Welcome to the refreshed Athletics Nation! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to share your story, head over to the FanPosts [link here] to write your own post. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card [contest rules]. We’re collecting all of the stories here and featuring the best ones across our network as well. Come Fan With Us!
Why I’m a fan of the Oakland A’s
Anytime someone catches wind that I’m a fan of the Oakland A’s, I catch some flack. People just don’t understand how anyone could love a team that’s light on recent success, lighter on attendance, yet overflowing with sewage.
But the Oakland A’s will always be my sports love, my childish obsession. Here’s why.
The first game
The first game I ever attended was against the Yankees which is basically cheating. Could anyone go to a Yankees away game and not instantly fall for the other team? No. The Yankees are insufferable and many of their fans are trash-humans. But I digress.
That game in the late 90’s got me hooked on the pro-game. I loved the thrill of watching the best in the world play in the only sport that seemed to matter at the time. But I didn’t really become A’s obsessed until…
The Rick Peterson ball
In an early season game in 2001, the A’s were playing the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Prior to the game, I went down just behind the A’s bullpen to watch starter Corey Lidle throw his warm up tosses. I waited and waited and waited with hopes that he would be generous enough to toss me a ball. I missed the one he threw just a few seats to my right, absolutely dejected by just missing a souvenir.
Rick Peterson, pitcher whisperer and apparently very kind human being saw that sadness and walked right up to me, handing me a ball I have to this day. I’ll never forget that moment, that feeling, and from then on, I knew I was attached to the Oakland A’s.
I love a bargain
I’d be lying if I said my choice of team wasn’t somewhat financially motivated. I grew up a baseball lover and was always fortunate to have two teams within spitting distance, two teams to take my baseball heart.
I went with the more affordable option. People love to drop a pretty penny on the Giants, paying for the chance to sit in a wind-box cause it’s got decent proximity to the largest body of water on earth, braving seagull droppings to watch a team in pumpkin barf jerseys. Not my style.
Okay, AT&T is a pretty great stadium and the Giants are doing just fine.
However the Coliseum is the best deal in baseball. You can snag a month’s worth of games for 20 measly dollars, park for free if you’re savvy, eat a questionable meat sandwich for a dollar, and get a souvenir t-shirt on the Bart bridge from a young entrepreneur for five bucks. There’s no better deal in sports.
Baseball is supposed to be fun, not a financial stressor, and the A’s are one of the last frontiers in pro sports where you can have a nice family outing without breaking the bank.
Some argue that the Coliseum isn’t a nice stadium, and it’s true. It’s not an ideal place to go if you want comfort or functioning plumbing. It is, rather counterintuitively, one of the best experiences in baseball. Fans who haven’t been complain that the foul territory makes it ugly and takes you away from the game. But anyone who has spent a cold Tuesday night watching the green and gold can tell you there’s no more intimate spot to watch the game. It’s rare to be able to hear the game with such clarity or to interact with players behind the plate or in the pen, and yet that’s something you can do nightly at the Coliseum.
Speaking of the Coliseum…
I’ve been to 12 major league stadiums and have entertaining stories from exactly one: Oakland’s. A sampling.
- That time four of my fellow 13 year old friends and I were put in the Coliseum’s version of prison, investigated by the A’s version of the FBI. Our crime? We brought in a two liter bottle of grape soda (which was legal, by the way) but forgot cups. Our solution was to drink out of the cap. It looked like we were ripping some sweet soda shots, and straight to the clink we went. We were let go when security realized we weren’t drunk, just stupid and 13.
- I once ate 9 dollar dogs, and yes I am still alive.
- I once arrived at the stadium in the seventh inning, was too late to use my ticket, but was fast enough to outrun the unmotivated security staff. I safely and somewhat illegally reached my seats in time to catch two innings of a 10-2 loss.
- The hundred times I didn’t want to pay for stadium parking so drove an extra .01 miles in order to take one of million open spots at Bart.
- Incidentally, I saw my first human breast at the Coliseum. A woman who had a few too many Coors lights decided to give the third deck a quick flash, inadvertently sending a young A’s fan (me) right through puberty.
These shenanigans don’t happen at other stadiums. Long live the Coliseum.
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. SB Nation Why Are You a Fan Contributor Sweepstakes starts on 8:00am ET on May 25, 2017 and ends at 11:59pm ET on June 8, 2017. Open only to authorized SB Nation contributors who are legal residents of the United States, 18 years or older. Click here for Official Rules and complete details, including entry instructions, odds of winning, alternative method of entry, prize details and restrictions, etc. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Sponsor: Vox Media, Inc.