I fell in love with baseball the moment I passed through the turnstiles of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. While I was quite young, the magical world I entered was appraised correctly. Many days were spent in the concrete walls of the ballpark that sat minutes away from home. Never, even as a child, did I feel unsafe. Apparently, according to an article written by Ken Rosenthal, MLB players feel differently.
“The A's rarely are major players in free agency, but the agent said that the poor working conditions and occasionally unruly crowd behavior at McAfee Coliseum are turnoffs for his clients.
‘Many players are uncertain about the atmosphere,’ the agent said. ‘They're not as comfortable going to work there or having their families attend games there on a regular basis.’”
From visiting a number of ballparks across the country, I’ve learned each has character—fans contribute to the charisma of every stadium. Fans in Oakland never appeared more extreme than fans in different cities. Granted, I’m not a part of a player’s family nor have I sat in their section, but I have occupied the cheap seats of the Coliseum and always felt safe.
Every game has that belligerent fan that starts a fight with anyone without enough sense to walk away, but that occurs everywhere. Oakland fans are vocal and passionate, albeit few in numbers. Only one team inspires me to wear a visitor’s jersey in Oakland and when that series comes around, I get heckled. Not so nice words may be thrown my way, but it’s all in the spirit of competition. Safety was never an issue in the Oakland Coliseum.