SBD/June 18, 2013/Facilities

A's Owner Wolff Says Sewage Problems Won't Push San Jose Talks With Selig

Wolff said the sewage issue is a recurring problem at the coliseum
A's Owner Lew Wolff yesterday said that he has "no plans to talk" to MLB Commissioner Bud Selig about O.co Coliseum and the "urgency of the club's stadium situation in the wake of a plumbing issue that flooded the Coliseum's baseball clubhouses with sewage Sunday," according to Carl Steward of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. Wolff added that he "wouldn't use this short-term problem in his long-range push for a new stadium in San Jose." He "downplayed the notion that this might give him extra ammunition to force the hand of Major League Baseball to act on the A's stadium situation, which has been stalled for several years under a panel appointed by Selig to assess the team's options." Wolff said that Sunday's sewage problem was "just the latest issue of many the A's have encountered with the Coliseum's aging plumbing." He added, "It's not a rare occasion for us, maybe not this extensively, but it's happened several times." Wolff said that the club was working with AEG, which manages the ballpark for the Oakland-Alameda Joint Powers Authority, to "resolve the issue before the A's return home June 25 after a six-game trip and that he did not foresee any hang-ups." He added that there are "no plans to play in another venue if the Coliseum isn't ready." Repairs already are "under way to replace carpet and find the blockage that caused the flood on the stadium's lower level." Wolff said that it was the "second Coliseum sewage issue he had encountered in the past week" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 6/18). Wolff: "Everyone agrees we need a new venue somewhere. It was more of an accident caused by being a very old facility that's hard to maintain. It's no slur on Oakland or the JPA. They're trying their best" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 6/18). 

NOTHING NEW: USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale writes it would be "humorous if this was the first time this occurred, but it happens with such regularity, Wolff and A's general manager Billy Beane say, they've almost become immune to having that can of Lysol close by." D'Backs P Brad Ziegler, who played four years with the A's, said, "It was just a matter of time. When I played there, four or five times a year you smelled sewage. You never saw it dripping, but when it smelled that way you knew it had to be leaking somewhere." Nightengale writes the Coliseum is an "eyesore nobody wants to fix," and the A's "continue to endure the elements while the franchise and the Giants merely stare each other down across the backyard fence" (USA TODAY, 6/18). CBS Sports Network’s Allie LaForce said, “You want people to come to the games, you want to sell out. They finally get a sell-out crowd ... not at the end of the season but pretty early in the season, and you can’t even hold it.” CBSSN's Doug Gottlieb: “There’s some great history in that stadium but that’s what it is, it’s history. You have to get them a new building” (“Lead Off,” CBSSN, 6/17). ESPN's Michael Wilbon said of the ballpark, "That's the biggest dump in American sports, worse than Candlestick even" ("PTI," ESPN, 6/17).

SELIG DESERVES BLAME? In San Jose, Mark Purdy writes, "No one deserves more blame than Bud Selig." Instead of "boldly carving a path for such a sensible move, Selig has chosen to be intimidated" by the Giants' claim of territorial rights. A commissioner who has been "bold in so many other areas ... has decided in this one particular area to be so namby-pamby." It is now "clear that the commissioner wants nothing to do with untangling the A's situation during the rest of his term" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 6/18).
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