Bad groundskeeping decision last night forces postponement tonight

For the 2nd time in 4 days, a regular season home game at the Coliseum has been postponed. Unlike Tuesday’s deluge-caused delay, tonight’s game was somehow halted thanks to only 1/3-inch of rain. Why? Because the groundskeeping crew chose to leave the infield tarp off in hopes of drying out the field from the previous week’s rain.

Here’s my understanding of what led up to the postponement:

  • After last night’s extra innings affair, the grounds crew spoke with a weather consultant. They wanted to know if it was safe to leave the infield tarp off, so that the field could dry out a little going into the weekend. The consultant said there was little chance of rain, so they went ahead with this.
  • Late Thursday night (midnight), it started to rain. Again, 1/3-inch fell overnight.
  • When A’s staff arrived this morning, they found the infield waterlogged despite that minimal amount of rain.
  • The grounds crew worked feverishly throughout the day to prep the infield dirt, which was practically mud. Turface (clay) and Diamond Dry (ground corn cobs) absorbent substances were employed to little improvement.
  • Batting practice was cancelled at 4 PM.
  • In anticipation of another brief rainstorm, the tarp was placed on the field. As a result, the field can’t be worked on.
  • When the tarp was removed prior to the game, the field was still in such bad shape that the managers and umpires were concerned about the potential for injury.
  • At 6:30, a 30-minute rain delayed was announced. The original scheduled start time was to be 7:05.
  • The game was called off at 7:20.

Throughout the night, the grounds crew continues to work on the infield to absorb pooled rainwater. There remains a question of whether Saturday’s game can be played on account of the field.

Simply put, the decision to leave the tarp off was utterly boneheaded, especially considering the risk/reward. There was a slight chance of rain, and given the fragile condition of the he field, Clay Wood and his staff shouldn’t have taken such a risk.

Then again, 1/3-inch of rain shouldn’t render an infield unplayable. It’s not much at all. Newer fields with more extensive drainage systems can drain several inches of rain per hour.

However, this is the Coliseum we’re talking about, where the field is 22 feet below sea level and 6 feet below the water table. Gravity doesn’t help. Neither do the tides, which were in between at the time of the postponement. To get rid of the water you have to sop it up or pump it out. An old Chronicle article written during the. Mt. Davis construction explained the difficulty.

It takes at least a day to pump out all the water after a heavy rain.

Another factor may be the freshly laid down sod, only a few weeks old. This year the old standy Bermuda grass has been replaced by Kentucky bluegrass, which may have been chosen for its drought-resistance. If the sod hasn’t fully taken hold, that too would affect field drainage, though obviously not on the dirt portions of the infield.

The game doesn’t yet have a rescheduled date. Players chose not to do another split doubleheader as they did Wednesday, which is their right per the CBA. The game could be made up in May or in the second half of the he season.

This largely preventable incident by an otherwise excellent grounds crew only highlights the deficiencies of the Coliseum, even though this was not a matter of regular stadium maintenance. Regardless, it continues to show the Coliseum in the worst light: unloved, broken, and only used because all the alternatives are too expensive at the moment. I’d like to think that the Coli will catch a break sometime, but that might mean it will actually break.

68 thoughts on “Bad groundskeeping decision last night forces postponement tonight

  1. I hate to say it but god forbid a significant earthquake- should that happen and anyone get significantly hurt bs/MLB will have. A problem on their hands

  2. come on put on your tin foil hat. IT’S ALL WOLFF’S FAULT. he must’ve talked with the weather consultant and told him to trick the a’s grounds crew so that the field would be unplayable the next night just to embarrass the coliseum making it even more a bigger joke to show mlb they need to move to sj.

  3. Thanks for the short read. You are right, the Coliseum is unloved and is so sad to see after growing up before Mt. Davis, and being able to remember seeing the Oakland Hills and the grass behind the bleachers in the outfield.

    I feel it was a mistake on all parties, but just a mistake. The field, pre Raiders, always looks great, but consultants are wrong sometimes too. I take all of this craziness in the beginning of the season a precursor for a really great end of the season. Holy Toledo!!

