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Capacity: 43,662
Network Associates Coliseum

 

 

Area of fair territory: 108,000 sq. ft.

Area of foul territory: Largest in majors

 

Fences: 8 feet, except for the power alleys 

            where they are 15 feet

Elevation: 25 feet

 

TICKETING
Plaza Club $24
MVP Infield $22
Field level infield $16
Field level $15
Plaza level infield $15
Plaza level $14
Plaza level $10
Upper Reserved $7
Bleachers $5
General Information

Address:
7677 Oakport St., Suit 200
Oakland, CA 94621
For ticket information call: (510) 638-4627

 

Who plays here: Oakand Athletics in the American League; the Oakland Raiders  of the NFL. Also, the stadium hosts a variety of rock concerts and entertainment events.


First opened: 1966 for football. The first A's game was April 17, 1968
Surface: Bluegrass.

Architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in 1966; HNTB in 1996 for the renovations.
Construction:
Tutor-Saliba (1996)
Owner:
City of Oakland and Alameda County.
Cost:
$25.5 million for the original construction in 1966 (equivalent to $123 million in 1996 dollars); $200 million for the 1996 renovations.

Network Associates Coliseum


History


  
The atrocious Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum represents everything that's wrong with baseball stadiums, from the unimaginative symmetrical, circular design, to the accommodation of the Oakland Raiders in the same stadium, to the location (next to an Oakland freeway), to the name (first it was named the drab and municipal "Oakland-Alameda County Stadium," and now it's named after a software security company that has nothing to do with baseball).

   Fans of big government solutions to, say, health care or education, should see how governments do when they build ballparks.  The stadium is perfectly circular, built with three decks and no roof.  This stadium was originally built with the Oakland Raiders in mind, and the imposition of a baseball diamond on a football field resulted in a massive foul territory with the stands distanced from the playing area in a circular path.

   The seating for baseball games is generally poor, with the bleachers stretching far away from the playing surface and even front row seats distanced from the playing field.

 

   The man who brought baseball to Oakland was none other than Charlie Finley, whose ideas in the promotion of baseball ranged from absurd (he pushed for an orange baseball) to unfortunate (he successfully pushed for the designated hitter).  Finley had the temperament and tolerance of George Steinbrenner and the personality of Marge Schott; in the 1973 World Series, he tried to have second baseman Mike Andrews disqualified (and his World Series roster spot opened up) when Andrews committed two errors in the 12th inning of an A's loss.

   He brought the Athletics franchise from Kansas City, where they had had a rough 12-year stint (they were perennially at the bottom of the league, and attendance never once cleared a million fans after the first season).  The Warriors came over from Philadelphia in the same year - the Jewel Box is in the same sports complex.

   The Raiders left for Los Angeles in 1982, and the A's began a period of solid baseball under new management.  Under manager Tony LaRussa, they went from a .500 team in 1987 to four first-place finishes in five years, highlighted by winning the 1989 World Series in a four-game sweep against the San Francisco Giants.  Attendance rose from around 1.3 million from 1984 to 1986, to a high of 2.9 million in 1990 (from 1994 to 1997, attendance averaged around 1.2 million).

   The Raiders came back to Oakland for the 1996 season, after 12 years in Los Angeles.  To satisfy a provision in the 1995 agreement which brought the Raiders back, a Coliseum renovation project began in November 1995 and proceeded through the 1996 baseball season.  Deadlines were missed, and the A's played their first few home games of the 1996 season in Las Vegas while work crews installed new seats in the Coliseum.  Although the renovations were projected at $100 million, the cost eventually ballooned to $200 million.

   The outfield bleachers were removed but the renovations added two 40,000-square-foot clubs, 22,000 seats, 125 luxury suites, a 9,000-square-foot kitchen for the concessions, two new color video boards and two matrix scoreboards.

 

   Ironically, the Coliseum is probably a better place to play baseball since the return of the Raiders.  The walls are now straight-edged and quirky, and the stadium's foul territory was greatly reduced in size.

 

 

Location

 

Oakland, CA. Center field, to the NE, runs along San Leandro Street and the Southern Pacific Railroad tracks.  The third base base side (NW) borders along 66th Avenue. Home plate (SW), faces the Nimitz Freeway (I-880).  And first base (SE) borders on Hegenberger Road.

 

 

Seating Chart

 

 

Dimensions - History

 

Foul lines: 330 feet

 

Power alleys: 378 (1968), 375 (1969), 372 (1981), 362 (1996)

 

Center field: 410 (1968), 400 (1969), 396 (1981), 397 (1982), 400 (1990).

 

Backstop: 90 (1968), 60 (1969)

 

Foul territory: Largest in majors. Think Grand Canyon.

 

 

Capacity - History

 

1968: 50,000 

1977: 49,649

1981: 50,255

1983: 50,219

1985: 50,255

1986: 50,219

1987: 49,219

1988: 50,219

1989: 49,219

1990: 48,219

1991: 47,450

1992: 47,313

1996: 48,219

1998: 43,012

 

Analysis

 

   The stadium was originally known as a pitchers' park because of breezes blowing in from nearby San Francisco Bay, but after centerfield skyboxes were added in 1995 for the return of the Raiders, this deflected the normal wind patterns.  The power alleys were also shortened by 13 feet, which has helped batters significantly.

