Friday night's game against the Angels brought a familiar noise that we hear every year in August and September. The noise is the annual whining about the condition of the Oakland Coliseum field after a Raiders football game. Friday night's TV broadcast opened with camera shots of the portion of center field turf that's been discolored by the temporary football seats placed there for week.
Let's pause for a second to allow us to roll our eyes.
Why? Because the field complaint is like every other reason cited to justify the A's wanting to move: under factual scrutiny, it just doesn't hold up.
Look, we get it. The A’s need to get themselves a new ballpark, and there are two excellent Jack London Square sites from which to choose. But the field condition is hardly a reason for moving. Seriously, this is the 30th season that the A's and the Raiders have shared the Oakland Coliseum field. The first 14 seasons were from 1968-81, and the final 16 seasons after the Raiders moved back home have been from 1995-2010 (present).
You never heard the '70s A’s and Raiders complain about those fields while both teams were constantly winning divisions and several World Championships. But in the past 16 seasons, the A's owners — Steve Schott ('95-'05) and then Lew Wolff ('05-present) — haved glommed onto it, making what was once a non-issue into a key part of their Pity Party strategy of trying to convince the world that they’re being "held hostage" by the 45-year-old Coliseum.
Honestly, can you name a moment in those 30 seasons where the field condition after a Raiders game negatively affected the game or a player?
I can only think of one instance — Mark Kotsay in 2004 claimed that the post-football-game grass injured his knee when he dove on it. But guess what? Kotsay responded by playing even better than before. He caught fire at the plate in September, raising his season average to a career-high .314. If that counts as a negative effect, then I hope it happens every year. (Not to mention that Kotsay gets injured a lot and very well might have hurt himself on the play anyway, regardless of the turf's condition.)
Other than that minor instance? Zero, nada, bupkus.
How did the center-field grass affect the A's Friday night? It didn't. The A's rolled to an 8-0 win, improving their very good Coliseum home record. And the field had absolutely no bearing on the game. Just like just about every other Coliseum game played under the same conditions since 1968.