If you’ve visited the Coliseum so far this (highly unsuccessful) homestand, you may have noticed a series of new signs on the lower concourse which resemble the directionals used at airports. Apparently these were installed prior to the first Raiders preseason game, which was played last Thursday. Though the signs could stand to be larger, they should prove effective at directing fans to the right locations, as opposed to the disparate signage used until now.
I bring this up because it was one of the first things mentioned by Bryan Cauwels when I ran into him on the lower concourse on Sunday. He mentioned that it was not only effective signage, it helped provide a little extra color in a place that so badly needs it. Later, when I hung out with Bryan, Nina, and Mark in 206 after the A’s tied the game, we talked a little about what could be done to improve things at the Coliseum. Bryan suggested a massive paint job, similar to what was done to Tropicana Field a few years ago. Nina remarked that it might be difficult to accomplish due to potential bureaucratic and union-related issues.
Yet this is a place that, despite its obvious structural deficiencies, is absolutely begging for makeover of some sort. So what if it’s a Target makeover instead of a Nordstrom makeover? It can still be good. And yes, I’ve used the term “lipstick on a pig” before, but here’s the thing: she’s our pig. She’s all we have for at least the next three seasons, maybe more. Why not make the most of it? And when it does come time to tear the girl down, we’ll have a ton of really awesome souvenirs to commemorate our years at the venerable Coliseum.
Here’s the catch. We can’t expect the A’s to do it. We can’t expect the Raiders to lift a finger. Not even the Coliseum Authority will do it due to a lack of funds (plus the labor stuff). If you looked up their Relationship statuses on Facebook they’d all say, “It’s complicated.” I get that. Knowing that, why can’t we do it? It’s not just their place. It’s our place, our second home. If these organizations won’t do it, we’ll have to take it up ourselves. Now that will take a large volunteer effort and some fundraising for supplies. It doesn’t have to carry a huge price tag. All it needs is some will and skill, a vision (probably crowdsourced), and someone to coordinate the effort.
First up is the picture at the top of this post. It’s a big, blank, white wall. Wouldn’t that be a great place for a mural, similar to the other murals we’ve seen in the past? Here’s one at Gate B.
Wouldn’t more murals that celebrate the teams, fans, and yes, employees at the Coliseum be better than gray or white concrete? And here’s another idea. You know when you’re walking along the lower concourse, you look up and see a bunch of pipes and conduits along the cinder block wall? Why not cover that up with something colorful, like vinyl banners? Or painted canvas or plywood? To make it work, metal frames would have to be constructed that would pop out of the wall, leaving the conduits unaffected.
Then you’d have a few touches here and there, such as:
- Painted signs or vinyl banners hanging down from the supports
- Painted rollup doors for the concession stands.
- LED lighting to brighten the concourses.
The thing is, for this to happen we collectively have to get past this constant blame game of why doesn’t ownership or the authority do it. The answer as to why is simple – there is no money in it. It’s not going to cause a significant increase in attendance for either team, and the costs to contract it out professionally make it a poor value proposition. For those of us who make the effort to watch the team game in, game out, a volunteer effort would be akin to citizens taking their neighborhood back. If the man won’t do it, why not us? Rally the resources, sign a few waiver forms, and raise some bucks. No one ever displayed will by whining. They did it by doing. We can do this, A’s fans.
Got ideas on how to do this? You know where the comments section is.