Batters & Bladders: Waiting Without Relief
At yesterday’s much anticipated Opening Night Cubs game, reports ran rampant of Wrigley Field being unprepared for its first crowd, thanks to the massive renovations taking place at the ballpark.
Most glaringly, fans were forced to wait upwards of a half hour to use the few functioning restroom facilities. Lines ran throughout the concourse and even up into the stands. Some male fans, driven by desperation or frustration, apparently used old beer cups and even concourse walls to alleviate their natural urges rather than waiting for an available trough, toilet or urinal.
This was of course not what the Cubs had in mind when they opened the gates last night and invited ESPN to show the world their newly renovated park and their newly renovated team — neither of which seemed to pass any satisfaction tests.
The bathroom issues felt a lot like the issues on the field. Wait a minute…this is the beginning of a new modern era at Wrigley and there isn’t even a place for everyone to pee? Wait a minute…this is the beginning of a new winning era for the Cubs and they can’t get a single hit with runners in scoring position?
So much waiting…so much anticipation…no relief. That was the story for both Cubs fans’ bladders and Cubs team batters. Ironically, Cubs relief pitching was the only bright spot last night, but that doesn’t do much good when you can’t buy a run.
It’s important to remember that it’s only one game — and against a very good Cardinals pitcher and team — so we can’t jump to any conclusions yet. But I think yesterday’s game brought Cubs fans back down to Earth a bit. The media narrative and the team itself have hinted that the long wait is nearly over. But these are the Cubs…things happen. Toilets get backed up. Ace starters get in jams. People pee on walls. Leadoff runners get left on base. A lot.
I, for one, need to measure my expectations and proceed with caution. Wrigley’s concourse floor is slippery when wet — let’s not run to the playoffs. We’ve only played one game and this new winning lineup remains mostly untested against the grueling schedule of a Major League season and a pretty decent Central Division. As fans found out last night, it doesn’t matter how shiny your new video board is or how talented your new prospects look in Spring Training. In matters of bathrooms and baseball, you can’t just get a free pass to the front of the line. You have to endure. You have to outlast. You have to wait.
Here’s hoping that Wrigley’s bathroom shortage is solved in time for game two. Ticket prices are way too high for people’s basic human needs to go unmet. And here’s hoping that this Cubs team has the stamina and talent to go the distance, showing the endurance and discipline to get to the front of the line without wetting themselves like they did last night.