2014 Coliseum Opening Night thoughts

Some takeaways from walking around the Coliseum tonight:

– Metal detectors at the BART Plaza gates were extremely sensitive, forcing nearly everyone to be wanded. If you’re going to do that, just wand everyone and skip the first step.
– I like the new concessions booths, especially the corn dog/popper stand behind the LF bleachers. Those corn dogs are huge (though not $25 Chase Field huge).
– Craft beer bar at the back of the Bar & Grille (West Side Club) is good despite the high price ($11). Short lines and you don’t have to deal with the lines of people ordering mixed drinks or macro brews at the big bar. Plus you can order the custom pizzas there if you like.
– Most of the new color came from the redone concessions stands. Some had paint, others vinyl coverings. The burrito stand on the Plaza Level looked good.
– I had originally planned to get Field Infield seats this year, but pulled back for the Value Deck. I’m going to play around with the ticket Upgrade feature on the MLB At The Ballpark app throughout the year to see what kinds of options it provides. Tonight’s sellout crowd provides little inventory as you might imagine.
– There remain problems dealing with e-tickets, as not all scanners can handle them, apparently. Worse, I didn’t get my $6 food/merch credit. Not good.

Stadium operations was robbed of a proper “dry run” on Saturday with the cancellation, though I couldn’t tell that service was better or worse with Ovations. That’s something that will have to be judged over time.

Anyone else who attended the game have thoughts?

24 thoughts on “2014 Coliseum Opening Night thoughts

  1. Is the new vendor Coke or Pepsi? So unfair that my 10 and seven-year-old are getting to a game before me!

  2. ten straight season opening losses which is now a mlb record.

    barton and johnson being the main culprits in this record setting loss.

  3. The metal detectors were much slower than last post-season (might be rust or new crew).

    Craft beer selection in west side club had no line in 1st inning, short line in 5th. Great selection with high gravity (EX: Laguanitas Undercover Shutdown) and session beers (Linden Street Hop Candi) represented. From my talks with Adam from LSB they’re isn’t much price elasticity for suppliers.

    My overall experience with Ovations in terms of price, customer service exceeded any Aramark years.

  4. Hopefully not a year of Giants being @$#%! lucky (loosing 7-3 only to win 9-8) and A’s being unlucky (great pitching, no offense). Just the first day, hopefully tomorrow a different story…GO A’S!

  5. I was in 116 tonight, I didn’t wander too much but I liked the new awnings around Saags. It seemed there were a few more flatscreens around the concourse so you could watch while in line. I felt bad for the philly cheesesteak booth, they had like no one there while the line for Saag’s was massive as usual (and warranted).

    This was my first time as a season ticket holder and I loved it! One question, I’m going to a giveaway game on the 19th. Do I need to get there ridiculously early or do they keep giveaways for STHs

  6. we got Barton’d

  7. they showed some of the new food offerings in the telecast and it looked pretty good, probably a lot better than what’s been served at the coliseum for many years now.

    stone brick oven pizza def is something i’ll try over the round table pizza they’ve been selling since forever it seems.

  8. Great game, despite the outcome. Best news – it didn’t rain! Gray is smart like Houdini. Instant replay. Wasted a big chance in the bottom of the 8th. Abad is a good pitcher, filthy movement. Sadly Johnson blew it. That’s okay, I don’t mind opening day losses followed by Division Championships. Tradition.

    Metal detectors in the ST entrance were no problem; line was only a couple minutes at 7pm sharp. I love the third deck. We got stuck behind a rail but slid to a decent sightline.

    Coco Crisp is leading off with some badass old school hiphop thing, I know those guys, can’t remember their name. Jaso is dropping some voodoo southern rock thing. All the corporate entertainment was a carbon copy of last year, that was kind of funny. Goddamm Hammer. At least they spun some James Brown.

    I only retraced my steps from last year, but beer prices are still the same. Hang a left after you come out from the elevator on the second deck, 50 yards or so, Ranger IPA. Rarely a line, no problem cashing the credit, some booths are better than others. Some chick bought my buddy a free beer, he didn’t tell me, I could have stacked his ticket. Money wasted, bummer!

    The Coke vendor is Pepsi. Their cheap paper cups caught my eye.

    STH’s will need to get there early to collect their trinkets if it works like last year. I avoid those things – too many hearbroken kids and fatasses sitting around playing ebay. That’s a front-office mistake, they should cover the crowd like they do on the other side of the bay. It’s cheap promotional junk anyway, just tell the stupid sponsor to double the order.

