July 14-16 @ Oakland Athletics (3 games)
Oakland Coliseum - 2022 attendance was 787,982 (ranked 15th out of 15 AL teams, 30th overall MLB)
Oakland averaged less than 10,000 fans per game last year. The home of Moneyball has been searching for a new home for the past decade, and the fans have rewarded the team with their indifference. The A’s and Oakland Coliseum formed the backdrop to many childhood heroes before we realized how juiced they were. Lately, the club has been known more for thriftiness than for victories.
The Coliseum itself bears the weight of being Al Davis’ Raiders home in the mid-to-late ’90s. The addition of a towering bowl of seats increased capacity while magnifying just how empty the stadium looks today. Interestingly enough, the Coliseum used to mirror Dodger Stadium before “Mount Davis” was erected.
Word on the street is that the fans that do attend aren’t there by mistake. They are fans through and through and should make for an interesting road environment. There are unique experiences surrounding the ballpark itself, while the in-stadium experience doesn’t offer much. I won’t go out of my way to mention how the last time the Twins won a playoff series was at the Coliseum, and hopefully, they won’t kill me.
Oakland itself boasts connections to the sights and sounds of the Bay Area in general, and there are waterfront and cultural experiences throughout the region. The Oakland Zoo gets solid reviews, and Treasure Island between the two cities carries family connections. This ballpark doesn’t excite me, but picking up three wins to kick off the second half of the season never hurt anyone.
I’ve contemplated making the July 12th All-Star Game in Seattle a part of the journey, but I’m going to decline even if I’m voted in this year because, from Oakland, we get to go there anyways! Oakland lies 1,672 miles from my front door, a daunting 25-hour drive. However, there are whispers of an epic family and friends trip through this six-game set. The drive up and down the Pacific Coast Highway beckons, as does the surf and sun.
July 17-20 @ Seattle Mariners (4 games)
T-Mobile Park - 2022 attendance was 2,286,267 (ranked 6th out of 15 AL teams, 15th overall MLB)
Fresh off of hosting the All-Star Game, T-Mobile Park dials up the fan experience with a retractable roof, beautiful sight lines, and stellar food and beverage options. This isn’t your grandpa’s Kingdome, for sure. Success hasn’t been a part of the Mariners’ story, but their current squad is on the way up.
Established in 1977, the Mariners endured losing seasons every year until 1991. They hold the less-than-awesome honor of having never been in a World Series. So the town is hungry for change, even if the ballpark is now entering its 24th season.
The park hosts the Baseball Museum of the Pacific Northwest and Mariners Hall of Fame, which pays homage to great moments in professional baseball throughout the region. The ‘Pen is a foody and pub crawler’s dream, and there is a Fan Walk with engraved bricks memorializing those who root for the squad.
I don’t remember much history between the Mariners and the Twins. They never seem hot at the same time, and their superstars never seem to be competing for attention simultaneously. I’m not heading to these games looking for baseball drama but hoping for some relaxing and captivating scenery and experiences.
My family hates heights, so I’ll probably be heading up the Space Needle alone. The Museum of Pop Culture does seem like a worthy stop, and we can’t be in this part of America without the temptation of a Goonies filming site pilgrimage coming up in the conversation. The Seattle Japanese Garden also looks amazing and perfect for healing and restoration, especially if the Twins are leaning away from the playoffs at this point in the season.
It’s 808 miles from Oakland to Seattle and 1406 miles back to Mitchell, SD. Throw in some beaches and mountain passes, and I’m guessing the van will need a deep clean after this trip. With the MLB trade deadline looming on August 2nd, this trip provides the last chance to separate the squad from the pack before decisions need to be made. Where will the Twins be as the season turns? There’s only one way to find out: to go there.
Now it's your turn to plan!
If you have been to Oakland Coliseum or T-Mobile Park, please post your list of "best seats" and "must-sees." Is anyone else planning on going to this series?
Grace and peace, Twins Territory! Thanks for the help!