   After the partial enclosure of this cavernous stadium, prior to the 1996 season, flyballs have carried much better.  Prior to 1996, the 1987 Oakland Athletics had the team record for home runs with 199; in 1996 and 1997, the team hit 243 and 197 home runs respectively, indicating how much more run-friendly the newly refurbished Coliseum is.

   Between 1979 and 1995, only once did the ballpark have a run index of over 100 (103 in 1989).  In 1996 and 1997, the newly renovated ballpark had run indices of 103 and 108, respectively.  But from 1998 to 2000, the run index dropped to 88, the lowest in the American League.  (Only Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles and Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego are lower over this period.)

 

   It's still a tough place to score, though it's not as extreme as it used to be.  The reasons are:

 

1) The foul territory is immense.  I mean, gigantic. The rounded playing field leaves seemingly acres between the baselines and the crowd - the backstop is 60 feet away and remains almost as distanced from the playing field from 1st to 3rd base.

 

2) Winds coming in off the San Francisco Bay hold up fly balls that get up too high in a wicked jet stream.

 

3) The thick natural grass holds up a lot of ground balls, benefiting ground ball pitchers.

 

4) Starting in midsummer, shadows often fall across the plate, making it harder for hitters to pick up pitches.

 

   The wind patterns slightly favor left-handed batters, though statistically the effect seems not to have shown up in the past few years.

 

Defense: The right side of the infield and outfield suffers a severe sun problem, making tracking flyballs a problem.  Because of the immense foul territory, speed at the corners of the outfield is more important than in any other ballpark.  The thick grass favors infielders who have limited range but strong throwing arms.

   Before the renovations in 1996, the smooth, round outfield wall made it relatively easy to play outfield here, and the number of doubles and triples was well below average.  However, since the renovations, the number of outfield errors is much higher (thanks to the straight walls and quirky angles that have replaced the round outfield walls) and the number of doubles and triples has skyrocketed.

 

 

1998-2000

2001

Error Index: 97 102
Infield-error Index: 97 94

 

 

Who benefits: It's only 330 feet to the foul poles, so pull hitters can benefit (see Matt Stairs, at least prior to 1999).  But the primary part of the A's order posted almost identical stats at home and on the road: Eric Chavez hit 15 of his 26 HR at home in 2000, and league MVP Jason Giambi hit 23 of his 43 HR at home and batted 31 points higher at home.  Shortstop Miguel Tejada clocked 16 homers at home and 14 on the road, and batted 12 points higher on the road; Terrence Long hit 9 homers at home, 9 more on the road and batted 16 points higher on the road.

   Flyball pitchers do better here - Tim Hudson was 12-1 at home in 2000, with an ERA of 3.63, while he was 8-5 with a road ERA of 4.83.  Similarly, Kevin Appier had a road ERA that was a run and a half higher than his home ERA.  And speed players can use the thick grass to their advantage if they can keep it on the ground, like Rickey Henderson did in the late 1980s.

 

Who gets hurt: Hitters with alley power really struggle here.  Ben Grieve is one example - in 2000, he hit .256 at home and .302 on the road.  

 

 

Park Factors

 

   In 1996, the park underwent renovations that changed the shape of the park. Straight walls and quirky angles have replaced the old, round walls, thus vastly increasing the chances of committing an outfield error. Below are the park factors after the renovation: 

 

  Run HR Avg L-Avg R-Avg L-HR R-HR H 2B 3B
1996 99 88 101 105 99 74 95 100 105 109
1997 108 107 105 101 108 131 93 108 103 53
1998 82 88 93 96 90 94 81 91 86 90
1999 92 85 96 100 93 82 88 94 98 94
2000 90 95 92 91 93 84 110 89 88 107
2001 88 98 92 93 92 91 105 91 85 70

 

 

1998-2000

2001

Walks: 94 100
Strikeouts: 98 105

 

© 2001 STATS, Inc.

Fun Facts

  • Second-lowest batting average, RHB, and hit factor in AL in 2000
  • Third-lowest batting average, run, hit and home run factor in AL in 1999
  • Second-lowest strikeout factor in AL in 1999
  • Lowest batting average in the AL in 1998
  • Lowest run factor in the AL in 1998
  • Lowest hit factor in the AL in 1998
  • Lowest RHB batting average in the AL in 1998 and 1999

 

  • The Coliseum is such a football stadium that the backstop is basically a notch cut out of the stands. In 1968, it was 90 feet away from the plate, but that distance was cut to a more reasonable 60 feet in 1969.
  • A manual scoreboard was installed in 1986
  • In September 1997 UMAX Technologies, a tiny Bay Area subsidiary of a Taiwanese computer hardware maker, bought the naming rights to the Coliseum. The deal would have given Oakland, Alameda County and the Raiders NFL franchise more than $17 million over 10 years. However, a dispute arose and a 1998 court decision reinstated the stadium's original name. Later that year, Network Associates agreed to pay $5.8 million to put their name on the stadium for 5 years
  • It was once possible to watch games for free from the concourse behind the field seats by peering between wooden slats in the cyclone fence.
  • Nicknamed "the Mausoleum" by some fans in the late 1970s, when the scoreboard didnít work and the entire stadium was gray concrete
  • First baseball appearance of "The Wave." sparked by the drum-toting, dugout-hopping "Crazy George," on October 15, 1981.
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