ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Jack Del Rio is no fan of sharing a field with a baseball team, especially with his Oakland Raiders the lone NFL team to share a stadium with a Major League Baseball franchise in the Oakland Athletics.
So while the baseball dirt infield, which permeates the grass playing surface at the Oakland Coliseum, will be gone for the Raiders’ home game Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, that is of little consolation to Del Rio. Not when the Raiders have to play the exhibition season and the first month of the regular season on the dirt, longer if the A’s play in baseball’s postseason.
“I don’t know if I’d call it a benefit,” Del Rio said when asked about playing on an all-grass field going forward.
“It’s the way it should be. It should be grass all the time. Hopefully, they’ll get that rectified going forward because, frankly, it’s a little embarrassing to play on the cinderblock. We’ll tolerate it when we have to, but we’re definitely looking forward to having a full field of grass.”
The Raiders have been the lone NFL team to share a facility with a baseball team since 2012, when the Miami Marlins got their own baseball stadium and left the Dolphins at erstwhile Joe Robbie Stadium.
In 1987, Del Rio’s third year as a player in the NFL, 12 of the NFL’s then-28 teams shared a facility with an MLB team.
The Raiders will have to deal with the dirt for at least the next year and possibly two as they plan on playing on a grass field inside a dome that they'll share with the UNLV football team when they move to Las Vegas in 2020.