Sep 19, 2013, 4:37 PM PDT
If you’ve ever wondered what baseball on psychedelics would be like, sit in section 149 of the Oakland Coliseum.
It’s sort of like Woodstock in the stands. There are musical instruments — ranging from cowbells to drums — flying flags, popcorn and dive-bombing birds, singsong chants, people hand feeding each other, immeasurable enthusiasm, and a special bond that few outsiders can understand.
In truth, the most dangerous substances being ingested out there are Coliseum Hot Dogs and copious amounts of bacon, but the frenetic energy and all-around randomness of everything that goes down out there makes some of the other sections seem like the waiting room at the dentist’s office.
The buzz from the right field bleachers drives the rest of the Oakland Coliseum. The drums and chants are like the heartbeat that pumps vital lifeblood into the rest of the venue. Many baseball stadiums have bleachers with crazy reputations, but there’s nothing like this.
The players in the dugout acknowledge them daily. The players on the opposing teams either go with their flow, or they get ripped endlessly. The folks in the bleachers never forget when an opponent sends a nasty gesture their way, but if you treat them with respect, they can be your biggest ally.
Jeff Francoeur learned that lesson when he was a member of the Royals. The right fielder and the folks in section 149 bonded over bacon, and soon “Frenchy” was getting one of the biggest applauses in the stadium. After Francoeur tossed a baseball up to the stands with a $100 bill attached, “Bacon Tuesday” was born. He even stopped by the right field fans’ tailgate this season.
Torii Hunter shipped several boxes of friend chicken to section 149 after getting ribbed about his salary and asked about his chicken preferences. And most recently, Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton ate a Butterfinger bar tossed down to him from — you guessed it — the right field seats. The candy bar incident was a dig at Hamilton during “Josh Hamilton Appreciation Night,” which was an event commemorating his dropped ball that helped the A’s take the American League West from the Rangers.
A’s right fielder Josh Reddick sent them championship belts, his Spider-man costume, and has even become friends off the field with one of the right field mainstays.
During the A’s final Oakland battle with the Texas Rangers, Anson Casanares, one of the most visible fans from section 149, opened up the bleachers to us. It’s one thing to hear the chants, and to see the Balfour Rage from afar, but it ratchets up to a whole new level of awesome from inside the inner circle.
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