SBD/April 7, 2014/Facilities

Postponed A's Game Seen As Another Black Eye For Oakland Ballpark Issue

Conditions at O.co Coliseum were deemed unsafe following a rainstorm
The A's and O.co Coliseum "took another PR hit when Friday night's game against the Mariners was called off because the infield was deemed unplayable, the result of an overnight rainstorm and failure to tarp the infield," according to John Shea of the S.F. CHRONICLE. A's GM Billy Beane said the cancellation was an "unfortunate misinterpretation of the forecast." A's VP/Stadium Operations David Rinetti added that the team's "'weather consultant' informed the A's no storm was expected overnight, and grounds crew chief Clay Wood did not tarp the infield, preferring to further dry it out after recent rains" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 4/5). MLB.com's Greg Johns noted although rains had "subsided by the scheduled first pitch," the teams decided not to play "after determining conditions weren't safe." Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said, "Probably the worst conditions I've seen in all my years in baseball. It was just not safe for the players. It was just a safety issue more than anything. I think they made the right decision." Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik: "I'm sure we're not the only club that has gone through issues here. Certainly with the sewer backing up last year, I understand they had that already one time this year. It's a dated facility. What can you say?" (MLB.com, 4/5). Zduriencik added, "It's very unusual. They just said they couldn't get the tarp down. We aren't happy at all." In Seattle, Ryan Divish wrote, "It's yet another embarrassing stadium related issue for the A’s franchise and more problems for the Mariners in Oakland." The Mariners last season were in the visiting clubhouse at O.co when it was "flooded by sewage, which is an ongoing issue for the stadium in other areas as well" (SEATTLE TIMES, 4/5).

MLB NEEDS TO STEP IN: ESPN.com's Buster Olney wrote the rainstorm situation "could have happened in just about every other park in the sport." But add in the ongoing sewage issues, and the "field conditions that develop" when the Raiders start playing games, the A's stadium issue "continues to be an embarrassment" for all of MLB. Until the league puts the issue "at the top of its to-do list and prepares all the necessary horse-trading, nothing will change." The "fault lies with the whole of MLB, not just plumbers or groundskeepers." This is a "glaring case of benign neglect" (ESPN.com, 4/5).
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