    Haha, just pulled my promo magnet out of my pack, it’s already peeled apart and wilted. I was gonna give it to my buddy’s kid, it looks like toilet paper. Thanks Comcast!!!! You got any weathermen over there?

    Still got some hoops to settle but hey it’s baseball season. And what a nice long season it is. I love A’s fans, nice seeing them again, they are even stupider and crazier than me.

  9. I like the outdoor hotdog stands where they grill right in front of you. I was also pretty impressed with the craft beer selection. If I’m going to pay $11 for a beer, at least now I can enjoy an Oakland favorite, Linden Street Brewery.

  10. * Traffic getting to the Coliseum was way easier than I expected from the North Bay, however, the 66th Street exit backed up pretty much to the previous onramp. Nothing really new, but it took about as long to go from the exit to the parking lot as it took from the Richmond Bridge to the exit. Not sure what they can do to help here without replacing the overpass.
    * You can apparently use a credit card to pay for parking. I overheard one of the gatekeepers mention something about it. If I had known that, I might have avoided the extra ten/fifteen minute trip to the bank before we left to get cash.
    * Metal detectors are going to be a pain in the ass. I agree, skip the first step if nearly everyone is going to be wanded anyway.
    * Philly cheesesteak sandwiches are presented on a paper in a tray. I was expecting it to be foil-wrapped like last year and easier to toss in my sweatshirt pocket as a bellywarmer while I gathered food for the rest of the family. Having to use a hand to carry it was inconvenient.
    * Concourses were as bad as usual for a sellout. Since I was gathering food by my self, it was easy to hop up to the front of the second deck to avoid the crowd collision.
    * You can apparently charge your phones from the Budweiser beer garden thing. That might not be new, but I never go in there.
    * I don’t know when it went away, but the burrito stand next to Round Table was replaced and now all four lines are for pizza.
    * Value Deck concessions now have a $9.75 chicken strip and fries option. I didn’t try it, so I don’t know if it’s the same as the lower decks. I just thought it was interested that there was an item over $6 up there.

    I’d like to try the custom pizzas sometime. Also wondering if we’ll make it early enough for a blanket this Saturday since my son doesn’t get done with practice until 11am and it’ll take us about an hour to get to the stadium. I think it’ll be ok, but there is always doubt.

  11. The metal detector situation at the season ticket holder entrance was really slow, and what’s up with the season ticket holder entrance if you can stand in line 20ft away at the west entrance without the lines?? And…speaking of the value deck, shouldn’t the concessions be a value? All the options are the same price, I can just take the elevator to the concourse and get lots more options. But really, it’s the Coliseum so I’ll deal with whatever, I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else with any other fans rooting for any other team.

  12. For sellout games, don’t go 66th, take the next exit, Hegenberger. Way faster. If things are really full (playoffs) they open up the dirt lot for overflow. For Giants games, take 580. Same goes for stadium entrances. South side lines are always shorter.

    I should give props, the rally towels came in handy for drying off the seats. Thanks guys. For a nice Oakland Athletics fleece blanket, go to Jo-Ann Fabric or such, they sell it by the yard.

  13. They call the third deck the value deck because me and my friends sit up there. Before that it was called the Bill King Memorial Stuff Your Face All You Can Eat Section. Before that it was closed. And way before that, under previous ownership, it was open, all of it. Bill King sat right under it, his voice rang true and clear on AM radio and everything in the world was good.

    But I would never purchase food or beverage up there. Go downtown for that, do it quick.

    Also you get $6 of extra value! in your ticket, if the under-salaried staff can get their poorly programmed computers to work. Like a really low-budget version of bitcoin.

  14. in re the parking lot taking credit card… that’s if and only if they have enough machines, ran into this issue.

    also 20 bucks for parking?! if I hadn’t been going with an older family member I would have for sure parked in my secret spot.

  15. The Philly Cheese Steak was delicious. Burritos moved up to section 220 along with street tacos. Pork sliders are at section 223. The Round Table booth now sells macaroni and cheese as well as strombolis, though I must say they’re missing out on a local vendor opportunity by not opening a Homeroom stand. The big corn dogs are simply massive. Overall, I’d say the food service is an upgrade over last year. The metal detectors are a joke. I agree… Just wand everyone.

  16. letsgoas answered my question. I knew it has been a very long time since the A’s won an opener.

