• Cubs’ fans complain about long bathroom waits at Wrigley

    One of baseball’s biggest clichés is “anything can happen,” and at Wrigley Field on Opening Night, something happened that most fans did not expect. 

    Because of ongoing renovations at Wrigley Field, there were only two working restrooms, which caused some serious problems. According to some angry Cubs’ fans, the 45-minute wait to use the restroom became so long that fans started to relieve themselves anywhere they could: empty cups, against walls, etc. 

    Some Cubs’ fans even took the restroom situation to twitter.  

    “I’m all for renovating, but I’ve now missed two innings trying to get into the bathroom,” James Hillebrand said in a Tweet. “Get your act together.”

    The Cubs management made one thing clear; fixing the restrooms is a top priority.

    Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney apologized in an email sent out to Cubs season-ticket holders for the problem and explained that it is already being addressed. Kenney has a plan in place to bring portable toilets into stadium before more restrooms will be available for permanent use in late May. 

    “We will supplement existing restrooms with portable units in the left-field concourse and outside Gate K," Kenney wrote in his letter. "With these facilities in place, we will have approximately the same number of fixtures as we did at the end of the 2014 season. In addition, we are working with our game-day staff to help coordinate concourse traffic by communicating shortest wait times at all concourse facilities."

    The renovations at Wrigley were expected to cause some difficulties but not to the extent that it did on opening night. The Cubs management is very hopeful that their quick reaction to the restroom complications will help eliminate any problems going forward.

    "We appreciate your patience and for bearing with us as we work to restore Wrigley Field," Kenney said. "We are committed to ensuring ongoing construction does not lessen your experience at our ballpark. We will continue to monitor wait times and overall construction activity and will communicate developments as we go."

    According to Chicago Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts, the $375 million renovations to make the ballpark more “modern” are expected to be completed during the next four offseasons. Wrigley has already started the modernization process as a 5,700-square-foot JumboTron has been placed in left field the day before opening night.

    Right now, the renovations are in the first phase, which will restore the stadium’s bleachers. The upcoming changes to Wrigley will include new clubhouses, umpire rooms, press box and bullpens.  A hotel is also being developed relatively close to the park.

    “There will be four more years,” Ricketts said. “The way we project it now is four more years of construction. A lot of that is subject to how the construction process goes. Once again, with the time horizon we have, making sure we make long-term decisions and not rush the process.”

    Fortunately for Cubs’ fans, the restroom problem will not be extended for the next four years and will hopefully be fixed by their next home game.

  • NHL: first round predictions

    Western Conference:

    (4) Winnipeg VS (1) Anaheim

    Anaheim in 6

    The Anaheim Ducks are once again the top seed in the Western Conference after totaling 109 points this season. In fact, they have been Pacific Division Champions three years running. Alarmingly, they have not reached the Conference Finals since the 2006-07 season, the same year in which they won the franchise’s only Stanley Cup. While Anaheim clearly has a history of early exits from the postseason, expect the experience of veterans Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry to carry the Ducks over the Jets, a franchise that has not been in the playoffs since 2007 (then the Atlanta Thrashers).

    (3) Calgary VS (2) Vancouver

    Vancouver in 7

    This battle for supremacy in Western Canada is a tossup. Both teams finished the regular season 6-3-1, and they were only separated in the standings by a margin of 4 points. The Canucks come into postseason play behind their star twin duo Daniel and Henrik Sedin, who tallied 76 and 73 points, respectively. The Canucks’ biggest question coming in is who will be the starting goalie, Eddie Lack or Ryan Miller. Similarly, the Flames have a question mark at goaltender as well. Jonas Hiller appears to be the starter come game 1, but it is important to note that he lost his starting job in the postseason with Anaheim last year. Goalie trouble aside, if the Flames wish to keep their surprise season going, they must get continued production from rookie sensation Johnny Gaudreau.

    (4) Minnesota VS (1) St. Louis

    St. Louis in 6

    The St. Louis Blues tout the best goal differential in the Western Conference. Accomplishing this feat has come via a combination of solid play on both ends of the ice, as the Blues are top 5 in the league in both goals scored and goals against. Vladimir Tarasenko is one of the best offensive talents in the league, and defensemen Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk are two of the finest blue-liners you’ll find. While Minnesota put together a solid 100 point season, the star-studded lineup that the Blues bolster will prove to be too much to handle for the Wild.

    (3) Chicago VS (2) Nashville

    Chicago in 7

    The Nashville Predators are coming into the postseason for the first time in three years as the third best team in the Western Conference in terms of points. From Filip Forsberg’s breakout season to the standard solid play of goalie Pekka Rinne, the predators have put together quite the season. Unfortunately, they pair with the Chicago Blackhawks, winners of 2 of the last 5 Stanley Cup Championships. In addition, star forward Patrick Kane is expected to play for the first time in nearly 2 months since he suffered a clavicle injury. Kane, Toews and company will be too much for Nashville.

     

    Eastern Conference:

    (4) Pittsburgh VS (1) New York (Rangers)

    New York in 5

    During the first half of the season, this is not a matchup we would have expected to see in the first round. Ravaged by the injury bug, the Pittsburgh Penguins struggled mightily in the second half of the season, only edging Boston for the final Wild Card spot by 2 points. You have to be at full strength to beat the President Trophy winning New York Rangers, and the Penguins are far from it. The Rangers will keep up their exceptional level of play and will have some time to rest before the next round after a quick ousting of Sidney Crosby and the Pens.

    (3) New York (Islanders) VS (2) Washington

    Washington in 6

    A lot has been made of the potential “Battle of New York” in the second round if both the Islanders and Rangers advance. However, with Alexander Ovechkin playing the way he has this year, fans in the Big Apple will have to wait for an intrastate rivalry for at least another year. Ovechkin, scorer of 50 or more goals in one season for the sixth time in his career, has evolved as a better two-way player. Taking his absurdly awful plus/minus of -35 last season to +10 this year is evidence that Ovechkin has accepted the burden of leading his team to previously unattainable postseason success.

    (4) Ottawa VS (1) Montreal

    Montreal in 6

    The Montreal Canadiens’ season went relatively according to expectations: star defenseman P.K. Subban displayed his offensive talent by notching 60 points, solid forward Max Paccioretty led the team in total goals and points, and Carey Price had himself a Vezina Trophy caliber season by leading the league in just about every goaltending statistical category. The Senators, on the flipside, trailed in the wild card standings by a double-digit point margin less than two months ago.  However, don’t expect Ottawa’s season ending surge to translate into first round success as the Canadiens are simply too sound in all facets of the game.

    (3) Detroit VS (2) Tampa Bay

    Tampa Bay in 5

    Home ice has been kind to the Tampa Bay Lightning this season, as they have accumulated the best home record in the NHL at 32-8-1. Center Steven Stamkos helped his team to the highest goals per game average in the league, and starting goalie Ben Bishop recorded 40 wins on the season. When Bishop was injured for the first round last year, the Lightning were swept by the Canadiens. With a healthy net-minder and a ferocious offensive attack, the Lightning will close out the inconsistent Wings on home ice in game 5.