A's owner Lew Wolff said Monday he has no plans to talk to baseball commissioner Bud Selig about the urgency of the club's stadium situation in the wake of a plumbing issue that flooded the Coliseum's baseball clubhouses with sewage Sunday.
"No, he knows about it," Wolff said by phone from Los Angeles. "Unless he's a plumber, there's not much he can do, either."
Wolff said this was just the latest issue of many the A's have encountered with the Coliseum's aging plumbing, noting, "It's not a rare occasion for us, maybe not this extensively, but it's happened several times."
Steve Vucinich, the A's equipment manager, recalled it happening for the first time in 1975, when the stadium was 9 years old.
"They repaired it then, but it's happened periodically since," Vucinich said. "It didn't happen when we had all those sellouts (last September and October) or in any Raider games, (so) I think something is probably broken."
Wolff said the club was working with the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), the company that manages the facility for the Joint Powers Authority, to resolve the issue before the A's return home June 25 after a six-game trip and that he did not foresee any hang-ups. He said there are no plans to play in another venue if the Coliseum isn't ready.
"I don't think that's a relevant issue at this point," Wolff said. "We've been through this before, so it certainly will be solved by then. It's fortunate, though, that (Sunday) was a getaway day."
Repairs already were under way to replace carpet and find the blockage that caused the flood on the stadium's lower level. The A's and the visiting Seattle Mariners had to shower in the Raiders locker room one level above, and the umpires could not use their dressing room at all.
Wolff said it was the second Coliseum sewage issue he had encountered in the past week. When he tried to have dinner in the Coliseum's West Side Club on Wednesday, food service had to be halted because of a sewage leak in the kitchen.
"It was just a small thing up there, but it's just aggravating," he said.
While the A's relationship with the JPA, representing the city of Oakland and Alameda County, is a bit frayed, the two sides are working together to solve the problem.
"We have no choice, nor do they, but to coordinate with each other," Wolff said. "Whoever can bring the best help at the moment, we do it. So I think the cooperation level is as good as it can be."
As to the larger issue of whether the 47-year-old Coliseum measures up as a viable sports venue, Wolff said he wouldn't use this short-term problem in his long-range push for a new stadium in San Jose.
"What it says basically is that it's a deteriorating facility," he said. "I think everybody is aware of that, even the people who run it. We're sort of all in this together, so it isn't something I would use ... we just have to solve it right now."
Wolff downplayed the notion that this might give him extra ammunition to force the hand of Major League Baseball to act on the A's stadium situation, which has been stalled for several years under a panel appointed by Selig to assess the team's options.
"Even if they said tomorrow, 'OK, you can have a new stadium,' we can't do it in one day," Wolff said. "We're still going to have a plumbing issue."
Wolff issued an apology to the Mariners for being inconvenienced, and Mariners president Chuck Armstrong returned empathy.
"They clearly need a new facility," said Armstrong. "And we hope they get one."
A's general manager Billy Beane was reluctant to talk about the matter since it looks as if the team is politically posturing for a new ballpark.
"Today this is national news, but it happens here all the time," Beane said. "If we say anything, we're told we're being opportunist."
A's manager Bob Melvin and several players reflected on Sunday's strange postgame scene. He said having to share the Raiders' shower room was only a minor inconvenience.
"It smelled some," said first baseman Brandon Moss. "No big deal. It's the kind of thing that could happen anywhere. But it would have been a lot worse if there hadn't been the upstairs showers."
A's vice president Ken Pries said via email that the club would not be issuing any more statements about the sewage issue "other than we believe the situation speaks for itself. We're having the problem repaired today, and we'll replace the carpet in time for the next homestand."
Staff writer John Hickey contributed to this report.
Mark Purdy: This situation reeks, and we're not just talking about the Coliseum's plumbing issues.