Cubs add portable potties at Wrigley to ease bathroom lines
CHICAGO (AP) Relief of a different sort arrived Wednesday for fans at Wrigley Field.
The Chicago Cubs installed 72 portable restroom units at Wrigley Field before Wednesday's game with St. Louis, hoping to end the long lines experienced by many fans at times during the season opener Sunday night.
The second-oldest stadium in the major leagues to Boston's Fenway Park is undergoing a massive renovation. Portions of one men's room and one women's room on the left side of the main concourse were scheduled to be unavailable until May or June, and there was a problem Sunday in the women's restroom on the left side of the upper deck.
The result were waits of up to an hour at some restrooms, with some fans resorting to using cups to relieve themselves. Many photos were posted to social media sites, an unwelcome issue for the Cubs as they opened their season with a new manager and their perennial high hopes.
''There are going to be growing pains, building pains - however you want to say it - with the ballpark,'' general manager Jed Hoyer said. ''Unfortunately, we caught that a little bit on opening day. Hopefully, we'll get all that stuff behind us and focus on the players. Our team is what you want to talk about, not bathroom lines or port-a-potties.''
Carl Rice, the Cubs' vice president of ballpark operations, said the team had been clear that there would be a shortage of the usual restrooms as the season began. But the need surprised even the Cubs.
''When we started to lose the bathrooms in the left-field upper deck and sent fans down to the concourse, it created even more gridlock,'' he said. ''We did not expect that we were going to have the situation we had and in hindsight we should have had the portable restrooms here.''
All 72 portable units were installed along the left side of the ballpark. Rice said the total number of ''fixtures'' out of commission because of the renovations is 72 (38 men's and 34 women's) and the construction schedule has been extended. Work will now be allowed to go on during games to speed up the process.
There were no apparent issues on Wednesday. With a crowd about half the size of the 35,000 in attendance for the opener, waits were short.
The Cubs are in the first phase of what is expected to be a four- or five-year process of renovating the ballpark, which opened in 1914. Some have speculated that the team should have moved elsewhere - either U.S. Cellular on the South Side or Miller Park in Milwaukee - to allow the work to get done faster and without playing games in a construction zone.
Rice said there are no plans to move any games.