Looking for a private vendor, cheap playoff tickets? Try the Coliseum | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Looking for a private vendor, cheap playoff tickets? Try the Coliseum

We were going to write this week about Bumfights.com, a Web site where one can purchase videos of homeless men fighting and performing dangerous stunts. There’s pending litigation, however — apparently the homeless didn’t know they were being taped — so our attorneys have advised us to back off.

The last thing we want to do is provoke these mean, vicious characters who spend all day every day looking for fights and already have nothing to lose (we’re talking about the lawyers).

So with our column subject in the dumpster and with a little time on our hands, we decided to head over to Game 1 of the American League playoff series between the A’s and Twins. Now first of all, with how many major sports franchises can one just casually decide to wander over to the stadium at the last minute to catch a playoff game? Even Arena Football requires a bit of planning. But there I was on Tuesday, moseying on up to the A’s ticket window, saying cheerfully to the ticker woman: “One, please!”



Oh, she had one. And she had many more. I could have walked up with the entire cast of “Braveheart” and we would have all got in.

Proposed new slogan for this team: The Oakland A’s — Tickets Still Available.




No matter what the situation, it seems that there will always be a few bright orange empty seats in the friendly confines of the Network Associates Coliseum. It’ll take a monumental event — such as a series with the Yankees, complete with the return of Jason Giambi — to approach a sellout. And even them I’ll bet the line for nachos won’t be too frightening.

And that’s just fine with me.

Ha! You thought that this was going to be one of those The-A’s-Should-Move-To-Sacramento columns, didn’t you? Or you thought I was going to display my blueprints for a new downtown stadium. Nope, I’m happy with the way things are.

One of the things I love about baseball is the contrast between the two leagues. For instance, the American League has the designated hitter rule, and the National League considered that but finally said no, we’re going to let Randy Johnson bat just for laughs.

Likewise, I enjoy the sports contrast between San Francisco and Oakland. It’s tough to get a ticket for a sporting event over on the West side of the bay. Seats at 49ers games are prized like Willie Wonka’s Golden Ticket, and harder to come by. Much easier over in Oakland, where generations of TV viewers have grown to adulthood having never seen the Raiders play at home. Due to the NFL blackout rule, it’s easier to, well, see the homeless fighting each other than to catch a Raiders’ home game on the tube.

Pac Bell Park can be a pain in the rear at times, crowd-wise. There’s no place to park, concession lines are long and woe-is-you if you’re caught out on the promenade when Barry Bonds deposits one of his home runs there. Oh, the humanity!

Give me the Network Coliseum any time. You can relax, stretch your feet and, if conditions are just right (read: the Royals are in town) you can have your own private vendor.

As long as the A’s can stay afloat financially, this is OK with me. There has been talk for the past several years of building a downtown park, but I don’t think that will happen. East Bay taxpayers won’t foot the bill, so private funding would have to be found. The East Bay is blue collar, through and through. SF mayor Willie Brown was a big proponent of the China Basin project, but Oakland mayor Jerry Brown won’t give the A’s the time of day — he wouldn’t even live in the governor’s mansion when he was running California, so what chance does a new stadium have?

Likewise, I don’t think the A’s will move. Who’s buying major sports franchises these days? A Mexican billionaire is trying to buy the Anaheim Angels, but how many of those are there? With Bud Selig treating franchises like Henry VIII disposed of wives, I don’t see the A’s doing anything drastic in the near future.

I’ve had some great times at the Oakland/Network Associates Coliseum. Rickey Henderson chased Lou Brock’s stolen base record there; Billy Martin screamed profanities; and The Bash Brothers, Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco, put on quite a show.

The Wave was born there, in 1981. In what other stadium could that have happened? Pac Bell Park? No way — someone would have gotten his eye poked out.

So long live the Network Associates Coliseum, with your 8,000 empty seats for playoff games, your $7 bleacher tickets and your spacious, luxurious restroom facilities. I’ll be back again next year, because sometimes a guy just needs a little room to spread out.

— Rick Chandler’s interactive sports column, Capacity Crowd, can be found at

NBCSports.com


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