While the A’s are stuck in the cavernous and depressingly dark O.co Coliseum, their Triple-A affiliates, the Sacramento River Cats, play in a much more suitable baseball venue: Raley Field. The Athletics are doing their best to escape the confines of O.co, but if the San Francisco Giants have their way, the A’s won’t be leaving the East Bay anytime soon. Lew Wolff and the rest of Oakland’s ownership group wants desperately to play in San Jose, but as the Giants contend, the A’s have no place in the technologically rich San Jose.
Territorial rights have come up time and time again during the A’s bid for a new stadium, but MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has done very little in finding a solution for Oakland’s stadium woes. If you’re a fan of the Athletics’ organization, though, I’d recommend checking out some of its minor league affiliated stadiums, such as Raley Field. While the River Cats, Rock Hounds, or the Stockton Ports may not have major league stars on their respective rosters, they do, for the most part, offer great ballpark atmospheres for fans.
Ryan Norris, Regional Correspondent for StadiumJourney.com, seems to agree with the notion that O.co Coliseum fails at being a true “ballpark”. Raley Field, as Norris suggests, though, offers a much more suitable experience for baseball fans. Norris actually takes the time to review Raley Field, at extreme length, I might add, and gives the ballpark 4.3 stars out of 5.
The atmosphere, in comparison to the one provided by the A’s O.co Coliseum, is a very lively one. The ballpark actually fills up and offers a family-friendly experience for all its fans. It’s the type of atmosphere you’d come to expect from a big league ballpark:
The overused assessment that “there isn’t a bad seat in the house” applies here. Whether you sit on the grass beyond the right field wall or have a seat in the upper deck, the sightlines are great.
My trip came during their playoff run against the Omaha Storm Chasers so I’d imagine the vibes were significantly different from a regular season game. The Cats’ fans were looking for their 5th PCL title.
There are plenty of activities to keep the little ones busy as well. A play area is available near the right field foul pole, fully equipped with a River Cats themed bounce house. During day games, face painting is also available.
If you plan on sitting in the general admission grass area, plan to get there early. During weekend summer games this area fills up fast, with nearly every square inch of lawn accounted for.
A note must be made for the kind Raley Field staff. Few venues can compare on this front from the parking lots to the beer carts. Class act.
–Ryan Norris, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Too bad the A’s, a major league club with a rich-history, fail to produce such a great atmosphere at the wonderful and cavernous O.co.
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