Thumb Wars: Home football games at AT&T Park

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Nothing will be as convenient as hosting football games on campus. No venue can compare to the majesty of the cannons echoing over Strawberry Canyon on a sunny afternoon.

Nonetheless, playing home games at AT&T is a great thing.

I love Memorial probably more than most, but there is no denying that it is old and outdated. How nice will it be to spend Saturdays (and one Thursday night) in a state-of-the-art park? The palm trees outside, the cove, the brick walls — the aesthetics are just incredible.

The seating will be more comfortable, the bathrooms will be cleaner, and the food will be better — that, in and of itself, is a huge victory for fans. The fan experience is going to be so much improved, which is important since the product on the field probably won’t be. If I’m going to watch subpar football, I’ll be less depressed if I’m watching it in a nice place.

Logistics for non-students are a lot friendlier at AT&T. Parking will not be a massive headache, and there aren’t any hills to climb to reach the stadium.
Those two points may have little meaning to students who generally don’t drive and are accustomed to trekking up hills around Berkeley, but it will make things so much easier for our older alumni and fans. It makes Cal football games much more accessible for that segment of the population whose support we should welcome.

Yes, the tickets are more expensive and the stadium holds fewer people. However, if alumni and other fans are willing to open their wallet for these football games, perhaps they’ll be more open to contributing to the athletic department in the future, given that they have a positive experience at AT&T.

Finally, the sad but true argument — where else was Cal going to play? Candlestick is very difficult to get to, and it’s also a horrendous place to watch a game between the wind and how dilapidated it is. There’s a reason the A’s want out of the Oakland Coliseum (now named the Overstock.com Coliseum), which would have been easier to get to, but it’s not exactly an upgrade from Memorial.

The move to AT&T is a short-lived change that adds some excitement to an otherwise dim football season.

— Christina Jones

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This year, Cal football will have a new place to call home. With Memorial Stadium under major construction, the Bears will be traveling to AT&T Park for their five home games.

But don’t expect many fans to travel along with them.

Although BART is available, let’s face it — it’s not the most convenient or comfortable mode of transportation, with its filthy seats and unexpected run-ins with homeless people.

When the games were at Memorial Stadium, students living on campus had the option of going whenever they wanted. And they could leave whenever they wanted. UC Berkeley students place a large emphasis on academics and like how they don’t have to make game days a full day experience.

On top of that, students need to pay significantly more for tickets this year. Since the university is paying rent to the Giants for the home football games and seating capacity has reduced by 26,000 seats, ticket prices were raised. Although season ticket sales are reported to have remained about the same from previous years, it would seem much easier to fill up the smaller AT&T Park. However, demand has not increased.

Some say that Cal’s new home will draw more spectators from the city, but most are just anxiously agonizing the chaos from spectators suffocating transportation and streets. And Giants fans won’t be too thrilled about the idea of sharing their stadium, especially if the Giants make it to the postseason in 2011. A prolonged playoff run would mean that the Bears must search for a different venue, particularly for the Cal vs. USC matchup.

The football players will probably feel some added pressure at AT&T Park. Not only do they have to grow accustomed to playing and tackling on a baseball field, but they also have to account for travel time themselves. After their first losing season (5-7) in head coach Jeff Tedford’s nine year reign last season, the Bears will need to produce some results to generate enough support to transfer to the renovated Memorial Stadium.

Despite the obviously dedicated fans, people don’t like change. It won’t be much different this year.

—Camellia Senemar

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  • Threesepio

    I live in Potrero Hill where I was at a stop sign waiting to turn on to Missouri Street.  I was waiting for someone to get into a car in the corner I was going to turn onto and a loud voice in back of me in a way too big SUV yelled at me.  “Come, on, what are you waiting for?”

    Traffic has increased many times over with the advent of Berkeley football games coming to AT&T park.  And the drivers are bad, aggressive, and obnoxious.  I’m furious that games are being played here and that the crowd being drawn are as spoiled and impatient as they are.  I’ve noticed this increase in hostility and poor driving on two days with games Cal Home football games.

    GO AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!