Teams too close for comfort

Staff writerJune 17, 2013 

OAKLAND — It was like a deleted scene from the movie “Moneyball.”

After the Oakland Athletics beat the Seattle Mariners, 10-2, on Sunday, players from both teams wandered the hallways of O.co Coliseum in towels. They carried their postgame clothing while walking past fans and media up to a second-level locker room typically used by the Oakland Raiders.

Once there, the players were forced to share the showers and restrooms.

No, it wasn’t a money-saving move for a franchise that was portrayed as thrifty in the 2011 movie starring Brad Pitt.

The real reason?

The sewage system at the 46-year-old stadium was overwhelmed from too much use over the A’s six-game stay at home, which drew more than 100,000 fans. That backup caused all the drains in the A’s clubhouse, the visiting clubhouse and the umpires’ locker room to start pumping raw sewage into the showers. The flow was so great, it came out of the showers and bathrooms, into the coach’s offices and the visiting clubhouse’s training room.

Baseball clubhouses are far from aromatically pleasing after day games in the sun, but the new smell was something far worse.

“Unbelievable,” Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan was heard muttering.

The flooding started during the game, and sewage still was coming out of the drains afterward. The sound of pumps and Shop-Vacs echoed throughout the lower level of O.co.

Many of the Seattle coaches skipped showering, choosing to wait until after their one-hour flight to Anaheim.

“I’m sure my wife will be impressed,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge joked.

The four-man umpiring crew and a handful of A’s players also skipped the communal showers.

“It was crowded,” Joe Saunders told Mariners teammate Felix Hernandez of the accommodations.

But the A’s stadium, which has gone through several face lifts and name changes, is no laughing matter.

The A’s ownership has desperately tried to build a new stadium, most recently in Fremont and then San Jose. The A’s and the City of San Jose have an agreement in place to build a downtown stadium.

However, it has been met with resistance by the owners of the San Francisco Giants, who say such a stadium would infringe on their territorial rights, and on a lesser level by Major League Baseball and commissioner Bud Selig, who have dragged their feet in coming up with a solution or approving the deal.

SHORT HOPS

Tom Wilhelmsen pitched for the first time since losing his closer job. He pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up an infield hit and walking in a run. … The combined age of the Mariners’ starting outfield on Sunday was 110 years old: Jason Bay (34), Endy Chavez (35) and Raul Ibañez (41). … Former Mariners catcher John Jaso reached base four times with three walks, a single and a sacrifice fly. … Quinn Wolcott, a 2005 graduate of Emerald Ridge High School, worked Sunday’s game as the second base umpire. It was his third MLB game this season. Normally a Pacific Coast League umpire, Wolcott, 26, made his major league debut May 27 in Phoenix, working the first game of a doubleheader between the Diamondbacks and Rangers.

ON TAP

At 7::05 p.m. Monday, the Mariners open a four-game series in Anaheim against the Los Angeles Angels. Right-hander Aaron Harang (3-6, 5.60 ERA) is expected to start for Seattle. The Angels will go with left-hander and former Mariners pitcher Jason Vargas (5-4, 3.74). The game will be broadcast on Root Sports, and 1030-AM and 710-AM.

ryan.divish@ thenewstribune.com 253-597-8483 blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners @RyanDivish

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