Thursday, May 28, 2009
Mount Davis really isn't cool and it sucks and it's awful
The following is written by David Kamoe, a life-long sports fan whose sister is a close friend. David is an avid A's fan, wen to to high school with Drew Gooden and can't believe that Giants commentator Mike Krukow used to refer to the right-centerfield expanse at Pac Bell Park as "Finley Alley," referring to Steve Finley who remarkably wore a Giants uniform for a season. David will likely be stopping by these parts a few times a month, so treat him right. And no sister jokes.
I hate Mount Davis. Not in the “sports hate/I don’t really hate this” kind of way. I flat out HATE Mount Davis.
I was born an A’s fan in 1987 when I went with my preschool playground and sat in the right-field bleachers watching A’s baseball. This was one of the purest experiences of baseball: sitting on metallic or wooden benches elbow-to-elbow with your fellow fans in the warm afternoon sun. This is what makes Wrigley the greatest party alive and makes me envious every time I watch a 1:20 CST Cubs game on WGN. Sauced up Cubs fans sitting on ancient wooden benches surrounded by a basket with ivy below them.
The Oakland version of this was metallic bleachers with a combination of ice plants and the Oakland hills in the background. My childhood is built around memories of this Oakland Alameda Coliseum. And in 1996, with one swift and petulant move, Al Davis and his silver jumpsuit squashed it.
It was in that year that the once Oakland Raiders (1960-1981) cut ties with the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and returned to Oakland. The caveat was this: the Coliseum needed more seats because the triumphant return of the Raiders demanded the now infamous “Personal Seat Licenses.” Bear in mind that these were not the Raiders of Kenny Stabler, Fred Biletnikoff, Dave Casper, or Cliff Branch. I can’t even tell you who was on the 1996 Oakland Raiders. I’m not sure George Atkinson or Greg Poppa could. Nevertheless, Al had to have an extra two decks of seats and pull-out bleachers.
Since 1996, the best season the Raiders had was 2002 when they went to the Super Bowl and lost to Chucky Gruden and the Bucs. Since 1996, I have had to stare at two decks of seats primarily empty each night at the Coliseum. The only time I saw a giant crowd that filled these seats was an A’s-Giants tilt in 2004 (I believe) when they had 55,000 and change. A’s attendance hasn’t been stellar since and in general isn’t for a variety. I could harp on Schott and Hoffman or Billy Beane’s trading prowess, or even “the tarps.” I can’t speak with great expertise on these subjects but I can say this: the Coliseum changed when the Raiders moved back.
A prime example occurred a month or so ago when MLB network showed the 1989 ALCS. There, in all its glory, was the Oakland Alameda Coliseum as I remembered it. Green grass, ice plants, metallic bleachers, and views of the Oakland hills all in the afternoon sun. As I watched the game, which I didn’t remember because A) I was six at the time and B) I was in school and not at the game, I got nostalgic and angry. I wanted my Coliseum. I wanted the metallic bleachers, the Oakland hills, and the ice plants. Sure, I wanted Rickey in left, Hendu in center, and even Jose “Juiced” Cancesco in right.
We can argue forever about what to do about the A’s stadium issue. As someone who hopes to one day take his son to the Coliseum, either demolish the Mountain or give me a ballpark in the old vision of diamond-shaped stands and a completely open outfield bleachers. Please.