MLB

Coliseum cleanup crew had ballpark ready in time

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)

Reds manager Dusty Baker sat in the visiting manager's office of the Oakland Coliseum with new black carpet beneath his feet, a sight to celebrate just nine days after a clogged pipe caused a sewage backup and flooding on the bottom floor of the ballpark that sent the Seattle Mariners and Athletics scrambling around in towels.

They headed for higher ground, to shower in the Oakland Raiders' locker room.

That new carpet smell sure was a pleasant one Tuesday, when the A's began an eight-game homestand.

''It has overridden the smell of the funk that was in here,'' Baker said. ''I don't smell it at all. But I know the carpet's new. Boy, they hurried up and did that.''

The cleanup finished in time for the arrival of Cincinnati's gear Sunday night. A hazmat crew inspected the affected areas for E-coli, and A's vice president of stadium operations David Rinetti said the report was sent to both the players association and umpire association.

Once the Coliseum received a ''clean report'' Wednesday night, work began immediately ''all day and all night to get it done,'' Rinetti said.

''I didn't have any doubts,'' he said. ''I knew that once it got to the level that it got to and the importance that it got to, it would get done.''

Rinetti said he didn't know what the cost of all the work was. He had some spare carpeting stored away that got used in the back area of the home clubhouse and the visiting training room, while a carpeting company was called in to replace the hallway between clubhouses and areas of the visiting clubhouse.

Longtime visiting clubhouse manager Mike Thalblum stayed out of the way as the work got done in short order.

''They did every test possible to make sure this place was spic and span and ready for the Reds,'' Thalblum said. ''They did an absolute amazing job, and Rinetti. It was crazy, and they were absolutely amazing. ... The Mariners could not have been classier about it Nobody was mad. The just understand it's not just an old stadium. This stuff just happens sometimes.''

The Coliseum facility construction crew removed some lockers in the visiting clubhouse to repair water-damaged walls with new sheetrock and wooden supports. In addition, new drywall was put in about a foot above the floor.

New cabinets were needed in the visiting training room, and a new dining table and vanity in the nearby umpires' room.

''We're lookin' good, we're stylin','' A's umpires attendant, Matt Weiss, said. ''They did a great job. They're miracle workers, that's for sure.''

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