What began as a successful day for the Oakland Athletics, where they blew off some steam and frustration from the first two games of their series with the Seattle Mariners by pounding them 10-2, ended in a disgusting embarrassing fashion. As the teams retreated to their respective clubhouses to shower, change into their street clothes, and prepare to hit the road raw sewage began to come up through the drains in the showers. As you can imagine the teams hurried out of the area as the flooding began to grow. Both teams would have to shower up in the Raiders facility.
While the O.co Coliseum has been a topic of conversation recently in light of the rude comments made by Jon Heyman, this incident has to be perhaps the most embarrassing in the history of the facility. It’s not particularly surprising that opposing teams don’t enjoy coming to Oakland to play the A’s when you consider the difference between most other team’s posh homes and the Coliseum, but this adds a new element of dread in the minds of opposing players. Of course this effects the members of the Athletics as well, but this could conceivably give them some sort of psychological advantage over visiting teams. But I’m not here to try and convince you that raw sewage spilling out from the shower drains is good for anyone.
We’ve all known for the last 10 years or so that the Athletics were in desperate need of a new ballpark, and I’m not about to delve into the quagmire that is the stadium issue. But we’ve all sat here in the dark for years now, wondering about this blue ribbon committee that supposedly is going to decide the Athletics fate, waiting for Bud Selig to use his power to force a decision, and wishing Lew Wolff would fight for the Athletics. None of that has happened, and chances are it won’t be happening any time soon.
It seems unlikely, but it’s possible that this incident could finally bring serious attention to the issue because this time it is adversely affecting the players. Bud Selig has the power to invoke his will in the best interest of the game, and thus far has shown no interest whatsoever in utilizing that power. If the MLB Players Union gets enough complaints from members of both the Athletics and the Mariners, perhaps pressure from the MLBPA would move the needle more than anyone else has been able to. It is the players after all that are the most important to the success of any franchise, and if they aren’t happy, nobody is happy.
The O.co Coliseum is no palace, today’s incident did not let us in on any kind of secret about that. We all know it’s not a glamorous place to play, it doesn’t attract fringe fans who seek more than baseball at a baseball game, for most of us though baseball is all we seek. That is still where the Coliseum continues to excel, the fans are energetic, rambunctious, and extraordinarily passionate; and create an atmosphere that instills fear in the hearts of opposing players. That energy may be lost if the A’s move to a fancy new ballpark at some point, but the reality remains that the long term health of the A’s depends on a new facility. It may not be a reality many A’s fans want to acknowledge, but this incident is a harsh reminder of just how rundown the O.co Coliseum really is.