Oakland Athletics FanFest 2014
Well… This was an adventurous day. Where should I start? My family left our house around 6:25. We got to the Coliseum just before 7am. We knew that the parking lot wasn’t supposed to open until 7:30, but we drove around for about 10 minutes hoping to find an entrance in early, as I had heard from a few people that had already managed to work their way inside. We ended up finding an open gate and we drove on inside. Good start so far.
Oh. Did I mention it was POURING rain? Not quite as hard as the Twins game last year, but it was still BAD. Weather.com said that there was a 100% chance of rain from 6am-6pm. Great.
As soon as we parked, my sister and I got out and headed over to get in line. Like I mentioned in my pre-FanFest entry, Season Ticket Holders were allowed in at 8:30 and the general public was allowed in at 9am. Keep that in mind for later.
They had a couple special season ticket holder lines under the white tents that were set up on both side of the Arena/Coliseum Plaza.
Shortly after we got in line, my sister and I were joined by Satoshi and Ralliney. Ralliney soon suggested that we head over to the C-Gate team store to see if we could look inside and get a sneak peek at the Memorabilia Sale. So, we headed over there, and…
There are a fews things I would like you to note.
- In the first picture, there is a #20 MARK MULDER jersey at the bottom. He last pitched for the A’s in 2004.
- Also in the first picture, on the back wall, you can see bags. They were $100 at 2013 FanFest and if they were at all lower in cost, I wanted one!
- In the 3rd picture, note the grey flannel jersey with an A. Also note in all three pictures, the gray flannel hats.
- Lastly, in the third picture, take notice of the yellow and BLACK (?!) pants.
Getting this glimpse made me incredibly anxious to get inside!
After this, my sister and I met up with my mom back in line. She held our spot in line, while my sister and I went to the other parking lot to pick up a shirt I had ordered from Section 148 Clothing. My sister and I then ran into many people along the way and eventually got back to line. By this time, it was 8:15.
Are you ready for the fun stories? Here we go…
When the gates opened at 8:30, they announced that they were letting everyone in. Season ticket holder and the general public, as they didn’t want everyone waiting in the rain. As soon as we got in, I ran to an information booth to find out where to go to get in line for the memorabilia sale. I was told four different things by 5 different people. Eventually, we all figured out where to go and got in line there.
At this point, I was feeling sick to my stomach. I won’t go into detail, but I was on the edge of throwing up. Eventually, my stomach settled down and my mom and I met up with Ryan Dalton. Then, my mom and I had to go pick up our media credentials for BlogFest, so we headed off to do that and let Ryan tag along. We exited at the Entrance/Re-Exit point, telling the security guard that we had to go grab something and that we would be right back. While picking up our credentials, we ran into Steven Luke, who was also there for BlogFest. We also saw A’s first base coach Tye Waller walk right past us.
After picking up our credentials, the four of us headed back to go n through the re-entry point. But we couldn’t get in. Why? The security guard THAT WE HAD JUST TALKED TO THREE MINUTES PRIOR told us that there was no re-entry, even though we had credentials. Mind you, Ryan didn’t, so we were all agitated at this point. We argued with him for a solid five minutes before giving up and finding someone else. They told us the same thing. We then went over to the second FanFest entry point, the one that my family had not entered from. There, we found out that they hadn’t let the general public in yet. Wow… Ryan then flagged down a security guard and my mom talked him into letting us back in. At this point, it was just before 9.
We finally got back in and joined up with my dad, sister, Ralliney, and a few others who were in line to get inside the Coliseum. This is what the line looked like. Crazy!
When general ticket holders got in, the line was even longer. We stood in this line until 10:15, at which point they let us inside the Coliseum. This picture was taken around 10am, 15 minutes before we were allowed in.
A bunch of us raced down and ran toward the team store. In fact, I was one of the first ones in. As soon as I went in, I went to grab the Mark Mulder jersey. Gone. I then ran to grab a bag that I had seen and wanted. Gone. However, I immediately grabbed the bag that I determined was in the best condition.
The line to get in was long. On the right side of the picture, do you see a man in a wheelchair? Just beyond him, there was a ramp. People were lined up there, too.
Here is a rundown of the pricing for things at the start of the Memorabilia Sale.
