Coliseum Myths 

Busy Bee Jimmy dropped a note in my comments about the SF Gate article that touts the advantages of the Coliseum over S...Pac...er...where the Giants play.

I'm no pollyanna when it comes to the Giants home park. I thought Rusty the Mechanical Man was a terrible idea. So did the Giants' front office, at least once they saw it in action a dozen times. The canned sound effects, the dumb giveaways, the expensive food and beer, the way Renel screeches "Bar-reee BONDS!", the terrible new name for the park: there's plenty to grumble about.

But in knee-jerk reaction to the Giants' gaudy, somewhat tacky commercial success, the Coliseum often gets wrapped in blue-collar, people's-park gauze. Real baseball! Real fans! Real beer! Folks, it's a load of crock. Let's debunk, shall we?

1) The A's aren't corporate sellouts and don't demean their fans with stupid claptrap. Hello? Network Associates Coliseum? The Net-Ass? And who exactly brought us Dot Racing, the original big-screen video gimmick to pacify the attention-deficit masses between innings?

2) The fans are more knowledgable and pay more attention to the game. Right, especially when it comes to which projectiles (firecrackers? coins? cell phones?) are easier to lob at each other or at opposing outfielders, and which racial epithets to direct at Ichiro. A's fans are just as boorish as the rest of us. Please go here and scroll down to "Extra Innings." Then go here and scroll down to "Pandemonium at the A’s game Friday night."

3) At SBC, people are too busy talking on their cell phones (instead of throwing them, I guess), or on their wi-fi connections, or discussing their "work drama," as the Betting Fool says, to care about the game. I don't know about other sections, but in the 1-3-8, standard practice when someone gets on the horn is one of two cheers, repeated over and over: "Off the phone!" or "Call your Mommy later!" Whenever I watch games at other parks, I see plenty of people in the stands on cell phones, and some even stand up and wave to the camera as they mouth the words "Can you see me? Can you see me?" Oh, no, but not in Oakland! Gimme a break.

4) At the Coliseum, you can move up to a better seat. Folks, if this is what makes a stadium experience better, I've got a nice season ticket package I'd like to sell you, s'il vous plaît. I hate to break it to you, but it's easy to move up in stadiums when the local fans are so lazy, jaded or who knows what that they can't be bothered to come out in droves to see one of the best teams of the past half-decade in one of the cheapest ballparks in the country. If you still want to argue, then I'll reply by saying I often move from my Pac Bell bleacher seats into the lower deck down the third-base line around the seventh inning and no one has ever said anything or tried to stop me.

5) "It's the ability to walk around and see the game from every angle..." So says the Betting Fool in valuing the Net-Ass over "new parks." Huh? Who says you can't walk around and see the game from every angle at Pac Bell? Is there no cooler viewing angle than atop the right field arcade, or through the portholes as Bobby Abreu's big butt pokes out in your direction?

Yes, the Net-Ass is cheaper than Pac Bell. Yes, there are more seats available. Yes, the general manager is cooler and more sabermetrically inclined and doesn't sport a pseudo-mullet. Yes, the Giants have committed a crime by not building a championship caliber team this year around the greatest player of our generation.

Go ahead, love the A's for being the second banana of the Bay Area. But don't give their fans coolness points for not showing up or for being smarter than they are.


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