Donaldson on 2013 vs. 2012 A's: 'Overall we're a better team'
OAKLAND – A’s first baseman Brandon Moss came to the defense of his beleaguered home ballpark on Tuesday.
Moss knows the O.co Coliseum will be thrust in the spotlight as the A’s host the American League Division Series starting Friday. He also knows most of the attention will be negative in light of the flooding and sewage problems at the Coliseum that have generated so many headlines.
Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig went so far as to call the Coliseum “a pit” in a radio interview last week.
“Granted, we don’t have the nicest facility,” Moss said Tuesday. “But I think everybody is going to see that when this place is packed, how awesome it is to play in. I haven’t played anywhere like it. It’s the best. It’s a football-type atmosphere, something completely different from anywhere else.”
That might be true, but only when the Coliseum is filled. The A’s ranked 23rd out of 30 teams in average home attendance this season at 22,337, and they’ve consistently ranked near the bottom in recent seasons.
Fans did flock to the ballpark for the final homestand of 2012, and the playoff series that followed. Game 1 is sold out for Friday, and Games 2 and 5 (if a fifth game is necessary) are likely to sell out based on the number of tickets that remained as of Tuesday afternoon.
With a large portion of the upper-deck tarps being removed, the Coliseum will have a capacity of 48,146 for the postseason.
“Yeah, it’s got sewage problems. Yeah, it’s old,” Moss said. “We get it. How many times are you gonna say it? And they’re gonna say it on TV, I’m sure. But then they’re gonna see 40,000 people louder than they’ve ever heard …”
Does Moss really believe that? Remember, he spent parts of two seasons with the Boston Red Sox (2007 and 2008), and he was asked how the crowd at a sold-out Coliseum compares to that at Fenway Park.
“This place is louder -- it’s not even close,” Moss said. “I mean, that’s a great place to play baseball. They have great fans. It’s a storied place to play, but they’re not as loud as the fans here.”
The A’s will take the unusual step of carrying three catchers on their ALDS roster, with Kurt Suzuki making the 25-man squad along with Derek Norris and Stephen Vogt. A’s manager Bob Melvin likes the flexibility it gives him if he wants to pinch-hit for one of his catchers early.
“It’s easier to make in-game subs,” he said. “You don’t have to worry about subbing in a catcher early, and then walking on eggshells if (your second) catcher gets hurt.”
John Jaso took batting practice with the team, and Melvin did not rule him out as a roster option should the A’s advance to the AL Championship Series. But Jaso hasn’t played since late July due to lingering concussion-related symptoms. He got at-bats in fall instructional league games last week but has not seen time at catcher since being injured. Therefore, he would only be considered as a pinch-hitting option.