Sewage and All, A’s Embrace O.Co Coliseum

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(from USA Today, October 4, 2013) One of baseball’s most unloved ballparks is referred to by many as a “dump” and “toilet.” Even Bud Selig, Major League Baseball Commissioner, called it “a pit” and “an unfortunate mess.” The O.co Coliseum, home of the Oakland Athletics, will be hosting the Detroit Tigers for the American League West division series this postseason. Since its opening in 1996, the stadium has undergone few renovations and is tied for the fifth-oldest facility in the major leagues.

O.co Coliseum displays its old age through cramped concourses, lack of amenities, and their notoriously known plumbing problems. Oakland A’s reliever Sean Doolittle said, “I am kind of interested to see how the plumbing holds with an extra 20,000 people in the stands.” During the regular season, sewage collected in some unexpected places including the team’s clubhouses, the A’s dugout, and the coaches’ dressing room. Thankfully, Coliseum officials believe the ballpark will hold up well for the playoffs. Nate Miley, Head of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority, stated, “We’re taking all the necessary steps to make sure there are no hiccups during the playoff series… and everything continues to go smoothly.”

Since the A’s only average 22,337 fans a game and rank 23rd in the majors for attendance, they are currently searching for a new home. However, with continued complications regarding the move, the team is using the tight quarters to their advantage. Brandon Moss, outfielder and first baseman for the A’s, said, “Yeah, it’s got sewage problems. Yeah, it’s old… And they’re going to say it on TV, I’m sure. But then they’re going to see 40,000 people louder than they’ve ever heard 70,000 people be, and they’re going to be like, ‘This is actually not that bad of a place to play.’” In addition, many opposing players believe it is one of the most hostile atmospheres to play in. With little incentive to improve, the O.co Coliseum will continue to serve as the Oakland Athletics’ home as they start their post-season games.