  4. I love watching people expose their own ridiculousness on twitter. That is one benefit to this situation.

  5. Some eb media types say people should be fired for making a mistake…really?? If we took that logic to their writing ST,RL, TK and others would be gone…..hum mm- ok now we’re talking-

  6. Y’know, in a way, we need more incidences like this, especially in home games involving the “big boys” i.e. Yankees, Red Sox, Gnats, etc. My hope is that the more that becomes an annoyance to the influential owners of The Lodge, the more pressure will be put on Mr. Selig do to something sooner rather than later (though you’d be right if you said that “later” has already happened! 😦 )

  7. Does anyone know why Lew Wolff now wants a 10 year lease extension at the This has been reported by a few media outlets, but not the major outlets in the Bay Area. Has LW been told something we don’t know?…Like the Raiders moving to LA? or the SJ move is not going to happen because other MLB tams will vote it down?

    If the Raiders do leave(which is what I think is going to happen), the A’s ill have a clear opportunity to build a great baseball stadium on the existing site.

  8. After 5+ years in duration, the complexity of the situation should’ve been simplified, yet we still have Selig doing his customary waving off of an evident and glaring problem. I agree with others. Although it has become an running joke with no conceivable end, we need more occurrences like this. The press, even though its negative, hopefully will push the A’s situation to the forefront and at worse, could be seen as a growing wart to Selig’s Lodge-propped legacy.

    Unfortunately, I think Selig and his lame duck status will just continue kicking this rock down the road for some other person to address. Thank you again ML for maintaining this website. You are undoubtedly assured many more years covering this multifaceted mess that Selig has created.

  9. @Oaktown,

    Been thinking: the Giants recently refinanced the debt on AT&T Park to help pay for their development at Mission Bay. This concievably has pushed the “pay off” date for AT&T Park past 2017; perhaps it’s now 2020? My idea is that Santa Clara County won’t be opened up to Lew Wolff/A’s until AT&T Park is fully paid off. The other part of my theory: Wolff/A’s can pay BIG TIME for access to SCCo prior to 2017 OR they can wait for the ballpark to be paid off. That’s why they need a longer lease at the Coli. Just my opinion, but I hope the Raiders stay in Oakland and the A’s find their way down to SJ.

  10. @ Tony D.
    I mentioned the very same thing sometime back, as a poetical reason for the delay, and I was kind of shot down. It’s nice to see that someone, other than me believes it could potentially be part of the puzzle.

  11. The Giants can keep refinancing their ballpark until they’re paying a mortgage of $100 a month until 2100. I don’t think that is valid as a reason to close up Santa Clara County. The Giants are depriving MLB of an opportunity to mine the gold (big tech $$) of Silicon Valley,

  12. A 3 extension of a mortgage payment for mission bay isn’t going to build you a lot- there may be some connection with 2017 and the completion of original debt with ATT but as pjk said you could continue to refinance forever-

  13. @Pjk You are correct but when have the San Francisco Giants ever had a valid reason to hold the South Bay to themselves, excluding the brief time period when the wanted to build there

  14. The Giants can and will refinance forever. This is ESPECIALLY true if they think that paying off AT&T in any way weakens their case for the south bay.

    My theory – the A’s knew that Oakland wouldn’t agree to a 10-year lease any time soon due to the fact that it would effectively force the Raiders out of Oakland if the city did so. It was PR designed to highlight how the city is treating the A’s and that it’s not just the A’s being the bad guy. It also has a small effect showing the other MLB owners that Oakland is not working with the A’s.

  15. The KSFO days were golden. Bill King. Simply in terms of broadcast reception, 95.7 FM sucks. Itchy itchy scratchy scratch. Past Livermore, the A’s barely exist.

    Baseball on AM is a tradition. I’ll be listening to a lot of Padres games this summer. With a smattering of Giants and Dodgers, they are all you can get.

    I totally lucked out last Friday. Something felt hinky. Bailed on the game, went up to Yosemite instead.

  16. I listen on mlb at bat app. AM or FM is irrelevant 🙂

  17. @ Jeffrey
    How much does that app. cost?

  18. it’s $20 bucks for the audio subscription for the season. The app is free to download and has a lot of other features that are free (news, buy tickets, gameday mobile)

  19. @ Jeffrey
    Thanks, I really appreciate it.

