Cubs add portable restrooms at Wrigley during renovation
CHICAGO -- The Cubs added 72 portable restrooms at Wrigley Field in hopes of avoiding lengthy lines that created a problem during Opening Night on Sunday.
The problems were compounded when upper-deck restrooms in left field malfunctioned on Sunday night because of a faulty valve, said Carl Rice, vice president of ballpark operations.
"We knew we were going to be short bathrooms on Opening Day," Rice said Wednesday. "When we started to lose bathrooms in the left-field upper deck and sent fans to the concourse, it created more gridlock. We did not expect that we were going to have the situation we had. In hindsight, we should've had the portable restrooms here."
The portable restrooms were installed Tuesday on the left-field concourse and outside of Gate K. Rice said they worked with the city of Chicago regarding cleaning schedules and location. The restrooms were added in time for Tuesday's night game, which was postponed because of rain and cold.
"It was a multiple failure up there," Rice said. "Whether it was the renovation or anything that happened in the offseason, we haven't been able to figure that out -- or it could've been the age of the infrastructure of the upper deck. We know we've corrected it, we put a new system in and we've tested it in the last couple days and have not had any failures so far."
The Cubs expect new men's and women's bathrooms to be ready for the first May homestand. The remainder of the left-field bathrooms will be ready in early June. Crews were working during Wednesday's game against the Cardinals.
On Sunday, some fans resorted to other means when they couldn't get access to the bathrooms. Manager Joe Maddon's family, who was at the game, noticed that.
"There was a slight issue with the purchase of a hot dog and its proximity to something that looked like beer," Maddon said Wednesday. "Otherwise, it was OK. Otherwise, it was perfect."
The Cubs also are continuing to test the new sound system, which drew complaints from some people in the neighborhood.
One thing Rice stressed was that the Cubs will not play their home games anywhere besides Wrigley Field this season.
"We've said and made statements earlier about our looking at other places to play, and we just feel right now, Wrigley Field is where we want to play our baseball games this year," Rice said. "Getting the bathrooms online as quickly as possible is important for the entire organization, and that's what we're going to do."
The Cubs did ask Major League Baseball if they could open the season on the road and end on the road to give workers more time to complete the massive renovation project. However, the Cubs were scheduled to play nine of their first 12 games at home.