Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Maybe that’s why some fans think of Wrigley Field as ‘the Urinal’

A part of me wishes I could dump all over the Chicago Cubs organization for their Opening Day festivities that kicked off the entire 2015 baseball season Sunday that clearly had inadequate toilet facilities for the fans who attended.

But if I’m to be honest, I have to admit that washrooms are a persistent problem at large-scale events, including at a ball park where there are some facilities built into the place.

THERE SHOULDN’T BE a need to have port-a-potties on the premises, although it seems the Cubs organization on Monday admitted there were problems sufficient that they’re going to have to install the portable toilets for the next month or so.

At least until the renovations are complete – and that could be mid-May.

Which is going to make Cubs games an even more unpleasant atmosphere than the quality of baseball being played on-field usually makes them.

And before any of you starts giving me the line that the Cubs are now a quality organization that is in serious contention for the National League championship of 2015, I’d point to the Sunday night scoreboard and the fact that the arch-rival St. Louis Cardinals have the “W,” which ultimately is the only statistic that matters!

ACCORDING TO THE reports, the problem stemmed from plumbing problems that have left half of the toilet facilities in the ballpark’s upper deck unusable.

That caused those fans to have to come down to the lower deck of the 101-year-old building, which meant they were jam-packed. There were reports of people having to wait up to an hour in line before they could walk up to one of the troughs and do their business.

Yahoo! Sports even included pictures of empty beer cups left on the floor – except that the cups had been refilled with what appeared to be urine of people who just couldn’t wait to get in the rest room proper!

I write “appeared” because I wasn’t there, and even if I had been, I wouldn’t have been bold enough to walk up and take a whiff of the cups to sense what was actually in them.

ALTHOUGH I SUPPOSE I could come up with some sort of joke about the content of those cups not differing significantly from the ballpark beer usually offered up for sale.

The conditions on hand Sunday night were severe, and made worse in the context of a ballpark undergoing a major renovation to make it a more modern facility.

Instead, we got to see that Wrigley really is a building lingering into the 21st Century with 19th Century toilet facilities. Perhaps the attention ought to be on an upgrade to restrooms, rather than to installing a video board that will merely let the fans see replays of all the plays that the Cubs players botched up on the field?

Perhaps that would bring an end to the stories I have long heard from Lake View neighborhood residents about how obnoxious of neighbors Cubs fans can be with acts of public urination – particularly in the alleys of the buildings directly surrounding the ballpark.

YET I HAVE to admit to having seen similarly disgusting moments while attending Chicago White Sox games. I remember one incident a few years ago when an inebriated fan walked into a rest room, saw the lines of people waiting for the proper urinals that exist at U.S. Cellular Field, and decided to relieve himself right into a public sink!

I wish I could say he was a Cubs fan who simply didn’t know how to behave in public, but I can’t say for sure.

Then again, it actually reminded me of a moment during the first ball game I ever attended as a kid at the old Comiskey Park. At game’s end, I went to the rest room and used a trough similar to what still exists at Wrigley, then went to a sink to try to wash my hands. At which point, another Sox fan told me I was crazy to do that because of the generations of people who had used the sinks for disgusting purposes.

I suppose it means that Sunday night at Wrigley could have been much worse than the sight of piss-filled beer cups scattered all over the floors!


EDITOR'S NOTE: Yeah, yeah. I know -- 10-1!?! All across Missouri, baseball fans are filled with glee, while we count down the 161 remaining games of 2015.

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