  20. OT- is TK a lap dog or else?? What’s Larry Baer worst nightmare? Not only do the A’s build a cookie cutter ballpark across the bay from his but the W’s also build their arena on waterfront in Oakland…and measure B passes in SF effectively limiting his development rights around ATT- any wonder why Lacob is stirring the pot about the A’s /W’s and HT- leverage- in any negotiations with gints about W’s new arena in SF he needs a stalking horse- peirs 30/32 site is pretty much gone- TK is playing right into his game- imagine that

    I wish Fisher and Wolff would put a bug in TK’s ear that they want to buy the W’s and move them to SJ just to Dick with him- guy is nothing more than a pawn-

  21. Another day, another TK rumor…now with Lacob buying the A’s and better yet, TK going at it with Steven “EB” Tavares AND even Mark Purdy…lol

  22. re: It was PR designed to highlight how the city is treating the A’s and that it’s not just the A’s being the bad guy. It also has a small effect showing the other MLB owners that Oakland is not working with the A’s.

    …Great move by Lew. He gets to show he’s trying to work with the City of Oakland to stay in Oakland but is being prevented from doing so by…the City of Oakland. Lew is making Oakland choose between the Raiders and we can be pretty sure which team the city will choose, and it’s not the A’s.

  23. @ pjk
    Been over this one, yes Lew may be forcing Oakland to choose, but he is forcing them to choice the Raiders, for the first time ever (under the circumstances, if true), Oakland should chose the Raiders.

  24. @ pjk
    If MLB really thinks Lew is working with the city of Oakland (total smoke screen), they need more help than Oakland politicians.

  25. @ LSN – a half assed gesture (LW) for a half assed proposal (HT/CC)…Oakland and Lew are doomed to be together for the next decade! :X

  26. @ Anon
    You are so right, half assed all the way around.

  27. @anon its hard to say its a rumor when this “rumor” has been going on for over a year, pretty safe to say its more than a rumor with multi sources/ reports have reported this and when Lacob asked about the intrest he gives a no comment instead of a denial unlike the denial Guber did.

  28. @k- I’m interested in buying the W’s- it’s no longer a rumor- maybe TK can write s story about that- what would make this interesting is if JF/LW were interested in selling- but their direct quotes are absolutely not- not “no comment”

  29. @GoA’s your right im only stating that there are legs behind it not a rumor to the story yes Lacob inquired yes Fisher said no, that’s it but to call it a rumor and bash TK is stupid. You guys mad on here because of a report nothing more nothing less, its true based on multiple sources that’s all, doesn’t mean anything is going to happen in regards to a sell.

  30. @ K :

    TK is an idiot. He has been wrong on many issues so bashing him for being wrong is not stupid.

  31. The A’s aren’t and won’t be for Sale. Wolff Sr., Keith and Sons are in it for the long haul. THEY ARE RUMORS PEOPLE! That was easy (again)..

  32. it almost feels like Lacob may be trying to gain some leverage for a negotiation with the Giants on the lot across McCovey Cove, or something.

  33. Tony, while that’s all true, do keep in mind we’ve never heard anything that said Fisher was in for the long haul. And if he were to sell, the Wolff family could conceivably get the boot. While highly unlikely in the near future, it’s still a possibility.

  34. I can confirm that GoA’s is interested in buying the A’s. I read it here, first hand! :X

    FWIW – TK cited his source (eastbayexpress), AND then asked about it….

  35. What is also humorous about TK’s story is that he assumes if just a new ownership group came along life in Oakland would be fine. If that was true wouldn’t MLB have instructed JF/LW that the BRC has determined that a privately financed ballpark in Oakland is doable and therefore build in Oakland or somewhere in your current territory. This isn’t about a new owner coming in and fixing what is broken in Oakland to make a ballpark happen. Absent a significant public investment like in Miami, Oakland doesn’t pencil out to investors to use their own money to build a ballpark

  36. TK is getting the crap from Andy Dolich. Dolich told him SC stadium won’t work, will never work etc..Now Dolich is feeding him the same crap about Oakland and potential owners for the A’s. Dolich wants to be seen as important cog again after Jed York fired him.

