Word on the grapevine is the Cal Athletic Office is about to decide where Jeff Tedford's Golden Bears will play next season when the renovations to Memorial Stadium hit high-gear. There are only three realistic venues for next season, all of which offer their own set of logistical difficulties. Let's take a look at the three choices and examine the merits and warts of each, and where we'd all prefer the Bears to play next season.
Ms. Lebron also noted the current plans for 2011. As of that date, the frontrunner was AT+T Park with the Coliseum in 2nd and the Stick a "distant 3rd!" YES!!! YES! Nothing is official or confirmed yet, but that is huge. The Stick is the worst. Super far, terrible parking. AT+T is not great, but anything is better than the Stick. I'd love the Coliseum, but oh well.
So we look at these options in that order after the jump. Vote in the poll and discuss in the comments where Cal should play in 2011.
AT&T Park (San Francisco Giants)
Pros: The easiest to coordinate with the tenants of the park. A pretty good location, easily reachable by BART. Would be completely free in November/December, so could allow for plenty of pleasant San Francisco excursions for Cal fans. Also, our epic Emerald Bowl tailgate indicates this is a place where kings congregate.
Cons: It's a baseball stadium. It's small and cramped and would have the worst profit margin of all three stadiums. It could squeeze out a lot of Cal students or alumni out of the game--season ticketholders currently outnumber the entire capacity of the Emerald Bowl (HT ttgiang15). Could get windy, cold and freezing for night games in October/November...and if the Bears are any good, there will be at least one or two of those down the line.
Reader comment (carp): "The Phone Booth could have several games overlapping with a late September and possible postseason run for the Giants. If you’ve ever watched any A’s playoff games, football turns the outfield into your public school softball field. Additionally, the seating is both reduced and awkward (do they roll out bleachers?) and both teams have to share a sideline, making goalline plays difficult for one team."
Pros: Most ideal location--easily accessible by direct BART ride from Berkeley, which literally drops off fans at the doorstep of the Coliseum. Great tailgating scene, the best of all three locations. Large stadium which should adapt perfectly to Cal's viewing base, albeit about 10% smaller than Memorial.
Cons: A nightmare for the keepers of the Coliseum, who would have to alternate between As, Raiders and Bears games every weekend. Playing in a baseball stadium means you have to play with that baseball field for at least a third of your season--imagine the Bears and Raiders tearing up that field on back-to-back days? Could mean almost no games in September since the Raiders and As usually alternate weekends, and could be even worse if the As make a run in the playoffs. Who's ready for a five game home season?
Reader Comment (carp): "I admit, the tailgating/amtrak/BART option at the Coliseum is quite tempting and very East Bay. The epic parking lot pre-game scene could be something this Bear Fan would like. I do enjoy the drunken bus rides down to Memorial, especially when the bus driver has a fantastic open carry policy."
Candlestick Park (San Francisco 49ers)
Pros: A little more hectic than AT&T Park since they'd have to alternate like the Raiders and As do weekend by weekend. Could offer the best way at maxing ticket prices based on location. The most football-ready stadium of the three and the easiest to schedule around. Decent tailgating scene, if not ideal. The most seats, hence the most tickets being sold.
Cons: Logistically, a nightmare for students and Cal alumni in the East Bay--the furthest away from campus and almost exclusively reachable by car. Who wants to brave weekend Bay Area traffic to get to South San Francisco? Also, not a great place to play during the cold months (then again, neither is Memorial).
Reader comment (Swamphunter): "I understand that it will be a pain for Oakland fans to get across the bridge. But on the flip side, they get to experience bridge transit to football games like what my father and I (as well as other West-side Cal fans) have been doing.
Pro-tip: don’t use the Bay Bridge. Use the San Mateo or even the Dumbarton bridge if you can, then travel up through the 101. It’s an easier route to take and you don’t need to wait around in San Fran once you’re off the bridge."