Game 71 wrapup: Sewage leak could spur substantive movement on new A’s stadium

In for John Hickey, who missed all of Sunday’s fun …

Lew Wolff has to be leaping in the air and clicking his heels after Sunday. His team is leading the American League West by three games. Bartolo Colon is making a serious bid for an All-Star Game spot. The A’s rolled out 17 hits, including four home runs, in a 10-2 romp over Seattle before  sellout crowd of 36,067 at the Coliseum.

But the best gift of all to Wolff was the most powerful — and most powerful smelling — development that came afterward, when the A’s came bounding into their clubhouse to discover that a raw sewage leak had been pouring out the shower drains for nearly the entire game. The geysers of watery waste not only erupted in Oakland’s clubhouse. but the visiting clubhouse and umpire’s dressing room as well.

The A’s and Mariners had to seek higher ground a level up and shower together in the Oakland Raiders’ locker room. The umpires and members of the Seattle coaching staff left the park without showering at all. According to an Associated Press report, Seattle manager Eric Wedge’s office was so deep in tainted sludge that he had to hold his postgame press conference in a nearby hallway. Somehow, the A’s coaches’ shower room was the only one in the bowels of the stadium not affected. Colon said he took his shower there.

A’s officials maintained that the sewage flood was caused by the overtaxing of the stadium’s aging drainage system during this homestand that was attended by more than 170,000 people, culminating with Sunday’s sellout. There have been sewage issues at the Coliseum in recent years, but according to A’s equipment manager Steve Vucinich, this was the first major problem in the baseball clubhouses. Vucinich would know — he’s been working at the stadium, which opened in 1968, for 46 years.

In short, it was a mess and a stink that only figures to get messier and stinkier — figuratively speaking — in the coming days and weeks. News of the sewage leak prompted the expected flood of jokes among players and folks on Twitter, but in truth, this is no laughing matter. With any kind of sewage leak comes the potential for harmful bacteria and disease. Josh Reddick, for one, rescued his shower shoes from the muck, probably not the smartest thing to do. Vucinich said it was very likely that the carpets in the clubhouses would have to be ripped out and replaced while the A’s head out on a six-game, week-long road trip, and surely the whole lower level will have to be disinfected and then inspected by the health department.

Bottom line, at long last, Wolff has his lightning rod for movement on a new stadium. Mt. Davis and tarps are one thing. A faulty, decaying sewage system is quite another. Bud Selig surely will be appalled when he hears the details of Sunday’s postgame scene. He might even be pressed to act after 4-plus years of hemming and hawwing on the A’s stadium situation with his blue-ribbon panel and the whole territorial rights matter. This is a major wakeup call for the city of Oakland and Alameda County as well. If it wants to keep the A’s, it needs to act — now. Major League Baseball needs to act — now.

A’s pitcher A.J. Griffin threw the obvious against the wall in surveying the disgusting evidence: “Make sure everybody finds out about this sewage thing. We need to get a new stadium.”

Getting the news out won’t be a problem. It was spreading faster than the leak itself — and around the country — within hours of its discovery. Count on Wolff using the development, as he should, to force some long-needed action. If any more evidence was needed, the Coliseum just got flushed as a major sports venue Sunday, at least for baseball anyway.






Carl Steward

  • Stan

    The A’s could have started an all new stadium near a decade ago- in OAKLAND. To me what stinks more then that sewage spill is Lew Wolff’s strange behavior waiting for the “blue ribbon panel” to give him a decision. Everybody else figured out long ago that wasn’t forthcoming,but Harvard grad Wolff waits,fist clutched? Uhuh.
    It makes as much sense as Bean did that the A’s couldn’t win in Oakland..then they did.
    And you explain to me why Lew Wolff- a carpetbagger land owner favors San Jose when Lou lives in Los Angeles?,Oh yeah,Lew Wolff owns land in San Jose.
    and John Fisher and familia? Billions of dollars enough to renovate the whole city of Oakland. If they wanted to. And they do not.
    SO much of what they say has never added up. But profits? They have ALWAYS made that in Oakland. And those are the facts.

  • Stan

    Stans blog and observations..wordpress.com

  • crescent

    Where, Stan?

    Wolff tried north of the Coliseum. Everything proposed by the city since then has been vaporware- they don’t even have the money for an environmental study. That is entirely an exercise in face-saving.

  • Stan

    They could build on the present spot for one.

    Or Crescent, how about this radical idea? If San Jose says yes,and if baseball gives no answer-take that as a yes,and build the darn thing anyways. How old is Lew going to be before he stands up for himself and does what he wants? IF the no build in Oakland story is true.

    Stan’s blog,etc, on Google and WordPress as I write.

  • Stan

    And if they move..Call them San Jose,not Oakland of San Jose. eesh.

  • Stan

    If Jed can build a billion dollar stadium..why not John Fisher who’s renovating MOMA in SF for his art collection?
    Somebody in that ownership group isn’t telling us the whole story.

  • crescent

    Jed doesn’t need to get permission from Selig.

    Wolff can build in the Coliseum parking lot, but it won’t make him any money- would you put up $500m for a stadium with no corporations around for 10 miles when all it will do is reduce incoming revenue share from the other teams?

  • Stan

    The Giants crescent, signed Posey to contract that is one third of the price for a new Oakland stadium. And the Giants aren’t even sweating.
    The A’s in Fisher and the rest are anywhere from the 3rd to the 5th richest ownerships in ALL of MLB. they can afford it in Oakland,Fremont or Timbuktu.
    The whole “new stadium” is a cover to just rake in the money by the train full. If some dumb city does give them a new stadium..Fisher will take that. Otherwise, he’s happy as it now stands. Do you hear John Fisher- the TRUE owner of the A’s talking? I sure don’t.

  • Stan

    The sewage? Where to start? The A’s could get out of their lease at the Coloseum..but they don’t want to. They could FIX the problem and then either pass the bill to Alameda county or keep revenue that would have to AC to recoup that cost.
    They choose to do nothing.

  • Stan

    Posey drives a new Ferrari. That Crescent is in relation to income like you or me buying a bus pass. These people have no limits on spending for ball parks.
    John Fisher is not talking. Lew Wolff is not quoting John in any shape or manner,and John’s the TRUE owner of the team.