The best time of year is finally upon us, and while many are seasoned baseball fans, lessons that are learned through fan experience are oftentimes overlooked because of the overwhelming excitement.
As the days get longer and the New Year’s resolution-induced diet fades, it’s time to review the top three non-baseball nuggets of knowledge when it comes to being a Bay Area baseball fan.
Best Way to Get There
BART is our friend. To some, BART is the questionable friend with the dirty clothes and hygiene issues that we are hesitant to call, but when it comes down to it, BART is there for us.
If the Oakland Coliseum is the destination of the day, the journey is simple; hop on BART and exit at your stop—Coliseum/Oakland Airport. Go down the escalator or stairs, follow the rest of the crowd or the people selling $5 T-shirts and you’ll end up on a pedestrian bridge that will lead you right to the home of the Oakland A’s.
If AT&T Park is your ballpark of the day, the task is still simple, but not as easy as going to the Coliseum.
Your BART stop can be either Montgomery or Embarcadero—your choice! From there you have another decision: get to the park on foot or take Muni. There is nothing like strolling along the Bay with the Bay Bridge as your backdrop. If you would like to skip the extra exercise and hope onto the Muni, just hop on the train that is marked “ballpark” and you’re set.
Best Thing to Eat
Oakland doesn’t have the best variety when it comes to food, but one thing that stands out is their BBQ. Go behind section 104 and purchase the ribs or the Ball Tip Steak Sandwich.
If, instead, you are going for quantity rather than quality, the A’s offer “All-You-Can-Eat” seating for $35 in sections 316, 317, and 318. You get a beautiful aerial view of the ballpark and all the hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, peanuts, ice cream, and soda your stomach desires. The most difficult part of sitting in this section is not finding your way there (which is a beast), but dealing with the guilt of consuming so many calories.
AT&T Park wins the battle of the tasty treats easily. There are so many culinary delights in this park, that one trip is not enough to appropriately experience all it has to offer. Two dishes visitors must taste are the Crazy Crab’z Sandwiches and the Irish Nachos.
Behind the bleachers resides the home of the wonderful sandwich—fresh crab and tomatoes in two sliced garlic baguettes. The price may scare some people away, $15, but most people find it is worth every penny.
Murph’s Irish Pub is where you will find the park’s Irish Nachos. Steak fries covered with chili, cheese, and green onions—how can one go wrong? Oh, and don't forget the napkins.
Best Thing to Remember for Watching the Game
It’s going to get cold!
We get there, the weather is nice, then the sun goes down. 95 percent of the time, a Bay Area breeze will kick in and the thoughts of leaving early arrive with them.
Bring a blanket or an extra coat. There’s nothing more annoying that having to spend $50 on a blanket that barely covers you or on another team sweater to add to your “got cold at the ballpark” collection. Don’t be deceived!
As we delve deeper into the season, one thing Bay Area fans must never let go of is hope. Whether it’s the A’s or Giants—even the Raiders, Niners, or Warriors—the true fans are resilient.
Each season starts with hope—Oakland brought in the big bats and San Francisco has the arms, so fans' hopes are fueled.
After 162 games taking BART, eating a day’s worth of calories in one meal, and freezing in the Bay Area fog, we’ll see if hope turns playoff dreams to reality in the 2009 MLB season.