OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Oakland A's announced yesterday that smoking will be banned from all seating areas of the Oakland Coliseum.
"We have always tried to make the Coliseum the most pleasant environment for the majority of our fans," said Andy Dolich, the Athletics' vice president of business operations. "We realize that this decision does have some negative implications for our smokers, but we have tried to make it fair to them."
Dolich said the team has received some complaints from fans about smoking in the stadium. He said if those caught violating the rule did not stop smoking, they would be asked to leave.
Indoor sports arenas such as the Houston Astrodome and the Metrodome in Minneapolis generally forbid smoking, and the Giants and some other teams have introduced no-smoking "family sections" in recent years. But the decision to ban smoking in all seats in an outdoor stadium was greeted with shock by fans as well as baseball officials in other cities.
"They've banned smoking in an outdoor stadium? Wow . . . I've never heard of that," said David Aust, a spokesman for the Seattle Mariners.
Frank Hewitt, an A's fan who was having a drink yesterday at the Oakland Hyatt, was more blunt. "It's crazy," he said. "I'd rather watch it on TV."
John McMichael, vice president of business operations for the Texas Rangers, echoed the views of a number of baseball officials when he said that the policy might work in health-conscious California but would be far harder to implement elsewhere.
Under the plan, which goes into effect during the 1991 season, smoking will be allowed on the upper concourse walkway and some outside ramps.