- Game-used hats: $20
- Game-used helmets (There were 5): $50
- Game-worn pants: $20
- Game-worn jackets: $75
- Team-issued jerseys: $120
- Blank BP Jerseys: $50
- Game-worn jerseys from the 70’s and 80’s: $150
- Bags: $20
- Bats: $100
- Grab bag autographed baseball: $10
- Game-worn cleats: $20
As you can tell, there was a lot of stuff. I apologize, I had been hoping to get pictures of everything inside, but that didn’t end up working out.
Everyone there knew what each other wanted. I had a few jerseys in mind that I wanted, but neither of them were there. However, Ralliney found a gold Casey Chavez #99 jersey for me, with a 2013 postseason patch. For those of you who don’t know, Casey Chavez is the A’s bullpen catcher. I also grabbed myself a Casper Wells #53 home jersey. Casper played for 3 teams in 2013. One of those teams was the A’s. For a total of 3 games. In 3 games, he had 5 plate appearances. No hits. One strikeout. I was pumped to have this jersey!
With the two jerseys and bag, I decided to stop, given that I didn’t want to spend too much money. I thought about getting a jacket, a pair of yellow pants, a pair of cleats, or another bag, but I decided to wait, as I was hoping most of the stuff would lower in cost at some point. Plus, they had rule that you could only have 5 items per transaction.
Once out of the team store, I threw on the gold jersey and decided to wander for a bit. It was cool to once again see the third deck un-tarped.
The field was a mess…
Supercross had been a few weeks before and they hadn’t yet gotten around to getting the field ready for baseball season.
Even though the Coliseum had opened, there was still plenty going on in the Arena. Player introductions had completed, but they were in the process of interviewing A’s super-fans. They talked to Ben Christensen, former MLB Fan Cave dweller.
As well as The Champ and Super J!
At this point, I started to feel a little sick again. Our family walked around together for a little bit. We stopped by the Oaklandish booth, where they were running a contest.
Then, we parted ways and my sister and I wandered around by ourselves for a bit. We checked out the A’s Magazine booth, where I got to be on the cover of an issue!
We pretty much checked out everything in FanFest to get an idea as to what was going on. The two of us stopped by the team store to check out the A’s new jersey and hat. I decided to hold off on buying them for the time being.
At this point, I started to feel even sicker than I had before, so we decided to find seats in the last row of the second deck, where it wasn’t raining. For about 30 or 45 minutes, we just sat and talked.
Eventually, around 11:30, my mom and I met back up and headed out to the car to grab the stuff I would need for BlogFest. When we were by the car, I thew up. But it was all good. I felt better after that. I am pretty sure it had something to do with the food I had for breakfast.
The interviews started just before noon and ended around 1pm. Given that I have already posted about BlogFest three times, I won’t talk about it here. If you haven’t already read them (or if you want to check them out again), you can read the interview with Assistant GM David Forst or Manager Bob Melvin by clicking on the links. I was unable to get up the interview with Sonny Gray and Jim Johnson, so if you would like to find out what they had to say, head over to A’s Farm or eDraftrv!
After BlogFest, I met back up with my dad and sister. Pascale and I then got to work on the video tour I was planning.
Meanwhile, my parents decided to head over to the Oracle Arena to watch the Q&A session.
What did we do for the video tour? Well… we walked around just about every part of FanFest and talked about it. However, we had issues with the video when we got home. Something went wrong. I won’t bore you all with all of that fun stuff, but a lot did go wrong. Here is the one picture I got while filming the video…
There was a Baseball 101 Session in the Bar and Grill.
After we finished up with recording the tour, Pascale and I met back up with my parents, where we toured the press box.
The entrance point was in the 3rd deck concourse, where we then had to go down a flight of stairs.
Those stairs led us to here:
This is the area where reporters and writers in general sit.
Not a bad view at all!
Like I mentioned, beat writers and columnists sit here.
So you know how they say the A’s need a new stadium? Things like this could be part of it. The press box is held together with duct tape.
It really was a great view.
Next, we checked out the visiting team’s radio booth.
They have a nice view as well.
There were some doors missing to the cabinets…
The windows were open in every small room.
Oh, and there was a soda fountain.
Next, we checked out the Comcast SportsNet California booth. There were a lot of wires.
Apparently, there is a risk of falling.
There was a lot of tape on the ground, presumably to direct people where to stand or sit.
Here is the desk where Glen Kuiper and Ray Fosse sit for A’s home games.
You can see the tape I mentioned earlier in the picture above. Here are my sister and I in the booth with the field behind us.
