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For fans, being there all that matters
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10/01/2003  9:32 PM ET 
For fans, being there all that matters
Mendoza family happy to have 'Uecker ' seats
tickets for any Major League Baseball game
Left to right, Francisco Mendoza, Milton and Reynalda, sit in the bleachers. (John Todd/MLB.com)
OAKLAND -- Real estate prices in Northern California being what they are, Francisco Mendoza thinks he got a great deal for his family.

He bought a little slice of the East Bay with a water view for $15 ... a seat.

Mendoza, wife Reynalda and their five kids made the 90-minute drive from their home in the Sacramento suburb of Galt to Network Associates Coliseum on Wednesday for Game 1 of the American League Division Series.

"The kids love baseball," said Reynalda. "This is a family thing for us to do."

What they got when they hit the box office were seven seats in Section 346, Row 29. For those unfamiliar with the ballpark, those seats are near the top of the uppermost deck in what is derisively known as Mt. Davis, as in Al Davis, as in the Raiders, who put the Bob Uecker seats high above the outfield as part of the stadium's football renovation.

The bottom row of the section is 100 feet above the outfield warning track, and the top row is 40 feet higher. The A's sell the seats only during the postseason and for special events during the regular season, such as Fireworks Night. When it was first opened, there was no fence behind the top row and no handrail in the aisle.

"There were no tickets at any other level," Mendoza said. "During the season, we usually sit on the Plaza Level behind home plate. We've never been up here before."


"This is pretty high up. But for $15, it's worth it. It's the playoffs and you don't want to miss them. Even if you're sitting up in the lights, you want to be here at the game."
-- Francisco Mendoza

Francisco said he had planned to come to the game all along, but when the kids found out, they all agreed to do their homework on the drive, so they piled in the car and Dad bought the best seats he could, under the circumstances.

"We came to the playoffs last year and sat in the corner," said Mendoza, who works in an auto body shop. "This is pretty high up. But for $15, it's worth it. It's the playoffs and you don't want to miss them. Even if you're sitting up in the lights, you want to be here at the game."

Because of the location of the bleacher structure, the sight lines have roughly half of the outfield obscured. But looking beyond the western rim of the stadium toward the setting sun, Mendoza only saw the bright side.

"We won't be able to see the home runs go over the fence," said Mendoza, "but we've got a good view of the Bay from here."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This article was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.



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