OAKLAND, Calif. — To most players, Oakland Coliseum is among the worst in the majors.
To Rays reliever Joe Nelson, it couldn't be more special.
Nelson grew up and went to high school in Alameda, minutes from the stadium that houses the A's and Raiders and the adjacent arena where the NBA Golden State Warriors play, and was frequently in the stands. "I love it," Nelson said. "Most of my dreams regarding baseball and football I envisioned happening in this stadium. And finally some of them are coming true."
Nelson, 34, figured he attended 500 games at the Coliseum before getting to pitch there in May 2006.
He said he walked in that day from the train station and first sat in his stepfather's season-ticket seats in Section 135, the fifth row behind third base, before going into the clubhouse, making the journey complete.
"I watched Nolan Ryan throw a no-hitter from those seats," he said. "This is a special place for me, and it's a special place for me to play."
Nelson had family and friends in the stands, buying and leaving 30 tickets for each of the three games.
Friday night, Nelson pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up two runs on two hits and a walk.