An Interview with o.co coliseum Expert Kenneth A. Lee

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fastestthirtyballgames3021.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/30in20/

Monday April 23, 2012

DB: “Welcome to MLB Reports Experts Interview Ken.  Please tell us about yourself and then give a bit of background information on your life as a baseball fan?”

KL: “My name is Ken Lee, I am a General Manager for Jackson Hewitt Tax Service and I live in Marysville, WA with my wife Yvonne and our 2 pup pups, Boomer & Tilly.  I am a co-writer of the book titled “The Fastest 30 Ballgames – A Ballpark Chasers World Record Story” that came out last year.  I grew up playing baseball and loving every aspect of the game.  I attended my first MLB game in April of 1977 @ the Kingdome in Seattle (Yankees vs Mariners).  Since then I have attended about 1,000 games or so.  I have seen games at 29 outta 30 current ballparks (the lone exception being the new Marlins Park – which I will pick up on May 14th & 15th) and I have seen 42 different MLB ballparks overall.

DB: “As one of the ballpark experts who take it to the extreme, how do you rank O.co Coliseum versus the rest of the ballparks?”

KL: “Overall, I would rank it #30 outta 30.  In general, as a ballpark, it’s terrible.  It’s too cavernous and way too much exposed concrete to be a ‘real’ ballpark. Mt. Davis is an eye sore and try to watch a game from all the way out there, you will feel like you are in San Francisco!  O.co is the only ballpark I have been to where I didn’t enjoy a game from the ‘cheap seats’.”

DB: “Despite the A’s being featured in the movie ‘Moneyball’ as one of the best franchises during the early 2000’s, the team did not draw well.  Why do you think that is Ken?”

KL: “I think there are several factors personally.  Be it that the ballpark by itself is not a real drawing point, the prices are generally high for what you get (especially for parking) or the lack of big name talent on the field.  As illustrated in the movie, they were poached of Jason Giambi, Jason Isringhausen and Johnny Damon just as they were really starting to become big names.  When you don’t have big names that draw attention, the only other thing you can can do to get butts in the seats is to find a way to win and that’s what they did in 2002 rolling off 20 straight.  Since 2002 their W’s have dropped off, they only won 74 games last year and if you aren’t winning, you cant fill the house especially if you don’t have anyone on the team that people really want to come see.”

DB: “The A’s seem to have a lot of promotional days in the summer, over the last couple years have you been in attendance for any of these? Please explain your latest experiences?”

KL: “I have been to a few the last couple years, be that “Free Hot Dog Day”, $2.00 outfield seats sponsored by the BART or even a night where you can park at the ballpark for *FREE* (a $17 value!).  I can’t say that I have scheduled any of my trips around any of these, but it sure is nice to be able to go to 3 games, get free hot dogs at one, park for free another and have all 3 of your tickets cost you a total of $20!”

DB: “What is your favorite method of transportation to and from O.co Coliseum?”

KL: “Anytime I have been to games in Oakland it has been as part of a bigger trip, so I have always driven in.  Besides paying an outrageous fortune at the ballpark for parking ($17 in 2011), there are plenty of free parking spaces within a very short walk of O.co.  The BART system is another great way to get to games as well from all over the Bay Area.  It drops you off within a short walk over a sky bridge to the ballpark.”

DB: :What advice would you give someone experiencing O.co Coliseum for the very first time?”

KL: “Don’t be expecting much because if you are, you will be very disappointed.  However, with that said, go in with an open mind and experience everything there.  On my trips down I have got to know an usher that hooks me up with great seats every night (no matter if I bought a $2 ticket or not) and the people there, in general, are really cool.  I would warn you that seat poaching is discouraged and most sections, if not all, have posted ushers that do check tickets.  If you are going to try to poach a better seat, walk right by them like you own the place!”

DB: “How is the food at O.co Coliseum?  What is your favorite ballpark food there?”

KL: “The food at O.co is O.K. at best.  Nothing edible really stands out to me, but I do have to say that for free hot dogs on “Free Hot Dog Day”, they were actually not that bad.  Then again, it would have to be a pretty bad hot dog to not have enjoyed it because when you are ballpark chasing, a free meal is always appreciated.  The thing that stands out in my mind when walking around O.co is the stands dedicated to specific breweries, like New Belgium and Widmer Brothers.  At these stands they feature the beers of these breweries only.  I have never seen another ballpark that does that and I thought it was pretty cool.”

DB: “What is your favorite all time game you have been in attendance for at O.co Coliseum?”

KL: “I would have to say it would be my first game there, May 13, 2000.  A’s vs Mariners.  I was with a couple of friends of mine who took me to the game. Was my first time ever seeing the Mariner’s play away from Seattle.  They won 6-4 that afternoon, Tomko got the W, Mesa the S and A-Rod had a 2 runner he hit off A’s starter Kevin Appier.”

*** A big thank you goes out to our Petco Park Expert Ken Lee for participating in the expert article Series. Follow Ken Lee on twitter- (@seeall30) and to read more about Ken’s baseball journey click here ***

Follow me-@chuckbooth3024 on twitter

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About chuckbooth3023

I played competitive baseball until 18 years old and had offers to play NCAA Division 1 University Baseball at Liberty University. Post-concussion symptoms from previous football and baseball head injuries forced me to retire by age 19. After two nearly made World Record Attempts in 2008, I set a New World Record by visiting all 30 MLB Parks (from 1st to last pitch) in only 24 Calendar Days in the summer 0f 2009. In April of 2012, I established yet another new GWR by visiting all 30 Parks in only 23 Calendar Days! You can see the full schedule at the page of the www.mlbreports.com/gwr-tracker . In 2015, I watched 224 MLB Games, spanning all 30 MLB Parks in 183 Days. Read about that World Record Journey at http://mlbreports.com/183in2015/229sked2015/
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