Cubs fans experience Opening Day woes

By Sports & Health Reporter

Wrigley Field opened April 5 for the Cubs’ Opening Day game against the St. Louis Cardinals amid ongoing construction. The Cubs hosted the Cardinals for their first home series of the season before traveling to Colorado for a weekend series. 

Fans experienced a plethora of problems, from bathroom shortages to trouble navigating the ballpark, according to freshman journalism major Taylor Martin. Martin said he waited in line to use the restroom for nearly an hour. Only two men’s and three women’s bathrooms were functional on Opening Day, according to an April 7 Chicago Tribune report. 

“Getting into the stadium and around everything was really crowded,” Martin said. “It was definitely not ready for the Opening Day audience at all. People who had seats in the upper reserves had to go downstairs to use the bathroom. People started peeing in cups and putting them in the corner because they didn’t want to wait anymore.”

In a statement issued after the highly-publicized Opening Day stadium shortcomings, the Cubs’ spokesman Julian Green said the Cubs “wanted to apologize to our fans for the huge inconvenience.”

On April 7, 74 temporary portable toilets were installed at Wrigley Field to accommodate fans. The inconvenience the renovations caused took away from the Opening Day experience, according to Martin. 

“It didn’t feel like a regular Cubs game,” Martin said. “I feel like they could’ve been more prepared because it was the first game. The MLB commissioner let them have the first game. If they were going to take that seriously, they could have done a lot more.”

Martin attended the Cubs’ April 8 game against the Cardinals and found that the team mediated his previous troubles.

“There weren’t any lines on the eighth because they got it figured out,” Martin said. “The regular restrooms were all working, but there were a lot of porta-potties and hand-washing stations and employees were monitoring the lines. I feel like [the Cubs] are doing the best they can. The stadium [has been there] since 1914, so it’s understandable.” 

Even those who did not attend Opening Day were unhappy with Wrigley Field, as Wrigleyville residents complained on social media about increased noise levels from the stadium. The noise from Wrigley has never been an inconvenience, according to senior television major Joe Walsh, who lives approximately two blocks from the stadium on Sheffield Ave. 

“I’ve lived here for two years and we’ve always been able to hear the organ and the crowd cheering,” Walsh said. “It’s kind of cool. The only [inconvenience] is having Sheffield blocked off.”

As an avid baseball fan, Walsh said he wishes the renovations had been completed on time. 

“It is kind of disappointing that they weren’t able to get it done by Opening Day,” Walsh said. “It would’ve been cool for Wrigley Field with a brand new stadium, and I think it would’ve added a lot to the atmosphere of the game. Obviously, all of those bleachers weren’t filled. That has to affect the players on the field, too, because that’s a considerable amount of fans who aren’t there cheering.”

The renovations, dubbed The 1060 Project by the Cubs, broke ground Oct. 11 and anticipated completion by Opening Day 2015. The Cubs announced in mid-January the bleacher seating that had undergone renovations would not be completed in time for the start of the spring season because of poor weather, according to a Jan. 18 ABC 7 online report. The incomplete bleachers were covered with boards featuring a tribute to late Cubs star Ernie Banks, who died on Jan. 23. 

Updating the bleachers is part of a four-phase construction plan that is anticipated to be completed in 2018. The 1060 Project includes plans to build a new clubhouse, expand seating, relocation of bullpens, a new outdoor concourse and adding a two-story retail complex, according to the Cubs’ website.