A Fan's View: The Third Deck Closure

Rachel Afraimi returns to OaklandClubhouse.com to continue her series of articles about the fans that make up the Oakland A's fanbase. In this article, Rachel talks to a number of the fans to get their reaction to the A's decision to close the third deck for the 2006 baseball season.

Aside from some big name acquisitions and another Rookie of the Year award, the biggest announcement to come from the Oakland A's camp this winter was the decision to close the third deck of the McAfee Coliseum for the 2006 baseball season. When I first heard the news, my initial thought was "what is going to happen to two dollar Wednesdays?!"

Many fans had come to love the two dollar, third deck tickets which were offered at every Wednesday home game (with the exception of big-ticket games featuring teams such as the Yankees, Red Sox and Giants), so I was curious to know what other fans thought of the elimination of the third deck. To find out, I spoke with a number of fans who had mixed emotions concerning this change.

"I see it as an effort to attract more season ticket holders and make a more ‘fan friendly' baseball stadium," says Jesus Ramirez, a long time A's fan.

"I am going to miss the option of being able to take my kids and their friends for under twenty dollars, but I am not going to miss the fights and lack of security in the third deck."

Ramirez likes this change better then the last major adjustment to the seating situation at the Coliseum.

"Overall it's a good thing, a better idea then building Mount Davis. We had a beautiful stadium before Mt. Davis was built, you could see the Oakland Hills. Now it feels too much like a football stadium, so hopefully we will be moving closer to having our own baseball stadium," Ramirez said.

Not only will A's fans will be affected by the change, but the fans of other teams living in the Bay Area will notice the change. Those fans who follow the major market teams such as the Yankees, Red Sox and Giants will feel the impact of the smaller stadium, since historically when the A's play those three teams, the Coliseum sees its biggest crowds of the year. However, despite the seat pinch, even opposing team's fans see the benefits with the change.

"I think closing the third deck is a great idea," Todd Benoit, a local Red Sox fan, said.

"One of the main things that make places like Fenway so cozy is the fact that you're so close to the field. It will also be a good test to see how a low capacity park would do in Oakland."

Of course, with the closure of the third deck, it means that it will be harder for big groups to purchase tickets for the high attendance games. In addition, the section that will see the biggest change will be the bleachers, since it will now be the cheapest section.

Craig Barlettani, who is a regular in the left field bleachers, has some reservations about the deck closure.

"I'm not really sure if I like it or not. I think it may provide a more intimate setting for the fans. Although, it might look a little awkward with a whole deck empty," Barlettani said.

"It's going to make it tougher to get bleacher tickets for the big games, considering that the people who usually get third deck tickets will now probably get bleacher tickets."

Another one of the left field bleacher regulars, Bobby Tselentis -- aka 510 Bobby -- agrees with Barlettani.

"I like the fact that [A's owner] Lew Wolff is trying to prove a point to the city, the only thing I don't like about it is that it's going to make seat saving in the bleachers more challenging," Tselentis said.

"Games will definitely sellout faster, and the good thing is that those opposing fans won't know what hit them when they walk up on game day and can't buy a ticket due to a sellout."

Opening Day for the A's this year is April 3rd versus the Yankees. Curious to see how tickets for the game were selling, I called the A's box office to see what tickets were available. Sure enough, the bleachers were the first section to sellout. In fact, there are hardly any seats remaining at all for Opening Day.

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