OAKLAND — It was like a deleted scene from the movie “Money Ball.”
Following Sunday’s game — a 10-2 win for the Oakland Athletics over the Seattle Mariners — players from both teams could be seen wandering the hallways of O.co Coliseum in towels and carrying their postgame clothing with them while walking past fans and media up to a second-level locker room used by the NFL’s Oakland Raiders, where both teams were forced to share the showers and restrooms.
No, it wasn’t a money saving move for a franchise that was portrayed as tight-fisted in the recent movie starring Brad Pitt.
The real reason?
The sewage system at the antiquated stadium was simply overwhelmed from too much usage over the six-game homestand where the A’s drew more than 100,000 fans. That back-up caused all the drains in the A’s clubhouse, the visiting clubhouse and the umpires’ locker room to start pumping raw sewage into the showers. The flow was so great it came out of the showers and bathrooms and into the coach’s office and the visiting clubhouse’s training room.
Baseball clubhouses are far from aromatically pleasing after day games in the sun, but this smell was something far worse.
“Unbelievable,” Seattle shortstop Brendan Ryan could be heard muttering.
The flooding started during the game and sewage was still coming out of the drains postgame. The sound of pumps and shop-vacs echoed throughout the lower level of O.co.
Many of the Mariners coaches simply skipped showering, choosing to get dressed and wait to shower after their one-hour flight to Anaheim.
The four-man umpiring crew also skipped the communal showers as did a handful of A’s players.
“It was crowded,” Joe Saunders told Felix Hernandez of the accommodations.
But the A’s stadium is no laughing matter. The coliseum has undergone facelifts and name changes in its 47-year-old existence. And yet, it’s still considered to be one of the worst facilities in all of baseball.
The A’s ownership has tried desperately to build a new stadium, most recently in Fremont and then San Jose. The A’s and the city of San Jose have an agreement in place to build a downtown stadium.
However, it’s been met with resistance by the owners of the San Francisco Giants, who believe such a stadium would infringe on their territorial rights, and on a lesser level by Major League Baseball and commissioner Bud Selig, who have dragged their feet in coming up with a solution or approving the deal.
Tom Wilhelmsen pitched for the first time since losing his closing job. He pitched 2/3 of an inning, giving up an infield hit and walking in a run. … The combined age of the Mariners’ starting outfield on Sunday was 110 years old: Jason Bay (34), Endy Chavez (35) and Raul Ibanez (41). … Former Mariner John Jaso reached base four times with three walks, a single and a sacrifice fly. … Quinn Wolcott, a 2005 graduate of Emerald Ridge High School in Puyallup, was called up to work Sunday’s game as the second-base umpire. It was his third MLB game this season. Normally, an umpire in the Pacific Coast League, Wolcott made his major-league debut May 27 in Phoenix at the age of 26, working the first game of a doubleheader between the Diamondbacks and Rangers.
The Mariners open a four-game series today in Anaheim against the Los Angeles Angels. Right-hander Aaron Harang (3-6, 5.60 ERA) will get the start for Seattle. The Angels will go with left-hander and former Mariner pitcher Jason Vargas (5-4, 3.74 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. The game will be broadcast on Root Sports and 710-AM.