sit down in my seat way before the game begins. I stay cautiously optimistic about crowd size as fans file in slowly. I watch the AL West Champs video ten minutes before the game and get goosebumps every single time. Something about how Korach says, "And they are going nuts....And their fans have loved every second of it" with video of the crowd going crazy really gets me. I chant "Oh No" as the umpires are announced, keeping with tradition.
The games themselves at the Coli always have a unique feel to them no matter the crowd size. It smells purely like baseball, and there's no other way to put it. Always there is a symphony of sounds - horns blowing, drums beating, cowbells ringing, banjos strumming. Chants of "Let's Go Oakland" each inning. Vendors moving about the aisles with their declarations of a superior product.
Our fans are the friendliest. While many sporting events are a collection of groups, the friendly nature of people at A's games makes the crowd feel more like a singular whole. Game 4 of the ALDS last summer exemplified this sentiment to the fullest. Every hit off Valverde, culminating in Coco's walk off, brought about a collective burst of joy. My own voice was lost amongst the communal noise.
If the game ends in a win I stick around for a few minutes to enjoy the playing of "Celebration" before I head back to the BART amongst more "Let's Go A's" chants. If we walk off, I wait with the other thousands to see the pie-ing of my favorite players.
I've been coming to the Coliseum since I was little and I'll continue losing myself happily in the magic until the place is no more. This isn't a call for anything or an argument for anything. It's just an appreciation of my favorite place in the world.