Sewage backup highlights need for new Oakland stadium ... again

OAKLAND—The Oakland Athletics’ need for a new stadium was highlighted again Tuesday night when a sewage backup from a bathroom adjacent to the A’s dugout forced players and coaches to watch the final three innings of their 2-1 walk-off win over the Angels from the top step.

The problem wasn’t as severe as the massive sewage backup that spilled into both clubhouses in June, forcing players from the A’s and Seattle Mariners to shower in the Oakland Raiders’ locker room at Coliseum.

But it left several inches of toilet water in the A’s dugout, which stadium workers were still mopping up two hours before Wednesday’s game.


“It wasn’t as bad as it looked, but it’s still bad,” Oakland catcher Derek Norris said. “It’s part of the things you have to deal with here. It’s not fun. It’s not awesome. But we have to just keep playing, and hopefully someday we’ll move into a nice new stadium that doesn’t have health hazards all over the place.”

Lew Wolff has been the point man in searching for a new stadium since 2003, first as the team’s vice president of venue development and then as managing partner.

In 2009, after the collapse of a proposed site in Fremont, Wolff pitched a move to San Jose. The San Francisco Giants have territorial rights there, so Commissioner Bud Selig appointed a task force to evaluate the situation.

After four years with no decision, the city of San Jose sued Major League Baseball in June. MLB has asked that the suit be thrown out, citing the immunity provided by its federal antitrust exemption. A hearing is set for Oct. 4.

But instead of using Tuesday’s plumbing snafu to intensify lobbying efforts for a new stadium, Wolff defended the antiquated, 45-year-old Coliseum.

“We’re making a bigger issue of it than it really is,” Wolff said. “It’s not fair to all the people at the Coliseum, all of the staff here, who work hard to keep this place going. We haven’t had that many problems of that nature. This could happen in your house.”


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