20 Stadiums in 20 Days – Network Associates Coliseum
After taking in two games at beautiful Pacific Bell Park (now known as AT&T Park), on July 22, 2000 we ventured across the Bay Bridge to Oakland and the home of the A’s, Network Associates Coliseum.
The exterior of this stadium would have to rank as one of the most unappealing I have seen. Once we got inside, I thought it wasn’t so bad. At least it had real grass! Keep in mind that at this time, the Phils were still playing on the nasty artificial surface of Veterans Stadium, so any stadium with real grass was a step up in my book.
The view from inside the stadium is, unfortunately, non-existent. This is because in 1996, after the Raiders moved back to Oakland, a large monolithic seating area was constructed in the outfield. This structure has been dubbed “Mount Davis”, after Raiders owner Al Davis.
Prior to this, trees and in the distance, mountains, were actually visible beyond the outfield, as seen in this picture I scanned from the book Take Me Out To The Ballpark, by Josh Leventhal:
(photo credit: Michael Zagaris)
[fun fact: the book is shaped like a ballfield, which is really cool, but makes it hard to put on a shelf]
On this day, the A’s were playing the Anaheim Angels, who had not yet changed their name to the much more long-winded Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. On the mound for the Angels was Brian Cooper, and making his major league debut for the A’s was Barry Zito.
Zito would hold the Angels to one run through five innings, giving up two hits and striking out six, but also walking six. Two of the walks and three of the strikeouts came in the top of the fifth – the Angels walked, singled, and walked to load the bases with nobody out. With the heart of the order due up next, it looked like trouble for Zito. No problem! He struck out Mo Vaughn, Tim Salmon, and Garrett Anderson to escape unscathed.
Ben Grieve hit a grand slam for the A’s, and Miguel Tejada also homered, as the A’s went on to win, 10-3. Troy Glaus went deep for the Angels. Zito got the win (his first), and Cooper the loss.
Here’s another photo from the game, though I’ve never been able to figure out which A’s player that is sliding back into first (he was safe):
As is typical of corporately named stadiums, this one changed names as well, to McAfee Coliseum, though it now seems to go by the name Oakland-Alameda County Colisuem (at least it does on the A’s website). Well, if that’s the case, then there will be no confusion as to where it is!
After this trip, our quest would go on another hiatus, for the birth of child number two. When next we resume, we’ll visit SkyDome in Toronto (though I think this one has changed its name too – aargh!).
(all photos mine except where noted)