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A's sewer issues lead to more pipe dreams

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Ezra Shaw

So things got ugly yesterday in Oakland, and no I'm not talking about the Mariners' pitching. It seems there was a bit of a plumbing issue, and (steel yourself, friends) there was raw "sewage" flowing into both clubhouses, shower rooms, etc. Which resulted in both teams showering together in the Raiders' locker room.

Someday this will make for a great story. I suspect it wasn't real exciting for the players, let alone the managers and coaches, who went without showers completely.

Of course this is all perfect fodder for people who are sick and tired of the the Coliseum. From a great wrap-up in SportsBusiness Daily:

A's VP/Stadium Operations David Rinetti said that the team "deals with this issue on a regular basis because of the age of the building." But he added, "Never to this extent." Slusser noted the game drew a sellout crowd of 36,067, "which might have put additional strain on the aging plumbing, but leaking pipes and backed up drains are common even on days off because the facility was built in 1966." A's President Michael Crowley, when asked about the need for a new stadium, said, “It’s clear, right? This isn’t the first time this has happened.”

Look, I don't mean to minimize the Athetics' stadium issues. We've written about them many times, and here at Baseball Nation we're generally sympathetic. As baseball fans, we would prefer to see the A's playing in a baseball-centric stadium, whether in Oakland or San Jose or incredibly beautiful, friendly, and generally temperate Portland, Oregon.

But let's be clear about this: Issues with the plumbing have a lot less to do with the facility being built in 1966 -- after all, 47's really not so old -- than about nobody really giving a shit about taking care of the place. Do they have these problems in Dodger Stadium, which turned 50 last year? I doubt it.

Back in 2000, when I was living in Boston, it rained real hard one night and the dugouts flooded. There was a great photo on the front page of The Boston Herald of Jason Varitek in water up to his knees, and so all the writers and the radio talk-show guys pounced. See, they all said, this is why the Red Sox need a new ballpark! This is what happens when you play in an old building!

Again, no. This is what happens when you don't give a shit. Once John Henry took over and gave a shit, these little problems were addressed and now Fenway's the model for preservation (and profit-making, by the way).

I don't know if the Coliseum should be preserved, although it's sort of the last of its kind and will be missed, by at least a few people, when it's gone. But the problem with the Coliseum isn't that it's old. The problem is that nobody loves it. And unlike some 47-year-olds, it can't love itself.

For much more about the A's and their ballpark issues, please visit SB Nation's Athletics Nation.