Normally when I take a baseball trip I write up a review of the entire trip including all games watched, ballparks seen, and food consumed, but something alarming happened on this trip. With the Giants trailing their cross town rivals heading into the bottom of the ninth by the score of four runs I was expecting to see some cheesy montage of movie quotes to rally the horde and get them to cheer on the Giants. Instead what happened was this.
AT&T Park is one of the most aesthetically pleasing ballparks I have been in, but it is also one of the most practically useless. It is lacking in all the modern amenities associated with newer ballparks. I get that they were going for an throwback feel, but did they need walkways so narrow that they caused a complete stoppage in movement? Narrow walk ways might be the worst offense I have seen in a ballpark built after 1990, but it also suffered from some of the same issues as other throwback parks with the seats facing in the wrong direction and a lack of bathrooms. Not to mention that when they built the ballpark they decided to put the bullpens on the field.
But all of that aside my lasting image of AT&T Park will be of 40,000 Giants fans fist pumping to a terrible fist pumping song instead of hoping and cheering for their team to rally on a day where their best pitcher, who has an over 5.00 ERA on the season, got lit up once again. Fist pumping to a terrible fist pumping song might have been the highlight of their trip to the park. I don’t have much room to talk on this as the Nats Park stadium announcer calls a race between giant presidents the, “Main Event,” and a team employed male cheerleader encourages fans to do the wave with their pitcher on the mound.
Still when the Nats enter the bottom of the ninth down it is time to hold the line, remember that we are lions, and that the last day for mankind is not this one. It isn’t that exciting, but neither is losing, and losing is certainly not something to be celebrated by fist pumping to an awful fist pumping song.
AT&T Park stands in stark contrast to the Oakland Coliseum which has no aesthetics at all but is much more practically functional. And if it is thought about as just a stadium and the cheapness of the owner and the lack of a surrounding neighborhood can be forgotten then as a stadium it is on par with the likes of Angels Stadium, Kaufman Stadium, and Dodgers Stadium. Those stadiums were built around the same time and were in that 60’s and 70’s mold of being more practical than anything else. Both Kaufman and Angels Stadium have been renovated and added aesthetic elements to the outfield area where there is only a wall and an upper deck in Oakland.
Oakland is now the only multi-use stadium still in existence, but its nature as a bad stadium is overblown. As a stadium it has a lot going for it. It has good views of the field from seats that all face in the proper direction, nice wide concourses with that are open on the field side, and fans that don’t fist pump.
As far as the two stadiums go I think I preferred Oakland. Of course I am not the type of fan who cares for HD scoreboards or brick and green steal. Give me a seat that faces the pitchers mound and I will watch baseball wherever it is played. What it really boils down to is I go to the stadium to watch the game and if it looks nice that is simply icing on the cake. Get the important things right first and then worry about the brick facade and quirky dimensions. Or maybe don’t worry about that last one and build a stadium for the playing of the sport of baseball, and not a throwback ball yard for people to ignore the game and fist pump.