SAN JOSE -- The metaphor police might arrest me, but the allegory is too perfect.

When the raw sewage backed up into the A's clubhouse on Sunday, it was the perfect symbol for the way Major League Baseball has handled the team's situation regarding a proposed new ballpark in San Jose.

For four years, as a "blue ribbon panel" appointed by MLB has examined the situation, the process of finding the A's a suitable new place to play baseball has been stalemated, creating a clogged-up pipeline that should be flowing smoothly to a logical solution but instead has become an embarrassment to the sport.

And the end result, both metaphorically and in real life, is a goop of stink.

"This isn't the first time it's happened," A's owner Lew Wolff said during a Monday phone call.

No, just the first time this week. The Athletics don't need rooters. They need Roto-Rooters. After the A's and Mariners finished Sunday's game, they were greeted by flooded clubhouses when the sewer system malfunctioned and sent malodorous residue seeping up through the shower drains.

This, ladies and gentlemen and hazmat teams, is no shock. It is what occurs when sports franchises occupy a derelict 47-year-old structure that -- in a rare achievement -- can now be called both the worst ballpark in baseball as well as the worst football stadium in the NFL. Why do you think the A's and Raiders want new venues?

At other ballparks, you aim for the fences. At O.co Coliseum, you assign blame for the stenches.

No one deserves more blame than Bud Selig, the MLB commissioner. For the last four seasons, he has seen fit to keep the A's ballpark future languishing and in limbo. But if you've ever wondered how limbo smells, wonder no more. It smells like a septic tank. Fortunately, for the most part, the concourse public restrooms were not affected. But it's only mid-June. There's an entire summer of flushes ahead!

Wolff and co-owner John Fisher first proposed a San Jose solution five years ago after they kept running into dead ends in Oakland. Instead of boldly carving a path for such a sensible move, Selig has chosen to be intimidated by the San Francisco Giants' claim of territorial rights to the South Bay. (If the city of San Jose were ever going to turn up the antitrust heat, now would be a good time.)

It boggles the mind. A commissioner who has been bold in so many other areas -- such as waging a serious offensive on performance-enhancing drugs, creating interleague play, expanding the playoffs, etc. -- has decided in this one particular area to be so namby-pamby.

Selig's office was contacted for comment Monday afternoon. The response was a statement that reiterated his ongoing official stance.

"As we have stated many times, the Oakland A's need a new ballpark," the commissioner said. "Sunday's unfortunate incident is a stark illustration that they need a long-term solution. This industry has a long record of navigating challenging circumstances and finding solutions. The situation in Oakland is particularly complicated, evident through the years of work it has required. Yet we remain hopeful that a resolution can be reached so that the A's can secure the 21st century venue that the franchise and its fans deserve."

Complicated? With all due respect, Mr. Commissioner, please stop using that word. Politics in the Middle East are complicated. Finding a cure for a deadly disease is complicated. This is a business problem with a lot of blustering by rich people and lawyers who want to get richer and hire more lawyers.

The Giants have a perfect right to protect their corporate interests. But at a certain point, majority owner Charles Johnson -- who is worth an estimated $5.7 billion and is one of the country's richest 100 humans -- has to stop thinking about making his next billion and do what's best for baseball. Instead, Johnson is allowing the Giants' attorneys to bully Selig to great effect.

It's now clear that the commissioner wants nothing to do with untangling the A's situation during the rest of his term, which expires after the 2014 season. Selig will be 80 years old by then, so there's a good chance he'll actually retire rather than agree to another extension.

"He's just taking the air out of the ball until he moves on," one former MLB owner told me a while ago.

Selig might believe he can walk off into a glorious sunset after 2014 with a wreath of roses around his head. But if the A's ballpark future is still undetermined, he doesn't deserve to do so. We aren't smelling roses at the Coliseum. The entire situation reeks.

Contact Mark Purdy at mpurdy@mercurynews.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/MercPurdy.