  17. OT: Tim Kawakami IS A PIECE OF SHIT! Just wanted to get that off my chest…

  18. Other than Linden Street what other local craft options are available at the park? Drakes?

  19. — Same security crew as they have at Buck Shaw for the Earthquakes, fairly untrained and yes, the metal detectors are way too sensitive.
    — BART was a breeze even with the slight stoppages of the train due to weather and “police action” down the line in SF. I tip my cap to those who have to drive in. We live so close to a BART station that it makes it much less stressful especially on sold-out games.
    — The concourses were really crowded so it was hard to walk around and sample the new concessions. Pretzels are now 5.50 and all come with cheese dip. No mustard packets so you have to deal with the condiment stations. The classic Coliseum Dogs (are they still Miller?) were good but not foil wrapped, but served in trays, like LoneStranger’s Philly cheesesteak. As LS stated, it prevents one from tossing the dog in your bag as you slog through the crowded corridors. Also, has the diet Dr Pepper gone away or did I miss it?
    — We mostly stayed in our seats as we were stuck in the middle of our row but I hope to get there a bit earlier and explore more on Sunday. The wife liked the looks of the flat-bread pizza and I’d like to try the burritos or the more elaborate hotdogs.
    — Frustrating game, but it sure was great being back at the yard with 30,000 other Athletics fans. Nothing like it, and this team and these fans make me proud to support the Athletics

  20. Oh, jeez, how could I forget? One of my (few) pet peeves about Lew Wollff’s teams is that they significantly limit distribution of give-aways. However, not last night. I tip my cap to the A’s for finally making sure they had rally towels and magnet schedules for 97% of those who were attending. I maintain that if you can get to the game by the National Anthem, you should be able to pick up whatever is being handed out. It’s nice that I have a magnet schedule for both the Quakes and the Athletics.

    Freddy mentioned their schedule was already falling apart. Last Saturday, the Quakes gave away their schedules and actually put theirs in zip-lock baggies along with a team logo magnet. I thought that was a nice touch especially since we sat through some light rain over most of the match.

  21. I didn’t think I could manage 2 large sodas and nachos so I decided on a bag of peanuts. Good think, the guy in front of me in line wanted only nachos and got turned away with a sad-puppy look on his face.
    Seems the concession stand behind Sec. 120 ran out of nacho cheese before the 4th inning! Wow, incredibly bad planning – nacho cheese comes in huge cans whose expiration date is some time next season. No excuses.
    The metal detector didn’t seem bad but the woman checking bags really slowed things up, she was real nosy-Parker and wanted to look at Everything inside Every bag. While I stood in line I mentally compared it to TSA and it didn’t seem all that bad.
    Plenty of towels and magnets left at Gate C just before game time.
    The weather and the game coordinated perfectly, standing on the BART platform it started to rain again just as our train was pulling in.

  22. I had excellent results with upgrading via the At The Ballpark app last year. When attending a game that’s not in my season ticket plan, which I did a lot last year, I usually buy a $12 Value Deck ticket, since that’s the cheapest and you get the $6 credit on the ticket. Then I use the app to upgrade 5-15 minutes before the first pitch. Several times I then watched the game from a couple of rows from the front of the MVP Infield or MVP sections for an extra $16.50. So for me that upgrade path has worked outstandingly and I thoroughly recommend it. Obviously it works best at games with mediocre or low attendance.

    AS for the issue with getting your $6 credit, I’ve never had any trouble with that, but I’ve phoned in to get the extra ticket and picked up a hard ticket at Will Call rather than printing it out myself.

  23. @Nicosan,

    According to Linden Street Brewery’s Facebook page, there is also Drakes 1500 and Drakes IPA. Linden Street has their Hop Candi and New Oakland Glow. All this is at the craft beer bar at the back of the Bar & Grille (formerly known as the West Side Club).

  24. I also echo the comments about the metal detectors being notably slow at the season ticket entrance and slower than during the playoffs, where I felt they moved people through very quickly. I set the detector off with only my small belt buckle and/or rings. The security lady didn’t wand me though, just took my word for it that it was my belt and said “enjoy the game”.

    Which is convenient for me, but seems to defeat the point of security, because I’m pretty sure she didn’t even look in my backpack. This happened at a playoff game last year too – the guy peered in the open top of my backpack, which was full so he’d see nothing other than my sweatshirt. I could have been carrying all manner of weaponry and I’d have got it into the ballpark with no problem.

    I’m generally highly critical of most of these security measures as pure theater that serve almost no purpose other than to inconvenience paying fans and employ security companies, but if these procedures are going to be implemented they should surely be followed properly.

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