One of the greatest things about receiving a press pass is the on-field access that comes with it.

Since I’m not allowed in the clubhouse—the Oakland Athletics were extremely gracious to extend the credential to Bleacher Report and (indirectly) me in the first place, but they didn’t take COMPLETE leave of their senses—the time on the field before the game is my only chance to soak in a perspective of Major League Baseball that most aficionados never get.

The press box is definitely cool, but it’s not all that different than watching a game with some of your most critical/passionate buddies.

In truth, I actually think the pre-game field experience is preferable to the locker room—that is the team’s territory and I never like trespassing where I don’t belong even when invited.

Plus, it’s kind of like a zoo where the attractions are on display and they know it.

Even the most genuine interaction feels a bit artificial and the responses carefully calculated.

Granted, my exposure is limited to my first visit at the Oakland Coliseum when the powers-that-be forgot to eliminate my clubhouse access and I wandered through it accidentally (that might sound preposterous, but the tunnels all look the same and it was my maiden voyage—I walked up some stairs and was suddenly in a carpeted locker room).

By comparison, the diamond is more of a middle ground.

Yes, it belongs to the men in uniform, but there are enough interlopers roaming the grounds that ownership can’t be considered exclusive (until the first pitch, that is).

More importantly, the field is like a safari—the stars still know they’re on display, but the remoteness of the observation allows for a more comfortable and organic experience.

And it reminds me of all the reasons I absolutely love Major League Baseball.

Begin Slideshow