  37. TK is crap – the guy is more frantic than usual, and is really stepping up the pro giants owners/anti San Jose b.s. lately (an A’s/San Jose deal must be getting close – Kawakami is in panic mode these days)

  38. @Dmoas,
    Uhh, NO…
    The latest from TK just confirms he doesn’t know squat re the A’s future AND HE LOVES BEING AN ASSHOLE. Good for him!

  39. TK is such a dumbshit. There is likely no way that Wolff/Fisher would consider selling the A’s while waiting for the outcome of the SJ vs MLB case. Wolff has actually done an excellent job with the team. Wolff bought the A’s for $170 mil. in 2005 – now the A’s are likely worth at least $800 mil. – talk about a return on investment! The team is profitable, and successful (2 straight AL West titles)- Wolff/Fisher wouldn’t wish to dump such a successful investment. Who knows, if the A’s continue drawing 30K fans per game at the Coli – Wolff might build a new ballpark at the CC anyways.

  40. More proof that TK is a complete idiot: never mentions once that there are OTHER A’s owners besides Fisher and Wolff. Major Silicon Valley interests, including the Di Napoli Family of San Jose, hold stakes in A’s ownership. So while talking about Fisher selling to Lacob makes for good “enquiring minds want know” bull shit, there’s a sizable South Bay block (Wolff included) that will determine the A’s future; even if Fisher were out of the picture..

  41. @ Tony D.
    Doesn’t Fisher own controlling interest? If so and he chose to sell it really wouldn’t matter what a few minority owners wanted. I am not saying that’s what I think will happen, but theoretically, I think it’s true.
    We also have to consider what those with interest in San Jose would do, if the San Jose lawsuit fails, and (or), it looks as if San Jose may not materialize. I would think some of them, at that point (if this goes that way), may want to sale their minority shares.
    For what its worth and I know that’s not much TK, did fallow up by mentioning other minority owners in the A’s, a bit latter.

  42. @lakshore,
    Controlling interest might just mean simply having the largest percentage of the pie; not actually “controlling the team. But why keep discussing this any further; THE A’S AREN’T FOR SALE. Let’s all stop giving credence to this Kawakami nonsense…ENOUGH!

  43. Sounds like Kawakami and the rest are still waiting for the same old thing: A group of rich folks willing to build a ballpark in Oakland without any regard to return on investment.

  44. TK is not a Sports Business guy period. This is where he gets all confused with all the moving pieces. The 49ers stadium is the prime example and he didn’t believe it would happen because of the York’s history and without the Raiders involved….He was so off it is not even funny.

    As for the Warriors, their ticket prices in Oakland are cheaper than Sharks ticket prices in San Jose except for Court-side seats which the NHL cannot offer for obvious reasons.

    The Warriors are not maximizing their revenue and profit streams by staying in Oakland. Hence why they want to move to SF so bad so they can have an upper deck that is not devalued because of the roof figuratively caving in. That is why they charge peanuts to sit up there, terrible view.

    If SF fails, look for them to explore San Jose before committing to Oakland long term.

    Reason is they can partner with the Sharks and renovate the SAP Center on the cheap. Reason why is unlike Oracle Arena which is below sea level you can dig lower in SJ and create another concourse and suite level, and expand the club section for a fraction of the cost of building new.

    Or if the A’s cannot get to SJ they can build a brand new arena on the same site earmarked for the A’s with ease. The EIR would have to be adjusted for an arena vs. MLB ballpark.

    They can charge SF like prices in SJ no problem. They cannot do that in Oakland because of the arena configuration.

  45. Sid said: “As for the Warriors, their ticket prices in Oakland are cheaper than Sharks ticket prices in San Jose except for Court-side seats which the NHL cannot offer for obvious reasons.”

    This is just plain wrong–the two sports are priced differently, with a huge premium on proximity in basketball. Warriors seats are both cheaper and more expensive than Sharks tickets.

    Throw out the two rows of Courtside seats at Oracle as you suggested. The next 5 rows of seats cost $345-$400 each as season tickets. There aren’t ANY Sharks tickets that cost that much–there’s one row on the glass at $206, then it drops to $139 each for the next 14 rows between the circles.

