Take Me Out to the Cat Game
The Oakland Coliseum is home to baseball’s Athletics and now you can include some 100 feral cats to that stadium.
The felines are not big baseball fans, but they do have a common enjoyable item that’s in line with what people like at the ballpark; food.
An abundance of food at the Coliseum drew the cats in and unlike their human counterparts, they’re not paying exorbitant prices from the concession stands. For that matter, they’re not paying to watch the games either, if they show any interest in the games at all.
The A’s were tenth in scoring runs last season as they finished out of the playoffs. The wild cats on the other hand seem to be scoring often as they are producing litters of kittens.
“The more food there is, the larger the litter the cats are going to have,” Ann Dunn, the Director of Oakland Animal Services told KGO-TV during a round of media interviews.
So, while the cats are snacking on peanuts and Cracker Jack, they could care less if the people ever come back.
That’s more food for the felines, including fish & chips, hot dogs, nachos and chicken tenders. No observations yet if the cats like to down their meals with beer, though puddle water has that gritty kitty city taste that separates feral cats from domestic ones.
There are plenty of seats available for the cats if they want to get close to the action. The A’s were next to last in attendance in 2021 (Miami was last), averaging just under 8,000 a game for a stadium that’s configured to hold 46,847 fans. Nothing like hearing local cats meowing insults at the visiting team.
Oakland only had 2,703 fans show up for the A’s April 20 game against the Baltimore Orioles. Every fan and cat got a foul ball.
If attendance continues to drop, there will be more cats than humans at the games. Better get kibble, Fancy Feast and Friskies on the concession menu.
Despite the low attendance, authorities plan to spay and neuter the cats before releasing them to continue romping around the Coliseum. Authorities didn’t say if they also will force the fans to have hysterectomies and vasectomies. Who would know the difference with such crummy attendance.
As for the kittens, there are plans to put them up for adoption, hopefully to the few A’s fans so they can return and visit their parents.
Even though the stray cats can’t hit or field, they are serving a purpose at the Coliseum.
“The cats have been doing an excellent job. Staff commented that they have not seen a rodent in over two years,” Executive Director of the Coliseum Authority, Henry Gardner, told KCBS Radio.
That seems to be about how often the A’s are winning games.
The Oakland cats aren’t the first felines to crash a stadium.
The most famous incident occurred during the 1969 National League East pennant race. The visiting Chicago Cubs held a 1½ game lead over the New York Mets on Sept. 9 after once leading the division by ten games. In the fourth inning, a black cat ran onto the Shea Stadium field and ran in front of on-deck hitter Ron Santo before galloping in front of the Cubs’ dugout. The omen that black cats bring bad luck applied to Chicago which lost the game and the division title to New York.
Cat’s running onto baseball fields has happened several times since. Apparently, baseball is their favorite sport to crash. Almost as fun as chasing a laser pointer.
I told our cat Chester about this story and like the feral cats, he wasn’t interested in the baseball part as much as how much food was available for the taking by his compadres and comadres.
“Are all baseball stadiums that food-friendly for cats,” Chester asked.
“No,” I replied. “The Oakland Coliseum is a pit. It was opened in 1966 and hasn’t aged well. Some people refer to it as a “concrete toilet” while USA Today ranked it as the worst stadium in the Majors.
“If that’s the case, take me to an A’s game in Oakland,” my Baseball Reference of a cat said in anticipation of a feast of franks and other goodies.
“I’m not flying you across the country to see you get sick on food you shouldn’t eat,” I said, sounding like a parent telling his kid to keep his hand off the candy at the checkout line.
“Then how about taking a train,” Chester prodded.
“Winnebago, you drive.”
“Tandem bicycle, I sit, you pedal.”
“Then we can walk to Oakland,” Chester said, bringing the art of haggling to a new level.
“You would walk a couple of thousand miles for junk food,” I asked.
“That far, huh,” Chester said dejectedly.
“Do they deliver,” he asked in desperation.
“No,” I said for the umpteenth time, dashing his kitty fantasy of a baseball smorgasbord.
“How about we watch an A’s game on TV and you can stuff me with kibble,” my cat said as I observed a lightbulb flash over his cranium. “We can call it a Coliseum Kibble Knish.”
How could I say no to Chester’s eureka moment? Not to mention I don’t mind a good snack (not kibble) and a beer while watching a game, even though I’m not an A’s fan. It would be a good bonding time with my furry friend.
Chester was pleased with my affirmative answer and ran to get a good spot on the rug to watch the game.
I brought in the edibles and drinks (water for the cat, no kibble for me) and turned the game on.
“Play ball,” I yelled as we settled in for a night of watching America’s pastime.
Chester got into the spirit of the contest quickly yelling at the umpires, the players and even me as I was trying to teach him about the game, only to forget I’d previously done that.
It was a fun night.