I remember as a youngster going to games at the Oakland Coliseum to see the A’s play quite often with my dad. I remember the ugly orange seats, the ice plant beyond the concourse in the outfield, the beautiful views of the Oakland Hills. The Coliseum was a wonderful place to see a baseball game. Then after a brief hiatus in Los Angeles, the Raiders came back to Oakland. From that arose the monstrosity that came to be known as Mount Davis.
The construction took place during the baseball season, it was load and annoying to say the least. Once it was completed, things were never the same. What was once a nice vintage baseball stadium had become an ugly multi purpose stadium that would get chewed up every year by the rechristened Oakland Raiders.
Fast forward to the present day, the A’s are still there, desperately in need of a new stadium that will likely never be decided upon by Bud Selig and his cronies, attendance has bottomed out, and it’s all because of that massive structure beyond the outfield walls.
Then today word came out through Raiders CEO Amy Trask that all of the seats on top of Mt. Davis and a few sections of the 300 level would be tarped off for the 2013 NFL season. Words simply cannot describe how infuriating this news is. The Raiders destroyed everything that was great about the Coliseum in order to add enough seats to properly suit an NFL team, only to fail to fill those seats consistently over nearly two decades, and now they’ll just cover them up.
This is a move that will upset Raiders fans, upset Athletics fans, and just make the franchise look worse than it already does. The A’s felt a public relations backlash when they decided to tarp of the 300 level seats, and they’re still joked about several years later. It’s one thing for an MLB team to do this when they have a 81 game home schedule to deal with, but the Raiders play just 8 games during their regular season, so the fact that they can’t fill the stadium speaks volumes about the operation the Raiders have going.
I don’t want to pile on, but I can’t help but hold the late Al Davis and the Raiders partially responsible for the state of the Athletics because of what they did to the Coliseum. If they hadn’t done this, perhaps we could have had a Kauffman Stadium-like renovation that turned an outdated ballpark into a massively upgraded one. I’m sure it’s not as nice as some of the newly built ballparks around the league, but it sure has to be better than the O.co. For the Oakland fans, all that can be done is to wonder what if.