    My Sharks seats cost $102/game, equivalent seats for a Warriors game cost $180!

    Upper deck seats at the Tank are higher priced, but not nearly enough higher to offset the huge differences in lower deck pricing. A sold-out Warriors game certainly out-grosses the Sharks usual 17,562 in non-suite ticket revenue.

    Now, if you want to suggest the the W’s could charge even more in SJ than they do in Oakland, that’s a definite possibility. But the 49ers would be better evidence of what the market will bear than the Sharks. Fans of large market teams I’ve met (Leafs, Blackhawks, Rangers, Canucks) couldn’t believe how cheap Sharks tickets are compared to theirs.

  46. @Sid the warriors are right where they need to be Lacob bought the team after years of loosing. First year he kept the prices fixed and since has increased ticket prices every year substantially to go with there winning and success. They are right in line with the Rockets, Clips, and Thunder at about $150 a ticket and guess what there on there 78th straight sell out with over 3500 people on the waiting list even with the raised prices, so the anti Oakland comparison is not valid on this issue. A Season ticket holder

  47. A’s pull out a win today but not after the “closer” blows another save. He and his 18.90 ERA have to go

  48. @pjk

    Tell me about it, I have him on fantasy team and I need to find another one soon.

  49. In order to finance the Dub’s deal, Lacob struggled finding enough partners for the $450 mil. purchase of the team. How would Lacob afford $1.6 bil. minimum (four times more than the W’s price)required to buy the A’s (who aren’t for sale anyways) and build a stadium at the HT site? Kawakami is a dim-witted ego maniac. (Kawakami believes that he is reponsible for running Cohan out of town – now ego maniac Kawakami likely believes he can do the same to Wolff)

  50. Duffer, not to say it isn’t entirely far-fetched, but the A’s and MLB are generally a more profitable business. It may actually be easier to get partners to buy the club than it was for the Warriors. The rest you said is entirely true though. Including the part I’m “disagreeing” with.

  51. @duffer Lacob wants to spend 1.6 bil on peers 30/32 for 1 stadium (most likely wont happen) but those are is plans, so why not spend it on another franchise and stadium together in a league (MLB) that makes a lot more money than the NBA. He is also a lot more established now do to his success of the Warriors than when he was a very small minority owner of Boston, So putting a group together for a baseball team will likely be a lot easier. We all know though the A’s aren’t for sale at the moment, and no one can force a sale unless its MLB and they will want a full proof plan for development etc for the A’s.

  52. @K,

    It’s one thing to want to spend $1.6 billion in $an Franci$co (or $an Jo$e for that matter), its quite another to (hypothetically) want to do the same in corporate poor Oakland. Lacob didn’t get rich by being dumb with his (or others) money. But whatever, because the A’s aren’t for sale, won’t be for sale AND Lacob will never own the A’s; you can take that to bank! 😉

  53. @Mark- You cannot use “dynamic pricing” as an argument or a point. Season ticket holders in the club and courtside areas pay the same amount each game. The dynamic pricing is for re-sale purposes only as a favor to those who pay $$ for those nice seats at Warriors games.

    I know this because my buddy who I play basketball with for the past 3-4 years has tickets 3 rows back from the court and explained this to me.

    The Sharks do not do dynamic pricing for anyone. If you look at the average price of a ticket outside of courtside the Sharks are significantly higher in all areas.

    The cheapest lower level seat for the W’s is $42 per game (season tix) while the Sharks are $92. The average shows the upper deck at Oracle is not being maximized due to the bad views from up there. Oakland was so desperate to keep the Warriors from moving to San Jose in the 1990s it shows big time with the upper deck.

    @K- You cannot compare the Warriors to the Clippers who have major competition with the Lakers. Clippers tickets are way cheaper than Warriors tickets hands down. Go to StubHub and you will see it is way obvious. Playoffs there is a way bigger disparity.

    The Thunder are small market big time and cannot charge what the Warriors do even with a better arena. The Rockets are a decent comparison but they have major revenues coming in from their TV deal with China and they are still a far smaller market than the Bay Area.