Here we are sitting at the desk itself.
It was a lot of fun!
The desk even had markings as to where Glen and Ray should be.
From there, we headed to the Bill King Broadcast Booth, where 95.7 The Game broadcasts ever A’s game on the radio.
There are memories of the late Bill King on the walls of the booth.
There is also a state-of-the-art television.
We then checked out the visiting team’s radio booth.
The seating arrangement kind of made me chuckle. That stool looks dangerously close to the edge, if you ask me.
We then went to the room with these signs in it.
They have a flat screen TV! Nicest television I saw in any of the booths.
Next was a room with this sign at the entrance.
Notice the books on the desk?
Here is a closer look.
How about an even closer look?
It looks like there were a few things left over from a Raiders game? I’m not quite sure.
We then saw the visiting team GM’s box.
And of course, Billy Beane’s booth!This was the TV he has. Yikes…
Nice view, at least!
The last room we visited had this screen inside it.
That is what was playing on the scoreboard, so I have to imagine it is the DiamondVision control room. I feel like they probably shouldn’t have left that remote lying around.
Once we concluded the press box tour, the four of us headed back down to the memorabilia sale, where I was hoping prices had lowered enough to allow me to pick up a couple more things.
Prices had lowered on the items that were remaining. Here is a rundown of what they had left:
- Blank BP jerseys: $20
- Team-issued jerseys: $60
- Jackets: $50
- Bats: $30
All of the helmets, cleats, bags, pants, and baseballs were gone. The old jerseys and hats had not lowered in price at all.
It was quite packed in the team store!
As you can tell, there was a very small amount of bats left, nothing that was worth getting in my opinion.
I found three jerseys that I had my eyes on and left before they closed up at 3pm. Here are the 5 jerseys I ended up with (excuse my feet and the papers in the photo).
The green #55 Jersey is that of Rich Thompson. He was claimed off waivers by the A’s on April 20th, 2012. Shortly thereafter, on April 25th, they designated Rich for assignment. A couple of days later, on April 27th, Oakland outrighted Thompson to the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats. He pitched one game in Oakland, pitching 2/3 of an inning, allowing one hit. He pitched in 46 games with the River Cats, posting a 4-2 record, with 62 innings pitched. He had a 3.34 ERA, with 58 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.113.
The grey #21 jersey is Mike Ekstrom’s. On October 29, 2012 he signed a minor league deal with the A’s with an invitation to spring training. He pitched in 10 games during Spring Training 2013, posting a 1.20 ERA and a 0.87 WHIP, in 15 innings pitched. However, he started off the 2013 season with Sacramento, pitching in 21 games, with a 5.10 ERA, before he ended up with the Angels organization, who eventually released him.
The #35 jersey is Luke Hughes’. He was claimed off of waivers by the A’s on April 22nd, 2012. 8 days later, he was designated for assignment when Oakland signed Brandon Inge. He played in 4 games with the Athletics, going 1-13 and while striking out 6 times. Eventually, the team released him on July 17th. The Blue Jays signed him a little while later.
The gold #99 jersey, like I mentioned earlier in this entry, is Casey Chavez’s. He has been the A’s bullpen catcher since the 2007 season. The jersey has a 2013 postseason patch on it, so I have to assume it was worn by Casey for games 2 and 5 of the ALDS.
The #53 jersey may be my favorite. Like I mentioned, that is Casper Wells’. On April 22, 2013, he was traded to Oakland for cash, from the Mariners. When Scott Sizemore re-tore his ACL, Casper was added to the 40-man and 25-man rosters. A few days later, on April 28th, he was designated for assignment when Yoenis Céspedes came back from the DL. He started two games for the A’s, one in left field and one as the designated hitter. He went 0-5 with 1 strikeout.
Lastly, here is the bag that I mentioned earlier.
Like I mentioned, we left the Coliseum just around 4 o’lock in the afternoon. By the way, it stopped raining around 11:45 or so. It was very surprising. However, it was a nice surprise. I would have preferred the rain to end earlier or for that matter, not have been there at all. In the end, I still had a good time, despite all the ups and downs.
I hope you all enjoyed this entry, as well as the video. Thanks for reading!
Nick Badders is a blogger for MLB.com. He writes the blog, 7000 Coliseum Way, and you can follow him on Twitter @RFNick149. You can also LIKE his blog on Facebook. This blog entry was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.