    Lacob wants SF bad for these reasons I stated. Those upper deck seats if the view was better could be millions in additional revenue. That is why I believe he will try San Jose before committing to Oakland long term if SF fails.

  54. @Sid you are comparing stub hub, a third market for scalpers and resale, the price that matters is what teams set and sell and that’s where my figure is from, the Warriors were I believe 9th in ticket prices. OKC actually is priced more than the Warriors @ $187, my point was even being the 9th highest ticket average in the NBA they still sell out in Oakland, and weather its SJ SF or Oakland, they will not bypass prices being set by teams like the Knicks, Bulls, Lakers, Miami, Bos, or Nets, due to there market. I say the same thing about there value as well no matter if they move to SF and put SF on the name, maybe the only team they will pass is the nets for value, those markets are huge compared to the Bay Area and according to Forbes they Warriors are 9th in Value, so how much more can they gain if they make the move.

  55. @Larry E – #sistahs – yeah what was up with that? Is it as creepy as it sounds?

  56. OT: these folks over at Twitter who think Wolff will run back to Oakland if the Raiders leave the Coli are insane! Yeah, it’s “land”…but look where it’s at! Plan A) San Jose, Plan B) Southern Alameda County/Fremont, Plan C) Oakland. Really, in the event SJ falls through: deal with a handful of irrational NIMBYS and get $ilicon Valley from Fremont…or deal with Oakland politics and economic realities? (A no brainer IMHO)

  57. Those NIMBYs could tie up a ballpark in court for years and years. What’s the point of pursuing it? They’ve made it clear they do not want a ballpark near them and will not negotiate. Once again, you’re suggesting the “You’re going to take this ballpark and like it” strategy, which is doomed to failure.

  58. Tony, just because you keep insisting Fremont is still an option doesn’t mean it is… Between the still existing Nimbys and the fact the land that was slated for the park is no longer available it is hard to see how or where Fremont would factor into any future A’s plans.

  59. @ Tony

    Fun Friday Fact:

    Also Thursday, Councilman Larry Reid revealed that a Major League Baseball official informed him and Quan during a meeting last week that for now the league was not interested in an alternative stadium site near Jack London Square.

    “What they said to us is that (A’s co-owner) Lew Wolff preferred the Coliseum,” Reid said. “And if that’s where Lew Wolff wants to go that’s what Major League Baseball supports.” – Inside Bay Area

  60. @Pjk,
    Respectfully disagree with what you have to say re Fremont as Plan B, but of course you are more than entitled to your opinion.
    So in your mind Fremont is no longer an option but the Coli parking lots are? Huh?! For the record, Wolff doesnt have to own the land to build on it (see that thing called LAND LEASE). Also, go back and read the thread on a possible temporary ballpark and what RM had to say about Fremont. Feel free to get back to me if you wish…
    You want some fun facts! Wolff stating in the media that they were only talking to Oakland/JPA about current lease and nothing else. Re what Reid had to say, nothing but classic Oakland hot air brother! No facts! Feel free to try again and please keep milk out of this bar..

  61. “What they said to us is that (A’s co-owner) Lew Wolff preferred the Coliseum,” Reid said. “And if that’s where Lew Wolff wants to go that’s what Major League Baseball supports.” – Inside Bay Area

    …then let’s get it done, then. Oh wait – Oakland already is set to offer that site to the 10-games-a-year Raiders instead of the 81-games-a-year A’s. If Oakland chooses the A’s (unlikely), Wolff can take over development of the Coliseum complex and probably tell MLB – “If you want me in Oakland, then you’ll need to continue revenue-sharing to make up for the lack of corporate or public dollars in the East Bay.” Should be fun. If Oakland does what’s expected and opts for the Raiders, Wolff is free to preach to MLB that the city has chosen the Raiders over the A’s. All while San Jose’s case makes its way through the courts.

  62. @Tony

    Tell you what Mr. Tony, why don’t you find me a recent (past week) Athletics quote from any reliable source (on the planet earth because we all know you like to dream) stating the contrary to Mr. Reid’s quote.

    Anything . . . tick, tock

    PS- Janitors don’t count

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